As stated in a previous article, I’m a big fan of not having metal (or anything, really) pierce my tender flesh. In fact, I have spent a large portion of my life trying to keep metal out of my body. Body armor accomplishes this very well. Rifle plates in particular are an excellent way to prevent bullets from entering your body. But what if you don’t want to advertise the fact that your torso is armored against AK fire? Well, that’s where the Deliberate Dynamics Low-Profile Plate Carrier comes in.
It’s designed to be worn under clothing, giving the user excellent protection while at the same time not alerting the enemy to his capabilities. There are two different versions of the DDI Low-Pro Plate Carrier; one for ceramic SAPI plates and one for steel shooter’s cut plates.
For me, steel is the only way to roll.If you are trying to keep your plate carrier low-profile, the only way you’ll have a chance is with thinner steel plates. Ceramic may be lighter and more advanced, but they simply don’t fit the role.
“But what about spall fragments?” Some ask. Honestly, spall is as much an issue to me as the minute possibility that my seat belt could trap me in my car after a crash. I’ll risk that over being ejected from the vehicle, thanks.
The DDI Low-Profile Plate carrier is not meant to be compared to a large vest with ceramic plates and tons of MOLLE webbing and other goodies. They’re not in the same class, or designed for the same role. The DDI plate carrier is designed to be worn in situations you would usually only be able to wear soft armor. The first line of defense when wearing this plate carrier is actually supposed to be inconspicuousness.
At first, I was rather doubtful of the concept. Anyone who has ever rocked the rifle plates knows that it feels very unnatural to be wearing 16lbs of steel armor. Furthermore, could I, at 5’9″ and roughly 165lbs really sport such armor and not be noticed? I didn’t think so.
I’m getting tired of saying this, but, “I was wrong.”
Whether I was going to the local gas station to fill up the tank or to the grocery store for ice cream, the plate carrier came with me. As a base layer, I wore a sleeveless undershirt. Then came the plate carrier, followed by a 5.11 Tactical series short-sleeve button-up. I wore the shirt un-tucked, so I could also carry my pistol concealed.
Before I get into the reactions of the general public to seeing an armed and armored shopper, let me make a few observations about wearing the DDI Low-Pro plate carrier:
1. I noticed that I would forget to take off my seat belt when trying to exit my car. The armor prevented me from feeling the strap across my chest. My brain is used to interpreting the absence of seat belt pressure as an absences of a belt, which is not the case when armored. If you find that this happens to you, special care should be taken to drill safety belt release into your routine. Don’t get into a situation where you lose precious seconds trying to extricate yourself from the vehicle you’ve forgotten to take off your seat belt.
2. The back plate can bump your pistol if you carry one in the small of your back. Simply take this into consideration and plan accordingly.
3. If you’re a smaller person, you may have to really wrap the side straps around yourself.
Now to the part you’ve all been waiting for; the reactions of others. Here it is: nothing. Not once did anyone voice any suspicion, do a double-take, or even look at me funny. I even waited in line with police officers who seemed oblivious to the fact that I had body armor on underneath my shirt. When wearing a jacket, the plates are even less visible.
Not only did I wear the plates at the grocery store, but also at the range. I fired from a multitude of positions, including standing, sitting, supine, prone and on my side. The plates are not comfortable, but they do not inhibit the user anywhere near as much as most plate carriers and armor carriers.
If your situation requires a more overt approach, you can simply slap a Blue Force Gear Ten-Speed Triple M4 Dapper onto it and have three AR magazines ready to go. The M4 dapper attaches directly to the DDI plate carrier via a large Velcro fastener. The magazines are held firmly in place by elastic pockets. Surprisingly, the elastic pockets retain magazines very well, resisting external forces with ease. I ran with the armor on and mags in the pockets. I jumped, dropped to the ground and even at one point low-crawled with the mags scraping the dirt. Nothing dislodged the magazines from their position in the M4 Dapper. Finally, Blue Force Gear product is very light and incredibly easy to use.
With so many armor options out there, it’s good to have a solid product like the DDI Low-Profile Plate Carrier. The ability to be armored an inconspicuous is invaluable.
And of course, special thanks to AIM Surplus for providing testing ammunition.
By Allen Cosby