The Best Minimalist Plate Carrier Setup

Most people are unsure of how to prepare for and deal with current threats. Democracy in this country is as close as it’s ever been to total collapse.

There are so many elements that are putting pressure on us from all directions: The Russian/Ukrainian conflict is escalating day by day, global financial meltdown, natural disasters, political instability, and a global pandemic to name a few.

If you are going to prepare to shoot, then prepare to get shot at. Regular everyday civilians, are being handed AK47s in Ukraine and told to kill Russians. I want you to think about that for a second.

Our survival is at stake, more right now than ever before. So how do we prepare for modern-day threats to our way of life?

Low Vis Plate Carrier Setup For Modern Day Threats

While I am all for every American citizen being ready to fight for their freedom, I also think they should focus on the necessary skill set that may be needed with the threats we face.

Gear also becomes an issue that seems to fall into the debate of reality versus fantasy. Plate Carrier Setup and Body armor are two elements of gear that many view as not needed or applicable to the civilian.

I heard a saying once that goes something like this; gear is life, life is gear. When it comes to body armor that is 100% true.

Body armor is a sound investment for all who take their safety and security seriously.

The most common type of body armor for civilians is Level IIIA.

West Coast Armor LVAK
West Coast Armor LVAK low vis plate carrier (photo: West Coast Armor)

What is Level IIIA Body Armor?

Level IIIA body armor is rated to stop Magnum rounds fired from handguns and everything from .22 cal to 44mag.

Level IIIA body armor comes in either a soft armor configuration or a hard plate configuration, depending on you intend to use the armor. Level IIIA armor is perfect for giving a backpack or briefcase some ballistic protection when on your body.

If you’re looking to wear the Level IIIA armor inside a plate carrier vest, then the hard plate configuration is what you want. More on those options later.

West Coast Armor Level IIIA hard plate
West Coast Armor Level IIIA hard plate (photo: West Coast Armor)

Just because it’s "only" Level IIIA, don’t dismiss its strength. We’ve seen Level IIIA plates take over 90 rounds of 9mm, so we can say without a doubt that it’s pretty strong stuff.

There are a lot of body armor manufacturers out there and it can be a little confusing as to which one to go with. Our recommendation is West Coast Armor.

They manufacture some of the highest quality armor on the market, especially their Level IIIA Hard Plate.

West Coast Armor Level IIIA Plate

The Patriot Armor Level IIIA Plate is so unbelievably light and thin, you will forget you’re wearing it. At 0.82 pounds per square foot, this lightweight Level IIIA body armor performs like heavyweights.

Forged from a proprietary manufacturing process, the Level IIIA Plate is constructed with some of the strongest and lightest ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibers available.

The UHMWPE fibers are much stronger than steel plates at a fraction of the weight.

Level IIIA Plate Specs

  • Designed for use as a standalone plate
  • Standalone NIJ threat level of IIIA
  • True multi-shot plate
  • Weather proofing: spray-lined synthetic coating
  • 0.82 pounds per square foot
  • Available in black polyurea spray lining
  • Size: 10" x 12"

Level IIIA Plate

at West Coast Armor
Prices accurate at time of writing

6 Reasons To Own Body Armor

Looting due to natural disasters

It is common during natural disasters for looting to take place. We’ve seen this after the recent hurricanes. Having a plate carrier vest with body armor to protect yourself in addition to your gun is sound reasoning.

Home Defense

If you hear something go bump in the night and need to investigate, throwing on a plate carrier will give you an advantage if the intruder had a gun. In addition, if you’re at home and have an early detection system (alarm or cameras) and can barricade yourself in a room, throw on a plate carrier in the event the intruder enters your safe room.

Traveling With Your Guns

When people travel, most will be either concealed carrying their guns or at least transporting them off body, so having a plate carrier with body armor makes sense. Mass shootings seems to happen anywhere these days and having the ability to put on a plate carrier vest is never a bad idea if you start to hear gun fire.

Ban on Body Armor

The government has tried to ban body armor in the past. Of all states, Connecticut has the toughest body armor laws, prohibiting residents from buying or selling body armor without a background check. This means that it may not be possible to acquire in the future if other states implement a ban. Better buy it now! Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

west coast armor

Riots and Civil Unrest

Protests can sometimes get extremely violent and result in attacking homes and businesses. Body armor plates would allow an extra level of protection during these events. This is especially a good idea if you live in a major metropolitan area like Chicago, Los Angeles, or Dallas due to population density.

Tyrannical Government

The reason we have guns in the first place is to defend against a tyrannical government, so why not have something to allow us to stay in the fight? If you own a gun you should own body armor.

If you are going to get body armor, you’re going to need a plate carrier. Not necessarily a plate carrier with a combat loadout on it unless you’re deploying overseas to support a fight.

For the everyday freedom-loving American, you’re going to want something a little more low vis that still gives you some extra ammo. Something you can throw a large flannel shirt or jacket over.

For those purposes, we recommend the West Coast Armor LVPC.

Low Vis Plate Carrier Setup For Modern Day Threats

West Coast Armor LVAK (Low Viz Alpha Kit)

The Low Viz Alpha Kit (LVAK) is a plate carrier setup designed for low vis with reduced print and signature for law enforcement, special details, PSD, and EP. The absolute minimalist design makes strategic use of materials for a formfitting, plate-profile-reducing, and comfortable system.

West Coast Armor LVPC

at West Coast Armor
Prices accurate at time of writing

Can be worn in conjunction with any of the West Coast Armor plate or armor systems, but it excels when paired with the Level IIIA hard plate or soft armor panels.

You have the option of Level IIIA, Level III, and Level IV body armor.

The LVPC plate carrier vest comes equipped with one of two cummerbund options. The first option is an elastic cummerbund with storage sections for magazines, communications gear, or accessories.

The second option is a slick elastic cummerbund for the operator or agent who will need no access to additional equipment supported by the armor system, thereby allowing the user to maintain the lowest profile.

USE Code ‘refactortactical15’ at checkout for 15% off your order!


Level IIIA body armor is worn by law enforcement, private security details, and executive protection, but it’s still optimal for any civilian looking for a comfortable everyday protection option. Level IIIA armor is going to stop every handgun caliber round up to a .44 Magnum.

Since most law enforcement and even civilians are killed and wounded by small arms, such as handguns, Level IIIA body armor in conjunction with a low vis plate carrier vest is more than sufficient for normal everyday use.

Regardless of which body armor type you choose, think about the perceived threats you’re going to face in today’s society. This will help guide you in your decision to purchase body armor and plate carrier setup.

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