Airsoft Plate Carrier vs Chest Rig: Which Is Better?

Airsoft Plate carrier or chest rig?

The chances are that you will want a way to transport your ammo, some ballistic fire protection, or both if you have an upcoming airsoft game. Of course, the classic dilemma of whether to buy a plate carrier or a chest rig comes in when investing hard-earned money!

A question that we will help you answer in our plate carrier vs chest rig debate.

Plate Carriers 

What differentiates a plate carrier from a chest rig is its ability to carry plates for ballistic protection. You can think of a plate carrier as a form of body armour, rather than just a carrying device. 


What this means is that the main advantage of choosing a plate carrier is that it can help to protect you from BB impact during close-quarters combat. 

However, there are several additional advantages to choosing the plate carrier option over the chest rig.

The first of these is that they look the part. The reason for this is that plate carriers have plenty of customisation thanks to the abundance of PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) webbing space to play with, and the higher-end visions even come with things like hydrating routing included.

Additionally, those of us that like to play airsoft in colder weather appreciate the additional insulation that the plate carrier provides. 

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Of course, there is some less beneficial side to using a plate carrier that it’s essential to consider too. In particular, a plate carrier can be a lot heavier, especially if you choose real plates rather than rubber ones, which means you will reach exhaustion faster, and won’t move at your top speed. 

Additionally, plate carriers can contribute to overheating in warmer environments. They are also far more cumbersome than chest rigs and can get in the way of any only LBEs you want to add. 

Our Recommended Plate Carriers

Chest Rig 


On the other hand, chest rigs are designed only to carry and do not offer any protection at all. It is because of this; that they tend to be much lighter than a plate carrier, and so are favoured for airsoft players looking for speed and agility. 

Additionally, many Airsofters love chest rigs because they are cheaper than plate carriers and fit more comfortably to the body. They also tend to be easier to put on and take off, and you can add additional storage with an assault pack. 

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That is not to say that a chest rig is a perfect option for everyone. After all, the reduction in protection that chest rigs offer leads many people to choose a plate carrier, instead.

Additionally, chest rigs don’t quite look as ‘cool’ as a Plate Carrier, and you can’t customise them in the same way as a plate carrier. Something that for many players makes a big difference to their experience. 

Our Recommended Chest Rigs

Final Thoughts: Plate Carrier vs Chest Rig

Essentially if you are looking for maximum speed and manoeuvrability, however, you are happy with a fixed platform, then a chest rig is your best option. 

However, if protection, customisation and “the Look” are factors you are taking into consideration then, a plate carrier should suit you well. 

Don’t forget either that when in doubt you can get some advice from your friendly local (or online) Airsoft shop. After all, as a specialist, an airsoft retailer, will be in the position to advise you on the best choice for your equipment carrying needs. 

About Laurence Kay

Laurence is a keen airsoft player and has been the owner of SoCom Tactical for over 10 years. He’s played airsoft all over the country solo and as part of teams and is an expert on all things airsoft, like tactics, airsoft guns and gameplay equipment. As one of the UK’s leading airsoft suppliers and retailers, Laurence is the go-to source for airsoft knowledge.