Understanding Plate Carrier Sizing and Fit

Understanding Plate Carrier Sizing and Fit


A plate carrier is a critical piece of protective gear, but its effectiveness hinges on proper sizing and fit. A plate carrier that's too loose can shift during movement, leaving you vulnerable, while one that's too tight can restrict your breathing and mobility. This guide will help you navigate the intricacies of plate carrier sizing and ensure you find the perfect fit for optimal protection and comfort.

Introduction to Plate Carrier Sizing

Plate carriers come in various sizes, typically ranging from small to extra-large. Choosing the right size is essential for ensuring that the ballistic plates sit correctly on your torso, providing maximum coverage of vital organs. It also impacts your comfort and range of motion while wearing the plate carrier.

Measuring for the Perfect Fit

Accurate measurements are crucial for selecting the right plate carrier size. Here's what you'll need:

  • Measuring Tape: A flexible tape measure is essential for obtaining precise measurements.
  • Assistant: Having someone help you take measurements ensures accuracy.

Key measurements to take:

  • Chest Circumference: Measure around the fullest part of your chest, keeping the tape parallel to the ground.
  • Waist Circumference: Measure around your natural waistline, just above your navel.
  • Torso Length: Measure from the base of your neck to your waistline.
Learn how to find your key measurements to ensure your plate carrier fits perfect.


Choosing the Right Size

Most plate carrier manufacturers provide sizing charts based on chest and waist circumference measurements. Use these charts as a starting point, but remember that they are just guidelines. Your individual body shape and proportions may require you to adjust the size up or down.

Many plate carriers also offer adjustable shoulder straps and cummerbunds, allowing you to fine-tune the size and fit. If you're between sizes, consider choosing the larger size and adjusting it down for a more secure fit.

Common Fit Issues and Solutions

Balancing Mobility and Protection: It's important to strike a balance between mobility and protection. While a tighter fit may feel more secure, it can restrict your movement. Experiment with different adjustments to find a fit that allows for full range of motion while keeping the plates securely in place.

  • Too Tight: If your plate carrier feels restrictive or hinders your breathing, it's likely too tight. Loosen the shoulder straps and cummerbund to create a more comfortable fit.
  • Too Loose: If your plate carrier shifts or bounces during movement, it's too loose. Tighten the straps and cummerbund to secure it in place.

Special Considerations

  • Body Types and Shapes: Individuals with broader shoulders or a wider torso may need to consider a larger size plate carrier or one with adjustable shoulder straps to accommodate their build.
  • Layering: If you plan to wear additional layers underneath your plate carrier, factor that into your sizing decision. Choose a slightly larger size to ensure a comfortable fit with the extra layers.
  • Plate Thickness: Ballistic plates come in varying thicknesses, which can slightly affect the internal dimensions of the plate carrier. If you plan to use thicker plates, you might need to adjust your size selection to ensure a comfortable fit without sacrificing coverage.
  • Activity and Intended Use: The ideal plate carrier size and fit can vary depending on the intended activity. For high-mobility scenarios, a slightly looser fit may be preferred to maximize maneuverability. Conversely, activities requiring maximum ballistic protection might benefit from a more snug fit to ensure plates stay securely in place during potential impact.
  • Future Upgrades: If you plan to add pouches, mounts, or other gear to your plate carrier in the future, factor that into your sizing decision. Choose a size that will comfortably accommodate your anticipated setup without restricting movement or becoming too bulky.

Testing and Adjusting Fit

Once you've selected your plate carrier, it's important to test it out before relying on it in the field. Wear it for an extended period, simulating different movements and activities you'll be performing. Make adjustments as needed to optimize the fit and ensure it doesn't interfere with your performance or cause discomfort.

Expert Tips and Advice

  • Consult the Manufacturer: If you're unsure about sizing, don't hesitate to reach out to the plate carrier manufacturer for guidance. They can provide specific recommendations based on their product line.
  • Try It On: If possible, try on different plate carrier sizes and models to compare fit and comfort.
  • Seek Professional Fitment: Consider consulting a professional armorer or tactical gear expert for assistance with sizing and fitment.
  • Don't Compromise on Protection: While comfort is important, prioritize protection above all else. Ensure your plate carrier fits securely and provides adequate coverage of your vital organs.
A Multicam plate carrier fit for a range of individuals with built-in adjustability.

Interactive Plate Carrier Sizing Quiz

To help you find the perfect fit, take our interactive plate carrier sizing quiz below. Answer a few simple questions about your body measurements and preferences, and we'll recommend the ideal plate carrier size for you.

Ready to find the right Tactical Plate Carrier for you? Take our quiz below


By following this guide and utilizing our interactive quiz, you can confidently select a plate carrier that offers both optimal protection and unparalleled comfort.

Ready to find your perfect fit? Explore RTS Tactical's extensive collection of plate carriers designed for various missions and body types. Our expert team is here to assist you in selecting the right gear for your specific needs. Don't compromise on your protection – equip yourself with the best and stay safe in the field.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.