The best tactical vest you can find is one which fulfills all of your needs and fits well into your budget. Over the course of this buying guide, we will attempt to list a few of the more important features to look for in your tactical vest as well as giving some background on these life-saving products.
Once we have finished providing a more general overview of these products, we will jump into our reviews of the best tactical vest on the market.
As we are reviewing five separate products, we will try to point out the differences and the pros and cons associated with these choices. Certain models will be more expensive, so they will necessarily feature more extras and better comfort or build quality.
An elevated price, however, does not mean that a product is necessarily superior. We will also take into account value for money as we will be attempting to help you find the best tactical vest for the money.
The first category we will cover about tactical vests is about the features you must look for to ensure that your product is worth the price. As with any other product, there is a certain element of personal preference, so we will only try to give you the objective advantages and disadvantages present in the inclusion or omission of certain features when it comes to getting the best plate carrier you can.
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Best Tactical Vest
Best Plate Carrier
Durability, first and foremost, is by far the main attribute you should look for when shopping for the best tactical vest. Durability is the entire point of a tactical vest, as a fragile vest will certainly not stop a bullet for you. It is for these reasons that tactical vests must undergo a rigorous testing process once they have been manufactured.
Any product that can potentially save your life must be durable enough to withstand abuse.
As a tactical vest would be useless without the necessary durability to stop a bullet, you must ensure that you only attempt to purchase the most durable models of tactical vest. The durability of your vest can be measured in several categories. Type I body armor is manufactured to cope with small caliber pistol and rifle cartridges, namely the .22 LR and the .380 ACP round.
These cartridges tend to feature small bullets with a less substantial amount of power, resulting in a relatively weak transfer of kinetic energy.
The low amount of energy which is transferred by the impact of these smaller caliber projectiles allows the vest to be manufactured with lower tolerances and less dense materials.
These two aspects help greatly reduce the price of your vest and the weight, respectively.
The next category of the best tactical vest is type IIA, which is arguably one of the more common variants of body armor. Type IIA armor helps protect against more common pistol cartridges such as 9mm Parabellum, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.
As the vast majority of publically available firearms tend to use these calibers, type IIA body armor is an excellent mix of effectiveness in stopping bullets and maintaining low weight and cost.
The only downside to wearing type IIA body armor is that it will not stop higher powered pistol cartridges such as magnum loadings of .44 and .357. This is quite unsurprising, and not much of a downside as these calibers are in no way as common as the less powerful pistol cartridges which IIA protects against.
Type II body armor is the next variant of tactical armor which tends to be more common. Type II armor is effective at protecting you from .357 magnum bullets in addition to 9mm, so you will be better protected if you expect to encounter higher-powered handgun cartridges. Type II body armor is certainly effective, but you must decide whether the trade-off regarding portability and price is worth the trade-off in durability.
Type II armor is also very common and simple to find as there was a large number of these vests manufactured to keep up with more powerful handgun cartridges. In addition to being able to defend against .357 magnum, you will find that these vests are further resistant to 9mm rounds from closer than type IIA vests. However, the difference is not very noticeable.
Type IIIA armor is designed to stop all but the most powerful handgun cartridges. It is capable of defending against .44 magnum, .357 magnum and all of the calibers listed in less durable types of body armor.
This is typically the limit for publically available tactical vests as defending against a higher caliber limits you regarding price point and regarding portability.
The next type of body armor which is manufactured is type III. Type III body armor tends to be beyond the civilian market due to it essentially being overkill.
Type III body armor protects against almost all rifle caliber cartridges similar to 7.62 mm NATO ammunition.
Most customers will typically not have to worry about being fired upon by full-size rifle caliber ammunition, so it is rare to see these types of vests available on the civilian market.
Type III body armor tends to also be illegal for sale to civilian customers in certain jurisdictions. This is a reasonable decision as type III body armor tends to be similar to military armor. Type III plating can make for the best tactical vest for resisting higher caliber projectiles, but it is quite rare for someone to fire upon you with a full rifle caliber weapon.
This limits the versatility and effectiveness of your armor as you will be sacrificing affordability and portability for a feature which you may not end up using.
