Technical Plate Carrier Review: Strandhögg V3 - First Spear Plate Carrier

Technical Plate Carrier Review: Strandhögg V3 - First Spear Plate Carrier

In January 2012, First Spear debuted the first-ever tactical vest with laser cut slits instead of sewn MOLLE. The launch of this technology ushered in a new era of plate carrier design: away from pure cut-and-sew techniques to the incorporation of lasers. The design philosophy shifted from "add on" to "take away." Plate carrier and load-bearing designs have been different ever since. One cannot step into a team room or trade show anywhere without finding a piece of equipment influenced by this watershed event.

It has been 14 years since First Spear debuted this revolutionary laser-cutting technique. With almost every player in the market now using this construction method, this begs the question: how does First Spears flagship carrier, the Strandhögg V3, compare in the now very crowded world of modern, minimalist plate carriers? Watch above or read on through this installment of Qore Performance INSIGHTS to find out.

For our comprehensive comparison of all the plate carriers we compared last year, check out: Best Plate Carriers of 2024!


For those new to this series, these videos are not traditional "review videos." We started doing them to answer frequently asked customer questions about how to integrate our IceAge Ecosystem of thermoregulation and hydration tools with various plate carriers on the market today. As such, our format is purely empirical. We only present facts: objective and quantitative data supported by instrumentation or documentation as much as possible. While we are imperfect, we go to extraordinary lengths to avoid sharing anything remotely resembling qualitative or subjective information. We do not share conjectures or opinions here. You guys are grown-ups and professionals. Our only goal is to provide you with the information you need to make decisions that help you be the most excellent version of yourself. That is what Building A Superhuman Future® is all about.

Relationship Disclosure

We have never had and do not currently have any business relationship with First Spear. We purchased this Strandhogg V3 at full price.


IceAge Ecosystem Integration

Thermoregulation is the next night vision—something we've been saying since we started the company. As such, integrating our IceAge Ecosystem of thermoregulation and hydration tools is the foundation of this INSIGHTS series.

The Strandhögg is entirely compatible with our IceAge Ecosystem. CATAMARAN works perfectly on the Strandhögg to provide ventilation between the plate bags and your body thanks to the magic of ICEVENTS® Classic Ventilation Pontoons. ICEVENTS® Aero and ICEVENTS® Classic plate carrier shoulder pads also integrate easily with the First Spear Strandhögg. IMS, IMS Versa, and IMS Pro are also easily integrated by any Strandhögg end-user. 

The lack of loop Velcro or MOLLE on the inside of the plate bags also means the Strandhögg is limited to using our IMS/IMS Pro in external hard-cell hydration mode on the rear plate bag only. You won't be able to take advantage of our IMS Pro's conductive thermoregulation capabilities. However, since the Strandhögg works perfectly with our IMS Versa, you can take full advantage of the conductive cooling, heating, and hydration power of ICEPLATE® Curve

IceAge Ecosystem Integration Chart

ICEVENTS® Aero ICEVENTS® Classic ICEVENTS® Classic Ventilation Pontoons IMS
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO®
First Spear Strandhögg V3
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

Few things impact human performance more than weight. Ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain. We've all heard it. We all know it. 

Dry, the First Spear Strandhögg tips the scales at 40.8 ounces or 2.55 pounds. This weight includes the front and rear plate bags, cummerbund, and shoulder shrouds. First Spear does not list the weight of the Strandhögg on their website.

To find out how this weight compares to other carriers like our ICEPLATE EXO® Gen 3, Crye Precision JPC 2.0, Crye Precision AVS, or Shaw Concepts ARC V3, check out our Best Plate Carriers 2024 article and video. This is super interesting stuff, and the guys did a great job putting together the most comprehensive database of plate carrier data we are aware of.

