A tactop plate carrier (or also known as a hard armor vest) is a lightweight piece of standard size equipment that provides a low-profile alternative to body armor. They’re most frequently used by military and police personnel in combination with other tactical gear such as backpacks, heavy duty packs and backpack vests, or modular assault vests and other backpack accessories. Common applications include body armor, handcuffs and more. These vests were originally developed for special operations which required the wearing of thick coverings against projectiles and impacts but were later refined for regular everyday use by law enforcement and security personnel.
The vests were originally developed as a back pack protection for desert and battlefield armor by Israeli Special Forces. They were made from lightweight polyester mesh but have since been adapted for regular use by law enforcement and security personnel. This mesh is constructed using high-grade nylon and Kevlar fibers, along with small amounts of other materials that improve wear resistance, such as PVC and Dacron polyester. The plates themselves come in a wide array of colors, although white, black and camouflage are the most popular. The vests are actually constructed so that they have thick front panels that are puncture resistant but are thin enough to be worn over another layer of clothing but still thick enough to avoid blocking vital arteries.
As compared to the plate carriers of yesterday, modern day tactical vests are extremely lightweight and have been refined to better fit a variety of users. They’re made in a similar fashion to that of modern plate carriers, being both fastened with straps and equipped with D rings to hold various accessories such as laser targets, flashlights and other items. Due to their simplistic construction, vests can easily be customized with an array of attachments and make for an amazingly custom look. Some of the most common modifications include integrating zippers, removable liners and additional padding or harnesses. This makes them just as effective at their job as any other form of concealable body armor.