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5.11 Tactical TacTec Plate Carrier Vest - Sandstone -Review

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So a review of some 5.11 kit. I'll be honest, until recently I have never had any 5.11 kit. I was kind of put off by the outward gushing on the internet from some quarters. But I was drawn to 5.11 after exposure at work.


My load outs don't follow any set pattern. Too be honest I pick all my kit based purely on practicality. Is it comfortable, does it work, will it last and will it be value for money. So I'll run through the review in pretty much the same way.


Is it comfortable? 

In a word yes. I'm 6ft tall and the TacTec is fully adjustable for length and girth. It's one of the reasons I chose it. The standard fit is slightly longer and  wider than most plate carriers and so looks a better fit on your average joe. The backing to the plates is some sort of air mesh. This allows your body to breathe but grips nicely, stopping that uncomfortable sliding and chafing you get on cheaper sets. It is also cushioned and this really helps when you are running a bit of weight on the carrier.




Does it work?

Comfort is fine but nothing if the kit doesn't work. So what is it like to game wearing it. The top half of the panels have laser cut molle. This gives a slick look and due to the material gives plenty of space for patches to Velcro onto. I don't run any pouches on the top half. Experience has shown that they get in the way when I shoulder my primary and I don't like a 'busy' plate carrier. Kit is weight and weight is bad, even for a days airsoft. There is an admin panel in the top half for stuffing maps and pyro if you need to.


The lower half gives you 3 horizontal rows of traditional molle. But here's the bonus. It is actually wider than most carriers, with 8 vertical rows rather than 6. So you could run 4 x M4 pouches across the front. On my set up I have left an outer row of molle empty on each side. This keeps all the pouches tight into the middle, a massive bonus if you are in and out of doors or tight spaces.


The skeletonized elastic cumber-band allows the plate carrier to be thrown over a coat without adjusting it, a nice touch especially in the winter. It also allows for pouches to be attached here as well. I run my pyro pouch on the front left with no problems at all.


The pouches I have attached are all 5.11 and as you would expect fit perfectly. The M4 pouches (I have a double and a single) can be used as either a bungee top or Velcro pouch. I have my double one with the Velcro flaps in place for a bit of retention and to keep the mags clean when I'm on my belly. The single has the bungee top instead and I use it as a fast mag pouch. The pistol mag pouches have the same options. 


All the pouches are thick, quality material and are really, really robust. Once fitted to the vest they are rock solid and boy do they hold the kit in. I thought they may have been too tight, but some rapid mag changes in game proved that they worked a treat.






Will it last?

I game quite hard. Sliding, bashing, falling and rolling. And at the end of the day this kit is still pristine. No loose threads, splits, cuts or grazing. I was impressed. So I reckon it will last, but that is why I buy real steel kit. It's made to take a beating and still work. The XFit games used the TacTec carriers with weights in for all the competitors and a number of UK Police Forces have issued them to authorised firearms officers. Proof enough really.


Will it be value for money?

This is really quite subjective. The TacTec isn't cheap. It's about £150 (although I got mine in a 20% off sale). I think is value for money for me as I plan on having it for years and I have a habit of wearing out or breaking cheap kit. (I won't mention the KombatUK molle belt and pouches that didn't last a whole skirmish when I first started.) But, your mileage may vary.


So does 5.11 live up to the hype? 

Well I now also have a Rush 72 bag and some 5.11 trousers and they have stood up to some real hard times recently. It's early days but to be honest I'm convinced. 10/10.


To help you gauge my review, I regularly use Helikon, Warrior, Karrimor SF, Seeland, Arktis, Pentagon and other outdoor brands both at work and at home.


Hope it was of use to you guys.




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