Type IV body armor tends to be made exclusively for the military. You will find that type IV body armor is not effective in defending you from more common calibers because it is designed to defend against armor piercing rifle caliber bullets.
Combine this with the fact that type IV vests are typically not even available in most jurisdictions, and you will come to realize why this is one of the more obscure types of body armor that exists.
As the odds of being shot at with an armor piercing bullet outside of combat are nearly astronomical, you will find that type IV vests would be worthless to most customers outside of collecting purposes. Armor piercing bullets tend to be made to penetrate a few millimeters of steel, so it is quite impressive that a tactical vest which can resist such a powerful bullet exists.
The next aspect to consider before you decide on the best military tactical vest is the level of portability which it features. Of course, there is an inverse correlation between the protection of your vest and how portable it is. Knowing the right vest to purchase comes through a mix of understanding how to balance your protection with your maneuverability.
If you ever find yourself in a sticky situation, you will want to be able to move quickly.
In addition to being able to move more quickly during times of danger, you will find that a lighter, less bulky tactical vest will tend to be easier to wear in a concealed manner.
Ensuring that your vest fits properly beneath your clothes is an excellent way to make sure that you will be comfortable as you wear it.
A lighter vest will also keep you from being fatigued if you end up wearing it over the course of the day.
Keep in mind that you will have to sacrifice some measure of protection if you would rather have portability so concealed tactical vests may be marginally less effective at stopping higher caliber rounds than full tactical vests.
The next aspect to search for when you are shopping for the best tactical vest is to see if it fits within your budget and whether the product is worth the price it is on sale for. Many products tend to be overpriced, and this does not automatically make them superior because they have a higher price than other models.
Often, finding the best tactical vest for the money is a matter of searching through a large variety of different products until you find one that features good construction coupled with reasonable price.
Affordability is one of the aspects that is highly personal when it comes to selecting your product. This is because every customer has a different budget allocated for purchases of this nature. The one unifying aspect in searching for affordability is ensuring that you get what you pay for.
You do not want to spend 400 dollars on a vest which in reality is worth only 100 dollars. The objective is to get the most effective model for the lowest price, and this may sometimes mean cross-checking several different products and investing time into searching for the most effective choices.
It is also important to know how many pockets you would like on your tactical vest and what types of pockets they should be. Many tactical vests feature pockets on both the front and rear for possible plate inserts. Plate inserts highly increase the bulk and weight of your vest but also make it far more resistant to bullets, as long as the bullet hits the plate.
Ballistic plates tend to be rectangular and fit snugly in pockets up against your back and your chest.
Pockets on the best tactical vests on the market tend to be a little more versatile than a simple plate insert.
There are loops for spare magazines, pockets for shotgun shells, first aid packs, and anything you can imagine using in combat.
Depending on your intended use for your best tactical vest, you may or may not find yourself needing these extra pockets.
MOLLE stands for Modular Load-carrying Lightweight Equipment. A MOLLE rig is a set of standardized load bearing equipment and backpacks which are in use with several NATO armed forces. It is seen as a way of ensuring interoperability between the equipment of multiple different armies. MOLLE is also very effective at reducing the stress of carrying a full combat load of equipment or even more.
With the development of MOLLE, it became far easier for soldiers to bring along more and more equipment with them on the field without possibly straining their backs and shoulders or becoming overly fatigued on their way to combat.
In the case of the best tactical vest with holster, the holster may attach to the MOLLE rig, or it may simply be a part of the vest. This varies from model to model. You will want a MOLLE rig on your tactical vest if you envision yourself wearing your body armor and requiring extra load bearing capacity for equipment and backpacks.
One last aspect to consider before making your tactical vest purchase is to see whether you want a tactical vest which can be concealed (worn under your clothing) or a tactical vest which is designed to be worn over your clothing.
The advantage to concealed tactical vests is that they are less obtrusive and you are still capable of wearing your normal, day to day clothes right over them.
Unfortunately, concealable tactical vests tend to be less durable regarding protection against higher caliber projectiles than their unconcealed counterparts.
