Best Tactical Vest Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the best tactical vest suitable for security, law enforcement, miltary or hunting? Read on as we review the top options with Pros & Cons

Tactical gear used to be for military and law enforcement only. However, over the last few decades, more companies are popping up, offering tactical equipment to the public. As a result, you can find any sort of tactical gear you need online.

Tactical vests are a must-have item for airsoft players, hunters, security specialists, and even some homeowners. A tactical vest keeps you gear on hand when and where you need it. Most vests come with the capacity to carry loaded mags, medical kits, secondary weapons, and other essential tactical combat gear.

Tactical vests feature design and construction with premium, breathable materials that are lightweight and durable. This gear doesn’t limit the range-of-motion in your joints, allowing you to remain flexible and highly mobile in a CQB situation or a live-fire exercise.

If you’re a firearms enthusiast, then a tactical belt can help you stow your ammo and weapons, regardless of the platform you’re using in the situation. Some vests allow for the storage of large assault rifle magazines, and others allow for the inclusion of body armor in the “plate carrier.”

In this review, we’ll look at the best tactical vests available, and make recommendations on our top models. Read through our buyer’s guide to help you select the right vest for your tactical needs and check out the FAQ section for more interesting information.

Our Top Picks

Check out our top picks if you want to know the best tactical vest in this review. These tactical vests have something for everyone. We present our top choices in three categories for best overall, premium, and budget models. Choose one that meets your requirements and place your order online.

Best Pick: UTG Law Enforcement Tactical SWAT Vest

UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest, Army Digital
  • 4 deluxe adjustable rifle mag pouches
  • 2 large internal zippered map/document pouches
  • Heavy duty back loop system to carry additional gear/tools
  • Fully adjustable in girth and length
  • Durable rescue pull, mesh system helps release moisture and heat, high quality zippers

This model wins our top spot for the best overall tactical vest. The UTG vest offers everything you need in this piece of combat equipment. You get holsters and mag pouches built into a versatile platform that allows for quick draw and fast reloads.

Premium Pick: Condor Cross Draw Vest

Condor Cross Draw Vest/Tactical Belt (Black, Medium/Large)
  • Cross draw pistol holster sized to accommodate most medimu-framed pistols
  • Built-in pouches includes 1 utility pouch, 3 pistol mag pouches, 3 M4 mag pouches, and two internal zipper pockets
  • Padded rubberized shoulders with built in shock stop
  • Condor Tactcial Belt is included
  • Mesh back for ventilation with webbing for MOLLE attachments

This model allows for cross-draw potential with your vest. This tactical vest comes with a single utility pouch and three mag pouches. We like the inclusion of the Condor tactical belt with this model, giving you more value for your money. The mesh back and mole attachments provide plenty of user-friendly functionality.

Budget Pick: VISM by NcStar

VISM by NcStar Molle/Pals Vest/Black (CPV2915B)
  • Available in sizes: M-XXL
  • Includes Heavy Duty Pistol Belt Attaches Securely to Vest to Keep Everything in Place
  • 3 Front Buckles, 6 Side Adjustment Straps, and Adjustable Shoulders make for a Solid Custom Fit
  • Heavy Double Mesh Lined with Reinforced Nylon PALS Webbing Cover this Vest from Top to Bottom
  • Padded Hydration System Compartment Holds Bladder Neatly in Place (Bladder Not-Included)

If you’re looking for a tactical vest on a budget, then consider the VISM. This model features plenty of adjustable functionality for the perfect fit and breathable mesh materials to keep you dry. The heavy-duty gun belt attaches easily to the vest, giving you plenty of storage space for your guns and gear.

The Best Tactical Vests Reviews

Now that you know our top choices for the best tactical vests let’s unpack them in further detail. We’ll also look at some other choice models to consider before checking out with your next tactical vest.

Best Pick: UTG Tactical Scenario Vest

The UTG Tactical scenario vest wins our top choice for the best tactical vest in this review. This model features a fixed layout design with a few customizable options for a versatile and functional vest in a CQB scenario or the field.

This vest includes three dual-mag pouches on the right, allowing you to carry up to six handgun magazines. You also have the option of removing the holster and adding more magazine storage modules to the vest.

The UTG Sportsman also comes with a universal gun holster on the left side. The holster fits most makes and models of single-stack and double-stack full-size handguns and attached to the vest using a hook and loop system. Next to the holster, you’ll also find an additional mag pouch.

The holster also utilizes an active retention device, and it clips directly into a buckle. This vest is a good choice for Glock and other 1911 owners, and it comes with an additional belt on the vest. Therefore, the user can carry six pistol mags and up to 10 rifle mags.

