A tactical vest is one of the most useful tools in hunting, military combat or law enforcement work. But, it can be used in a variety of circumstances.
It is designed to be a very high quality, heavy duty vest that can be worn over regular clothing. They are also designed to be as comfortable as possible. A tactical vest is a very versatile tool that offers enhanced protection, while also adding extra storage and much more. The uses of this tool are almost endless. And the options that are available on the market really allow you to customize the vest to fit your needs.
About Tactical Vests
Most tactical vests come standard with a holster for a firearm, room for additional magazines – rather it be a shotgun, semi-automatic, a rifle or something else – ammunition storage and other various things you might need while on a mission.
Tactical vests have more recently started to come standard with many more added perks, such as binoculars, rangefinders and even a GPS. These added features make the tactical vest your go-to tool for all your outdoorsman needs!
A tactical vest provides you with the luxury of having all the gear that you need right in front of your torso, for easy access. This can be important if you need to act fast and will allow you to always ensure that you still have all of your gear with you and have not left anything behind or forgotten it.
The protection offered by a tactical vest varies. Some vests offer impeccable protection, while some are not made for the most protection. If you select one with maximum protection, it can be a lifesaver if you are left in the line of fire. Tactical vests offer high-quality protection against bullets – while no vest can be truly bullet-proof, a tactical vest is just about the closest thing there is to it.
Then, if you are looking for one more for storage use, there are lightweight vests that will still give you some protection and the added storage, but will not be near as efficient in stopping a weapon – such as a bullet from a gun or a knife.
Statistics have shown that added protection, like that which is offered by a tactical vest, can reduce the chances of bodily injury or even death caused by incidents such as stabbings, slash attacks and ballistics.
Tactical vests come in a variety of styles, with a variety of added features to choose from. It is important to look for one that suits your needs and the intended environment that you will be wearing it in. Some vests come with adjustable features, while some do not. Some have more pockets than others and some come with pockets and pouches specifically made for a certain product or type of ammunition.
The material of the vest will also vary based on the intended use. For example, a light tactical vest would not be near as heavy and hot compared to other tactical vests. However, it would also not offer near as much protection. This can be great if you plan to use it in an area with extreme heat.
Tactical vests also come in a light material for other uses, and can be used for sports such as hunting, rather than being used to be on the frontline in combat.
What Are The Different Components Of A Tactical Vest And Related Items?
When searching for this type of gear, do not get confused between a tactical vest, a plate carrier and chest rig, or a modular vest. These products all serve a different purpose and are slightly different. While they all offer similar features, you still want to ensure that you select the best product for your intended uses.
It is essential to understand the differences in these products in order to know what will best fit your needs. Here are the differences in a tactical vest, plate carrier, chest rig and a modular vest:
What Is A Tactical Vest?
As described previously, a tactical vest is used for carrying all your necessary gear. Tactical vests can be used as protection, but they also come in a lighter version that can be used for other activities. They are intended to be more versatile than your typical protective gear.
A tactical vest is lightweight and does not offer a cummerbund that features side protection, therefore leaving your sides exposed to the elements. If you are looking for something to wear for just a light protective barrier, but not something necessarily for military grade protection, then a tactical vest would be a great choice.
What Is A Plate Carrier?
Beware, people will use the term ‘plate carrier’ interchangeably with ‘tactical vest,’ but there is a difference. A plate carrier is more heavy duty. The primary use of a plate carrier is to protect you from getting shot. Unlike the tactical vest, which remains open on either side, the plate carrier actually has a cummerbund on it to protect your sides as well.
Another difference in a plate carrier and a tactical vest is that the plate carrier will not come with all the pockets and places to store weapons. A plate carrier typically features molle straps, allowing you to configure your storage however you would like. Ideally, it is just designed to relieve the stress of some of the gear that you might be carrying.
Plate carriers are designed for heavy ballistics. They are typically designed to be lightweight and comfortable, allowing you to slip them on and off quickly, if needed. They also will fit differently – they will not come all the way done covering your entire torso. A plate carrier will most likely just cover the top portion of your torso, being more so for protection around your heart and upper chest.
The plate carrier was developed for the U.S. Army a an alternative to the tactical vest that they were originally using. It is designed to fit very well and very closely to the body. It is designed to be very versatile and travel with them anywhere. This is an item that is definitely made for combat, in the sense that it is very geared to the soldier.
What Is A Chest Rig?
Chest rigs offer a little more freedom when it comes to the design and placement of your storage. With a chest rig, you can move the storage pockets around. You can also increase the carrying capacity to fit your specific needs.
Unlike the tactical vest, a chest rig is typically more comfortable. It uses lighter, more ventilated material that allows your skin to breath better and the chest rig is not compacting your body during usage.
A chest rig will also look differently than a tactical vest or a plate carrier. While the tactical vest covers your entire torso, and the chest rig covers more of just the top portion of your torso, the chest rig goes across your lower abdomen. It is designed with the look similar to suspenders. It has straps that go over your shoulders, and then it forms a belt around your lower abdomen, with storage pockets going around it.
What Is A Modular Vest?
