Plate carriers can be a catch-22 for those of us who aren't in the military, law enforcement, executive protection, or other jobs that require the use of body armor on a daily basis. On one hand, if you happen to find yourself in a situation where you're being shot at, you'll absolutely want body armor to protect your vital organs and increase your odds of survival. On the other hand, you'll turn some heads and raise some eyebrows (at the very least) if you wear your “full battle rattle” while walking around town or running errands. And if you have armor but can't access it quickly when SHTF, then it's not going to do you any good.
The obvious solution is to find a way to wear armor without looking like you're wearing armor. Many companies offer form-fitting Kevlar vests for protection against handgun rounds, but rifle plates are not so easy to hide, especially the all-important front plate that sits against the chest. DEVCORE has developed a new product called the Plate Carrier Backpack (PCB) that offers the ability to conceal rifle plates in a quick-deploy package that resembles an ordinary backpack.
We've previously written about armored backpacks — refer to our buyer's guide from Issue 28 if you haven't read it already. But, as seen in the animated GIF above, the Plate Carrier Backpack doesn't just offer single-sided protection like traditional armored packs. It features a rear armor plate pocket, as well as thumb loops on the shoulder straps which can be pulled up rapidly to deploy a front plate pocket. The pull straps attach to Velcro on the waist belt once the plate is deployed.
This system can be used with soft Level IIIA plates for reduced weight and increased mobility, or Level III rifle plates for increased protection.
In addition to armor, the DEVCORE PCB is designed to accommodate various weapons — a submachine gun or PDW can be stored in the rapid-deployment bottom compartment, or in a Chest Holster ($65 MSRP) that attaches to MOLLE-compatible webbing on the front plate carrier. Its bottom compartment can also hold one of several optional inserts:
The pack itself is made in America from 1000D nylon with YKK zippers and Airprene mesh padding on the back panel, shoulder straps, and removable waist belt. Its full-zip main compartment is lined with Velcro for attachment of magazine pouches and other accessories. There's also a zippered slash pocket on the exterior for documents and personal items.
MSRP for the pack, not including armor or optional inserts, is $599. However, at this time it's only available for pre-order, with DEVCORE stating that order fulfillment will begin in early November. Weight is 7 pounds empty, 10 pounds with Level IIIA soft armor, or 13 pounds with Level III hard plates.
For more information on the Plate Carrier Backpack, go to DEVCOREgear.com or check out the video overview below.