Sometimes just having a gun and ammo may not be enough to deal with emerging threats. If you’re looking for protection to take with you all day, body armor may be called for. And 221B has just the plate carrier you’ll need for that body armor.
Body Armor 101
Soft body armor will not stop rifle rounds. It was designed to be worn discretely below a traditional police uniform. Soft armor offers protection from standard handgun rounds, 00 buckshot and rifled slugs. Soft armor is ranked by the NIJ from Level IIA to Level III in terms of what handgun rounds it stops. Stopping rifle or armor-piercing rounds require Level IV hard armor plates and a specialized carrier.
221B Tactical QRF Low Visibility Minimalist Plate Carrier
The quality of 221B Tactical products often impresses me. These guys definitely know their stuff. Their QRF Low Visibility Minimalist Plate carrier exemplifies such quality and thought.
Up until a year ago, hard armor plates and carriers were seen only on SWAT teams and military units facing heavily armed adversaries. But according to Suresh Madhaven, founder of 221B Tactical, many of the current inquiries about and sales of hard armor and plate carriers are coming from civilians. And while civilians have invested in soft armor for quite some time, the interest in hard armor plate carriers is something new. This demand prompted 221B to look at the necessary features of an ideal plate carrier. The QRF Low Visibility Minimalist Plate Carrier is the result.
Calling the QRF “minimalist” is, in my estimation, a misnomer. The term implies no frills, few options and reduced quality to save money. Nothing could be further from the truth. The QRF is loaded with ingenious features.
The main difference between the QRF setup and other 221B law enforcement carries is that it only has front and rear plates. There are no additional side plates. While the lack of side plates may reduce protection somewhat, it increases the ease of donning the armor, improves mobility and reduces weight.
QRF Carrier Specifications and Main Features
Users load armor plates from the bottom of the QRF carrier, which is made of ultra-strong 1,000 denier. It includes removable honeycombed pads of Maxx-Dri Ventilation Technology, keeping the chest, back and shoulders cool. And the comfort stretch cummerbund simplifies strapping. The cummerbund can also hold additional rifle magazines.
The QRF comes with front and rear Molle/Velcro pads for pouch attachments and can accommodate soft trauma panels. The carrier holds 8×10 or 10×12 armor plates in separate front and rear pockets, with a customizable modular front panel.
221B includes a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. The fully adjustable carrier comes in four color schemes.
Testing the QRF Plate Carrier
I requested my sample in Coyote. The most important feature of the entire setup is the ability to put it off and on easily. When gearing up for SWAT missions with my team a decade ago, we all had to check each other to make sure our armor was properly mounted. There is no need for such assistance with the QRF.
Fasten the cummerbund loop straps in front with heavy-duty pull loops. You can fasten the straps over or under the modular front panel. Fastening over the panel is faster. But fastening under the panel is more secure and will make it hard for others to strip the body armor.
This rapid on/off capability allows the armor and carrier to be kept at home to don quickly for a home-defense situation or easily carried if things get hairy while venturing out. It is a great addition to a get-home or bug-out kit.
221B Tactical sells Legacy Brand Level IV Multi Curve Silicon Carbide Plates (among many other Legacy products), which will stop six rounds of .30-06 armor-piercing ammo and are an ideal pairing for the QRF. The QRF with modular front panel is $175. The Level IV 10×12 Composite Hard plates are $265 each. Level II+ Steet 10×12 plates start at $125 each. The QRF is the best plate carrier system I have come across to date.