Technical Plate Carrier Review and Setup: AC1 Plate Carrier from T.REX Arms

Technical Plate Carrier Review and Setup: AC1 Plate Carrier from T.REX Arms

The AC1 Minimalist Plate Carrier is a part of T.REX Arms mission statement to Inspire, Educate and Equip serious citizens. Released in late 2020, the AC1 was intended to scale to an individual’s needs from a low profile setup, to an overt (but not full duty, there is a big difference) loadout as required. T.REX Arms has had an undeniable cultural impact in proliferating the concept of a highly trained civilian populace, but how does the AC1 hold up against the many other plate carrier offerings on the market today? Stay tuned to this installment of Qore Performance INSIGHTS to find out.


IceAge Ecosystem Integration

Thermoregulation is the genesis of our INSIGHTS series due to the monumental impact core body temperature has on human performance, so we’ll be starting with IceAge Ecosystem integration on the AC1. The AC1 lacks the Velcro Loop found on other plate carriers like our ICEPLATE EXO®, the Shaw Concepts ARC V2, or the Crye Precision AVS, needed to readily add ICEVENTS® to the interior of the plate bags to dramatically improve airflow, provide stand-off ventilation and promote evaporative cooling. Instead, the AC1 opts to use a thin strip of spacer mesh along the center of the front and rear plate bags. If you haven’t already seen it, we have a detailed article on the performance characteristics of spacer mesh on our INSIGHTS blog here. While the AC1 does come with what T.REX calls ‘Low profile’ Shoulder pads, the padding seems to be a very thin foam. Fortunately, both ICEVENTS® Aero and ICEVENTS Classic Shoulder Pads can easily be added to the AC1 for continuous airflow under load and greater long term wear comfort, while keeping the shoulders straps slim. Finally, our ICEPLATE® Curve cooling, heating and hydration powerhouse can be integrated internally via our new IMS VERSA.

IceAge Ecosystem Integration Comparison Chart

ICEVENTS® Aero ICEVENTS® Classic ICEVENTS® Classic Ventilation Pontoons IMS
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO®
Crye Precision AVS  
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5
Crye Precision SPC
Crye Precision JPC 2.0
Spiritus Systems LV-119
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT
Agilite K19      
Shaw Concepts ARC V2
Defense Mechanisms MEPC
LBT 6094
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6
Haley Strategic Thorax
T.REX Arms AC1


Dry Weight

Following temperature and environmental conditions, weight is the next biggest factor impacting human capability. The AC1 weighs 17.05 oz dry in Size Medium with cummerbund and no placard or additional pouches. This comes the closest amongst the Plate Carriers we’ve tested so far to our ICEPLATE EXO® at 12.9 ounces (Side Strap configuration) or 16 oz (MOLLE Cummerbund configuration) dry. 

Weight Dry (ounces)
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO® 16
T.REX Arms AC1 17.05
Haley Strategic Thorax 20.80
Crye Precision SPC 21.15
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5 21.6
Crye Precision JPC 2.0 22.95
Spiritus Systems LV-119 23
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6 23.4
Defense Mechanisms MEPC 23.9
Agilite K-Zero 30.65
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT 33.25
LBT 6094 38.85
Shaw Concepts ARC V2 39.75
Agilite K19 41.6
Crye Precision AVS 48.35

Wet Weight

Wet, the carrier’s weight remains comparable, with the AC1 coming in at 26.65 oz, just 0.15 oz heavier than the ICEPLATE EXO® wet at 26.5 oz in MOLLE Cummerbund configuration. Even though the AC1 is designed with prepared civilians in mind and not built to be a full duty military plate carrier, these are impressive results to be sure. For full details on how other Plate Carriers compare, check out our Best Plate Carriers of 2023 video and/or IceAge Insights Article by the same name.

Weight Wet (ounces)
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO® 26.5
T.REX Arms AC1 26.65
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5 31.5
Spiritus Systems LV-119 32.4
Crye Precision SPC 34.9
Crye Precision JPC 2.0 39.6
Defense Mechanisms MEPC 40.25
Haley Strategic Thorax 45.40
Agilite K-Zero 47.50
Shaw Concepts ARC V2 60.7
Agilite K19 62.8
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT 66.3
LBT 6094 68.75
Crye Precision AVS 70.95



The AC1 was intended to equip as many serious citizens as possible with the means to wear body armor. With mass proliferation in mind, it’s worth analyzing the materials used to construct a Plate Carrier intended for the modern day minute man. These materials are largely very conventional choices popular amongst manufacturers: Nylon, hook and loop, laminate, tweave, elastic and spacer mesh. If you’d like to learn more about the use of spacer mesh in plate carriers and the science behind it, click here.


