Warriors wear tactical vests during battle, but they’re also now utilized by the general public when going out hunting, shooting on the range, and paintballing.

The design of many commercially sold vests aims to look like something resembling the ones that the armed forces use. A similarly adaptable MOLLE system (MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) allows the wearer of the vest to add pouches and other extras to the apparel in a position of their choosing.

These garments are created using absorbent fabric with strips that alternate a flat surface with a looped one. Added MOLLE pouches pass straps through the loops sewn into the material of the garment to affix items to it. Backpacks use the same modular design principles for optimal efficiency of space.

Velcro is one of the main components of a tactical vest design. It is useful for the positioning of straps to be well considered to make them more reachable by the wearer. Side bolsters help wearers tweak the fit, but are not necessarily easy to reach around and adjust. Shoulder straps are also not placed consistently between each type of tactical vest, so the purchaser should take a look at the image of the garment to confirm that they’ll be happy with the strap positions before making their purchase.

With paintball players, one of the benefits of wearing a tactical vest is because it can help to absorb some of the impacts of the paintballs striking them. Paintballs get fired at such velocity that it stings when the ball hits the body and quite often leaves a bruise that takes several days to disappear. An effective vest can minimize or remove the bruising entirely when a paintball impacts an area of the body that the vest is already covering. Depending on the pocket design on the vest, smaller paintballs can be stored in some of the integral pouches.

Plate armor can be slotted inside the front of this protective gear, when the design allows for it, reducing the potential damage caused by a close impact from a paintball. If this is one of the goals of a purchase of a vest, then it is best to choose one that can fit the type of plastic or steel plate one wishes to buy with it.

What’s Included with The Best Tactical Vest

Modern tactical vests usually come in several colors. The best of these are classic khaki or green, black and ACU.

Most vests will fit the 100 ball pods, which are the smaller paintballs, in the pouches or pockets. A good product will have many pockets to choose between when storing the gear.

Depending on the brand, some tactical vest will be paintball-specific whereas others will be more generic and also suitable for hunting, and other varied outdoor activities. The change in pocket layout, the size and overall design of any tactical vest will depend on what its purpose is.

There should be plenty of Velcro straps and patches to stick them down. Make sure that the position of the straps is to the liking of the person who will be wearing the vest.

What to Know Before Making a Purchase

Tactical vests are sized quite differently both for either men or women, and children of various ages. It is not a good idea to pick a size that isn’t right for the intended wearer, cross the fingers, and hope. To some degree, a vest can be adjusted and tightened, but the size needs to be roughly correct to achieve the right fit.

With paintball games, tactical vests absorb the paint which makes the garment smell after the match has ended. Machine washable clothing is an important consideration to remove the odor.

Any paintball player who quickly bruises should look for a thicker vest that will have the a greater absorbent ability. Paying up for higher quality, more durable material, adding plastic or steel front plates, and using protective gear, is the way to go. The previous point applies in particular to children and women.

Other Considerations

Look for a tactical vest that uses the MOLLE system for attaching additional items to the vest through the loop system. Additional pouches and other items can be added to modify the tactical vest however the wearer wishes to do so.

Best Brands

Browning, the firearms manufacturer, has a complementary line of outdoor clothing. The company offers a broad range of products, like their tactical vests for different size children, and adults, harnesses, gloves, and jackets.

VISM, founded in 1997, is a division of NcStar. The company produces optics and performance equipment, which includes spotting scopes, holsters, slings, and first responder gear.

Condor Outdoor Products manufacturers tactical gear that even battle-worn Rangers recommend. Tactical slings, leg rigs, tactical vests, belts, gloves, headwear, and modular pouches are in their range.

Humvee Clothing is one of the many consumer-led brands from the vehicle manufacturer, Humvee. They also offer watches, binoculars, lights, knives, and some products in other categories too.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Adjustments: Look for straps that let the wearer tighten (or loosen) up the sides. The chest and shoulders can also be adjusted with Velcro straps to synch the garment closer to the body.

Color differences: The colors of clothes on display online will differ a little bit from the way they look in person. The reason for this is that each smartphone, tablet, laptop screen and the computer monitor has its color calibration set a little differently. As a result, there is always a difference between the colors shown on the screen and how they look to the naked eye. As such, one should expect a little color variation.

Paintball tactical vests: Most tactical vests on the consumer market are not designed to hold genuine cartridges from actual weaponry. The garments are intended for people who wish to look the part for their chosen activity, provide some protection, and a selection of convenient pockets to store necessary items.