TYR BPC (Basic Plate Carrier)
For many of us, when deciding the level of utility and protection we want in plate carriers, we have to balance between comfort, speed and maneuverability. A level IV plate carrier that can stop armor piercing ammo and covers most of your torso is going to be heavy, hot, stiff and uncomfortable. If it goes unworn in the trunk of your car because it sucks to wear or if it’s weight makes you an easily-winded lumbering oaf, it does not help either.
Lately the trend in plate carriers has been toward more minimalistic with less protection but with way less weight, more freedom of movement and more comfort. This has never been more apparent than what seems to work the best for TiQgirl. She is about 5’3″ and an athletic 130 lbs in excellent physical shape. When she first started to move past basic training classes she started to wear a plate carrier for protection and to carry her gear as many classes recommend. Her original rig was a full coverage carrier with level IIIa SPEAR/BALCS soft inserts with Class III in conjunction hard plates and Class III side plates. With 3 AR magazines, a small amount of assorted gear, her carbine, pistol and magazines, her gear weighed over 40 lbs, a lot for a small girl to run around with all day in a class. Her plate carrier was also pretty hot and impeded her freedom of movement. In a memorable drill when shooting from prone under cover after a long hot day, she struggled to get back up after hitting the deck much to the amusement of her classmates. Her old plate carrier accounted for 18 lbs of her total load.
To help with her endurance and mobility in all day training classes, TiQgirl switched from a full coverage plate carrier to a lightweight plate carrier by TYR Tactical. The carrier is their BPC or Basic Plate Carrier. She usually carries a TYR Tactical 3 magazine carrier in front with holders for a pocket knife and a Surefire GX2 Pro flashlight. These holders are actually made by Condor Outdoors Products. She runs her single point sling through the carrier’s shoulder straps to help distribute the load of her rifle better for more comfort. She has the option of going with a 6 magazine carrier but she almost never uses it. The funny morale patches are mostly by Mil-Spec Monkey.
The back of her sling is secured to the carrier with this carabiner thing that Travis Ishida of Contingency X gave her. We are not sure where he got it from but any carabiner type device should work equally well for this. The TYR BPC is made of TYR’s revolutionary PV material which is 7-10 times more abrasion resistant than mil-spec nylon. PV is so strong TYR claims it enhances the ballistic characteristics of the armor used in the carrier as well. The BPC is covered with PALS MOLLE webbing for attaching stuff to it as well as velcro on the upper torso. It also has padded shoulder straps and a rear drag handle.
Here is the TYR BPC configured for shotgunning. The shotgun shell carriers are TYR accessories for the plate carrier. The two carriers carry 20 rounds each. They attach to the MOLLE webbing up front. You could fit 3 of these up front if you left off the other stuff.
The TYR BPC has a mesh liner that is treated to be anti microbial. After 2 years of use without much cleaning it doesn’t stink. If you have been around some people who don’t maintain their gear well on a hot day, the results can be nauseating. The anti-microbial liner goes a long way to knock down smell! The mesh helps air circulate under the carrier and wicks away perspiration to help keep the carrier less uncomfortable. The carrier’s armor pockets are roomy and can accommodate bulky composite plates no problem. The carrier has side straps for maximum mobility and airflow. The carrier seems to have good retention even when running and crawling. A major issue for some is that their is no option to add a cummerbund and side armor. Since this is intended to be a lightweight carrier and since TYR makes other carriers in the line where you can easily scale up with side armor we don’t think this is much of an issue.
TiQgirl runs a combination of different armor depending on what she might be doing. For a carbine class she runs a Global Armor Class III ICW Plate. It weighs 2.8lbs and is made of HPPE or high performance polyethylene. It is ICW NIJ certified for class III protection (multiple shots up to 7.62×51 NATO). It is also light enough to float. It is covered in nylon knit and has a padded edge so it won’t saw through the plate carrier. For a full Class III rating it must be used in conjunction with a Class IIIA soft armor backer. She uses an ATD Class IIIA backer that is made with 32 layers of kevlar and weighs 1lb each. The manufacturer claims that a .44 Magnum only penetrates 6 of the 32 layers of material in these panels. For a pistol or shotgun class she might just run the soft armor alone saving almost 6 lbs.
Well made and long lasting. No visible wear after 2 years of use. Use of a microbial liner should be a law, nothing is as disgusting as a sweaty dirty plate carrier on a hot day. Cool, comfortable and non restrictive in movement. Lightweight, many accessories made for it. Good fit for small people.
Cannot upgrade to side armor for this model, no coverage above clavicle. TYR makes other models where you can have more coverage. Somewhat expensive at $179 for a minimalistic carrier.