Tips For Buying a Vest
When I think about a vest, I don't think about the military or law enforcement. I don't even think of myself as a "soldier." That said, for whatever reason I have always had a vest on, and now that I am retired, I thought it might be interesting to share some vest tips with those of us in the armed forces. I'm sure there are many things you can do with a vest that we in the armed services wouldn't have known about.
The first thing I want to talk about is the attachment of a vest to your uniform. Some units will allow you to remove your vest before you get to the post. This allows you to put your weapon on, be in full view, and have your weapon visible to the enemy. I have seen this done many times, and it's effective.
Some more traditional vest is more like a wallet. You just fit everything in and tuck it away. Some people feel this doesn't offer as much protection as a belt holster, but it's also much more discreet. If you're at the range, you can't conceal your gun if you want to shoot it. If you're in a field, it can't be concealed anywhere, and that creates a safety issue.
The other consideration is whether you want your vest to be carried under your uniform. Some want their vest to be carried in the front, so if they are in a field or can move around in a field, they can wear their vest under their uniform. I prefer the front-carry style. It's easy to get to and I can take my gun out quickly.
One thing you should consider, whether you're wearing a vest or not, is what kind of movement you make. If you walk through an area like I just described, your body will generate a lot of heat. If you are walking into a building, or any other situation where your body temperature spikes, your vest won't stop it. If you're going to be carrying anything, your vest should have some sort of reflectors on it. This is like a flashlight, only it's concentrated. Most of them come with a strong built-in reflector.
Another factor you should think about is how you're going to carry your vest. Are you going to wear it over your shoulder like a traditional jacket? Or do you want a vest with a detachable shoulder strap? Some people prefer the comfort of carrying it over their shoulder, and I prefer a detachable shoulder strap. It makes it easier to carry, and it's more comfortable.
Lastly, you need to look at how it looks. If you can't stand the vest, you shouldn't buy it. If you like the vest and you put it on every day, you need to choose a vest that looks good. A lot of old-school tactical vests look really retro. There's no reason why yours should look old fashioned like that.
Now that you have a basic idea of what you're looking for, let's see what you can find. First of all, there are a ton of different options for you to choose from. One of the most popular choices is monochrome vests. These are always going to be low-cost, and easy to find. They have little or no color to them, which is good, because the color of most tactical vests will change based on what you're wearing. You can also get a waistband, which is an excellent addition for heavier folks.
Another popular option is a colored vest. While it can be difficult to match one vest to your pants, they can certainly be fun. A lot of people like to wear orange and green vests, as well as camouflage. If you're not interested in getting a new color, there are plenty of old-time favorites to choose from. A tan, for example, might look just fine with a dark-colored t-shirt.
The main thing you have to keep in mind is that the vest has to have enough room for your movement. It's not necessary to stuff yourself full of pockets, but having enough room will allow you to be more mobile while you're wearing the vest. That being said, make sure the vest doesn't interfere with your balance. If it's going to be too tight around your waist, or if it won't leave enough room to move around, then it's probably not a good choice.
Finally, you'll need to think about how much you plan on carrying with the vest on. Some are small and can carry only a few items, like keys, cell phones, or credit cards. Others are bigger and can hold a variety of things, including a laptop, flash drive, and other items that are important to you. When you get your vest, take these things into account. Choose one that's right for your needs and one that will adequately carry all of your gear.