Concealed Plate Carrier

A concealed plate carrier is a discrete form of body armour that can be worn under other clothing to give protection, whilst not being visible and so allowing the wearer to present a less aggressive posture. These concealed plate carriers were often issued to those negotiating with tribal elders in Afghanistan, civil servants who needed to look obviously non-military but still need protection etc. These concealed plate carriers are known as ‘covert vests’ in British military parlance and eschew soft armour for a simple pair of plates. Today we are looking at a covert vest in tan that dates from 2013:

This vest came without plates, so I have used a cut up yoga mat as a placeholder to fill out the cover, this makes the images look softer than they would with a hard plate inside them but as the plates are hard to find I hope you will forgive me.

The vest is very simple, with a cover for the plates front and rear, joined together with a pair of shoulder straps. A long pair of straps passes around the body to secure the vest, one fitting over the other to give a range of adjustment:

The rear of the vest is plain, however the stitching for the shoulder straps can be seen which shows how securely they are fastened, the weight of the plates being such that a firm connection would be essential:

As the vest would be warm to wear, the interior face is lined with a mesh fabric to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion:

A single label is sewn inside the vest with details of date, NSN number etc:

Information on these vests is very limited, although a number of these covers did come onto the collectors’ market in the autumn of last year, hence why I added this example to my collection. They are certainly interesting items, and I would suspect that the use of hard Osprey type plates would make them more effective that the soft armour that is more traditionally used for this type of concealed vest, even if the added bulk would make them less concealable in the first place!

One comment

  1. Once upon a time, in my ‘second life’ after retiring from the military, some of us wore a pretty much non detectible, privately purchased kevlar T-shirt under our uniforms ‘just in case’.
    Management eventually decided that this was against unifOrm regulations (although nobody could say EXACTLY where it was part of said regulations in any sense of the word).

    Eventually, the issue ended up in Federal Court where it was decided, in no uncertain terms, that not only would we be permitted to wear a protective garment, but that management would be responsible for providing them to those who wanted one.

    Of course government appointed bureacrats, being known above all else for both their pettiness and vindictiveness, purchased the heaviest, most cumbersome yet ineffectual ‘vests’ in existance and forced everyone, even desk workers in uniform to wear them at all times whether remotely needed or not.

    The wearing was strictly enforced with the usual “you wantef them so wear them” attitude from managers who were curiously exempt from the directives.

    This was enforced by monitoring security cameras and personnel sitting in locked offices inside locked buildings inside fenced and alarmed compounds were disciplined for taking them off at 0300.

    This oc course gave rise to the common practice of wearing a full vest to work for inspection and carrying another cover with no plates inside for wear at night, these were known as ‘summer weight’ vests 😉

    The various failures and foibles of trying to keep the costs below minimum by trying to have people hand the vest they’d sweated in for 12 hours to their replacement, are stories unto themselves and anyone who’s ever worked for a government agency can probably guess the levels they went to and how much extra it cost them in the long run, especially when someone pointed out that the manufacturer had put an ‘expiry date’ in each one that mean they needed to be replaced every five years so several layers of managers (at $100,000+ per year, each) were put in and that made them happy.

    I had no less than four vests when I retired, want one ?

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