For the last three years, I have been running the First Spear Strandhogg SAPI cut plate carrier. I have tried other plate carriers and there are always positive and negatives associated with each. I started with a few older style carriers but the main issue with them was the lack of options and the minimalist style most of them had.
Don’t get me wrong, being a minimalist setup can be a huge benefit sometimes when it matters but a couple of hours after running and gunning, you’re going to feel the lack of padding. There’s a good balance between being comfortable and keeping your mobility. Running around all day with a plate carrier whether its a range day working skills, or using it on night hog hunting expedition, can take its toll on gear.
The thing that sets First Spear apart from the rest is the quality of their gear. Many people say First Spear is too expensive and there are cheaper options on the market that will be adequate. I can understand that mindset and there are a few options which are very reliable for less, but they don’t come with premium accessories as standard. A very popular plate carrier that is often brought up is the Crye Precision JPC (Jumpable Plate Carrier).
The JPC is usually the gold standard when it comes to plate carriers and they are usually around $200. This is considerably less than the First Spear Strandhogg, but the JPC is a minimalist plate carrier. The JPC is a fantastic lightweight option. The main issue is it doesn’t come with extra padding or anything to make the carrier more comfortable for the user. This is where buyers will have to decide if they want comfort or minimalist features.
- 6/12™️ laser cut platform
- Tubes™ Rapid-Release Technology
- Comfort padding through body and shoulder straps
- Built-in ventilation channel on front and rear plate bag
- Overlap Cummerbund with loop interior for hook backed pockets
- Sized to fit a SAPI cut plate
- Price From: $486.93
My Personal Set up
The MOLLE cuts on the Strandhogg are laser cut, which is extremely easy to set up and high quality. Setting up a loadout on the plate carrier is very easy with the number of spots cut for attachments. I am currently running 3 HSGI rifle magazine tacos along with an admin pouch on my left side and a battery compartment. I try to keep it a minimum when having gear. In my set up, I have my IFAK and extra magazines on my range belt. I haven’t put a ton of other gear onto my plate carrier to keep the weight down. With my plate carrier, I tried to keep a minimalistic approach, while keeping the comfort features of the Strandhogg.
I am still adding items to the plate carrier, but so far it’s been very comfortable with the extra shoulder padding and overall design. I really like the pockets on the inside of the Cumberbun. The pockets can be used as an admin pocket, and there’s a spot for extra magazines. I currently run two extra magazines on each side of the plate carrier as well as extra batteries. One of the best things on the Strandhogg plate carrier, in my opinion, is the addition of Tubes technology. The Tubes Technology is an easy release lock-up system where you can pull the cord down and it unlocks the tube. This releases the cummerbund and lets you lock or unlock the system very quickly. In the classes I’ve worn the plate carrier and running around in the winter time, I’ve never had one slip off accidentally.
Keep It Simple
This is the best of both worlds because it lets me keep mobility, yet long days on the range or working are still very comfortable. Another huge benefit of the First Spear system is the ability to detach the plate carrier quickly. The ability to get the plate carrier on and off very quickly is a big plus in my book. There’s no complicated straps or cummerbunds. It’s a simple system that can be taken off with a single hand, but the lockup is extremely strong and does not come loose while running or maneuvering.
The laser cut MOLLE system is low profile and doesn’t sag when being used. I didn’t appreciate the laser cut MOLLE system until I ran a traditional MOLLE system on a plate carrier I was loaned for a training class. The traditional system is typically bulkier with more material or tends to sag. First Spear did a great job with this and the MOLLE system seems to be very strong. I’ve never had any issue with the MOLLE cuts failing on me even though I haven’t been gentle on attachments while at the range.
Overall I think the Strandhogg from First Spear is one of the best plate carrier systems on the market. It may be expensive, but the system is well thought out and performs perfectly. It’s lightweight and has accessories that make the plate carrier more comfortable as standard. I’ve tried a number of different plate carriers, but I would have a hard time not going back to First Spear. It may be expensive compared to most systems, but it’s well worth it. If you guys have questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment below, or shoot me an email for more information. Stay safe out there.