Introduced in 2016, the Spitfire Plate Carrier by European-based Direct Action is the predecessor to the Mk II released several years later. The Spitfire has many of the original features and functions commonly associated to top tier U.S. manufactured plate carriers today. The carrier is also scalable based on the end-user’s needs for purpose-driven training, or their every-day professional role.
Spitfire Plate Carrier
Made from a blend of 500D Cordura and lightweight laminate nylon, the front and rear carriers of the Spitfire accommodate full-sized SAPI/ESAPI/AR500 plates or any soft armor (all sold separately). Both the front and rear carriers also feature hook-and-loop (female) panels for attaching a variety of accessories and/or identification panels or morale patches.
The front carrier includes a zipper-secured admin pouch (with laser-cut MOLLE webbing slots and a 3” (H) x 5” (L) hook-and-loop (female) field on the exterior), as well as female slide-release buckles for chest rigs, magazine panels, or other associated compatible chest panels. Both sides also include elastic include comms/hydration cuffs for organization.
The rear of the Spitfire features an integrated drag handle and an broad hook-and-loop field (female) for attaching identification panels or morale patches. The Spitfire can be further expanded on mission use thanks to the rear carrier’s two back zippers that are compatible to Crye Precision’s AVS standard plate pouch set or other panels using the Crye YKK #10 zipper pattern.
The interior back panels of the Spitfire are a tweave material with hook-and-loop (female) panels for Spitfire Comfort Pads (not included) if desired.
The cummerbund of the Spitfire features laser-cut MOLLE segments that secure to the front and rear carriers through associated hook-and-loop (male) panels. User’s have the option to exchange these elastic bands with any of the other compatible Spitfire cummerbunds (sold separately) based on user preference or mission needs.
For shoulder straps, the Spitfire has two laminate nylon bands directly anchored into the front carrier, with ABS plastic cinch buckles anchored into the rear carrier. Adjustment is done via the hook-and-loop segments, with an overlapping padded panel to provide comfort and prevent skin abrasion. The padded panels have additional elastic comms/hydration cuffs to keep things organized.
- Size M:
- Chest size up to 47”
- Width: 10.5”
- Height: 13.5”
- Size L:
- Chest size up to 51”
- Width: 10.5”
- Height: 15”
- Size XL:
- Chest size up to 55”
- Width: 11.1”
- Height: 17.05”
The Spitfire is available in a variety of colors to include; Multicam (featured), PenCott Badlands or GreenZone, Adaptive Green and many more.
Spitfire Triple Rifle Magazine Flap
Made from the same lightweight laminate nylon as the Spitfire, the Triple Rifle Magazine Flap (TRMF) is intended to attach to the slide-release buckles and hook-and-loop panels of the Spitfire front carrier.
The TRMF is a low-profile magazine carrier that is divided into three segments and can accommodate full-sized AR/AK rifle magazines while keeping things secure with an associating elastic retention band and pull-tab. Overall, the flap has a dimension of 6.5” (H) x 9.5” (L) x 1.5” (W) that attaches to the front of the Spitfire in lieu of its front-facing cummerbund flap.
The TRMF is available in a variety of colors to include; Multicam (featured), PenCott Badlands or GreenZone, Adaptive Green and many more.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Average (3/5): Made from a variety of components, the Direct Action system evaluated included the following:
- Spitfire Plate Carrier……………………………..($289)
- Spitfire Triple Rifle Magazine Flap…($74.90)
- When evaluated for its cost, most of the evaluated DA products feature the company’s lightweight laminate nylon, which also adds a high degree of abrasion resistance. In comparison, the Spitfire Plate Carrier itself also has a second rendition (the MkII) by Direct Action for $239. However, the Spitfire is most directly compared to Cyre’s JPC ($241), the SMC Plate Carrier ($322) by Grey Ghost Gear, or the PLATEminus ($249) by Blue Force Gear. In all, for its modularity and materials, the Spitfire and other associated accessories all are appropriate (or average) in terms of cost with respect to the overall market for similar products and the materials involved.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): For its comfort; the assembled plate carrier was rather lightweight (with plates added, but not included), and sat very comfortably on the shoulders. There was hook-and-loop (female) sections along the inside of the shoulders, and front/rear carrier panels for additional padding (not included), but it would have been an added improvement to the Spitfire’s comfort factor had it come with those pads or integrated it into the fabric as other brands do. The adjustable cummerbund was easily fine-tuned for torso size, allowed for a comfortable fit around the mid-section, and maintained a slim profile. The TRMF (sold separately) also allowed for easy draw and retained the magazines securely without excess movement during dynamic movement, with the nylon divider material keeping the mouth of the carrier open and readily available as the user drove magazines back home.
