This is something I’ve been eying for the past couple of months – the Mayflower Research & Consulting Assault Plate Carrier (thanks to Eddie over at DS for helping me find this one).
A few thoughts of mine are listed after the break.
Mayflower’s APC sizing is slightly larger than your standard SAPI plate sizes – this applies to both the dummy hollow plastic SAPI I’m running now as well as the real SAPI cut plates that the guys over at DS have tried and tested. My test fitting of a Toy Soldier dummy SAPI in Large (TS being the best hollow dummy SAPI plates, in my opinion) in a MRC APC in S/M resulted in the large SAPI being a snug fit. My current understanding of the sizing that Mayflower has made these APC’s into is that they are designed to be run with soft backers… though considering the fact that I don’t currently have any reason to utilize hard or soft armor results in me probably never actually testing the fit of both hard plates and soft backers in the APC.
Plate height inside the APC is adjusted using a single web of material – roughly 2″ wide… seeing as how there is some space for side to side movement of the plate inside the APC, I could see more hefty plates wiggling around in there after intense activity. That being said, there is a second hook-and-loop flap that encloses the bottom of the entire plate pocket (though it isn’t really that great for adjusting plate height, there is a little bit of adjustment available). I’ve got my APC fitted pretty well to me and I don’t actually seem to have any issues with flop with sand-filled or hollow dummy SAPI (L) plates.
Fitment of the APC works quite nicely. The way the shoulder straps are sewn with the plate pockets results in a really snug fit when adjusted properly – quite comfortable. Plate pocket height is very adjustable – nicely thought out by Mayflower to be actually able to ride my plates up to the height they should be at… something that can’t always be comfortably done with some other designs of carriers out there. I do find that shouldering stocks is just as comfortable as when I’m running a 6094 (clone) that is adjusted to the same sizing.
Shoulder pads – the 3D mesh stuff is nice and cushion-like, though I found that they are significantly wider than I’m used to (e.g. those found on CIRAS or 6094 carriers). I found that the mesh can trap some heat, though it definitely ventilates better than no mesh at all. Due to the sheer width of the pads, I’ve currently removed them from my APC and will be unlikely to reinstall them any time soon.
The front kangaroo pouch doesn’t lay very flat with a loaded 3-mag kangaroo insert inside the pocket. I was intending to utilize that in conjunction with the 3 HSGI TACO pouches I have up front in order to carry up to 6 M4 mags on the front plate pocket… but after seeing how the corners of the cummerbund front flap roll over when loading stuff in there, I won’t be doing so.
Built-in admin pockets (both of them) are actually surprisingly useful. I normally don’t use pockets like these when they’re integrated into plate carriers as they’re usually not that well thought out, but the positioning and size of both the velcro-closed pocket and the open one on the APC are actually quite excellent for me to actually use.
I first found the APC’s 6-column MOLLE arrangement on the front cummerbund flap a bit odd at first (I’m used to 8 columns on the front of most front or side opening carriers I’ve used) – but as it turns out, the 6 columns are the most usable positions for magazine pouches anyway. As a matter of fact, what I’ve found with my APC is that I can actually run it the way it is (3 rifle mags, 2 secondary mags, radio, and hydration on the back) and it gets the job done exactly as is; in this way I can carry everything I realistically need for most regular game days anyway… and nothing I don’t.
Since initially getting my APC, I’ve replaced the Toy Soldier EI-style 100 round “nutsack” pouch with a Tactical Tailor 5.56 shingle – this fits my new-ish Baofeng UV-5R radio quite nicely, including the extended battery pack and PTT connector attached to the side… this is a result of me sitting in DS and trying out all the 5.56 shingles until I found one that fit my need for a radio pouch best. It works.