This is simply due to the concealable vests being smaller and featuring less bullet resistant materials.
This decision comes down to your intended application for you tactical vest, as if you are saving it for emergencies such as home invasions, then a concealable vest would not have much use.
On the other hand, if you plan on wearing this vest on a daily basis, you would probably prefer a concealable model so it is easier to wear everyday clothes over your vest and so it will weigh less and not tire you out over the period that you decide to wear it.
Finding the best tactical vest for your needs is simply a matter of finding one which fits most of the criteria we discussed earlier in this article. If you are looking for the best tactical vest for sale, we promise you that you will very likely find it in this category. Keep in mind that the tactical vests in this category are not bullet resistant, they are simply designed for easy access to equipment and load bearing.
If you are searching for a tactical vest which would be at home in the hands of law enforcement agencies, look no further than the UTG 547 tactical vest. This product is an excellent choice if you plan on bringing a wide variety of extra equipment with you, such as maps, spare magazines or backpacks. While the load bearing system may not be universally compatible like MOLLE, it is still intuitive and effective.
Another excellent part of this vest is its relatively light weight. For the large number of pockets and compartments this vest offers, you will find that the weight is surprisingly manageable, which is a pleasant realization if you have been dealing with heavier vests for some time. It will feel like a literal load off of your back to be able to use a vest which weighs a reasonable amount.
If you are looking for an effective lightweight tactical vest with plenty of extra features, this tactical vest from Yakeda Army Fans is an excellent choice.
Regardless of whether you are purchasing this vest for use while hunting, on the job or simply for airsoft or paintball purposes, you will find that its brilliant construction and a lot of extra features contribute to making this model one of the best tactical vests you will find online.
One of the better features of this vest is the highly breathable fabric which it is made of. Many other tactical vests in the lower price ranges tend to be made of a stiff material which ends up chafing and becoming uncomfortable to wear after an extended period. This is not the case with this model of the tactical vest as you can wear it every day and still feel comfortable.
This is another excellent model of a tactical vest which combines ruggedness with effectiveness in the field. The holster included on the front of this tactical vest makes for a quick and efficient pistol draw in case of a sudden situation. The three ammo pouches also allow you to store different types of ammunition and have quick access to it, as all three of the pouches can be found on the right side of the tactical vest.
This tactical vest can be purchased for just over 60 dollars; this may seem somewhat expensive compared to other models of tactical vests with the same number of pockets and features. The redeeming quality for this price point is the fact that this product features superior build quality to cheaper options.
The Yakeda Army Fans tactical vest is the best option in this category due to the good mix of affordability and extra features which are useful as opposed to being gimmicks.
Plate carriers are different from tactical vests in that they can be used alongside armor plates to make a powerful and effective bullet resistant vest.
This plate carrier vest from Condor Outdoor is an excellent choice if you are looking for a plate carrier which is light and effective. This product is not loaded down with unnecessary extra features; it is simply an effective plate carrier that is designed and built well.
This is the reason for the low price of this model of the plate carrier, which is just over 65 dollars, instead of focusing on a set of pockets which will not see very much use. Condor Outdoor streamlined the design and made it good for its intended purpose as opposed to making this vest into something it could not be.
This model of plate carrier from Crye Precision is quite a unique product. It is a pricier alternative to the previous Condor plate carrier, coming in at just about 250 dollars. If you are in need of a plate carrier that combines simple, yet smart design with a set of comfortable straps and magazine pouches, you will find that this product is the perfect choice for you.
Crye Precision is a renowned manufacturer of tactical gear, and this product will certainly not let you down. There are a few disadvantages, however, but they are minor. One of the few disadvantages is that this vest cannot accept plates larger than medium and sometimes even struggles to support them. If you do not mind using smaller plates, this model will work well for you.
The best plate carrier of these two options is the Crye Precision model. It features better quality and more comfortable straps, but it comes with the downside of a higher price point.
We hope that this review guide has helped you find your ideal tactical vest. Finding the best tactical vest is by no means a hard task, it simply takes a bit of patience and a bit of knowledge about the products.