butthurt for not having a user title
Join Date: Jun 2010
Good, real, full-seal goggles like Revisions, ESS, and Bolle (make sure they're tactical goggles from Bolle, not snowboarding goggles etc!!!!!) are awesome, and will survive more direct hits than you can you will probably ever encounter, or longer than the frames/ straps will live. Take care of them, inspect them while you're cleaning them, and discard the lenses immediately if you notice any deep scratches, dents, cracks, chips, or warping.
Eye protection is something you should never cheap out on, and should be considered disposable. With care and base quality they'll last a long time, but be prepared to throw a lens and/ or frame away if it fails and don't feel bad about it.
Tactical vests vs plate carriers vs chest rigs is largely a debate of personal preference, and situational usefulness.
Tactical vests can be pre-built, or fully customizable using Molle pouches (modern), snaps, or velcro (obsolete but 'old school cool'), or somewhere in between.
Tac vests can be considered a light-weight, often very breathable option vs a plate carrier, with as much or more retail space for gear as many plate carriers. They've been used by many military and police units in various forms and configurations for decades, and if properly sized, fit, and configured, can be just as useful as anything else in CQB environments.
-(Fixed pouches) What you see is that you get. Crossdraw holsters look neat for a sort of 'Classic' LAPD SWAT thing, but are functionally pretty retarded IMHO.
-(Customizable pouches) You can load the vest to the tits, but if your pouches are too heavy or the Molle is off spec, your pouches will sag and flop all over the place. It's annoying and uncomfortable. Don't expect to get more than a double-stack mag pouch on there, or huge utility packs etc. Lightweight and slick is the key.
-Not really viable outdoors for more than scrims for the above reasons.
-Buckles and zippers get shot out all the time. Buy a zipperless system (or get it professionally altered for a good metal YKK zipper), tape up your buckles (hockey tape is ideal), and/ or prepare to replace them once in a while. Tape up your loose straps once you have it fit correctly while you're at it to keep them out of the way.
-Cheap, knockoff tac vests suffer from bad stitching, Molle loops way out of spec, and awful plastic. Not worth the money.
Plate carriers are pretty much what you get when you take an armor system and a tac vest and smash them together. Back in the day, you'd have a soft armor system (kevlar etc), or a plate system, or some mix of the two, and then wear all of your load bearing equipment over top of it. A plate carrier integrates everything into one system, and thereby allows you to carry an immense amount of gear and protection without hindering mobility (if fit and rigged correctly). Plate carriers can be front and back only, or can include a cummerbund (usually optional) which gives you more retail space and side protection, at the cost of mobility and increased profile. Many plate carriers have little or no exposed buckles, and built in places to hide adjustable straps, which is a big win over tac vests in terms of expected wear and tear.
With plates installed, you get a really rigid surface to work with, and so if your Molle loops (on the PC) and straps (on the pouches) are all in spec, you get a really stable platform for carrying much heavier loads. This can make a well rigged plate carrier ideal for just about any situation.
These things are the modern standard for a reason.
-(No plates installed) Will be floppy, saggy, and won't fit correctly. Hardly an improvement over a tac vest.
-(Plates installed) Heavy.
-Hot. They don't breathe at all.
-Awkward and terrible if sized and fit incorrectly. Armor plates are supposed to sit higher than you probably think in order to protect your vital organs, not your beer gut.
-Expensive. I've seen some pretty decent stuff that wasn't 'Real Steel', but it's better to shop around in person, and get some advice from PC users extensively if you're not going to buy a real one.
Tip: if you can't find fake/ trainer plates, EVA foam (like exercise mats, commonly used for cosplay armor) is better than nothing.
Chest rigs are one or two panels which run across your chest only, supported by straps over the shoulders. These have been around in one form or another almost as long as humans have been using controlled explosions to lob hunks of metal at each other.
They can come pre-built, or customizable (usually Molle). These can be used with or without an armor system, and without an armor system they offer maximum mobility at a minimum weight premium. If rigged correctly, they can provide everything you need for short to medium game lengths, and extending their usefulness beyond that means simply throwing on a backpack.
-Offers near zero protection from anything.
-Again with the buckles and straps.
-Too much weight and/ or bad fitting means back pain.
-Buy quality or buy again, and again...
That's all I've got in me for now. Good luck!