A modular vest is a military grade vest; therefore, it is designed to withstand more intense scenarios and be more versatile to fit the field of combat. The modular vest is a ballistics vest that was adopted by the United States Marine Corp. It is designed to more accurately distribute the weight amongst the torso of the user.
It is a heavy duty, bulletproof vest. The modular vest is much more complex than just the typical tactical vest, plate carrier or chest rig. It offers much more stability, protection and storage.
The modular vest features a cummerbund style main vest, like the plate carrier, with an added groin covering, lower back and neck and throat protection. This item is definitely designed for war and to be on the frontline. It truly maximizes the amount that it can offer the consumer.
What Materials Are Used?
Not all products use the same material – it varies based on the product, rather it is a police tactical vest carrier, a light tactical vest, body armor tactical vest and so forth.
Developed in the early 1960’s, mainly being pioneered by DuPont, Aramids are man-made synthetic fibers. These Aramids are heat resistant and incredibly strong fibers, great for making durable protective gear. Aramids can be used to create lightweight and flexible bulletproof vests, offering consumers more comfort and range of motion on the job.
A great example of a Para-Aramid is Kevlar, which is used in most bulletproof vests. Kevlar is incredibly useful because it can stop attacks from knives and other weapons, while still being light and comfortable. Now, Kevlar also has the ability to stop both ballistic and stab threats.
Also known as UHMWPE for short, this material is used in most modern types of armor. While it has similar characteristics to Para-Aramids, it is actually a type of polyolefin.
Polyolefin is made up of extremely long chains of polyethylene and can be formed in many different ways. When being made for body armor, it is created through a process used gel-spinning. Gel-spinning creates a gel material. Then, two pieces of the gel material are sealed in a polyethylene film.
The design and use of this material creates a flexible, lightweight and more rigid armor plate. Research has shown that UHMWPE can be up to 40 percent more durable than the traditional Para-Aramids fibers.
Hard Armor Materials
Another material used in tactical vests is hard armor materials – originally, this included metals such as steel. However, nowadays, steel is no longer used after being found to be far too heave and often ineffective.
Currently, hard armor materials used in tactical vest making are things such as ceramics or ceramic composites. But, remember Kevlar from the Para-Aramid’s section? This, or something similar is often still used as a backing for the ceramic or ceramic composites.
Other hard armor materials being used include Polyethylene and Monolithic based hard armor plates. But, these materials are more expensive than ceramic and ceramic composites so they are not used as frequently.
Other Various Materials, Such As Nylon.
Along with the main components that make the vest what it is, as durable and protective as it is, there are a few other smaller materials that go into some parts of the vest. These other odds and ends materials give the vest more flexibility in its fit and make it more comfortable.
Some of these materials include nylon mesh. The nylon mesh allows the material to still be breathable, allowing you to stay cool while still wearing it in an attempt to avoid discomfort and overheating.
Who Uses Tactical Vests?
First, there is the obvious answer to this question. When you think about who would need a tactical vest, you think of someone who needs protection from harm such as bullets or stabbings. Then, you think of who would need to be able to carry gear close to them at all times and be able to easily access any of that gear.
So, you think of a military tactical vest or a police tactical vest. While law enforcement and military personnel do need a tactical vest for obvious reasons, there are other instances where a tactical vest could come in handy.
However, being in the battle field or being part of law enforcement is not the only time that we are exposed to bullets. Tactical vests can be a great asset to a hunter. Each year, people are killed in a hunting accident. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, while hunting, or they were mistaken for the animal that was being hunted.
While hunting, you are wearing typically wearing camouflage, making you a potential target for a stray bullet. A tactical vest is a great tool for hunters to have just for that added peace of mind, just in case they did accidentally find themselves in the line of fire.
In addition to needed the added protection in the event of an accident, hunters could also utilize the extra storage. A light tactical vest with holster offers a hunter added storage for his gun and ammunition. This will free up your hands, while still allowing you to carry around your extra weapons and ammunition needed for your hunting trip.
This is designed to free up your hands, allowing you to aim better and make that kill on the first shot. With the added bonus of easy access to your weapons, a tactical vest could really improve your hunting skills.
But, it also allows you the freedom to roam around more and really hunt your prey. Most hunters have to stay near their stand, or wherever their base is that they are able to set all their ammunition and weapons out at.
A light tactical vest will allow you to keep all of that with you, but without having to carry anything in your hands. You have the freedom to store enough bullets to last you the rest of your hunt, right on your chest.
Next, try thinking outside of the box. There are other instances where you might not have a bullet coming directly at you, but you would still like to be protected.
For example, a paintball player or airsoft player could benefit from a light tactical vest. Even though paintball and airsoft guns are not deadly, they are still painful. But, even more important than protection from the sting that a paintball leaves, the added storage is the top perk. During a game of paintball or airsoft, being able to re-load quickly could be detrimental to your team’s success, or your individual success.
A tactical vest will allow you to keep all your extra ammunition right on your chest. Some companies also sell specific paintball harnesses that are compatible with a tactical vest, so you could even make your personal tactical vest the most efficient for the sport you are using it for.
