I've been looking for a long time for a plate carrier that fits well, is well made and has all the features that I like. I have tried the Condor plate carrier, blackhawk enhanced recon plate carrier, spec ops over-armor vest for over top of my IBA. This vest by far comes in first for me, with the condor (believe it or not) a distant second.
First off, the quality of the vest is fantastic. Heavy duty velcro/materials throughout. Without any armor in it, this thing almost feels like you have soft armor in it from the thickness of the materials. However, it is not to the point that it is awkward or "in the way". This is set up the same was as the condor plate carrier and that is a side-entry with a cumberbun coming from the back and attaching to a giant velcro pad in the front. A front flap of molle webbing then comes down to cover the attachment points. The big difference I like in this vest vs the condor is that I have a 32 waist/40 chest approx. Even at the tightest setting for the condor, the vest did not fit snug around the waist. In the TAG carrier, it comes at the tightest setting and fits snug - probably 30-32 waist and is adjustable outwards from there. I did buy the SM/MD as well - I am 155 lbs 5'8".
Another point on fit is there are adjustable shoulder straps to raise or lower and I can't make any specific comments about height, but it was satisfactory for me. I like to carry my pistol on my waist, not vest and I want access to it when I'm wearing a carrier. I definately have access to it with this carrier, unlike the spec ops - over armor which came down to my belt. I have the shoulder straps adjusted to bring the carrier as high as possible, as I like to ride them high.
Regarding the plates, I have 10x12 shooter cut plates from DBT and they fit fine. It would probably hold something a bit bigger, but you'd have to check with the manufacturer on that one - however, the plates are full adjustable up and down with heavy duty velcro to hold them where you want them.
The shoulder straps do not have any padding on them, but are not that uncomfortable due to the wide straps. However, I put the condor shoulder pads on the vest for some added comfort. Based on how the vest hugs the body, it takes some of the weight off the shoulers anyway, so I need to spend more time in it before I complete my setup.
The vest comes with two TAG side plate carriers, which by themselves are $20 pouches each. If you don't use them as side plate carriers you can use them at multi purpose pouches or dump pouches. They come on the inside of the cumberband b/c there is molle on both sides, so you can move them outside and use them as pouches or leave them in for side plate carriers.
The front of the vest has a map pouch with heavy duty velcro (the HD velcro is very intimidating on this thing!) to put a pistol in or whatever you want. As far as real estate, I am using the 3 shingle enchanced mag pouch from TAG on the front flap (which is all you will fit - 3 across), a four mag m4 pouch from TAG (2x2 mags) on my left cumberband and I am trying to decide if I'm going IFAK or not on the right. I want to put it there, but it affects my draw. I might have to put it at my 4:30 or 7:30.
Anyway, you can notice a pattern here with the TAG. Save yourself the aggrivation of the last year that I have experienced and start with this vest - you will not be disappointed. The materials are fantastic, color is true, the cost of these is a great deal considering the other carriers out there. I mean the spec-ops over armor was $170 and that was a piece of nylon with a zipper (see my review on that for more...). And the best thing yet is they sell a seperate IIIA soft armor insert for the whole vest!
All in all - great job TAG. VERY affordable for what you get. This is very well a $200+ vest in my eyes. If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them - firstname.lastname@example.org
This review was written in the old system and had content requirements that are different than reviews written today.