RTS Tactical Ultimate Level IV Ceramic Bundle
I recently got a chance to meet the some of the folks who run RTS Tactical and tour their HQ while on a trip to S. FL.
While I won't get into the entirety of our conversation (they shared a lot of proprietary information with me), we did spend a great deal of time discussing some of the bundles they are putting together, their manufacturing process and design methodology.
It's a startup company in some ways, but the team there knows what they are doing, and they have some really interesting and exciting projects ready to launch.
One of their first offerings is their RTS Tactical Ultimate Level IV Ceramic Bundle, which offers front/back plates, a vest, gloves, knee/elbow pads for $470 + free shipping. They gave me a set, along with a Triple Premium Speed Pouch.
It's really impressive. I've handled quite a bit of tactical gear over the years, and they are manufacturing their products in the right ways.
You'd be hard pressed to find a more affordable kit like this with the features RTS has thrown into it.
RTS Tactical Ceramic NIJ 0101.06 level IV 10X12 Plate Inserts
First and foremost lets discuss the protection that the kit offers with the level IV ceramic plates included.
Ceramic plates offer you the best weight to protection ratio that body armor can provide.
They can stop nearly any large and small caliber threats you might need protection against.
- SAPI Cut Single Curve.
- NIJ 0101.06 Level IV.
- Protection from 5.56mm green tip SS109.
- Waterproof Polyurea Coating for lasting Ballistic Integrity.
- Thickness 1.1"
- Weight 6.3 lbs.
Here's a fun video of a dude abusing the heck out of one of these plates. Is this 100% scientific? Nope. But it's a real world testing that has some merit to performance.
To learn a little more about body armor, check out our Ultimate Body Armor Guide.
RTS Tactical Premium Plate Carrier
Plate carriers are in some respects like blue jeans.
There are a million different ways to make them, different styles, but at the end of they day they all more or less do the same thing: cover your ass.
Everybody has their favorites. Some are made better than others. Some have weird things like skinny legs (y'all do you, I'm out on the skinny jeans.)
Metaphors aside, the RTS Tactical Premium Plate Carrier is cool, and does what it does in unique ways.
Lets start with the attachment points. The carrier comes with a buckle and strap, in addition to a cummerbund, which attaches via hook & loop (aka Velcro.)
If you don't want to use the included cummerbund, and rock a lighter setup, you can.
This is different setup than what I have seen some other manufactures do, where either you have to purchase multiple types of cummerbunds, or just use what comes with the carrier and call it a day.
It does mean there is one extra step when donning the carrier when using the cummerbund. Up to you if that's a deal breaker or not.
(I say 1 extra step, as I keep one side of my carriers attached at all times, so when I put them on I'm only attaching one side. It's faster.)
Here's a better view of how it looks from the inside.
Along the back side of the carrier, the cummerbund attaches via bungee cord, so there is a little bit of give when you move around in the vest. It makes it much more comfortable to wear for long periods.
Photo above shows the attachment points and where the bungee cords live.
The photo below shows it closed up with the back flap down and secured, tucking all that stuff away cleanly.
Taking a closer look at where the plates go, inside the vest. The flap which holds them in has velcro along with snaps for extra security.
There is also an adjustable retention strap which can accommodate different plate sizes and really lock them in place.
I like that feature a lot - there is quite a variety to the plate sizes out there, this feature addresses that.
The shoulder straps are padded and adjustable. Along the back side is a grab handle should you need to be pulled out of a bad situation.
All in all I like the carrier. It's built tough and has good features to it.
At 3.6 lbs it's heavier than some other carriers in the market, say the Crye JPC 2.0 at 1.5 lbs (which costs over $200) but if you go for lighter plates you can offset some of that weight.
RTS Tactical Front Line Gloves
Included in the kit are an awesome set of gloves, that I really found myself liking more than is probably reasonable for an adult to do.
I'm a huge fan of using gloves in stressful and potentially dangerous environments. After your brains, your hands are your most important tool-set, keep them in tip top shape, lest a cut or infection take you out of the game,
They are over-built for durability. Double stitching where it counts and large straps with rubberized pull tabs.
The knuckles are padded, and the palms are reinforced with leather.
They are very comfortable and breathe well.
I don't usually use finger-less gloves, but they certainly have their place in the world, and these are some of the best I've used.
Note on sizing: I wear Medium sized Mechanix gloves, but the best size for me was Large for the RTS gloves. I like them snug, but not tight.
RTS Tactical Advanced Elbow & Knee Pads
Going along with the overall impression of the kit, the knee an elbow pads are well built and do what they are designed to do.
I will admit, this is where my knowledge is limited: the knee pads I use are integrated into the pants I wear. I don't have much real world experience with them, outside of using them for sports like skateboarding.
They come in a useful mesh sack that aren't an afterthought, they are built just was well as the rest of the gear.
The pads aren't slip on, they are held on by two straps.
As you can tell by the condition of the pads in the photo I haven't used them much. I'll bring them out to some training sessions and post the results of them after beating on them a little while.
Like I said before, I think you might be hard pressed to find a carrier, plate, and accessory set built to this quality for the price.
So if you are looking for your first set, or a backup set of armor and don't have $2,000 to spend on it, then this set from RTS Tactical is the way to go.
Where to Get One
Typical Price: $470
Get all the gear you need in this bundle:
- RTS Tactical Premium Plate Carrier with Cummerbund
- RTS Tactical NIJ LEVEL IV 10X12 SAPI CUT SINGLE CURVE CERAMIC ARMOR PLATES
- RTS Tactical Advanced Knee Pads Gen II
- RTS Tactical Advanced Elbow Pads Gen II
- RTS Tactical Front Line ½ Finger Shooting Gloves