I would like to start the review by saying that 3rd alternative is willing to do a lot of custom work on their equipment and even fulfill fully custom orders, I will however be reviewing the stock product so any shortcomings I might note could potentially be fixed, something you can’t do with most companies or you might not find them shortcomings yourself. In short the 3rd Alternative LPAC is a full coverage plate carrier with the additional capability to use kevlar panels or plates as well as both at the same time. The carrier has a lot of similarities to the Latvian Army issued carriers not just in the resemblance of the TripleX camo which is similar to the new Latvian Multi-LATPAT (the carriers also come in other camo options). The carrier has no PALS webbing and is meant to be used as either a concealed carrier (although it is quite bulkier than say something a patrolman would use and would be hard to conceal under a shirt but would work well with bulkier clothing) or under a chest rig or other load carrier. The carrier can be used as an IJW carrier with non-standalone hard plates along with surround kevlar panels, but of course can be used with standalone plates with kevlar acting as additional coverage and trauma pad
The front of the carrier features a cumberband flap that conceals the secondary cumberband which is elastic and adds a bit of extra comfort to the vest. it also ensures the loop field is covered which if you ever had a bunch of sand, pine needles and other stuff get into your loop compromises its integrity, a problem on a lot of carrier’s of this type that have the loop field uncovered this of course means a bit of extra concealability for those carrier’s, good for police use, but not so much for infantry.
There are two smaller loop fields above the front flap, they are useful for branch and name tapes (or rank tapes in the case of the Latvian military) and you could attach a flag or other similar sized patches on there, but its not very big and is divided which might be a bad thing if you want to add bigger tapes such as police etc. (referrer to the intro of the article, this should be an easy fix if you contact the manufacturer before finishing up your order)
The main cumberband on the carrier is secured at the sides and provides an almost perfect overlap of the kevlar panels (the panel will only go up to the loop portion though) especially if you have sent the company your measurements, which I completely forgot to mention in the intro and won’t go back to do it since you are already here, is an option, the vest will be made to your measurements if you wish.
The shoulders are also adjustable in a similar way, if you wish the kevlar panel to completely cover the gap in the shoulder portion it is achievable, but there is plenty of adjustment otherwise. The adjustment is simply performed by hook and loop pad that connects both plate bags. The shoulders offer enough comfort while not impeding stock placement.
Back of the carrier is featureless and there is really not much I can say about it. You should note some of the quality reinforced stitching right there. You could potentially ask to add some PALS webbing to it, but we are talking about the stock carrier so lets not discuss more of the options. The carrier would be perfect for use in vehicles though.
Now lets look at the inside of the carrier, there is the main section (which is closer to the body) that will accept the kevlar panels. As well as the plate section that is away from the body, which means if you use steel plates (why would you though) you would need them to have spall liner as the kevlar is behind the plate. My biggest gripe with the stock carrier is that the plate pockets are not more universal. If you have a certain plate you are not sure would fit (IJW plates fit best) you should send the measurements of that as well, not a big problem if you only plan to use that one. But it would be an easy fix to make the plate pouches more universal.
The whole inside of the carrier is covered in air mesh fabric that offers good breath-ability, which is a good thing considering if properly sized this carrier covers a lot of your body leaving little room for air to circulate if there was no air mesh. Note that the airmesh perfectly coincides with how much coverage the kevlar panel would have on the carrier, coverage ends where airmesh ends.
The mesh is of the non padded variety, which is not an issue as you are supposed to use it with kevlar panels even though you don’t have to this is where it excels over other carriers that can only be used with a panel the size of the plate. So the kevlar panel would act as the padding for the carrier and the airmesh is just to offer some air circulation.
Overall a very decent all around carrier that will offer plenty coverage from both rounds and shrapnel. Although lacking any carrying ability. For me I see this as a perfect option for armor crews over the typical bulky vests that offer carrying ability that they don’t necessarily need, of course I forgot to mention that the carrier is fire resistant again perfect for crewmen. Not saying it wouldn’t be a good fit well for other applications. They are also available in single tone camouflage options for LEO’s