Some avid survivalists also use tactical vests. Being a survivalist also means you have to be a minimalist. Because you are constantly moving around in nature, you can only hang on to as much as you can carry. A backpack can get heavy and you can only carry so much. A tactical vest can be a great addition to or substitution for a backpack. The pockets on it would be great for a flashlight, knife and other survivalist essentials.
Rather you are going to be out on the field in combat, or out on the paintball field – a tactical vest could come in handy more often than you think. If you are looking for something more for storage than you are for protection, consider just getting a light tactical vest.
It does not have to be heavy and bulletproof, there are vests that are made without ultimate protection in mind. The benefit to getting a lighter one, if you did not need one with as much protection as a heavy duty one would offer, is that it will probably run you a little cheaper on the market because less goes into making it.
What Can You Carry In A Tactical Vest?
With one of the main benefits to owning a tactical vest being the added storage with easy access, you might wonder what exactly you can carry in your tactical vest. The answer is simple, almost anything. Most vests are designed to be very flexible and offer you the option of making the vest your own.
There is a holster for a firearm, and holders for the ammunition so that is definitely something that will most likely be in your storage if you purchase one. Depending on your reason for owning the tactical vest, this will probably determine what exactly it is that you decide to carry in it. Some people carry odds and ends, while others have a very set structure and list as to what goes where.
What you carry will not only depend on what you are doing and where you are going, therefore what you need, but it will also depend on the type of tactical vest that you invest in and what exactly it will hold and is made to carry. Some vests have specialized pockets that are intended for certain things – while you are not required to carry that item in that pocket, that is what it is intended for, therefore that is what will fit the best in there and what will make the most sense.
If you are an avid outdoorsman or survivalist, here are some of the items you might want to carry with you:
A flashlight to guide you through your journey outdoors.
A Swiss Army Knife Or Other Multitool
The jack of all trades for every survivalist. This will cover many bases and offer you a versatile tool that can be used for opening things, hunting food or starting a fire.
Especially if you are going to be spending most of your time deep in the forest, bugs will be surrounding you at all times. This can help protect you from insect bites, which will also help protect you from insect-borne diseases.
A Small First Aid Kit
Chances are, during your wildlife adventures, that you will get a cut, scratch or scrape at some point. Put your tactical vest to good use and keep some healing power in it!
This is one of your greatest tools while you are outdoors and luckily, most tactical vests make a spot just for this! Most tactical vests feature a map/document pocket and it is the perfect placeholder for your map. Keep yourself safe by carrying this in the safety of your vest anytime that it is not being used.
If You Are An Avid Hunter, Consider These Items
This is obviously your most essential tool while hunting and the tactical vest with holster is the perfect place for it! You could also keep a few extra on you. If you are hunting different types of animals, or if you just prefer to use a variety of firearms, look for a vest that offers more than one holster and for different sized firearms.
Your Extra Ammunition
Being able to re-load quickly could be the determining factor to if you get that huge deer or elk, therefore, it is important to keep plenty of ammunition on you and it an easily accessible location.
Some people choose not to wear this at all times, but you should always have one on you. If you aren’t wearing it at the moment, maybe your cleaning that fresh kill, your light tactical vest is a great place to store it!
The woods can be a scary place if you don’t know where you are or where you are going. Keep a map somewhere in your tactical vest to ensure that you don’t end up sleeping out there with the animals that you came to hunt.
In addition to a map, a compass is a great tool for figuring out your location and ensuring that you make it back to camp safely.
This will only apply if you are an avid duck hunter, but if you are, you know the importance of a duck call. With duck calls being fairly small, they can be very easy to lose or to break. Stick one in the pocket of your light tactical vest so that you always know where it’s at when you need it!
While you are out in the elements, it gets hot. It is always every important to take care of yourself first and to keep yourself fully hydrated! Some tactical vests are unique and have an added bonus of a spot for a hydration bladder.
This can be a great way to keep water on you at all times and it is extremely easily accessible. If you think this is something that you would really utilize, be sure to look for one of the unique tactical vests that offer this feature.
Rather you are an avid outdoorsman, a hunter, a paintball pro, enjoy airsoft guns or are involved in a dangerous line of work, such as being a first responder, you could use a light tactical vest.
The safety and storage that it provides is practical for most situations. With the wide variety of materials and styles of vests, be sure you review what each one is best for.
It is important that you get a vest that accommodates your temperature needs, storage needs and protection needs. Most vests are going to be one size fits most, which is a great benefit! This allows you the maximum comfort and allows you to continue to use the vest for years to come because you can continuously to adjust it to best fit you at that time.
This tool is very versatile and a great thing to have on your side! It can really make your sport or your job much easier and consequently, make you more efficient at it.
The tactical vests range in price and brand, so you have plenty of options. Each one offers some of the same basic traits, but some might offer something more specific that will better fit your needs.
To ensure that you are getting the best bang for your buck and the tactical vest that will best fit your needs, check out our buyer’s guide for all the details and specs on the different products offered, technical specs and price ranges. You are guaranteed to make a better decision on your purchase once you are better informed with what the market has to offer.