For the last few months I’ve been toying with the idea of ditching a plate carrier altogether and just sticking to my woodland and bad guy gear. Every time I’ve tried to go through with it the little voices in my head have thrown up objections, leading me from my AVS to a JPC 2.0, the short lived soirée into the CPC world, and ultimately back to my swimmer cut JPC.
I’ve given up resisting, and so have finally committed to the JPC at least for the short term. This means however that I needed to get some plates that actually fill it, as somewhere in the trading cycle I lost my bastardised Normenhoot SAPI plates that were never quite perfect.
I decided to go with Trident Gear Co. for a few reasons, but largely it comes down to availability and great customer service. Having never owned a set of their plates I was also intrigued to see how their construction differed from the old Normenhoots and crucially if their multi-curve swimmer plates will be worth a punt when they eventually appear.
Where I stand on “training” plates
Training plates are one of those items that I have overlooked for years based on the fact I don’t actually do any “training” in them. As you probably know phys isn’t exactly my thing, so I’ve never felt the need to invest in the spine destroying weights from the likes of Travail, but all plate carriers do benefit from having a little extra mass inside to make them sit better.
The other option that I’ve used throughout the years are the hollow plastic SAPI plates that through laziness I’ve ashamed to say I’ve used more than any other. While there’s nothing wrong with them if you’re on a budget, they’re light, often off spec sizes and when crushed make a remarkable “whooshing” noise. They’re just a bit shit, and it’s about time I replaced them.
So onto the Trident plates. I’ve not had the chance to put them through the rigorous test of wearing them in airsoft games, but I’m pretty certain they’ll stand up to this mammoth challenge of strength and endurance as they are simple but robust in their construction.
As I’m a mong I ended up having to replace the tape on my plates. This revealed the difference between the heavy Trident plates and my medium Normenhoots in that the heavies are all one solid piece of rubber where the mediums are 2 pieces sandwiched together. This means that you won’t get any movement between the two, but more importantly if wearing these for phys you won’t get any moisture getting trapped between the two causing your plates fucking reek.
Now like I said I’ve had to replace my tape to black nasty, as I assumed wrongly that the plates would slide in easier without any. Before I got hold of them however the plates came wrapped in a fabric, almost sniper tape like tape that bonds to itself very very effectively and so was in no danger of coming off without my meddling hands.
In the rig
Like I said I’ve not had the chance to run about with these in properly yet, but in wearing them in around the house (don’t laugh we all do it) they have been very comfortable so far. Something which I hadn’t expected when I ordered was the smooth curve to the top half of the plate. This hadn’t been present on my Normenhoots and so I simply assumed it wouldn’t be on the Tridents. The curve sits really nicely on my chest, and as the plates are flexible to a degree it helps to keep the plate close to your body throughout my entire range of motion.
The biggest improvement in my mind is the comfort versus hard plates. Ballistic plates have to be hard because of their nature, but this makes them very uncomfortable for anyone who doesn’t fit them perfectly. My memories of wearing full ballistic plates is getting pinched when sitting or moving, having side plates dig into my love handles (you’ve never experienced pain like it) and one memorable occasion where I bent over to pick something up, which pushed the plate upwards and gave me a pretty solid throat punch.
All of these pains and aches are necessary when you need protection, but you’re not that likely to get shot while doing phys or playing airsoft so why not be comfortable? The flex in the Trident plates means that they can fold and twist a little with you, so while you’re aware that they’re there, they don’t remind you with pain or a swift jab to the Adam’s apple.
Heavy or lightweight?
This is where I personally sit on the fence, while the heavy plates are very nice, they might just be too heavy for me as I have no intention of using them for phys. That’s not to say my spine can’t handle them but as with all things if you can be comfortable, be comfortable. If you’re looking to start training with weighted plates though I’d say the heavies are a very good place to start. They’re heavy enough that they’ll kick your arse, but are more comfortable and crossover better to airsoft than the 10kg per plate steel alternatives.
The future for me however is in Trident’s medium weight multi-curves. I’ve had a bit of a peak at them behind the scenes and that has confirmed that none of the comfort features have been sacrificed for the extra curves, and their new outer coatings make these plates look more convincing than any others that I’ve seen. As and when the swimmer cut version becomes available I’ll be snapping up a set and I’ll be very interested to see if they hit the sweet spot between comfort, weight and structure.
In conclusion, I’m very happy with the Trident heavies. They do the job of filling my JPC perfectly and don’t throw up any warning signs for a product that is going to shit itself after two runs out. I’m a bit late to the game with Trident, but this means that there is a wealth of evidence out there that their stuff will go the distance, and so I don’t feel any worries about giving them the big thumbs up.
Thanks for reading my thoughts on the Trident Gear Co. heavy training plates. They’re a really nice group of guys and it’s great to see a pair of veterans taking a previously neglected market and really pushing it to make something that actually adds value to the community. I’ll drop a link to their website here for you to take a look.
In reading it back this review sounds like one big endorsement, so I’d just like to point out that I paid for these plates with my own actual money. If you still want to leave me some abuse, or have any questions about the plates, leave them on my Instagram @thegeardocrow. Cheers!