Thermal Transmittance: 

Thermal Transmittance is the transfer of heat through matter. For our purposes, the matter through which the heat is being transferred is the body facing portion of the plate bags. Since kit is already insulating by nature, to defeat heat exhaustion, you want to find Plate Carriers and body armor with the highest possible thermal transmittance, in other words, the least amount of insulation.

Our baseline thermal reading for the AC1 in a temperature controlled environment with ballistic plate installed comes out to 75 degrees fahrenheit. After inserting a frozen ICEPLATE® Curve, the average temperature was 47 degrees fahrenheit, or a Thermal Transmittance of 28 degrees.

This is an impressive performance by the AC1. In fact, the AC1 out-performed every other plate carrier in our 2023 testing except our ICEPLATE EXO®. Let’s take a look at where the AC1 would have ranked had it been in our 2023 and 2024 testing lineup: 

Thermal Shift
(Big Numbers = Good, Small Numbers = Bad)
Qore Performance
T.REX Arms AC1 28˚F
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6 25˚F
Crye Precision JPC 2.0 20.9˚F
Spiritus Systems LV-119 18.0˚F
Haley Strategic Thorax 18.0˚F
Crye Precision SPC 14.0˚F
Defense Mechanisms MEPC 13.0˚F
LBT 6094 11.0 ˚F
Shaw Concepts ARC V2 10-30°F
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5 8.8˚F
Crye Precision AVS 4.0-9.0˚F
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT 7.0˚F
Agilite K-Zero 7.0˚F
Agilite K19 4.7˚F

So what does that mean? For those unfamiliar with our previous technical reviews, and to break it down for the non-nerds out there, the smaller the number between the baseline surface temperature and the ICEPLATE ® inside surface temperature, the lower the thermal transmittance of that plate bag. The worse the carrier is at expelling heat from the interface between your body and the plate carrier. Conversely, the larger the thermal transmittance number the more efficient the plate carrier is at expelling heat from your body carrier interface. To really simplify: Smaller numbers mean you run hotter, bigger numbers mean you run cooler.

In the data we are about to present, the smaller the Thermal Transmittance number, the worse the carrier is at expelling heat from the interface between your body and the plate carrier. The larger the Thermal Transmittance number, the more efficient the plate carrier is at expelling heat from your body/carrier interface. In other words, smaller numbers mean you run hotter; bigger numbers mean you run cooler. When it comes to Thermal Transmittance, big numbers are good.

Unique Features:

Primarily, the AC1 excels as a minimalist slick design for emergency and quick access civilian use. The AC1 features a utilitarian elastic cummerbund that is 4” high and has six open top pouches total. Two 2.5” pouches, two 3” pouches and two 4” pouches. The 2” pouches can fit small radios and tourniquets, the 3” pouches can fit 5.56 mags, and the 4” pouches can fit .308 mags and larger medical supplies. A feature that allows newer shooters ready access to a useful plate carrier without the need to purchase and experiment with many different pouches, while also keeping the carrier slick when these pouches are empty.

Attachment Mechanisms:

The AC1 firmly places itself within the minimalist carrier category with the lack of MOLLE on the plate bags. This is partly how the AC1 achieves the desired price point below $200 as MOLLE is expensive to create. Instead, the AC1 opts to use Swift Clips or G Hooks to mount placards on the front and limited Hook and Loop panels elsewhere.


For colors and camo patterns, the AC1 comes in Multicam, Multicam Arid, Ranger Green, Wolf Grey and Black.

Sizing Adjustability:

The three sizes the AC1 comes in feature varying levels of adjustability based on torso measurements:

- Small adjusts from 30” to 56”
- Medium adjusts from 32” to 58”
- Large adjusts from 34” to 60”.


Plate Bags

For sizes, the AC1 is available for Small Plates, Medium Plates and Large Plates. T.REX Arms breaks this down on the AC1 product page with both SAPI sizing, Single or Multi-Curve Shooter or Swimmer Plate Sizing and a separate chart for various HESCO Plate sizing.

SAPI ESAPI Swimmer Additional Notes
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO®
9.5" x 12.5" up to 1.1" for Medium ESAPI armor plates.
10" x 12" and 10" x 12" Shooter Cut up to 1.1" thick for Medium SAPI plates*
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5
M & L plates up to 1" thick
Crye Precision SPC
  Specific Model S-XL
Crye Precision AVS
  Specific Model S-XL
Crye Precision JPC 2.0
Agilite K19
  All 10x12 plates up to 1.5" thick
Agilite K-Zero
Accommodates 10x12, SAPI Medium, or SAPI Large armor plates.
Spiritus Systems LV-119
    M-XL up to 1.2" thick
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT  
  S-XL up to 1" thick
Shaw Concepts 


S-M size fits Small and Medium SAPI Plates while the L-XL fits Large and Extra Large SAPI Plates. 

