"Stop holes, plug holes, make holes" -- yes, we are going to quote Garand Thumb here.
While there is no right or wrong way to set up your loadout, anyone looking to upgrade their gear should start by remembering these 3 basic functions.
What exactly does "holes" mean in this context, though?
Bullet holes, wounds, bleeding, firing at an attacker, to name a few things. Everything you're defending and protecting yourself from.
Standard body armor such as bulletproof gear and accessories have been used to protect police and military personnel on the battlefield.
However, times have changed, and now is a better time for body armor enthusiasts and civilians to consider investing in their safety and protection.
A basic armor loadout usually consists of a Plate carrier with Armor Plates. Depending on your mission or use case though, increasing your survivability and performance when the situation calls for it may require a variety of items and accessories to complement your setup.
Choosing your Plate Carrier
If you're building your loadout from scratch, make sure to check out our in-depth guide to Plate Carriers first to get you started.
A good Plate Carrier can make or break your loadout as it serves as the foundation of your performance and protection in the field.
Plate carriers are a load-bearing system and have been among the most utilized pieces of equipment on the battlefield.
It allows you to carry plates, pouches, and panels using MOLLE straps that interweave into positions or Velcro for mounting holsters and other accessories on the plate carrier.
Once you've got that covered, let's start with the first function of your loadout.
Armor plates are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes, cuts, materials, and protection levels. Because there are so many options, make sure you choose the plates that will be the most useful for your mission.
If you are in active duty or law enforcement, you'll want armor plates that are light but still provide the best level of protection, especially if you're dealing with active shooting threats or situations where you need the most mobility.
The most common choice is ceramic plates, which weigh around 6 lbs. for a standard-size SAPI plate like the DFNDR LEVEL IV ARMOR PLATE.
More and more manufacturers however, have developed lightweight plates made from newer materials like ShotStop's patented Duritium® technology.
Boasting a weight of only 2.7lbs. at just .7” thick, the SHOTSTOP DURITIUM® LEVEL III+PA BALLISTIC PLATES offers maximum protection at very minimal weight so you can get the job done with confidence, mobility, and comfort.
Even if you’re wearing a body armor, a stray bullet can lead you into shock and severe pain. However, there are materials you can use to lessen the impact of penetration or even prevent it from creating a slight sensation.
Trauma pads are the ideal solution in this case.
The Spartan Armor Trauma Pads make use of extremely light micro-cellular urethane foam padding that lessens back face deformation. The foam also helps dissipate the impact of energy and reduces transmitted force.
Even better, some trauma pads can dramatically increase comfort and ergonomics while wearing body armor.
How does that work?
Well, the trauma pad will significantly lessen the blunt force trauma by absorbing energy over the increased surface area. That means you not only have a level of protection; you also enjoy the convenience it gives.
Learn more about the importance of trauma pads through this article.
While bulletproof gear first comes to mind when it comes to survivability on the battlefield, first aid kits are also of paramount importance.
Combat troops are trained in the basics of first aid, including how to stop bleeding, splint fractures, dress wounds and burns, and administer pain medication.
Place your med kits in a spot that is easily accessible to you, your buddies, or medics while ensuring that they do not obstruct your ability to deploy your weapon or ammunition.
Keep it organized; you don't want to be caught in the middle of a shootout while trying to scour through your kit. Every second is crucial.
There are various types of first aid kits available such as the North American Rescue First Responder Mini First Aid Kit (MFAK), which was designed to be the most compact, multi-use first aid kit for delivering immediate critical care for penetrating, blast, or other traumatic injuries.
Despite its reduced size, the kit comes fully loaded with the essential medical equipment most requested by First Responders operating in the line of duty.
There are also other first aid kits such as the Tacmed Solutions Adaptive First Aid Kit and UARM™ AMK™ Armored Medic Kit that set the standards for comprehensive based medical kits designed for treating traumatic bleeding injuries. They are compact, portable, and designed to be attached to a MOLLE compatible gear.
Proper usage of tourniquets can effectively control massive hemorrhage by stopping major extremity bleeding.
It's important to remember, however, that there are some guidelines to follow when using it, such as where you should put it and how long you should wear it for to avoid further injury.
The Combat Medical TMT™ Torniquet is a CoTCCC-recommended hemorrhage control device designed to ensure ease of application and definitively achieve occlusion.
Taught as a self-aid and buddy-aid task, the TMT requires minimal training to instantly treat life-threatening hemorrhage of an extremity. Additionally, the TMT eliminates shortcomings found in other tourniquets.
If you have a weapon, you will need ammunition. Loads of it.
How you set up your mag pouches and holsters to your loadout is entirely up to you, but make sure to train with your loadout so you can adjust based on your desired performance.
Plate carriers usually have designated mag pouches that can be adjusted with Velcro or a hook and loop system. Others also have MOLLE, which allows the wearer to customize and add their own accessories.
A good number would be 3 to 7 magazines, with an option to add more by putting them to your duty belt, front panels, or backpacks.
Always think about your needs; too many magazines can add weight and make it difficult to move around, but you also don't want to run out of them when you need them. Train with it. Examine how it would perform in a real-world situation.
A tactical belt or duty belt is one of the best additions to your armor loadout as it allows you to carry extra gear like magazines, radio pouches, med kits, and any accessory you will ever need.
Most tactical belts are equipped with MOLLE webbing and durable buckles that is able to accommodate heavy loads.
Some duty belts like the Blue Force Gear CHLK™ Belt Kit ("Combat Helo Load Kit"), as its name suggests, is designed for aircraft operators and helicopter assaulters.
It is a low profile belt and load rated to be able to 'clip in' and provide life-saving tethering to the aircraft.
Pro tip? Stacking magazines or accessories on the front of the belt or beside the buckles might not be a good idea.
Keep it as simple and slick as possible so that you can stay low to the ground without a lot of stuff getting in the way and making you uncomfortable.
So we have covered your load-bearing equipment for mags, med kits, pouches, and accessories, but what about everyday essentials that you will need to bring during your mission?
This is where tactical backpacks or assault packs come in handy.
Whether in active duty, camping trips, hunting, everyday carry, or for professional use, tactical backpacks have been utilized as early as the civil war.
They are made to last and withstand the elements, which is especially useful on long hauls.
Choosing a tactical backpack is a personal decision but it is important to consider the material, storage capacity, weight, and comfort it will add to your loadout.
Also, make sure that it is appropriate for your use case. An Everyday Carry bag has a big difference from an Ultimate Bug-Out Bag.
CONSIDER YOUR NEEDS FOR THE MISSION
In a more-useful environment, be it in a conflicted area or a field of battle, your armor loadout can provide body protection against bullets and shrapnel and upgrading them can potentially save your life.
Not only that, equipping yourself with the standard medical kits can help not only yourself but others as well who needs immediate medical care.
The best way to have an assurance on your protection and survivability is to ensure that when you plan to upgrade your loadout, you must consider that you can move with ease while carrying the pieces of equipment and gear you need to survive.
However, you also take the cost into consideration. A wide range of selection of bulletproof items and protective gear are offered at Bulletproof Zone where you will have lots of options to choose from in upgrading your loadout.
Because your safety and protection are our top priorities, we also offer financing options to make it easier for you to put together a system that will effectively protect you in any situation.
What are your loadout essentials? Let us know in the comments below!