How to Measure For Armor Sizing

One of the questions we often get is how to measure yourself to get the right size plate. The natural inclination is to get the largest size you can for the extra protection they offer.

Protection, weight/mobility, or price. Choose two.

All armor is a trade-off between protection, weight/mobility, and price. Leaving out price for the moment, the larger the plate, the heavier it will be. Getting a plate larger than you need can also interfere with mobility (moving your arms, more weight to slow you down), and can jam the plate up into your throat as you sit.

AR500 Armor offers three sizes of steel-core armor plates from which to choose: 

  • 9” x 9” (228.6 mm), which is only available in our Freeman armor package
  • 10” x 12” (254 x 305 mm)
  • 11" x 14" (279.4 x 355.6 mm) 

Measuring yourself

How to measure for your plates:

  1. Measure across your chest from nipple to nipple to get your width.
  2. Measure from your sternum notch (the very top of your sternum) to your belly button. Subtract about 2”-3” (51-76 mm) to get the height.

These measurements will give you the best idea of the plate size you should use.

Generally speaking

  • People shorter than 5’2” (157.5 cm) will be best suited with 9” x 9” or 8” x 10” plates.
  • People taller than 5’2” under 6’3” (190.5 cm) will best be suited with 10" x 12" plates.
  • People taller than 6’3” can readily employ 11x14 (280x356). The larger plates are heavier by about 3 lbs / 1.36kg, so some larger individuals might make a conscious decision to run a smaller, lighter plate and the trade-off of some protection at the bottom of the plate.

Next, which carrier?

  • Our 9” x 9” Freeman plates are only sold as part of the Freeman armor package
  • The rest of our carriers — the Veritas and Veritas Lite, the Invictus, the Guardian/Guardian Lite, the Valkyrie and the new AR Indepence — will only hold 10” x 12” plates.
  • If you’re running 11” x 14” plates, you have only one option from AR500, the Testudo Gen 2.0 series plate carrier. The Testudo and Testudo Lite will accommodate both 11” x 14” and 10” x 12” sized plates.
  • Our AR Concealment Carrier currently accommodates 10" x 12" soft-armor panels. It isn't designed to hold hard armor plates.

For further information on how to size and wear a plate carrier, and what plates are designed to protect, this video should provide some instruction.

If you’ve further questions, please contact our Customer Support team.