Guide to Correct Fitting Body Armor
Body armor is a critical piece of equipment for law enforcement officers, security guards and military, providing essential protection while on duty. It is crucial that body armor fits correctly to ensure both comfort and maximum effectiveness. In this article, we will guide you through the process of obtaining a proper fit for your body armor. We will also discuss important considerations for rifle plates, including size options, plate cuts, and proper placement.
Getting the Right Fit
Achieving a proper fit for your body armor involves several important factors. Follow these steps to ensure optimal comfort and protection:
Custom Fitting: Custom fitting is highly recommended to ensure your body armor is tailored to your specific body type. A customized fit provides the best balance between mobility and coverage. Avoid excessively loose or tight-fitting armor, as it can impact movement and create gaps that compromise your safety or restrict your breathing in high intensity situations.
Consider Body Changes: Keep in mind that weight fluctuations can affect the fit of your body armor. If you experience significant changes in weight, such as weight loss or gain, you may need to get refitted. Most armor carriers will be able to adjust to fit reasonable weight fluctuations.
Gender-Specific Options: Gender-specific body armor panels available from some manufacturers are designed to provide a better fit for women. These panels are tailored to specific body types, enhancing comfort and overall effectiveness.
Wear Body Armor On and Off Duty: To become more accustomed to your body armor, it is beneficial to wear it when on duty but also when working out or training. Practicing with your armor helps with the adjustment period and ensures that it feels natural and comfortable during duty hours. Soft armor will become more comfortable after your 'break it in'. It will conform to your body and feel more comfortable. If you want to break it in faster, wear it more often.
Proper Maintenance: Properly maintaining your body armor is essential for long-lasting fit and functionality. After cleaning the outer vest and ballistic panels, assemble the vest correctly, ensuring each plate is properly placed to maintain its shape. Hand wash the front, rear, and side ballistic panels and lay them flat to dry. Store the body armor carrier flat to prevent overstretching of the straps and maintain its shape.
Rifle Plates: Rifle plates offer additional protection against high-velocity rounds. Here are some key considerations when it comes to rifle plates:
Plate Sizes: The most common size for rifle plates is 10x12, which fits the majority of individuals. However, alternative sizes such as 8x10 and 11x14 are also available to accommodate different body types and personal preferences.
Plate Cuts: There are two primary plate cut styles: SAPI (Small Arms Protective Insert) and Shooter Cut. SAPI plates have cropped upper corners to allow forward mobility of the arms, while Shooter Cut plates are narrower at the top and have stepper longer crops on the upper corners for improved maneuverability and comfort but they do provide slightly less coverage than SAPI.
Proper Placement: Front plates should be positioned approximately one inch below the collarbone to ensure optimal coverage. Rear plates should sit as high as the carrier allows, providing protection to the vital organs. Select a carrier that positions the rear plate high enough to avoid leaving the lower back vulnerable.
By following these guidelines and considering the specific requirements for rifle plates, you can ensure that your body armor provides the necessary protection while fitting comfortably for extended wear.
Properly fitting body armor is essential to ensure both comfort and maximum protection. By custom fitting your body armor, considering body changes, exploring gender-specific options, wearing it on and off duty, and maintaining it correctly, you can ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
To speak to a body armor specialist, book a free consultation or custom fitting contact us below.