- Durability – Average (4/5): The majority of materials behind the Spitfire and its evaluated components were mainly laminate nylon, which is known to have a abrasion resistance greater than 1000D nylon. Moreover, there was extensive bartack and X-pattern stitching noted at key stress points throughout the carrier, cummerbund, and magazine flap. The YKK zippers on the rear panel were likewise reinforced on the adjoining material and ensured a secure hold. The hook-and-loop panels that provided for a majority of the Spitfire’s inserts, joining connections, and adjustment features did hold up over multiple readjustments, with only minimal fraying of material (but within normal expectations). Perhaps the only concern from a durability aspect comes from the minimal amount of laminate nylon on the front carrier that forms the connection between the front carrier and the shoulder straps (a similarity shared with the Mk II). There is only a single layer of fabric between the two, and this will be an area of extreme stress or tension. Direct Action has reassured users that this unique design aspect has never been compromised, and has been extensively evaluated (illustrating the strength of the nylon laminate) in the field. The TRMF itself also shared many of the reinforcement values with bartack and double-line stitching throughout that helped ensure the hook-and-loop material of the placard did not fray nor become compromised.
- Functionality – Excellent (5/5): From its base configuration, the Spitfire had a modular design that allowed for easy exchange of components as needed by the end user. Using the TRMF, or other similar Direct Action chest rig placards, the Spitfire adjusted quickly and easily . The front carrier’s slide-release buckles, and hook-and-loop (female) cummerbund field enabled the carrier to be compatible with a variety of other manufacturer chest rigs, such as placards by Haley Strategic or Spiritus Systems. The inclusion of the YKK-zippers on the back carrier further expanded the role of the Spitfire. Direct Action has an array of back panels available (sold separately), but indeed other Crye-compatible panels also worked. So as a base plate carrier, the Spitfire left the end-user with a lot of room to grow, based on the his or her needs and the mission at hand. Thus, it was evident a lot of forethought went into developing the Spitfire, not only as a design, but with regards to its predecessor the Mk II. Perhaps one design aspect Direct Action may want to consider in future carriers (but not a factor in this evaluation) might be a quick release feature for emergency purposes so that torso access can be gained quickly.
- Weight – Good (4/5): The weight of the Spitfire (and associated TRMF) were overall relatively lightweight, thanks in large part to the laminate nylon material used throughout both. For instance, each component weights approximately:
- Spitfire………………………………………(between 1.37 and 1.50 pounds, size dependent)
- Triple Rifle Magazine Flap…(0.34 pounds)
- This translated to a comfortable feel in the shoulders, even with plates added into the carrier, and while the Spitfire lacked padding in those area the weight was not cumbersome nor distracting. In comparison to other products on the current market using the same lightweight materials, the Spitfire would be most similar to Cyre’s JPC (approx. 1 pounds based on size). Similarly, the Spitfire would also be close to the SMC (1.5 pounds based on size) by Grey Ghost Gear, all of which are quality comparitors to Direct Action products. Still, all three of these lightweight carriers are a far cry away from more traditional plate carriers using traditional nylon or Cordura materials and designs that can weigh as much as five pounds alone (more when soked with water or sweat). So, the Spitfire and its design by Direct Action were within the average weight as compared to the similar, good-performing carriers previously noted. Likewise, the TRMF or MOLLE Panel was well within the average weight for its chosen material.
Overall Rating – Good (20/25)
Product Link: https://us.directactiongear.com
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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