Defense Mechanisms MEPC


LBT 6094
S-XL up to Level IV Thickness
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6
S-XL. Cut for ESAPI or SPEAR armor plate geometries.
Haley Strategic Thorax
T.REX Arms AC1
For sizes, the AC1 is available for Small Plates, Medium Plates and Large Plates. T.REX Arms breaks this down on the AC1 product page with both SAPI sizing, Single or Multi-Curve Shooter or Swimmer Plate Sizing and a separate chart for various HESCO Plate sizing.

*Use of 10" x 12" Medium Shooter Cut Armor Plates thinner than 1.1" may require sewing additional Velcro fields to the bottom plate retention flap.

Country of Origin:

The Country of Origin or COO as it is sometimes abbreviated is a dependable indicator of factors competent consumers should be aware of. Those factors being: Innovation, quality and craftsmanship.

The AC1 has an interesting history, with an earlier release humorously named ‘The AC-Uno’ due to a mishap with a third party manufacturer building AC1’s in Mexico, contrary to T.REX Arms contract with this third party to have them be entirely ‘Berry Compliant’, a.k.a., Made entirely in the USA by American owned manufacturers. These AC-Uno’s were sold at a discount and marketing made it very clear what the customer was getting.

Interestingly following this mishap, as of the release of this video, T.REX Arms do not have any overt mention of the current AC1 being Berry Compliant on the product page. However, after reaching out to the T.REX Arms team via email, they responded to us within one business day assuring us that despite past issues, the AC1 is now Made in the USA and Berry Compliant.

Country of Origin Comparison Chart

USA Outside of USA
Crye Precision SPC
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5
Crye Precision JPC 2.0
Crye Precision AVS
Spiritus Systems LV-119
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO®
Agilite K19  
Agilite K-Zero
Shaw Concepts ARC V2
Defense Mechanisms MEPC
LBT 6094
T.REX Arms AC1
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6
Haley Strategic Thorax


The final data point is price. The AC1 without any additional components is a very affordable $160 to $165, with solid colors costing less, and Multicam a slight premium. When we compare this with other plate carriers on the market, we see that this price point is very much in line with the previously mentioned mission statement of T.REX Arms: To Inspire, Educate and Equip serious citizens. We will offer the caveat that for a full load bearing plate carrier setup, the AC1 may disappoint with the lack of a structural cummerbund, stiff composite materials, load-bearing shoulder pads, hydration integration or organic thermoregulation. However, it is important to note that these are characteristics of full-duty plate carriers. The AC1 is built for the modern day minuteman. Prudence dictates you should take all relevant data for the intended use case when deciding what plate carrier is right for you.

Price Extras
T.REX Arms AC1 $85.90 - $160.00
Crye Precision JPC 2.0 $241.90 AVS Detachable Flap MOLLE $41.10
Crye Precision SPC $252.00 AVS Flap M4 $101.00, Airlite Detachable Flap MOLLE $29.60
Agilite K-Zero $279.00
Spiritus Systems LV-119 $283.35 Placard 5.56 $59.95
Agilite K19 $289.00 Pincer Placard $69.90
Blue Force Gear PLATEminus 6 $299.95
Defense Mechanisms MEPC $300.00 Cummerbund options priced from $50 to $175
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT $338.00 Quad SwiftClip Placard $90.00
Haley Strategic Thorax $369.00
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5 $385.00 Kangaroo Front Flap $50.00
LBT 6094G
(Modular Plate Carrier)
Crye Precision AVS $661.40 AVS Detachable Flap M4 $60.80
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO® $500.00 IMS Pro Combo $165
Shaw Concepts ARC V2
ARC Placard V3 $55, RAM Elastic Insert $30


That’s all we have on the T.REX Arms AC1, but be sure to check out our other videos in our 

IceAge INSIGHTS Technical review series covering both plate carriers and gun belts as well as our INSIGHTS articles. Before we go, we would love to hear from you in the comments below if you own an AC1, what do you like or dislike about the carrier or what other Plate Carriers you would like to see us do a technical review of? Be sure to subscribe to our channel for more technical gear reviews and knowledge drops to help us realize our vision for Building A Superhuman Future®.

Until next time: #StayFrosty 


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