Submitted by Eric Daniel
When I deployed to Iraq this last go around, I was issued the Interceptor vest and SAPI plates. While I never had an opportunity to evaluate the capabilities of the vest's armor, thank God, I did have ample opportunity to evaluate the carrier the armor came in.
Long story short, the Interceptor carrier sucks. My biggest beef with it is the fact that ergonomically, it's very inefficient, and like many pieces of Army equipment, it doesn't take a good idea far enough. The idea of putting MOLLE straps on the vest is a good idea; this allows you to tailor your combat load to meet your personal preferences and mission requirements.
Unfortunately, by virtue of the fact that the Interceptor vest is a front opening system, the biggest load-bearing surface on the vest, your chest and abdomen, is wasted. MOLLE loops should go all the way across the front, but on the Interceptor, you have them only on the sides. Moreover, there isn't a single panel across the sides for MOLLE webbing, rather the front and back panels of the vest overlap. Again, another opportunity for additional storage is lost.
One carrier I did have the opportunity to check out while deployed though was from Eagle Industries. These vests were issued to the local ODA team working our area and they were most impressive. The Eagle vest is a side-entry vest with fully strapped front and side panels; you can hang everything but the kitchen sink on one of these suckers. In addition, in the event you ever need to ditch the vest in a hurry (you fall in a blue feature or you take a penetrating wound to the chest, for example) there's a single pull cable incorporated into the vest that will cause the vest to fall away when pulled.
However, excellence doesn't come cheap. These vest run $580 a shot, and I doubt your food chain will buy off on purchasing them simply because they're a brilliant piece of kit, but I figured I'd throw it out there for that very reason - it is a brilliant piece of kit. Next time I deploy though, I am going to take a long, serious look at picking one of these up.