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When we first saw photos of Mayflower Research & Consulting’s Low-Profile Armor Carrier, we were in awe… when we discovered the purpose of the female fastex buckles attached to the front, our jaws dropped!
What we’re reviewing today is a complete package from Mayflower that includes the Low-Profile Armor Carrier with Level IIIA Soft Armor from Velocity Systems and the Mayflower UW Chest Rig (Quick Disconnect).
With the addition of hard armor plates, we feel this combined setup creates the most versatile, modular and lightweight low-vis system available today.
Mayflower R&C proudly uses materials and workmanship that are 100% made in the USA.
Low-Profile Armor Carrier
The most prominent piece of this setup is the Low-Profile Armor Carrier, which provides the ballistic platform to house soft armor, hard armor plates and facilitates the attachment of clip-in chest rigs.
Low-visibility is the overall theme of everything we’ll be reviewing today, and the Low-Profile Armor Carrier is no exception. It does a tremendous job of concealing armor as we’ll show in the videos below.
The use of 500D Cordura throughout the entire carrier aids in concealability by offering lightweight fabric that mitigates telltale printing and bulk commonly associated with carriers using heavier-weight fabrics. Our medium carrier weighed in at 1.1 lbs. (sans armor w/ female fastex buckles attached)
The purpose again behind this system is speed, mobility, concealability, and adaptability. Utilizing some of the other fuller cuts of soft armor such as SPEAR and BALCS would increase the bulk of the system, and take away from it’s intended purpose.
Concealment cut armor still provides adequate protection while minimizing bulk and allowing increased freedom of movement when climbing and running.
As a carrier for PSD or ASOT work the system truly shines. It can be worn under or in-conjunction with indigenous clothing and pass a 5 sec. @ 15 ft. detection test, which means that at a quick glance around 15 ft. you’d never even notice it on.
The carrier features a non-removable 5″ tall elastic cummerbund wrapping with individual adjustment for the right and left. Each side secures to a large 5″ tall loop velcro field by means of a half-moon hook velcro panel and features a small 3/4″ wide tab to aid in removal.
Moving up the carrier yields the removable 1″ female Fastex side-release buckles for the quick attachment of chest rigs. The buckles are ITW-Nexus repair buckles which were originally designed to provide a fast fix in the field for broken sewn-in slide release buckles.
Further above is a large 5″ wide x 3″ tall loop velcro field for patches, IR Flags or unit identifiers.
Shoulder adjustment on the carrier is handled by 2″ wide velcro-backed, color-matched webbing routed through 2″ looplocs towards the rear of the shoulder. This further aids in the low-profile objective of the carrier by only adding 1/8″ of height to the should area.
The webbing shoulder adjustment features small 3/4″ wide tabs like the waist adjustment to aid in removal.
Something we truly appreciate on this carrier are the external plate pockets (front and rear) which make it easy to ditch and don plate armor on the fly without removing the entire carrier and provide additional comfort during long duration wear.
Even with a chest rig clipped into the armor carrier, it’s easy to remove or insert plates.
The hard plates are secured in the external pockets via a velcro tail that works wonderfully and further reduces bulk found in other systems we’ve seen for securing plates.
One last feature of the carrier is the ability to further up-armor with ballistic groin protection. This is done by removable, opposed male and female Fastex slide-release buckles to clip in Mayflower’s Groin Protector Carrier.
This groin protection features seems to run counter to the objective of the armor carrier system, but it’s good to have options.
While we haven’t shot up our Concealment Cut Level IIIA Velocity Systems Soft Armor Panels, they’re NIJ certified and in compliance with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Standard-0101.04 as incorporated by the NIJ 2005 Interim Requirements for Bullet-Resistant Armor.
They also meet or exceed the USASOC Fragmentation requirements and meet or exceed the DEA test protocol.
The front panel measures 14.75″ at the tallest part of the panel and 18.125″ wide. The back panel measure 18.25″ wide x 15.25″ tall. Together the panels weigh in at 3 lbs. 15 oz.
UW Chest Rig
The last item in the Mayflower R&C modular system is the UW Chest Rig. We’re guessing the UW stands for Unconventional Warfare, as this rig truly lives up to that name. It’s definitely not your typical bulky chest rig that weighs a few pounds.
