Mayflower APC & HSP D3 chest rig:
I recently upgraded my plate carrier setup completely and also upgraded to coated armor plates. After doing a lot of online research and reading/watching countless reviews I decided to go with two extremely versatile systems that mate together perfectly....the Mayflower Adaptable Plate Carrier and the Haley Strategic D3 chest rig. The plates I chose are the Spartan Armor rhino coated 10x12 AR500 plates (curved) by The Target Man, LLC.
Let's start off with the Mayflower APC. The plate carriers I considered purchasing were the SKD PIG, Crye Precisions JPC, Velocity Systems LWPC, Shellback Tactical Banshee, and Mayflower APC. I purchased the Mayflower through SKD for about $220. This is a very well made PC and am very satisfied with it. It is very lightweight and fits so much better than my cheapo $50 Rothco carrier that I had. The APC has sizing available for both the carrier and cumberbund which is ideal for it to fit right on different body types. After my last plate carrier I tried to stay away from ones that are "one size fits all." The APC does not sag nor do the plates inside the pockets. The pocket retention system is very solid and will hold the plates as high up as you would like. My 10x12 plates do not move around at all in there and the carrier holds them high covering all your vital organs.
The carrier has a top velcro kangaroo pouch that I was able to fit three AR mags into. Great if you want to run it as low profile as possible
Above the kangaroo pouch are two admin pouches. One smaller easy access one with no velcro closure and another larger one as pictured above with velcro closure and elastic retaining straps inside. I just have some CR123 batteries and three chem lights stored in there.
The front of the APC has a good amount molle webbing to mount whatever you would like. The two bottom rows are loop velcro as well as the top four rows. The top rows of loop can be filled with patches like I have done. On the sides of the admin pockets you can see two female buckles which is a very nice feature and what makes it compatible with some popular chest rigs out there. The two loop molle webbing rows at the bottom are to help secure a chest rig that features a hook velcro panel like that on the rear of a D3 chest rig.
Here is the APC pictured with the D3 chest rig integrated on there. Easy on, easy off. I love that about it! One thing I hated about my old rig was it took forever to mount a few mag pouches and if you ever wanted to take it off to run it slick then it was a pain. With this system you could easily swap out different load outs if you are someone who owns multiple chest rigs or just unbuckle it and pull it right off if you want to run it slick. As a side note I did purchase the Velocity Systems swift clip kit from SKD as well which are those side buckles you see on the cumberbund. I recommend that too. It helps the chest rig form around the curvature of your body towards the sides. It costs an extra $15.
The cumberbund has molle webbing throughout. Features side pockets on both sides that you can stuff with extra mags or other similar sized objects. Also has a smaller inner pocket that is all Velcro and assume it is for side armor but seems kind of small even for 6x6 side plates. Not sure if side plates would fit in there because I don't have any to try but I highly doubt it judging by the size of it. The cumberbund is two pieces. A right and left sides with Velcro on both the stomach closure and back closure. Nice range of adjustability even during the holidays
Shoulder pads come with the APC and are removable. They have inner elastic retaining straps for comm wires or hydration tubes.
Padding is adequate but I find it comfortable with or without them but depending on how long you wear the carrier you may want them on. The straps do ride pretty close to your neck so if you have a wider neck the pads may rub or irritate you a little so you may want to remove them if that's the case or wear a tactical shirt that has a higher collar.
Here is the back of the carrier. This is where I have a few gripes. It is covered in molle webbing but no loop at the top for identification patches and as you can see there is no drag handle. Not a big deal for me but maybe for a LEO it might be who needs a big nameplate patch on his back. I had an extra molle loop panel laying around so I threw it back there and added a patch from B.A.D. I kind of wish there was some padding inside the carrier behind the plates but that's not really necessary for me and if it did have that feature I'm sure it would cost more and maybe not be as low profile as it is. The no drag handle is not a big deal either, you can use the shoulder straps just as easily as a drag handle but I know that was everyone's major gripe online about the Mayflower APC.
