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How Should I Set Up My Plate Carrier?

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

One of the questions I often get when you guys come in is “Now that I’ve gotten my plate carrier and plates how should I setup my carrier?” Again if you’ve read any of my other posts you will find a rather familiar answer, “it really depends on your situation”. However I can do my best here to help you figure out the things you want to put on your carrier. The standard three rules for plate carriers are as follows, you need to set it up at its most basic level so it can do three things; make holes, stop holes and plug holes, i.e. Ballistic plates, ammo, and medical supplies. To begin with there is one piece of equipment that should be on every carrier regardless of your situation, and that is first aid. Whether its an IFAK, tourniquet holder or any of the other options for carrying medical, it is vital that you always include medical equipment on your carrier. Whether you are using it to train in at the range, competing in a match, wearing it hunting, or using it for home defence these are all situations where there is a potential for injury and you have to be responsible for your own wellbeing and carry the medical supplies you think you would need. While the exact medical supplies you carry can range from tourniquets, quik clot gauze and chest seals to a simple boo-boo kit you should always carry some form of medical equipment. When it comes to what medical equipment you want or need that is above my skillset and you should check out a bunch of other companies and youtube channels who specialize in IFAKs and medical supplies. We will have another article discussing what plates you should get depending on your situation, but if you already have plates we can move onto one of the next questions regarding ballistic protection (i.e. stopping holes) on your carrier, and that is should I get side plates? We actually recommend that if money is not an issue then you should. While this may sound obvious coming from a website that sells side plates we do have several reasons for this. The first is obviously more protection, but the second is slightly less obvious, it makes the plate carrier fit better. The reason for this is it provides support to allow the carrier to sit on your hips better rather than weigh down on your shoulders. While this might not sound like a big deal, when you are wearing your carrier for extended periods of time your neck and shoulders will fatigue long before your waist does. It essentially allows the plate carrier to be held up by your hips thus carrying all the weight through to your legs rather than going through your shoulders first. Of course there are downsides, such as the increased bulk off your body which when mounting other accessories on your cummerbund can become quite excessive and the increase to the overall weight of your carrier. Now then we will move onto the final basic element of your plate carrier and that is for your ammo. You can put as many magazine and other munition pouches on your carrier as you want or you think you’ll need, we’ve seen people run up to 10 or more mag pouches, however we wouldn’t recommend going to that extreme. Generally you want to be able to get low if you’re under fire and the more stuff you stick out of the front of your carrier means the higher off the ground your body will be and it just leads to more bulk that will get in the way when you are trying to do things. For your average person we would recommend capacity for three magazines right off the bat with the potential to add additional ones over the rest of your carrier with a general higher threshold for your average civilian being around seven. In Canada or in any other place with magazine capacity restrictions we would advise allotting more space for ammo pouches as each mag will only be able to carry 5 -10 rounds depending on the jurisdiction you reside in. Well there it is a quick guide on the basics of setting up your carrier. Where you place everything and exactly how you setup all your pouches is up to your own preference and your personal body mechanics. Of course depending on what you are doing there will be other things that you need to add such as comms, batteries, and any other specific equipment, but that is for your own judgement. This article was just meant to help out with figuring, as a civilian what are the first things to consider when setting up your carrier. Let me know if this was helpful and if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to send an email to

Stay Safe Out There,


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