I've been playing Escape from Tarkov for almost a year and a half, have played through 4 wipes starting from scratch and this is my opinion on the best loadout for a PMC that only has access to level 1 traders.
As a Level 1 PMC we're not looking to get into gunfights with high level geared guys. We want to farm scavs, and collect loot, and complete quests. All my gear choices are basically designed to give you the best survivability against Scavs but also give you an OK chance at getting a player kill.
HELMET / ARMOR / BACKPACK
Ragman is your armor, chest rig, and helmet guy.
SSh-68 helmet (1968 steel helmet) - This helmet provides level 3 protection and has a high chance to ricochet rounds. So even if you have a highly geared guy using the best ammo shoot you in the head, that round has a high chance to ricochet.
PACA Soft Armor - Provides level 2 armor, this won't stop most of the rounds players will be using, but it will give you good chance against Scavs. Also because it is a low level armor there is a very high chance you will get it back from Insurance.
Tactical Sling Bag - I generally prefer to use the largest backpack available to me, but as a level 1 this is your only choice for a bag. You can get the MBSS bag but that requires a barter trade. This sling bag gets you in the game, but if you find a Scav with a bigger backpack, kill him and take the bigger bag.
Scav Vest - The most basic chest rig you can get, but we don't need a ton of room as we're just going to carry ammo and some medical supplies.
GUNS / AMMO
SKS - 7.62mm 10-round semi auto rifle. This rifle paired with the 7.62 PS ammo can one shot level 3 face shields and penetrate level 4+ armor in a few shots. With this weapon you have an excellent chance at killing even some level 20+ mid tier players. You also have a very good chance of getting this weapon back from insurance, it can't have sights attached to it, it's not worth a lot in resale value, and most importantly it can't be folded (hard to fit in a backpack).
7.62 PS Ammo - Bring around 60 rounds and just store them in your pockets. The SKS can be top loaded so there's no need for spare magazines.
PAINKILLERS / MEDKITS / SPLINTS
Painkillers - 1 Pack of painkillers is 4 doses that last 2min per dose. You may need these if you break a leg, they will allow you to at least walk normal speed instead of just hobbling around.
AI-2 Medkit - These don't stop bleeds, but they do restore up to 100 HP and are very quick to apply. Bring 2 medkits.
CAR Medkit - Can stop bleeds and will restore up to 220 HP.
Splint - 1 Time Use, and it can repair a broken leg or broken arm. After the limb is repaired you will not need painkillers to move at normal walking speed.
Total Cost of Kit - 89,412 Roubles