Friday, May 20, 2022

RTS Tactical Advanced Sleek 2.0 Plate Carrier Review

Looking at buying a plate carrier, but you want something lower profile than the typical flak jacket looking vest?  RTS Tactical just released their Advanced Sleek 2.0 Plate Carrier that provides a lower profile option, more along the lines of concealable body armor.  But this carrier still accepts level III+ and level IV ballistic plates for protection against rifle threats.  Let's take a look at this new carrier and what it offers.

To get started, RTS Tactical sent me this plate carrier to review.  They didn't provide any other compensation or requirements, just asked for a review.  

So, taking a look at this carrier, a few things stood out immediately.  The plate carrier appears to be very well made and it looks comfortable to wear.  The carrier holds smaller trauma plates and has a breathable cordura mesh on the inside of the vest that allows the plates to stand off your body for airflow.  

The carrier has a sleek exterior, unlike many other carriers that have MOLLE attachments for pouches and accessories.  The Advanced Sleek 2.0 carrier only has velcro on the exterior.  Patches at the top and bottom are for the strap system.  Both the front and back have patches of velcro for identification or morale patches depending on your need.

The waist straps are wide and have plastic covered ends that make for donning and doffing of the vest extremely easy.  The straps also have very clever pouches sewn in that can hold two AR-15 magazines per side, or two pistol magazines and a rifle magazine per side.  You could also use the pouches to hold other accessories such as a tourniquet.  

The straps to sit a little high, so it will help with concealing magazines under a jacket, but could cause some reach issues for users with limited shoulder mobility.  It is also somewhat difficult to get magazines back into the slots, especially pistol magazines that have elastic loops within the larger magazine slot.  This isn't much of an issue to me, as with a concealable plate carrier you probably will not need to stow magazines once they are deployed.  

The slots for installing the armor plates use a large flap with rubber loops on the corners.  This allows for easy opening of the velcro flap, but the large patch of velcro gives a very secure hold for even the heaviest plates.  In dozens of open and close cycles as I test out the carrier, I did not notice any deterioration of the velcro surface.

Another feature that I really like is the cordura mesh on the back of the plate carrier.  The mesh has a spongy yet firm feeling that allows it to hold the armor away from your skin, allowing more airflow through it than a typical carrier that only uses a thin layer of fabric between the plate and your body.  Anybody that has worn armor for a shift or deployment knows that it typically gets hot and sticky very quickly.  Although I haven't worn this carrier for a shift, the testing I have done with it so far shows that the mesh helps to keep the temperature more tolerable and your shirt drier.

As for plates, I tested the carrier with some ceramic plates that I had on hand.  A 7"x9" front plate and a 8"X10" back plate.  There was a little extra room in the carrier, but not a lot.  Ceramic tends to be lighter than steel, but I found the carrier was very comfortable with the plates in it.  Armor steel plates would be heavier, but I'm confident they would also be comfortable.

RTS Tactical makes several other plate carriers that offer MOLLE attachments, larger plate areas and even side plate options.  The Advanced Sleek 2.0 carrier certainly isn't a replacement for those larger carriers when you can afford the bulk and weight of a complete carrier.  It does, however, give you the option of rifle rated level III+ or IV plates in a compact package that can be worn under a light jacket or thrown over concealable body armor.

If the concealability and low profile fit your mission, I think this carrier is worth considering.  At $129.99 on the RTS Tactical website it is a high quality carrier for the money.  If you need a complete package, RTS Tactical also has kits that include the carrier and armor.

What do you use for armor?  Let me know in the comment section below:



Monday, May 2, 2022

Vortex Crossfire HD Rangefinder

Last week Vortex Optics released several new rangefinders with HD glass.  I had the opportunity to test out the Crossfire HD rangefinder when it was released.  The Crossfire HD is the entry level to HD glass in Vortex Optics.  The glass quality is definitely on par with higher end optics, but overall the price is still affordable to a lot of users.  Let's take a look at the features of the Crossfire HD rangefinder.

Vortex announced this rangefinder with an MSRP of $269.99, but as is typical with a lot of the Vortex products, the actual street price is about $199.99 at places such as EuroOptic.  This is a competitive price for a rangefinder that is rated for 1400 yards on reflective targets and uses HD glass.  I can tell you my old rangefinders before I switched to the Vortex Fury HD rangefinding binoculars had glass that left a lot to be desired.  

Before we take a look at the specs, check out my video on the Crossfire HD here:



Now, let's take a look at some of specs:

Max Reflective Range-   1400 yards

Tree Range-                    950 yards

Deer Range-                    750 yards

Minimum usable range- 5 yards

Weight-                    4.8 ozs 

Dimensions-            4"L x 1.3"W x 2.9"H

Field of View-         367 ft @1000 yards


You can see more info about the actual distances that I was measuring in the video above, but overall their projected numbers are pretty accurate.  I couldn't quite get to 1400 yards on a building, but I was getting at least 950 yards on trees and open field areas.  The more expensive rangefinders in the Vortex lineup will offer longer effective distances, but for most hunters and shooters the near 1000 yard tree ranging distance should be plenty.  

The display is a red LED display that is adjustable for brightness.  The default brightness in the middle might be a little dim for some eyes, especially if there was a lot of snow on the ground.  Fortunately, I found that the brighter settings were plenty bright enough for pretty much anything you will need.

There are two ranging modes available, a Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) and Line of Sight (LOS).  The HCD mode uses the distance and angle to give you an equivalent total distance.  This is a yardage that your bullet or arrow "thinks" that it is flying.  It allows reasonably accurate shots out to around 800 yards without having to calculate the angle of the shot.

If you want to be more precise, the LOS mode gives you a reading of the straight line distance and angle up or down towards the ranged target.  This allows you to add your own specific angle compensation.

There is also a first and last mode.  If there is grass, branches or other objects around what you are trying to range, you can use these modes to get a more accurate measurement.  If the animal or target that you are trying to range is in front of grass or trees, use the first mode to get a range to the target and ignore what is behind it.  If you are trying to range an elk through the trees, use the last mode to get a distance to the furthest object.

Even though I prefer rangefinding binoculars, I really like what the Crossfire HD rangefinder offers in such a small light package.  This is a great option for an archer, or shooter that doesn't need the range or ballistic software of some of the more expensive options out there.  If you want to check out the Crossfire HD at EuroOptic use this link to take a look at support this site.  It doesn't cost you anything and helps me to fund other reviews that aren't provided by the manufacturers.  

If you're interested in rangefinding binoculars, check out my video on the Vortex Fury HD here: