As of 2020, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has over 62,000 employees. These men and women are responsible for protecting our country's borders. According to their website, CBP processes over 1.1 million passengers and pedestrians in one day. They will, on average, arrest 23 wanted criminals at points of entry daily. As a result, the CBP agency was looking for the right gear to equip their many law enforcement agents.Many companies submitted designs, and there was a long decision process. Eventually, they awarded Aspetto Armor up to a $9 million dollar contract to procure new armor and plate carriers (PC). Consequently, we were able to get our hands on one of these plate carriers and here's what we found:
The plate carrier breakdown
To begin with, the plate carrier is lightweight and very modern looking. In contrast, it looks light years beyond the interceptor vests most deployed to Iraq with. It features laser cutting along the hypalon shoulder straps and Molle weaving throughout the vest. Additionally, it comes with removable Kangaroo pouches and a low profile design. A unique, and subtle, detail was the hooks and loops (velcro) sealable pouch at the top of the carrier. One could easily keep a map or a flask there, depending on the type of mission.There are built in pockets for front and back ballistic plates, and the ability to add side plates. Inserting and removing the plates was simple enough to be grunt proof. Most military members are familiar with the Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) plate. Regardless of your choice of steel, ceramic or polyethylene plates, this PC can work with them all.The CBP plate carrier also features Aspetto's KWIQ clip for rapid connection or disconnection of the cummerbund. The clip averages 350 lbs of tensile break strengths. The KWIQ clips were easy to work with and did not release unless deployed the correct way. The PC is built with moisture wicking and antimicrobial materials for those demanding conditions our guys are working in.
The CBP is expecting to field the new plate carrier by Summer 2020. If there is anything out there you want us to take a look at, drop it in the comments. Certainly let us know what you think of this new piece of gear as well!