Here is an illustration of how slim it is without a rig connected and what it looks like with a D3 rig connected.
Here is the D3 detached next to the APC. Perfect integration as the D3 was designed around this carrier.
Here is my Spartan Armor 10x12 AR500 plate in front of the APC. As you can see the APC is only as big as the plate, which I love. No excess size or weight. I have the S/M but if you run larger plates then you will need the L/XL version. There is a sizing chart on SKD that is very helpful. Spartan armor level III plates are Rhino lined coated for frag protection and can be purchased either flat or curved (for $10 more). Both plates were about $189 shipped from Target Man, LLC. You can watch demo vids on his site or reviews on YouTube easily. These plates are a little over 8lbs a piece.
Overall this is an outstanding plate carrier for the price. I feel like it was worth every penny I spent on it. Could there be more features? Sure, but then it would cost $300 plus. But for my needs, it is perfect. If I cared about a drag handle or padding on the inside of the carrier I would have spent the extra money for the SKD PIG plate carrier.
D3 CHEST RIG
I purchased this chest rig because of the great reviews and the fact that it was designed around the plate carrier I bought. It is very nice you get a lot of features, enough to hold an adequate amount of gear but not too much to where you feel extremely bulky with it attached to a PC.
The back of the rig has a large removable rectangular panel which exposes a big hook Velcro panel for attaching to a carrier like the APC that has a loop panel at the bottom.
The rig holds 4 AR or AK mags which is nice because I have both. All mag pouches have bungee retention straps if you want to use them or they can be pushed to the side or removed completely if you prefer not to. There are two pistol mag pouches that will hold double or single stacked mags, multitools, flashlights, knives, etc. I believe there is a magnet at the rear of the pistol mag pouches designed for extra retention for single stacked mags but you also have the bungee retention straps as well . It has two admin pouches that can be used for various things and it has loop velcro on the outside for ID patches. I have a patrol officer pocket med kit on one side and on the other side I have an XDS INCOG holster where I am able to holster my XDS. HSP specifically spec'd the pocket size to fit the INCOG holsters from G-Code in there very snug but I've seen other holsters fit in there as well. The last storage compartment is called the stuff-it pouch and can basically fit anything in there. It's a similar design to HSGI's taco pouches but a lot bigger. The elastic cord can be stretched out to fit large objects or it can be cinched down completely flat if empty. I've seen surefire 60 mag in there, shot timers, water bottles, large med kits, etc. it's an all purpose pouch. I just have my PIG Alfa gloves stuffed in there for now. Overall I am very pleased with the D3.
Straps all adjust nicely and feels great as a chest rig only and also when attached to my PC. Love that I can do both with ease. Cost is $170 from HSP and comes in a wide variety of colors and camos. I wish I could have got it in multicam but they are always sold out so I got mine in kryptek highlander which actually blends nicely with multicam. Overall I highly recommend this rig if you have a plate carrier that integrates well. If you don't then rest assured because you can make it compatible (keep reading!). If you are just looking for something to run as a chest rig only then there are a lot of cheaper chest rigs out there. But considering the D3's versatility I think it's worth it's price. Either way you can't go wrong with this chest rig for what it is capable of doing. I really don't have any gripes about this product at all, which is a good thing!
D3 INTEGRATION- if you have an existing plate carrier that isn't meant to integrate with the D3 but you want it to, then all you have to do is buy the swift clip kit ($15) which comes with 4 side strap buckles and two female buckles for the top. Get two belt keepers and run them thru the molle and female buckles then secure them shut. Here is a pic illustrating that on my old Rothco carrier. The side buckles are self explanatory the only requirement for that to work is to have molle webbing on your cumberbund. If you don't then I guess you could sew it on. Then the last thing you would want to do (but not necessary) to make it really secure is find a large loop Velcro panel that can be mounted to your molle lower panel.
Here is a YouTube vid that shows how to integrate pretty much any plate carrier with the D3. http://youtu.be/w0BM-a3HjU4
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