Despite the fact that the trunk of my Crown Victoria Police Interceptor resembles a scaled down version of our Tactical Room, I have gone out and bought a Voodoo Tactical 20-8399 Plate Carrier to add some serious protection to my kit.
Bailout bags are all the rage. I prefer a bailout load-bearing vest for patrol work, for that time when you need extra ammo, medical equipment, and basic tools in a critical incident. I’m now going up the ante and say an armor plate carrier is the best bet of all three options.
When working the street, we wear soft body armor. It should be NIJ Standard 0101.06 Level IIIa. The armor is accompanied by a duty belt, upon which we hang a handgun, ammunition, and all the other toys.
In an active shooter or similar scenario, law enforcement is duty bound to respond and stop the killing. We must arrive quickly, but be ready for any threat. These two concepts are in conflict. “Quick” and “ready” compromise each other.
Since we are already wearing body armor and have the gun-belt on, I believe a MOLLE equipped rifle plate carrier with utility pouches will add a fast layer of specific protection over an officer’s duty uniform. In this case, Quick = Ready.
I picked up the Voodoo Tactical Plate Carrier for under $100.00 from an on-line retailer. I threaded on a quad pouch for my AR-15 magazines. I have a medical pouch that will fit at seven o’clock on the back. A 6” X 6” utility pouch will ride up front at two o’clock.
I’m lucky to have two lightweight Protech Level III 10” X 12” ballistic plates that fit snugly into the Voodoo carrier. The Voodoo carrier is roomy enough for both soft body armor and rifle plates. I know. As a test, I loaded mine up with front and back soft panels and front and back hard plates.
There are two rectangular side holders under the arms for smaller plates, should you desire more lethal coverage. For my final set-up, I inserted the rifle plates into their compartments. In each side holder, I placed a soft body armor trauma plate, just for insurance.
I have a medium frame. The Voodoo plate carrier pushes the limit of size for me. It seems to run in the medium-large-nearly XL range. It has lots of Velcro and straps to adjust the rig to your particular dimensions.
Other features include an inner support elastic waistband, padded waist and shoulder supports, and hook and loop areas on the chest and back for department patches.
The 20-8399 Voodoo armor carrier is well made, and the MOLLE stitching seems even and sturdy. The construction values may be overkill, as I won’t be wearing this carrier that often (crossed fingers). But it will get some hard knocks and abrasions in the whirlpool of junk in my Crown Vic’s trunk.
I know–rifle protection is not cheap, but technology is always changing. As an example, Armored Mobility, Inc markets their SAPI-3 10” X 12” Level III plates, which tip the scales at 3 lbs, for just $425.00.
That is half what you would pay for similar armor a few years ago. SAPI-3’s are not stand-alone, but are recommended to work in conjunction with IIIa panels, which you would be wearing anyway. There are other armor options. I bring this one up because I got a look at AMI’s SAPI-3 at SHOT Show 2012 and liked it.
The Voodoo Tactical Armor Carrier now resides in my cruiser. I am very satisfied with my SHTF armored vest, at least until the personal electronic force field comes along.