Last month we ran a review of the Mayflower 30L Summit pack, with a hint that something else was in the works. If you watched the video which accompanied the review, the hint was there as well, in the form of a loaded front placard from the MRC/ Velocity Systems Law Enforcement Plate Carrier (LEPC). The LEPC is closely modeled after the Mayflower’s Assault Plate Carrier (APC), but with a focus on the law enforcement market. What makes this plate carrier truly appealing, is the level of modularity and flexibility with which it can suit a multitude of missions, in any professional environment.
A word about the market itself. For years some of us have trained and preached that modern threats and asymmetrical problems encountered by traditional law enforcement, are anything but. I was one of many instructors annoying the scared and flustered administrators, saying that our patrol officers need to be better trained and better equipped.
Scared, because these administrators knew full well that this had to be done and they were late doing it. Flustered, because too many would prefer to look no further than their cup of coffee, rather than actually work for their cops and do the right thing. This mentality has been changing slowly, but to this day many cops are left with spending their own money on better equipment. And that’s all right.
Budgets are what they are, as long as the polices allow for such acquisition. The need for this equipment and training is clearly beyond any special weapons or tactics. It’s an everyday reality for those working the street. Not to say that the LEPC wouldn’t work well for specialized tactical team. On the contrary.
It can be set up and beefed up to the liking of any Tackleberry. But it compliments the front line, pavement-pounding requirements perfectly. One thing I have seen over the years, is a tendency of many guys to load their kit to the max. This ultimately prohibits agility, speed of movement, accessibility of weapon systems, and even some of the items which the user decided to stock up on in the first place. Not to mention potential safety and training issues.
The cool thing about the LEPC, is that it appears minimalist in design, almost encouraging that the necessities are set up properly. But don’t judge too quickly. The LEPC is full-bodied in function.
The first impression of the carrier is that it is a slick piece of kit. Slick not just in design, but in what it allows you to do while on the move. Much like the rest of the Mayflower products, the LEPC focuses on efficiency of materials, form and function.
It is made from 500 denier nylon, with noticeable reinforcements on the typical contact points, which get more regular wear and tear. It feels light and flexible out of the box. Over the years I became a big fan of the light fighter concept, and a look over the LEPC supports the notion of that preference, and the “smooth is fast” motto.
Multiple configuration options allow the user to purchase desired placard(s) and cummerbund options to customize the LEPC. It can accommodate a slick front low profile PC, MOLLE adoptable platform, a variety of cummerbunds with or without a side plate pocket, and more.
The basic purchase of the carrier is a slick PC, which is able to accommodate plates and identification decals. Such a set-up without a combat load would be conducive to use with a full duty belt typically worn by patrol, or an added chest rig some officers may prefer. Users adding removable front placards of their choice can further customize their own kit. The placards are offered in a variety of magazine and utility pouch configurations. They are described as “a smaller, lighter alternative to a full chest rig… allowing the end user to quickly change weapon systems without removing the rest of the equipment.”
Velocity sent us a 4 magazine placard, described as “Quad 5.56 Swift Clip, GP accessory.” The outside of the pouches is smooth nylon. This not only helps with the low profile or concealed wear, but simply looks good. The placard is a one piece, removable system. It is secured to the main carrier by Velcro, and with two buckles on top.
The buckles are universal, so if you have another set up, placard, issued gear, or simply want the portability of a removable working/combat load, you can do as your needs dictate. I used the kit on the range and in a rural tracking class. The variety of placards or a user-customized MOLLE front, allow it to switch from an active threat response type load, to a more survival stocked, tracking load.
A big plus for me, was the ability to use any type of plate with this carrier. Whether SAPI/ceramic, steel AR500 style, in conjunction with, or soft panels. All fit in nicely, and are able to be secured without flopping around when the kit is in use. A lot of products out there simply have a pocket for the armor, without offering an option to secure it or account for variances in armor thickness or cut. LEPC accomplishes this with double retention via a generous strap inside the plate pocket, and the outer pocket Velcro cover of the carrier itself. A variety of cuts (shooter’s, modified, etc…) are also supported thanks to generous, but not oversized plate pocket.
The LEPC is truly modular. The design does not waste itself on unnecessary buckles, material or straps. It allows for optimal use of the intended real estate. It can be used with the user’s own load out set-up, another placard purchased through Velocity Systems, chest rig or additional pouches. Our Quad Swift Clip placard was comprised of 4 magazine and 3 utility pockets.
The pouches are adjustable, and the bungee retention system will accommodate just about any magazine out there, and certainly any traditional weapon platform magazine. Our utility pouches included a larger front center pocket with an outer velcro platform, and two medium size pockets on each side. These utility pockets will accommodate any number of items.