It’s designed to be a lightweight, streamlined, general purpose, mid-sized vest platform that’s just as concealable as the Low-Profile Armor Carrier.
In fact, it aids in maintaining the low-vis of the armor carrier, as it doesn’t require additional bulk is added to the shoulder area when the complete system is worn. The detachable H-Style Harness is removed, and the chest rig is directly attached to the carrier.
Made of 500D Cordura, the UW Chest Rig weighs in at a mere 11.5 ounces! Lightweight is hardly a proper label for this rig, featherweight seems more fitting to us.
The Molle panel of the UW Chest Rig measures 24″ wide by 7″ tall and features three rows of color-matched PALS webbing three rows tall by 16 columns wide. The top row of PALS is contoured with the taper of the panel and only has 12 colums.
On the top of the panel are three 1″ wide elastic loops for routing antennas, comms wires and hydration bladder tubing.
A color-matched 1″ webbing two-point waist strap is secured with Fastex side-release buckles and completely removable.
The shoulder blade area features a 5″ wide x 2″ tall loop velcro field and shoulder straps feature 3/4″ wide webbing strips for additional routing of antennas, comms wires and hydration bladder tubing.
1″ color-matched webbing creates the adjustable straps that secure to the panel underneath the armpits via Fastex side-release buckles.
These armpit connection points are unique because they’re not used when the rig gets attached to the armor carrier. The six-point configuration of the entire UW Chest Rig becomes a four-point attachment when mounted.
When the H-Harness is removed to facilitate the attachment to the armor carrier, the remaining female portion of each unused Fastex side-release buckle gets tucked into a 1″ elastic retention loop behind the chest rig panel.
What’s truly exciting about the possibilities of the UW Chest Rig is the ability to have multiple pre-configured chest rigs set up for attachment to the Low-Profile Armor Carrier and switch them out as dictated by your environment, mission requirements or the continuous changing setting in a PSD/ASOT scenario.
A few comments we’d like to make on the UW Chest Rig are that the waist strap was too long at it’s shortest adjustment to properly secure it over the Low-Profile Armor Carrier. Having a sewn-in adjustment is nice, but doesn’t allow for as much adjustment as it could.
We understand why Mayflower chose to go the sewn-in route on the waist strap though, as it provides a nice way to simply grab the triglides on either side and quickly adjust the length.
Out of necessity we found a great way to make an even quicker method of adjustment for a waist strap. We simply modified a waist strap off of another rig we had lying around that also had male Fastex slide-release buckles on the ends and triglides to anchor the slack.
To make this modification you simply have to unthread the slack on one side of each triglide, double the remaining webbing over and tape a large pull-tab on each side.
By doing this you create a quick-adjust feature in the waist strap. By grasping both tabs with your hands and pulling away from your body, and then in towards your back you can make a nice, tight adjustment to the waist strap.
Check out Video #1 below for a live demonstration of this feature.
In addition to the waist strap, we also ran into the issue of the detachable H-Harness being a bit long. It may have just been torso size of our test dummy, but we had to considerably adjust the armpit webbing straps which lowered the shoulder blade connecting area fairly far down.
It wasn’t anything that caused the rig not to fit, just a note.
One thing we’d love to see with the UW Chest Rig is the ability to open at the top via velcro, in order to store documents/notebooks etc.
That may not be feasible though considering the weight of the 500D Cordura, and needing the male connecting buckles at the top to have all the support they can get.
We’ve spent a lot of time with this Mayflower system over the last few months putting it through the ringer, which included a week long PSD class. It’s held up phenomenally well and truly lived up to its intended purpose and application.
Other than a few sim round splatter stains it cleaned up great for the photos.
Again, we feel that with the addition of hard armor plates, this combined setup creates the most versatile, modular and lightweight low-vis system available today.
The Low-Profile Armor Carrier and UW Chest Rig are available in the following colors: Coyote Brown: 500D solution dyed, Crye Multicam: 500D, ACU: 500D, Black: 500D, Ranger Green: 500D solution dyed.
All Fastex slide-release buckles featured on the carrier and rig are manufactured by ITW-Nexus.
