RTS Tactical Advanced Sleek 2.0 Plate Carrier Review
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: