A couple of weeks back I had a good chat with Aaron of Task Force Trident (TFT), about the training plates the team produces and uses. I wanted to buy a set.
TFT is an interesting team. Another member, Rik, told me:
Of our team, seven out of the eleven are mil.
I think part of the joy is that we can train/practice different scenarios – like room clearance or casualty extraction – while under fire (instead of blank rounds) and react to incoming fire.
I didn’t know this prior to purchasing my training plates – TFT don’t shout about their day jobs – but for me it underlines what a solid decision my purchase was. If the real guys train with these plates, that’s way good enough for me.
Now lets rewind slightly. Why go with training plates in the first place?
I wanted to get into them after hearing from friends like Tactical Optician and S23 about how weighted plates paradoxically make plate carriers easier to wear.
Why paradoxical? Well, who would think that adding weight to their kit would leverage benefits? The prevailing narrative is all about ‘light is right’, so what could possibly be advantageous in going the other way?
I suppose it stands to reason in a way. Plate carriers are designed to carry quite heavy ballistic plates. Without some weight in the plate bags they don’t sit so well, in my experience.
I think it’s a question of weight distribution. A bit of ballast helps the bearing of the carrier – I’d hope we can all agree on that. However, because of how it is distributed once draped over your torso, the weight feels far lighter than it does holding the carrier in your hand.
While I strongly suspect there is a degree of diminishing returns – no one should carry more weight than they are comfortable with – weighted plates really do improve how a plate carrier sits on me.
But I didn’t need to invest a massive chunk of capital in real – or slightly cheaper ‘real weight’ training plates – to find this out for myself. To be honest, that kind of weight would be beyond me.
I went with medium sized training plates in ‘Shooters’ cut: the light weight version, which comprises two plates at 1kg each at the great price of £30 the pair, plus shipping.
Composed of a kind of rubber mulch used for flooring, the plates are precision cut and bound at the edges. Aside from looking really professional, the binding allows the plates to be eased into plate bags. They exhibit TFT branding on both sides and are cold to the touch.
While not curved in either direction, they do have a degree of flex and conform when in use. I’m told by long term users that the fit beds-in over time. I’ve not had to use soft backers with the plates, but that’s always an option.
I’ve tried the plates in a number of different carriers. It’s actually really surprising how much the size and shape of ‘medium’ plate bags varies. As a rule of thumb, higher end carriers tend to be spot on.
As a benchmark, there are pics of TFT’s plates in my medium Crye JPC 2.0 throughout this article. In the JPC, I really like the fit of these plates – but then it has some of the best constructed plate bags I’ve come across, in terms of adaptability.
For full specifications (dimensions etc.) and any other info, catch up with the TFT guys directly:
You can also catch up with TFT C-10′s awesome TM NGRS HK416N build, here.