For more information visit Mayflower Research & Consulting.
Photos and Video Review
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Any update as to whether the soft armor and carrier were put through the FBI Body Armor Test Protocol yet?
Great review! Thanks for covering the finer points of this versatile package. I was sold on the SKD PIG Plate Carrier until I read this review. Now I'm on the fence. The Mayflower seems more versatile but one of the most attractive features of the PIG to me is it's high plate position. I was wondering how Mayflower compares. Does the plate ride as high or...? Thanks again for the info.
Fantastic review! In your experience is there anything better on the market currently for this type of role?
Travis, thanks for traveling to the CT SWAT Challenge to see your vests in action by the Warwick Police Department. They are everything an operator is looking for and worked awesome. Great to finally meet you.! Stay safe. Tom
Travis, thanks for traveling to the CT SWAT Challenge to see your vests in action by the Warwick Police Department. They are everything an operator is looking for and worked awesome. Great to finally meet you.! Stay safe.
I gotta get my hands on one of those! I just took a look at their website and the cumberbun has the ability to hold side SAPIs as well. Thanks for the review.
So that's the Gen IV chest rig on there or is the QD? I'm assuming the QD because it doesn't come with pouches and the ones you are showing aren't the same as those shown on the site.
Thanks for sharing your experiences!
Mayflower lists this on their Web site "For our tactical products we use Halotech FR fabric which is tested using the vertical flame ASTMD6143-99 method and is approved for use by NAVAIR and Air Warrior." Looks as if they're already using FR fabric.
To elaborate on some of the comments above...I too have worn the Mayflower Gear in a competitve tactical arena. The rig is extremely well designed and allows for freedom of movement that I have not seen before in a tactical vest. I hope that Mayflower contacts Natick Labs and PEO Soldier to pass along a fire resistant version.
The setup would be an excellent addition to the Army's Air Warrior equipment list. The military/LE communities should take notice of Mayflower and their product development.
To elaborate on some of the comments above...I too have worn the Mayflower Gear in a competitve tactical arena. The rig is extremely well designed and allows for freedom of movement that I have not seen before in a tactical vest. I hope that Mayflower contacts Natick Labs and PEO Soldier to pass along a fire resistant version. The setup would be an excellent addition to the Army's Air Warrior equipment list. The military/LE communities should take notice of Mayflower and their product development.
Henshman, Thanks for sharing your experiences! Mayflower lists this on their Web site "For our tactical products we use Halotech FR fabric which is tested using the vertical flame ASTMD6143-99 method and is approved for use by NAVAIR and Air Warrior." Looks as if they're already using FR fabric.
Most carriers are bulky and start to weight you down after being worn for hours, not this system. After wearing this system over a three day SWAT event, I am convinced this is the best tactical plate carrier on the market!! Comfort is important!!
Great review; thanks. Will stay tuned to see how the velocity panels compare to FBI protocol. No doubt they fit the mayflower carrier perfectly, so if they're 100% aramid or pass Doc's tests, even better.
Mayflower's plate carrier is higher quality, lighter weight, and a less restrictive vest that provides better protection. Wearing this vest has the feel of wearing another piece of clothing, not a piece of ballistic tac gear. There's nothing else you could want from your plate carrier.
After 23 years in the military and 16 years as a police officer assigned to a tactical team, Mayflower simple has designed the BEST vest system I have ever seen!
Myself and 9 other teamates competeted at the Connecticut SWAT Challenge wearing Travis' vests from Mayflower RC. We all agreed it was the best plate system we have ever worn. The range of motion and compact design enhanced our overall speed in 3 days worth of events that involved combinations on running, crawling, climbing walls, fast roping and shooting. It's a great vest with best balance of coverage, wearability and articulation of movement of anything out there right now.
Was just looking at one of these because they look (from the website) really really nice. After seeing this review it gives me a much better idea of the capabilities of this vest. Amazing. This probably just sealed the deal on my xmas present...TO MYSELF!
You guys do possibly the fullest and best reviews of everything. Really. Anyone who wants to start reviewing ANYTHING should take a lesson from you guys. You cover all elements quite thoroughly. Thanks for doing this and informing the community.