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My opinion, chest rigs are better because they are lighter. There is no need to wear a plate carrier since we aren't in real combat where we need to carry bulletproof plates to protect us. We can get away with a simple chest rig in most cases.
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First, you're right, the carrying of real plates for protection is not needed. Some choose to use airsoft for training purposes and those people will want to train as they fight and will use the same rig. Some will train with the plates in. For events the use of plates is more of a burden in terms of weight and comfortability. Most of these events last 12 to 30 hours and in my opinion its hard to justify having plates in for that long unless you are preparing for a military deployment.
Plate carriers are also handy in cold environments as it helps keep your core a little warmer. In addition they give you more real estate for mounting equipment that may be needed.
Many of the events I do with my team are in hot and humid environments. While I used to use a plate carrier I have seen the light and converted over to a chest rig. I think it's definitely the best bet in those situations. It allows more air flow, thus more cooling.
I'm a proponent of "less is more". I'll tell my guys to cut every ounce they can. Carry enough magazines and enough water. Cut down in other areas whenever possible.
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