Weight Dry (ounces)
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO® Gen 3 15.2
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
First Spear Strandhögg V3 40.8
Agilite K19 41.6
Crye Precision AVS 48.35

Wet Weight

Does wet weight matter more than dry weight? It depends on your mission. Whether salt water or sweat, the ability of a plate carrier to repel and shed water weight quickly can dramatically impact operator performance. The complete Strandhögg V3 assembly shown here came in at 68.8 ounces wet, compared to a dry weight of 40.8 ounces.

If you have read or watched any of the many previous entries in our Technical Plate Carrier Overview series, you’ll know that our experimental design is simple and is the same for all plate carriers we test in this series: submerge the carrier in water for 60 minutes, remove and hang dry for 60 seconds, and then record the weight. We conduct all of these tests inside our brand-new HQ2 facility in Knoxville, TN, which is climate-controlled to ensure external variables, like sunlight, wind, etc., are absent—our scale is always zeroed to account for the weight of the bin.

Weight Wet (ounces)
Qore Performance ICEPLATE EXO® Gen 3 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
First Spear Strandhögg V3 68.8
Crye Precision AVS 70.95



The First Spear Strandhögg is made out of nylon laminate, nylon webbing, Velcro® hook, Velcro loop, injection molded plastic, and HANK or High Abrasion Neoprene Resistant Kevlar. If HANK sounds familiar to you, that is because it is also found in the yokes on the Crye Precision JPC 2.0 and the laser-cut drink tube routing ports on our IMS.


Thermal Transmittance

What exactly is thermal transmittance, and why should anyone care? What does it have to do with plate carriers?

Thermal transmittance is the transfer of heat through matter. In our case, that matter is the body-facing section of a plate carrier plate bag. If a wall or a plate bag is well-insulated, it will have low thermal transmittance. The low thermal transmittance is ideal for a home, car, or cold weather jacket as it protects you from the elements. If that same wall or plate bag is poorly insulated, it will have high thermal transmittance. High transmittance is ideal for active or athletic apparel: think running clothes, PT gear, combat uniforms, or plate carriers…basically, anything you wear when under heavy athletic exertion where your body needs to dump excess heat generated from the effort. 

Since the kit is already insulating by nature, you want to find gear, especially plate carriers and body armor, with the highest possible thermal transmittance. In other words, you want to find plate carriers and body armor with minimum insulation to allow your body's natural thermoregulation mechanisms to work as efficiently as possible and help you control your body temperature independently of your kit. Preserving this natural function decreases the possibility of you becoming a heat casualty, keeping you in the fight and increasing survivability for you and your team. Some plate carriers, like our ICEPLATE EXO® Gen 3, can augment your body's natural thermoregulation mechanisms, boosting performance. Carriers without this capability can augment their capability with members of our IceAge Ecosystem, such as IMS Pro, IMS Versa, ICEVENTS®, and CATAMARAN.

If you'd like to learn the basic Methods of Heat Transfer and how they apply to your gear, check out the awesome infographics we put together in our INSIGHTS blog article titled 'The Methods of Heat Transfer'.

For all of us super nerds out there who want to know the Experimental Design for our Thermal Transmittance testing, here it is:

  1. FLIR camera surface reading of the body facing side of the plate bags at room temperature.

  2. Place a single ICEPLATE® Curve, fresh out of the freezer, into the same plate bag.

  3. Close the plate bag and place a hard armor plate on top of the plate bag for 30 seconds to simulate the effect of putting on the plate carrier. Use short exposure time to test efficiency, not capacity. 

  4. Remove the Tencate hard armor plate from the surface of the subject plate bag.

  5. Take a new FLIR surface temperature reading.

What do these numbers mean? The smaller the spread between the Initial or Baseline Surface Temperature and the surface reading at room temperature, the lower the Thermal Transmittance of that plate bag. Plate carriers with these readings will trap and retain more heat, making you hotter. The larger the spread between the Initial or Baseline Surface Temperature and the surface reading at room temperature, the higher the Thermal Transmittance of that plate carrier. Plate bags with these larger spreads are better at removing heat to let your body's thermoregulation mechanisms work as naturally as possible. 

