Words and pics: Rich Norman
First displayed at SHOT Show in 2010, the Crye Precision Jumpable Plate Carrier (JPC) went into production in 2011.
It gets into newspapers fairly frequently in the UK, being the issued carrier of the SAS and SBS.
Do read the captions. They are amusing.
The JPC is all about business and Crye has taken out every non-essential ounce they could find. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t comfortable. Lined with two way stretch, the JPC also features the new Patent Pending MOLLE Lite designed to accommodate PALS equipped patches which span across open space like on the sides of a plate carrier.
“MOLLE Lite”, became better known as AirLite, of course.
Military Morons Review
Back then, the gold standard in kit reviews was Military Morons (MM) and his analyses are still some of the best out there today. Nowadays it’s not the easiest site to navigate, but this review should be on the reading list of any aspirant JPC purchaser. MM was usually one the first civilian reviewers to get hold of Crye stuff and the JPC was no different.
It’s difficult to convey the paradigm shift the JPC represented when it was released, but it set the bar and inspired a whole new generation of minimalist plate carriers which punched well above their weight.
Given that most civilian shooters were using chest rigs at the time, this passage from MM’s review really stuck with me:
I tried it out a couple of times at the range and found it preferable to my chest rigs – more comfortable, lighter weight, more stable with my rifle attached to the shoulder, with the additional protection of the soft armour inserts (which I can’t have with a chest rig only) when shooting steel plates.
That’s right. A plate carrier you could use just with soft armour inserts. A bit of a rarity back then.
However, in that era plate carriers were not part of my kit list and it wasn’t until a good few years later – and a good few failed attempts with carriers of the likes of the LBT 6094 – that I decided I wanted a JPC.
As usual I spoke to a number of trusted advisers, including S23. During one of our regular chats over the phone (we’re old skool, dude!) he pointed me towards his own review of the JPC – one of his earliest.
Again, this is essential reference material for anyone looking to buy one of the JPC series (or an MRB, incidentally).
What really spoke to me was S23’s evaluation process in selecting the JPC:
I’d been researching a lot’ve products by London Bridge Trading, whose extensive range, whilst all excellent, yet again seemed to be specifically tailored to individual mission specifics.
First Spear, also subject to extensive reading again seem to have several great products, specifically Strandhögg. I felt this was for me personally a step back towards the likes of the CIRAS in it’s size and coverage and possibly would not offer the level of articulation and movement I was seeking.
I even previously ran an Eagle Industries EPC which, whilst a great Plate Carrier retained a lot of bulk and thus felt restrictive to really upping the speed and getting ‘into the fight’ …
Well, this brought me back to the creators of the camouflage that led the revolution, Crye !!!
Initial options, which are still on the table and all potential considerations for future projects included the Crye Cage Plate Carrier (CPC) and the Adaptive Vest System (AVS). I must confess the AVS seemed to straddle unsuccessfully, the middle ground of what I was looking for …
The CPC, again is an amazing piece of kit but seemed to step outside of my own personal brief and whilst streamlined it seemed to over reach in design what I required …
Thus, I arrived at the Jumpable Plate Carrier (JPC). It’s minimalist profile, simple snag free design, yet retaining sufficient ‘protective coverage’ put this heads above the competition …
My first JPC, but not my last…
Not long after, I bought my very first JPC (from Tactical-Kit, as it happens).
Thus far I have owned:
- 1x JPC in Multicam, size Medium
- 2x JPC 2.0 in Multicam, size Medium
- 1x JPC 2.0 in Ranger Green, size Large
You could say I’m a JPC fan.
Which is better – JPC or JPC 2.0?
Before I get onto detailed pics of my current JPC 2.0, let’s address the thorny issue of which is better: JPC or JPC 2.0.
Well, like pretty much all of these questions, it comes down to preference. I can only say that I prefer the 2.0 because for me it’s more versatile; and that’s largely down to the lack of front flap.
Is it worth paying a significant amount extra, for what some might refer to as the luxuries of the 2.0? Only you can decide how much you want the additional features – and I’ll run through those differences below.
Suffice to say, JPC versus JPC 2.0 is an emotive issue. I had no idea that this was the case until a recent blog, where I asked the question: “…seeing as the JPC isn’t in Crye’s 2018 catalogue, is it being discontinued?”
Enter the JPC 2.0
It wasn’t until 2015 that Crye launched the JPC 2.0 – again recorded by SSD:
Lighter than the first model, the new JPC 2.0 has stretchier plate bags in order to accommodate a wider range of armor plates.
It was an instant hit, giving users some of the versatility of the Crye AVS but in a more stripped down package. It’s meant to be more scalable and modular than the original JPC and I think it does a good job of that.
The Actual Review
In conjunction with my review, it’s worth reading Crye’s JPC 2.0 Operator’s Manual. It says pretty much what I’m going to say, but using fewer words.
