Since I’ve received several questions about the plate carrier I wear in my videos, I thought I would give a quick rundown on the parts of the Frankencarrier, a little of the history, and how it got where it is today.
I bought the base carrier probably 9 years ago. It’s an older model Ferro Concepts Slickster. At the time, I knew I wanted a plate carrier and plates for the range and just generally to be prepared, but beyond that my criteria were exceptionally simple – available, not too expensive, good quality. I can definitely say that I hit all three with the Slickster. For the price point, it’s been an excellent quality, comfortable carrier. The biggest problem is that I let a little bit of celebrity stardust drive my purchase rather than a solid analysis of my needs. The Slickster was all the rage at the time, with various internet personalities showcasing it in their videos and on Instagram. As a result, I purchased a carrier that is absolutely fantastic for running low-profile, but significantly less useful for a lot of the things I am moving toward, like antenna relocation and computing devices.
**NOTE: The newer versions of the Slickster are a lot more modular, but I’m using the older model for purposes of the review.**
One of the first issues I ran into was the cummerbund. The stock Ferro cummerbund is elastic with built in pockets. Those pockets are useful for a lot of things, such as magazines and radios, but they aren’t really as useful as a purpose-built pocket. And, with the cummerbund being elastic, there’s no way to place MOLLE pouches. So my first change was to find a replacement cummerbund that allowed me to use MOLLE pouches. Ferro offers several options, but at the time it was really hard to catch them in stock.
It was at this point that I really first learned about Beez Combat Systems. I came across their website looking for cummerbunds, and they had several that fit my needs. In this particular instance, I ended up choosing their APTUM Skeletal Cummerbund with Tubes. I picked the Tubes cummerbund in particular because I had never used them and wanted to test out their advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest advantage I found to the Tubes was the quick on/off ability. However, the downside was that I lost about an inch to two inches of available MOLLE real estate. Because the real estate is more important to me than the on/off, I probably won’t be using Tubes again any time soon. The cummerbund itself is excellent, and the MOLLE capability is almost exactly what I was looking for. Overall, I’m very happy with this addition, you just won’t see Tubes on my next kit unless my needs change.
I wanted to experiment with side plate pockets on this carrier. Obviously, that wasn’t possible with the stock Slickster, but once I had the MOLLE cummerbund it was time to start trying things out. I ended up going with the SKD Tactical PIG MOLLE Side Plate Carrier Set. Now, there are a number of side plate carrier pockets out there, but many of them are specifically for 6×6 plates. In this case, I had training plates that were 6×8, so I appreciated the fact that the PIG pockets could expand to hold that size. I wear them inside the cummerbund versus outside, but I still find them plenty comfortable. I’ll probably shift their location a little further forward on the cummerbund in the future and I may experiment with other pockets, but these have been solid.
Shoulder pads were not my first worry, but as I began experimenting with different loads, things started to get heavier and shoulder pads started to seem more necessary.
I ended up choosing the Raptor Tactical Plate Carrier Shoulder Pads. There’s just enough padding to lighten the felt pressure on my shoulders, as well as One-Wrap and bungee for routing of cords/cables/tubing, and they fit the Slickster perfectly.
The purpose of this post was really two-fold. First, to tell you about some of my gear, because people had asked questions about it. Second, to show you that gear can evolve over time as new requirements come about. Hopefully I’ve managed to do both of those. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through the site or leave comments down below.
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