As a Berry-compliant product, the Leonidas Plate Carrier by Spartan Armor Systems gives the wearer a comfortable level of personal protection, while drawing its legacy design from years of field usage. The Leonidas is a stand-alone plate carrier, or is part of a package by Spartan Armor that includes its progressive levels of body armor.
Using its 500D Cordura fabric, the Leonidas also includes extensive bartacking at key stress points to ensure maximum protection of the material and its components.
The front and back carriers of the Leonidas are designed to fully-enclose SAPI/AR500 armored plates (not included), secured via hook-and-loop flaps, and include premium upgraded shoulder pads over adjustable slide-release shoulder buckles. Both the front and back carriers also feature (female) hook-and-loop panels for identification panels or morale patches and extensive MOLLE webbing.
The front plate carrier has an upper, zipper-secured admin pouch, and a lower kangaroo pouch for smaller items. The back of the Leonidas features a reinforced drag handle designed to support the weight of the wearer (up to 500 pounds) and includes hook-and-loop to keep the handle secured.
The Leonidas cummerbund features MOLLE webbing on the sides (interior and exterior), is compatible to carry side plates (via included pouches), and uses hook-and-loop fields at the ends and back to join at the front and back carriers at corresponding hook-and-loop fields. The cummerbund ends are then secured via a corresponding (male) hook-and-loop flap with MOLLE webbing on the carriers, that folds over the cummerbund ends. In lieu of the cummerbund, the Leonidas also includes a (removable) slide-release buckle system as a secondary means of securing the carriers.
The interior lining of the Leonidas features a moisture-wicking air foam-mesh lining that helps assist in mitigating heat from the body.
Also included in this evaluation was a set of Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 Level III ballistic plates. These items were included to assist in evaluating the plate carrier’s functionality, comfort, and durability, and themselves are not included as part of this review. The Omega ballistic plates will be featured in a later product review.
- Front/back plates up to: 10” x 12”
- Side plates up to: 5” x 15”
- Sizing: Medium – XLarge (38” – 46” chest)
The Leonidas is available in Black (featured), Ranger Green, Tan, and Multicam.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Average (3/5): At $180 for a full-coverage plate carrier, the Leonidas is well priced within the current market of similar designs. This includes the TTRAC by Tactical Tailor ($379), the TacTec by 5.11 ($199), and Voodoo’s MOLLE carrier ($167). The variances in prices for plate carriers is directly attributed to the denier level of the involved materials, design and hardware of both the carrier and cummerbund, and amount of bartack that provides additional reinforcement. Thus, within the overall market the Leonidas is of median cost to both newer plate carriers and more traditional designs.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): The Leonidas was a very comfortable, full-torso plate carrier that supported the weight of ballistic plates evenly across the shoulders and around the midsection. However, because of its legacy-based design (fully enclosed cummerbund), the Leonidas lacked the breathability around the midsection found in more modern carriers using skeletonized or elastic. The Leonidas does offset this by including thick air-mesh/foam padding on the backpanels of the front/back carrier to try and increase airflow, but significant body heat was still retained. The cummerbund itself was fully adjustable in both the front and back, as well as the length of the shoulder straps that ensured proper fit of the carrier.
- Durability – Good (4/5): The full-torso design of the Leonidas is one that has a proven track record of use in the field. The 500D nylon that comprises the overall material offered a good balance between abrasion resistance, weight, and flexibility. There was extensive bartack noted at all stress points along the shoulder connections, cummerbund, and MOLLE webbing that ensured extensive reinforcement. Box and X-type stitching helped ensure hook-and-loop fields didn’t pull or separate from the material.
- Functionality – Average (3/5): From a functional aspect, the Leonidas had an extensive amount of MOLLE webbing on the plate carriers and sides that would enable for accessories and pouches to be mounted, thus increasing its functional use. The cummerbund could be removed if desired, and the secondary slide-release buckles could serve as the means of securing the plate carriers (but then there is the loss of having the side MOLLE and side plates). One negative noted was the slide-release buckles of the shoulder straps would loosen inadvertently when donning/removing the carrier due to the weight of the AR500 plates. Spartan Armor could potentially improve on this by considering alternate means of hardware like enclosure/tube type quick-release buckles.
- Weight – Good (4/5): At 2.3 pounds (without plates) the overall Leonidas carrier is of lighter than average weight for the amount of nylon involved. This is attributed to the use of 500D nylon over nylon with the heavier denier found in other carriers that, while it would improve abrasion resistance, would be heaver and less flexible. As noted above, alternate carriers range in weight from 2.5 pounds (TacTec) to 4.3 pounds (Voodoo Tactical) which places the Leonidas as one of the lighter full-torso carriers on the market.
Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)
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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