The First Spear Strandhögg V3 has a baseline surface temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and an ICEPLATE® Inside surface temperature between 75 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, creating a Thermal Shift of 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.


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˚F
Haley Strategic Thorax 18˚F
Crye Precision SPC 14˚F
Defense Mechanisms MEPC 13˚F
LBT 6094 11 ˚F
Shaw Concepts ARC V2 10-30°F
Ferro Concepts FCPC V5 8.8˚F
Crye Precision AVS 4-9˚F
Velocity Systems SCARAB LT 7˚F
Agilite K-Zero 7˚F
First Spear Strandhögg V3 2-5˚F
Agilite K19 4.7˚F

Unique Features

The Strandhögg features First Spear's patented quick-release system, Tubes Rapid-Release Technology. While this patent is more hardware intensive than the elegantly designed Crye Precision quick-release patent, it results in not only extremely quick don/doff times but also simple reassembly of the Strandhögg V3 after quick-release deployment.

The Strandhögg V3 also features First Spears patented 6/12 Modular Platform Technology and a zippered admin pouch built into the front plate bag.

Attachment Mechanisms

Simple: Velcro, MOLLE, 6/12 Modular Platform Technology. The Strandhögg V3 does not have zipper back panel capability, and it does not have SwiftClip compatibility. 


The Strandhögg V3 is available in Black, Coyote, Manatee Grey, Ranger Green, and MultiCam.

Sizing Adjustability

The Strandhögg cummerbund is available in sizes that range from Small to XXL. The shoulder straps have 4 inches of adjustability.

Plate Bags

The Strandhögg V3 plate bags are available in Small through XL sizes and accommodate SAPI cut plates. Swimmer/Shooter cut plates will also fit inside the Strandhögg V3 plate bags. There is no cinch or tightening system on the Strandhögg V3 plate bags, so the Swimmer/Shooter cut plates could have some play, depending on the specific make/model/geometry you select.

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*
First Spear Strandhögg V3
Small through XL sizes and accommodate SAPI, Swimmer and Shooter cut 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

Country of origin is a critical consideration when selecting a plate carrier. COO is a dependable but not absolute indicator of innovation, quality, and craftsmanship. According to the First Spear website, the COO for the Strandhögg V3 is the USA. First Spear, as of May 23rd 2024, does not provide details on the COO for the materials on the Strandhögg product page.

Country of Origin Comparison Chart

USA Outside of USA
First Spear Strandhögg V3
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


Price is the least important consideration when selecting your plate carrier because we are discussing life-preserving equipment here. That said, the Strandhögg V3 is listed at $655.99 on the First Spear website as of May 23, 2024.

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
First Spear Strandhögg V3 $655.99


That's wraps up the Strandhögg V3 technical overview. We hope you enjoyed it and that it was helpful. How do you think Strandhögg stacks up against the competition in today's market? Let us know in the comments below.

If you're looking to see the latest in all-aspect thermoregulation, don't forget to follow us on Instagram at @qoreperformance and subscribe to our LaunchPad email list to join us in Building A Superhuman Future.

Until next time: #StayFrosty

About Qore Performance

For those of you who are new to Qore Performance, we live for Building A Superhuman Future®. It is why we exist. We help customers be the greatest version of themselves, to create competitive advantages where none previously existed. We design, build, and manufacture thermoregulation and hydration solutions that weaponize temperature to improve performance and survivability for military, law enforcement, prepared citizens, pilots, outdoor enthusiasts, and industrial professionals at America’s greatest companies. If you’ve purchased chicken or coffee from a drive thru in the United States, there is a high probability you’ve seen our ICEVEST HiVis Safety Vests, our ICECASE iPad Cooling cases or both in use while rolling through one of these corporate powerhouses.

Check out our SAFETY + DEVICES Collection.


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