An IFAK (North American Rescue IPOK or Phokus Research Group works great), can be stuffed into the center pouch. A smoke grenade, flash bang, drag line, compass, bios or an optic, can also be adopted to one of the utility pouches. Tactical Tailor’s Low Vis pistol mag pouch fits nicely behind the rifle mags, and secures in place through the use of LEPC’s velcro.
What has me sold on the high end of this kit is the fact that the placard(s) with your entire load can be removed. Disconnecting two buckles and pulling off the Velcro allows you to switch loads as necessary, or modify your carry options on the fly, as situations may change. It is also ideal for cross-loading, as should be the case with Tactical EMS and Rescue Task Force teams.
Having a patrol bag set up in your squad with two different load configurations is a solid option in that regard. The flexibility of LEPC is limited only by the user’s imagination, or lack of mission. As we say at Spotter Up: Find a way, or make one! A smooth Velcro panel runs across the top portion of both front, and rear panels. I like the clean look of it, and the ability to set up any identification or markings necessary.
What I found really clever and unique is a pocket behind the front Velcro. It will accommodate maps, another flat IFAK, administrative items, and even a small trauma plate.
Because typically law enforcement doesn’t get to play around with these set-ups as much as military, the Mayflower LEPC truly gives the user some options to figure out what configuration would work best. It also allows a dedicated set up based on a collateral duty, such as medic, K9 or team leader.
For those times where agencies limit their officers what they can use because it looks too scary (yeah it happens) or aggressive, the LEPC in its slick set up can look very subtle, but provide every bit of function needed. It comes in every popular color, to meet a variety of uniform needs. The light weight is important not just while using the LEPC, but also before.
The idea behind an active threat response is that things go down in a hurry. The less time it takes to grab a vest, put it on and be in business – the better. Picking up a typical SWAT kit, which is usually heavier, has attached additional components and items, is a much more dedicated process. The time it takes to don the LEPC is also saved with the options afforded by the cummerbund system. Instead of the commonly found acre of Velcro under the front flap to secure or adjust the vest, the LEPC gives you an option do that on either side with about a 7×7 inch square quarter flap.
Velocity describes the quarter flap accessory as “configured with standard front opening, but can also be setup for dual or single quarter flap opening. This allows all chest worn equipment to remain in place when donning/doffing the carrier, and also provides a 6×6 inch side plate pockets and “can be installed under any vest that has a front flap.”
While a full cummerbund option is also available, I do prefer the quarter flaps overall. Velocity sent us a traditional full cummerbund as well, but after years of using similar set-ups, I truly appreciate the quarter flap. In this configuration the LEPC can be pre-staged to use only one side to quickly don and doff the kit. There is ample room for adjustment not just with the amount of Velcro on each side of the cummerbund – left, right, front and back, but also thanks to the elastic material attached. In attached photos it is brown in color.
I was able to get quite a range of adjustment out of this system, and had the provided L/XL vest, comfortably fit someone who typically wears a S/M size. This is pretty handy when a department must purchase a number of vests that have to fit different people at different times. It eliminates the need to size everyone, as each vest can be adjusted by the user prior to hitting the street. There are no extra buckles, straps or unnecessary materials.
End users can purchase their own placards and set the kit up to suit their needs. I should note that both the cummerbund and the vest come with their respective size range. The cummerbund further allow for side plate coverage, if such an option is purchased. This enables detailed customization to the end user. This design focus, based on real-life feedback is what sets Mayflower products apart from many others.
The back of the LEPC has an integrated handle. Unlike some products, and you should find out if yours fits that category, this one is rated for dragging a downed user. It’s actually a drag handle, and not a purse carry strap. Another finely subtle but beautiful detail, is the shoulder strap design. Padded, but not overly stuffed with foam, they are covered with elastic nylon, which is completely sewn. No more worrying about rubbing your chin against velcro or adjusting the shoulder pad cover and then putting a large piece of material over it. Just slide the elastic cover, make your adjustment and slide it back.
You can route hydration tubes, comms cables, or your sling right under the shoulder pad cover, and not worry about it coming out. Reminds me of Eddie Murphy in Naughty Professor: “Spandex! All Spandex!”
The LEPC comes with up to 6 different placard options available for purchase, several cummerbund options, or allows you to use a quarter flap instead. The LEPC will not break the bank of your uniform allowance, and probably isn’t going to set most agency budgets back. On the other hand, when making a purchasing decision and looking at lower cost options, administrators should realize that they are sacrificing a significant amount of quality and customer service if all they want to do is just equip their personnel with something that may work.
I would urge anyone to do their research, before finding out in a real-world environment that things like your kit are worth investing a few extra bucks into. The Mayflower Law
Enforcement Plate Carrier is a light, capable and adoptable system, which functions like a high end plate carrier twice the price. It is made in USA, and perfectly suited for a long term use and abuse in any field environment.
Available in Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large
Colors are Black, Coyote Brown, Desert Digital, Multicam, Wolfgray, Ranger Green
Retails on their website at $200.00