For the first responder on the scene, the CRITICALRESPONSE Kit is a lightweight, low cost one-size-fits-all carrier with NIJ Level IV ballistic plates in front and back. Keep one in the back of the patrol unit for quick access in emergencies.
NTOA Member Tested and Recommended
With reviews from four different NTOA members, the Propper Kinetic Pants received their seal of approval garnering an overall score of 4.64 out of a possible 5 with its design, performance, and durability praised across the board.
The Critical Response Kit, with HESCO plates, is a good option for a quick response vest that can easily be stored on the floor of a car or even under a seat. The carrying bag is durable and compact with simple carrying handles. The vest itself is easy to put on and size with the Velcro shoulder straps and the adjustable nylon side straps with hard plastic clips. As with any plate carrier the protection provided is only the dimensions of the plates themselves, which in this case are the HESCO, Model 4400 plates that are approximately 12" by 10". The plates are inserted into the plate carrier easily and held very securely with Velcro. The plates themselves have zero movement within the carrier. There are Molle loops on the front and back of the carrier to provide for accessories to be carried. However, the Critical Response Kit does not come with a cummerbund so the Molle storage is limited to the front and back. In addition, without the cummerbund or any Velcro side straps it is difficult to get a tight fit with this kit. Because of this there is a lot of movement with the kit both side to side as well as bounce when running or jogging and when moving in general. Although the plastic clips are simple to lock and unlock, the vinyl strap and clip assembly is not as easy to tighten. Overall, the Critical Response Kit is very durable, extremely portable and storable in a vehicle for quick access.
When the Propper plate carrier or Critical Response Kit arrived, it was complete with a carrying case and high visibility “Police” patches. The initial quality, out of the box, was excellent. The carrier is of high quality construction, with heavy duty polymer buckles and lots of Molle attachments front and back. It needed no instructions on how to load and deploy it. One drawback to this particular carrier is that it does not have a quick way to adjust the straps around the waist. Once you have it set at a specific size, it takes a bit of time to adjust. Initially I had the size set for patrol, where I would simply don it over my uniform and soft vest. This is quite easy to do as long as you pre-load the vest with the shorter straps to the front. If you leave the longer side of the straps to the rear you are fishing for them and wasting time. I found when I went to wear the carrier over just a t-shirt it was not quick and easy to adjust the waist. Another drawback I found are the shoulder straps. I am 5'11" and 190 pounds with an athletic build. I found these straps did not have much wiggle room to expand. If you are much bigger than I am, you will have a hard time getting the plates to cover where they are intended. I found this carrier to be very comfortable. It has a comfy mesh backer that is quite spongy and provides comfort and breathability. I wore this carrier with some very heavy level IV plates during our annual SWAT PT Exam. The test is a quarter mile sprint with 60 second rest, then 35 pound farmer carry for 50 yards, 10 burpees, 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, 10 ground to overhead raises with the weight, farmer carry the weight back 50 yards and repeat the burpees, sit-ups, push-ups and ground to overhead raises, rest 60 seconds then finish with another quarter mile sprint. Once I got the carrier cinched down to the right size, I found it almost non-existent because it was so comfortable; even with 20 pounds of plates on board. If I had the opportunity to re-design this particular unit, I would make the shoulder straps a bit longer for more adjustment, make the waist straps elastic so they can adjust easily when you need it for different applications and add a bit more Velcro to the front and back for department identification patches etc. I would recommend this product to anyone on a budget who does not have a plate carrier for patrol. After testing, the Propper Critical Response Kit appears to be very durable and built to last; a good entry level carrier that anyone who responds to radio calls should have at arm’s reach.
The Critical Response Kit came with a carrier, and two ballistics plates from HESCO. The kit weighed in at 17 lbs. even. The HESCO plates were NIJ 0101.06 IV. The kit also comes with its own carry bag that I found nice but would be impractical for a quick response. High stress and small zippers don't usually go well with one another. The carrier is very basic and would fill the needs of any quick response. I found the straps to be a little narrow and they dug in after about an hour of wear. I would like to see maybe some extra padding in this location. The Molle exterior is great for attaching mag pouches etc. The HESCO plates have a polly front and can feel the give. I thought this would possibly lighten them up, but at almost eight lbs. per plate, they seem to run with the average level IV plates. All in all this would be a good patrol plate system for the squad. I would avoid using the carry bag if this is used as a Quick Response Kit. The Velcro shoulder straps and side buckle system make it easily adjustable. I am 6'2" and 195 lbs. I gave this to one of the guys on my team to try. He is 5'8", around 220 lbs. All that was needed was a very quick adjustment. All in all, I would endorse this product as long as the price point was right.
I have been using the Propper Critical Response Kit for a few months. Propper has a solid reputation and this product didn't disappoint. It's designed to be able to grab it and go and be the first responder on scene. It features a sturdy carrying case. The case has a Velcro patch on one side to affix a label of your choice. The kit comes with two Velcro ID placards that you can choose from. It has two handles and a double zipper. I'm a big fan of the double zipper; it makes things a bit easier. It is a one size fits all product. It took some tinkering but once adjusted you should be good to go. There is a shoulder pad option that I did not take advantage of. There are also easily adjustable and easily releasable straps on either side. The shoulder straps are easily adjusted and comfortable. The interior of the vest is made to help ventilate and release your body heat. My kit came with the NIJ Level IV ballistic plates, front and back. They both fit snug and securely within the vest. The kit also has webbing on the front and back so securing magazine pouches, first aid kits, etc. is very easy. With the plates, the vest weighs about 25 pounds. Once stored within the carrying case this kit is easily transported and stored. Overall a solid product from Propper.
- Comes standard with two NIJ Level IV responder plates
- Fully-adjustable shoulder and side straps
- Fits NIJ Level IV ballistic plates front and back
- Comes with carrying bag
- Front and back loop fields for identification
- Includes two ID placards with your choice of lettering
- One size fits all
- NTOA member tested and approved
- Level III or Level IV plates
- Shoulder Pads