Words and pics: Rich Norman
Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
Ferro Concepts’ The Slickster 2017 is a great value package that’s as affordable as it is versatile. You’d be hard pressed to find another plate carrier that’s as low profile as it is scalable. The catch is, grabbing one when there’s stock; because these PCs don’t hang about.
After reviewing two of Ferro’s two new ADAPT platforms – the Chesty Rig Mini and Wide – I asked the lovely people at Tactical -Kit if they’d send me a Slickster for evaluation. I was really lucky because not only were they kind enough to say yes, but they’d just received new stock.
Also, rather thoughtfully, my Slickster came bundled with a pair of ITW QASM clips (available separately), which allowed me to integrate the Spiritus Systems Micro Fight Chassis (full review here), as we’ll see later.
I use medium SAPI plates, so I asked for a medium Slickster – which is how the item is sized. There’s plenty of adjustability in the shoulder straps and cummerbund – not to mention that the the latter is elasticised – and I was more than pleased with the fit once I had the carrier dialled in.
So why is it called The Slickster? Well, it’s slick in the sense that it’s clean of adornment and very low profile. As Ferro themselves say, “Everything you need, nothing you don’t.”
I’ve added a Britkit USA XL Union Jack patch over the bib’s colour matched loop Velcro – just because it looks so good.
In its slickest of modes, this carrier is concealable and easy to disguise. You don’t encounter layers and layers of 500D and there is no front flap. As such, the carrier is particularly svelte and super light.
It’s also extremely comfortable and moisture-wicking, thanks to the full coverage spacer mesh on the reverse of the plate bags; and because of the stretch cummerbund (which we’ll get on to later).
It really is quite remarkable that a carrier this stripped-down includes spacer mesh. It’s normally a comfort item which is found on bigger, heavier carriers. However, it’s a good move because it adds little weight and minimal bulk. The trade off is well worth it.
Of the few details on the front of the carrier, there are laser cut PALS slots on either side of the bib’s loop Velcro. These are orientated at 90 degrees to the horizontal. They can be used to affix the ITW QASM clips that I mentioned earlier…
…or Ferro’s own ADAPT accessories, which come complete with G-hooks. Like the one below, which I reviewed here.
Interestingly, while the new ADAPT items feature chevron-shaped PALS slots, the current Slickster is furnished with a more traditional version (if you can call laser cut slots traditional).
Rather than incorporate the usual quick release tabs, Ferro has instead provided more laser cut PALS slots on the flaps which keep the plates in situ. The flaps exhibit hook Velcro.
Inside each plate bag, there’s an elastic retainer for soft armour. The rear plate bag is also where the shoulder straps are adjusted.
It’ll come as no great surprise to learn that the shoulder straps are held in place and adjust here using Velcro.
When fitting a new PC, after the plates go in, I normally drape the carrier over my torso and decide how much slack I need to take out of the shoulder straps, to adjust them for how high the carrier should ride. It’s trial and error, but there are plenty of guides online which deal with how high on your body a carrier should sit.
To assist with this, Ferro has helpfully included an unassuming, thin piece of plastic. After loosening the Velcro, this item acts as a barrier to keep the mating faces apart which you lengthen or shorten the shoulder straps.
The rear of the carrier is almost a mirror image of the front. Where it diverges significantly from other carriers is in how the cummerbund is arranged – with no pass through or similar mechanism.
The cummerbund is elasticised – as mentioned earlier – and is of a two part design. It is Velcroed to the plate bags both front and rear, which delivers a lot of adjustability.
Each demi-cummerbund can retain four 556 mags – or anything else you can stuff into the spaces available. The base of each void is partially enclosed with webbing.
The front edges of the cummerbund feature tabs, which make opening and closing the mechanism a bit easier.
The rear edges of the cummerbund do not feature these tabs, because once adjusted for fit they will normally remain in place.
Once the cummerbund is adjusted for size, the carrier can be worn.
In order to fit a placard to the front of the Slickster – like a Spiritus Systems Micro Fight Chassis – first fit the ITW QASM clips.
Now, a gentle warning: I don’t bother attaching the clips top and bottom, just the top – so it’s easier to hinge the chest rig upwards when donning and doffing. You’ll see that’s what’s depicted in this article but that’s not actually the proper way.
While Velcro is perfectly capable of taking the stresses and strains that I put nylon through, the QASMs are an important fail-safe.
So, my advice is to use them as Ferro and ITW intended – particularly if you’re in harm’s way (which I’m not). Connect the QASMs to with the PC at both ends.
Integrate the placard and you’re ready to go.
The Ferro Concepts Slickster 2017 is manufactured in the United States with USA mil spec materials. Needless to say it’s extremely well made – a feature common to Ferro items.
It’s available from Tactical-Kit.