And, incidentally, for this review I’m using TFT Training Plates which I reviewed here.
Like the JPC, the JPC 2.0 is sized by the wearer’s plate size. I use medium plates, so I use a medium JPC 2.0. However, I’m just on the edge of the cummerbund sizing (the medium comes with a S/M cummerbund).
Here are some of the salient features:
What’s immediately obvious about the JPC 2.0 as opposed to the original JPC, is that it dispenses with the latter’s front flap in favour of placard interchangeability. This is the main reason I went for the 2.0 and it’s a common feature in modern plate carriers.
Placard use is achieved using the large loop Velcro field on the front of the carrier and the webbing loops, above. Just add the appropriate female Fastex buckles to the loops.
For my placard, I’ve added a Spiritus Systems Micro Fight chest rig. You can read my review of the Spiritus, here.
Scale up or scale down – or maybe switch to a different calibre? No problem! Just reformat the Spiritus rig, or add a different placard. It’s so easy.
As well as third party attachments which follow the standard and widely adopted Mayflower/Velocity Systems placard system, you can also use ones meant for the Crye AVS. These don’t feature Fastex clips.
Instead, the 2.0’s placard area includes a loop Velcro lined slip pocket and there’s a popper at the base of the front plate bag for additional security.
Flipping the carrier over, two more enhancements are exhibited in the form of the drag handle and parallel zips for securing Crye back panels and other compatible platforms. There’s also a decent swathe of PALS.
Back to the feature set which is common to both the JPC and JPC 2.0 (for now) starting with the AirLite Skeletal cummerbund.
This is composed of webbing sandwich, containing a hidden stiffener. It is fully MOLLE compatible. It exhibits a Velcro loop field on the inside for adding accessories next to the body; and Velcro hook at the front plate bag ends, where it secures.
Adjustment of the cummerbund for size is achieved at the rear plate bag. As mentioned earlier, the S/M cummerbund which ships with the medium plate carrier is adjusted to its limit in my iteration. However, this gives me a solid fit in just a T-shirt.
Not everything is standard about the cummerbund, however. It terminates at the front plate bag with a 2.0-specific webbing handle, because it is part of the 2.0 emergency doff (e-doff) system.
This has another positive consequence. As well as doffing, it makes the cummerbund a little easier to don than the original JPC.
The handle in question:
There are a couple of other details which have cropped up in the cummerbund pics, but which are not in use in my iteration of the carrier. I won’t go into any detail about these features, except to point them out. Please consult the Operator’s Manual if you wish to know more.
Speaking of plates, my training plates were easy to install.
Both front and rear plate bags employ a simple Velcro flap containment system at the base. The real gem, however, is the stretch fabric at the sides of the plate bags.
The plate bags also feature a generous segment of spacer mesh at the top inner face, for breathability.
Being deceptively comfortable, the shoulder straps are also worth a good look; quite apart from their e-doff functionality.
Terminating at front and rear plate bags with a Hypalon-type material, the shoulder straps pivot and conform well with movement. They are also highly discrete, which makes shouldering a weapon second nature.
The shoulder straps are covered in stretch fabric wraps, which are secured with Velcro. For me, this small detail is a decent improvement over the closed-loop tubular wraps I had on my JPC.
Both adjustment of the straps and routing cables and the like is easier for me with the 2.0, because of the Velcro opening. However, you do lose the One-Wrap style routing system of the standard JPC – if you like that aspect.
So, swings and roundabouts for some,
The ride height of the carrier is controlled at the shoulder straps as usual and for this purpose the straps are a two part affair, secured with Velcro. Like all features of the JPC and JPC 2.0, it’s a simple but effective system.
For me, the only superfluous new feature of the 2.0 is the e-doff at the shoulder straps. However, while I can’t ever see myself using this, I’m sure it’s a nice to have for those at the sharp end.
How it Rolls
So how does it wear? Like the the original JPC, it’s a really comfortable carrier – but this (like the choice between the JPC and JPC 2.0) is very much down to the individual.
Do you like plush padding and the feeling that your carrier surrounds you like an amniotic sac? If you do, then the JPC series of carriers is probably not for you. For me it’s kind of the opposite to the LBT 6094, which I did not get on well with.
Equally, the JPC and JPC 2.0 don’t feel as stripped down to me as the First Spear AAC. I didn’t get on with that, either.
But, for those who prefer a middle of the road (in a good way) stripped-down carrier, the JPC and JPC 2.0 may strike just the right balance between light weight, ventilation and comfort.
The other consideration is duration of use and how heavily laden you’re going to be. This isn’t a long range recce plate carrier; compromises have been made in that respect in order to make it compact and JUMPABLE. There truly is a clue in the name, here.
Having said that, for a plate carrier of its ilk it really is very wearable. You’d be hard pushed to find a lite carrier as forgiving. After a jaunt of up to 24 hours, it’s unlikely you’ll be looking for alternatives.