One of the newest pieces of kit out here that’s a bit controversial among Soldiers is the Army’s new plate carrier body armor.
While significantly lighter and lower profile, the KDH-made Magnum Tac plate carrier Joes are wearing in Afghanistan settles all the weight of the Level IV ballistic plates and smaller side plates on the shoulder, making for a pretty uncomfortable fit after even a short hump. Add to that MOLLE pouches of ammo and other gear, and those shoulders start to blaze pretty bad.
Soldiers here say this problem could be fixed pretty easily with a cummerbund-style attachment that would help shift the weight to the hips and waist, rather than the shoulders. Another gripe is that the side plates hang a little low, covering the hips and waist rather than the vitals on the side.
A few Joes had already purchased their own plate carriers before deploying – ones that fit better and had more robust coverage without sacrificing weight and adding bulk (and some even bought them in MultiCam). But higher has demanded that all Soldiers in 3rd Brigade Combat Team here wear the issued gear, leaving a few unused plate carriers lounging under bunks and tables until the end of the deployment.