I recently picked up a package from Spartan Armor—the Sentry Plate Carrier with AR500 Swimmers Cut body armor. Overall, I am very very impressed.
Not only is it a great value for the money (it runs about $230, as I upgraded to the full coat for maximum fragmentation mitigation), but the carrier is well made and their customer service is stellar.
They warn of lead times, but I had a package at my door in less than a week.
We’ll start with the plates, which are full coat AR 500 armor.
This means they are sprayed with a Encapsaloc, a proprietary coating which mitigates fragmentation and spalling, a must in my opinion for any body armor, civilians and military/LEO alike.
The coating itself adds about 1/2 inch or so to the thickness of the plates. If you want to save some pennies, you can pick up the package for $175 with just a base coat—but be warned that it has minimal if any fragmentation mitigation.
If you’re going through the trouble of buying body armor, why skimp on $50 or so?? Get the full coat.
Level III body armor, like this, is capable of protecting against 7.62×51 NATO Ball/ .308 Winchester at velocities of up to 2,780 fps. It’s also tested and held up against the below.
- Pistol Calibers: .22LR, 9mm, .40 S&W, 45 ACP, 10mm, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum
- Rifle Calibers: .223/5.56 (M855 62g Penetrators), 7.62×39, 7.62×51 (M80 Ball), .308 Winchester, 12 Gauge 3” Magnum 00 Buck, and 12 Gauge 1oz Slugs
- Platforms include: a variety of Handguns, Pistol Caliber Rifles, and Rifles to obtain a wide variety of velocities for a given round.
- Third party testing has been performed with calibers up to 5.56 XM193, 7.62x54R, 30.06, 6.5 Creedmore, and .338 Lapua Magnum. Results with higher calibers may vary as they are typically over the threshold of Level III rated armor.
That last line is important—remember body armor is not a superhero pill; but mitigates the chances of the user taking a lethal hit to vital organs.
Movement is not impeded when wearing the carrier.
This is due to the swimmer’s cut of the armor, which I very much like.
While not going as far across the thorax as a shooters or full cut armor, it protects all vital organs, and makes it easier to move and shoulder a carbine. The carrier and plates come in at around 18 lbs or so, making it a bit hefty, but not at all noticeable once you cinch it to your body.
As far as the Condor carrier itself, it’s well made.
With ample padding in the shoulders that is removable, and Velcro closures for a hydration tube or radio mic, it also sports a reinforced drag handle in the back.
It has places for patches on the front and back for LEO/PMCs, as well as solid velcro closures on the bottom for plate insertion. The stitching is heavy duty, and the kit has MOLLE webbing all over, allowing the operator to customize their load-out with whatever kit they need and not worry about the weight of magazines or kit ripping the webbing.
Overall, I very much like it.
I would maybe opt for the shooters cut triple curved plates next time for a little extra money to increase comfort and coverage, but I don’t find it uncomfortable at all, and I attribute that to the swimmers cut mostly. It’s very easy to move with this carrier on. The buckles are quick adjust, and I only had to adjust mine slightly when it arrived, and adjust the shoulders a bit so it rode a little higher and covered the heart and lungs when set up. For the big guys reading this, worry not, you can adjust this for a 30-46″ waist.
Pros, what we like:
High quality carrier and armor at a great price – less than $250 with a full coat. Solid plate carrier with ample padding, making it as comfortable as it is useful. I also like the hook and loop closures for hydration, as well as the heavy duty stitching and reinforced drag handle.
Cons, what we don’t like:
Not many. If I had to try and find a con, it would be the weight, but it’s body armor. It’s not supposed to be featherlight—it’s supposed to stop bullets.
With Spartan Armor’s solid customer service and affordable packages, we highly recommend this for civilian use, or as part of a go bag for first responders. It’s comfortable, affordable, and handles well. With the holidays approaching, this could make a great gift idea for someone concerned with home security and preparedness, we at SGPT recommend it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.
Whereabouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.
QUESTION: What about the Spartan armor vest vs AR500?
ANSWER: Both are good vest so I would try one on to start and see how it fits.
QUESTION: Do you have any tips you can give me for pistol shooting?
ANSWER: Yes; check out our Navy SEAL Pistol Shooting Tips.