Building on the advantages of its predecessor the PLATEminus V4, the PLATE-6 MOLLEminus Plate Carrier is the latest iteration in a line of quality and minimalist plate carriers from Blue Force Gear. The PLATE-6 offers the end-user the flexibility to have the perfect platform for low-visibility or build it further into a full-purpose kit.
Introduced in 2021 following the COVID disruptions, the PLATE-6 incorporates the compatibility of the original PLATEminus MOLLE platform, with Blue Force Gear’s proprietary ULTRAcomp™ laminate material (which is half the thickness of a dime and four times as abrasion resistant of 1000D Cordura). The PLATE-6’s ULTRAcomp laminate is laser cut to create a fully MOLLE compatible matrix of slots and voids to reduce weight, complexity, and potential failure points over traditional platforms.
The front and rear carriers are designed to fully enclose SAPI/ESAPI armored plates (not included). The rear cummerbund adjustment panels, and front side of the side panels feature BFG’s Ball Loaded Index Point (BLIP) that aids in tactile sensation when donning or adjusting.
The PLATE-6’s front carrier includes an integrated admin pouch that uses a rubberized pull-tab to open/close the hook-and-loop enclosure. On the pouch’s exterior is a hook-and-loop (female) field for attaching identification panels or morale patches.
On the PLATE-6’s rear carrier is a similar hook-and-loop (female) field panels or patches, but also a drag handle reinforced with rubberized material for tactile control.
The interior lining of the PLATE-6 features a moisture-wicking, elastic Tweeve lining that assists in mitigating heat from the body. Both the front and back carrier feature a (female) hook-and-loop panel for identification panels or morale patches.
The fully adjustable shoulder harnesses secure across the shoulders via hook-and-loop, and include retention bands for securing hydration lines or communication cables. The PLATE-6 also features a fully adjustable cummerbund in front or back with Blue Force Gear’s military grade Ten-Speed elastic, and secured by wide hook-and-loop panels.
The PLATE-6 comes in Multicam (featured), Coyote, and Black and is sized to match the following:
- Small – 8.75″ wide x 11.75″ high x 1.25″ thick – For Small SAPI / ESAPI plates
- Medium 9.5″ wide x 12.5″ high x 1.25″ thick – For Medium SAPI / ESAPI plates
- Large 10.25″ wide x 13.25″ high x 1.25″ thick – For large SAPI / ESAPI plates
- Extra Large 11″ wide x 14″ high x 1.25″ thick – For Extra Large SAPI / ESAPI plates
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): With an MSRP of $199.95, the PLATE-6 is made dominantly from Blue Force Gear’s (BFG) ULTRAcomp™ laminate throughout most of the carrier. This material gives the carrier uniformed strength throughout the design. The PLATE-6 is the latest iteration of BFG’s minimalist equipment that is purpose driven without lending excess to bulk or weight. In contrast, market alternatives for similar carriers include the Freeman Plate Carrier ($125) from AR500, the Spitfire MkII ($239) from Direct Action, or the SMC Plate Carrier ($320) from Grey Ghost Gear—and illustrate that the PLATE-6 is at a good price point for what it offers in function.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): There was little left for excess materials or padding on the PLATE-6, which was very slim and lightweight. This gave the plate carrier a very high degree of flexibility during dynamic movements or twisting of the upper torso. It’s comfort also changed to some degree by including more pouches and accessories giving the carrier more rigidity, but no more so than other fully loaded carriers. But as a minimalist platform, the PLATE-6 was very comfortable. The full-length hook-and-loop field on the adjustable shoulder straps and elastic cummerbund allowed the wearer to find the perfect height and compression level around the torso. The BLIPs on the forward-facing corner of the front plate carrier and forward tabs of the cummerbund were readily tactile and within reach (an improvement over the PLATEminus V4), and made it easy to grip and separate the materials. The hook-and-loop that secured the cummerbund to the front and rear carrier was very strong and kept it secure throughout evaluation. The one aspect of a fully-loaded PLATE-6 that end-users need to be aware of is the shoulder straps have no padding, so if the carriers have considerable weight from plates, loaded magazines, and accessories, those straps will bear down on the shoulders over time. BFG may want to consider offering aftermarket padding as an accessory.
- Durability – Excellent (5/5): The PLATE-6 was made dominantly from BFG’s proprietary ULTRAcomp™ laminate which had an amazingly high degree of abrasion resistance, minimized materials needed, and maximized flexibility. In addition, BFG maintains that their laminate nylon is water and oil resistant, and through evaluation didn’t absorb sweat to any degree. At no point in testing did the carrier separate, plates slide, or adjustment areas not retain their setting. There was extensive bartack and double-line stitching throughout the PLATE-6 that reinforced all key stress points, in particular at multiple points between the carrier and shoulder harness. The elastic bands in the cummerbund did not fray nor warp, and retained their overall tension levels. The hook-and-loop material to the retention bands on the shoulder harness kept hydration tubes secure.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): From a minimalist standpoint, the PLATE-6 was very sound for mounting associated pouches and other accessories. The design featured no excessive hardware or materials, and the profile of the laser cut MOLLE into the ULTRAcomp™ laminate ensured a flat profile with the widest compatibility to any magazine or accessory pouch without excess stitching. Additionally, the PLATE-6 had the legacy-type design wherein the cummerbund of the plate carrier was secured around the wearer’s torso to the front carrier, on top of which the fold-over flap is secured on top of the cummerbund. The drag handle on the rear carrier was appropriately secured with good reinforcement, and the tactile material gave it good purchase for grip. Some end-users may find the thin material of the ULTRAcomp™ laminate unsettling, as some points only have a single layer of fabric (which again keeps that minimalist profile), but bear in mind the strength of the laminate is more abrasive resistant than 1000D Cordura—and more than most traditional plate carriers on the market currently offer. The only recommended consideration for BFG from a functional aspect, would be the inclusion of a plate insert riser inside the carriers to help ensure plates of different dimensions and size still ride at the appropriate height – it was noted this was lacking in the PLATE-6.
- Weight – Average (3/5): Coming in at an amazingly light 1.7 pounds (without plates), the PLATE-6 was very lightweight in large part to its materials and minimalist design. This helps spare the overall wear and strain on the user due to excess materials, and negates the fabric becoming bogged down with sweat, water, or resins. In comparison, other plate carriers like the Freeman Plate Carrier (1.1 pounds) from AR500, the Spitfire MkII (1.5 pounds) from Direct Action, or the SMC Plate Carrier (1.5 pounds) from Grey Ghost Gear were all lighter, but only by mere ounces that wouldn’t be readily noted by the wearer. Overall this would put the PLATE-6 plate carrier within the appropriate (or average) weight range for the market and what it offers in function and material.
Overall Rating – Good (20/25)
Product Link: https://www.blueforcegear.com/plate-6
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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