You also get two internal pouches to holds documents and other sensitive materials.

  • One-size-fits-all design
  • Comfortable fit with complete range-of-motion in the arms
  • Come with four deluxe rifle-mag pouches
  • Deluxe cross-draw holster included
  • Extra Velcro double mag pouches
  • Durable back-loop system
  • Internal zipper pouches for other gear like documents
  • Mesh ventilation
  • Might be overkill if you only have a hand gun

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Premium Pick: Condor Cross Draw Vest

The Condor Cross Draw Tactical Vest features a fixed layout for quick, short, dynamic movements and actions. You get a cross-draw holster on the left side of the vest that offers a universal fit to most single and double-stack handguns.

The holster also accommodates full-size service models, allowing you to draw with your right hand from across the vest. When holstered, the bun points away from your side and towards the floor. The holster also features a magazine pouch on top of the slide cover.

The holster is removable with webbing attachments, and there are molle attachments you can add in its place, such as more mag holders. On the opposite side of the vest, you’ll find three single rifle mag pouches, with enough space to accommodate AR or AK mags.

The slimline form factor of this tactical vest provides excellent range of motion in your arms and legs, and it doesn’t limit movement when entering or exiting vehicles. The vest has a lightweight design, with a mesh back for good air-flow and ventilation.

Above the rifle mag pouches, you’ll find a pocket for shotgun shells. The vest includes a tactical gun belt that clips into the bottom. The gun belt allows you to put your gun on the hip and add more mag holders or other tactical gear to the vest.

  • Includes a cross-draw pistol holster
  • Comes with a single utility pouch and three pistol mag pouches
  • Rubberized shoulders with additional padding for comfort
  • Consists of the Condor tactical belt
  • Mesh back and mole attachments for easy organization
  • Fully adjustable
  • Pricier option

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Budget Pick: VISM by NcStar

This model wins our award for the best budget tactical vest in this review. This vest offers you a basic platform where you can modify it with modular components that suit your needs. You get the basic vest, featuring nylon construction with mesh for better air-flow through the vest.

There’s no zip-through option like you get with the Condor Cross-draw vest, but you get three clips across the chest and waist to secure it to your body. We like that they included the attached gun belt included with the package. This vest is incredibly lightweight, weighing only 2.2-lbs.

The modular design of this vest allows you to add on extra magazine pouches, holsters, or anything you need. It’s the perfect framework to build your new tactical vest. We did notice that there are a few customer complaints about the stitching quality, so make sure that you inspect the vest properly after receiving it from the supplier.

  • Very adjustable
  • Affordable and excellent value considering features
  • Suitable for hunters, preppers, and survivalists
  • Comes with a heavy-duty gun belt that attaches to the vest
  • More for hunting than combat

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Lancer Tactical CA-310 Series Cross Draw Vest

The Lancer Cross-Draw tactical vest is another top contender in this review. The durable design and construction with Denier nylon provide plenty of protection.

On the left side of the vest, you the firearm holster that suits all types of full-size handguns. The holster also features a single magazine pouch on the top of the slide cover.

Above the holster, you’ll find three handgun mag pouches, with an additional top pocket for flashlights, another mag, or any other tactical gear like a lighter or pepper spray.

On the right of the vest, you have three large mag pouches for AR ort AK mags. On top of that is a pouch for shotgun shells or larger tactical equipment like binoculars.

The base weight of only 3.8 pounds is a great starting point for this tactical vest because you’ll probably be storing and carrying some heavy artillery here!

The mesh back of this vest provides excellent ventilation, allowing for plenty of air-flow to your skin. This model also features an attached gun belt, allowing you to carry your gun on the chest or hip.

  • The removable pistol holster attaches with Velcro
  • Heavy-duty stitching for rugged use
  • Suitable for full-size guns
  • Plenty of storage space
  • You need to adjust the Velcro on both sides, making quick changes difficult

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5.11 Tactical Pro Vest

If you want an inconspicuous tactical vest that looks more like a fishing vest than something suitable for combat – the 5.11 model is your top choice. This vest has an undercover look that won’t give you away as a survivalist.

Instead, this vest is the better choice for hunters and sportspeople looking for a tactical option. If you want to use this vest to carry a gun, you’ll have to use the hook and loop system to install an after-market module.

This vest comes in tan or black color options, and it features a cotton-polyester blend for superior comfort and breathability. The covert CCW pockets in the chest offer plenty of storage space, and there are full-size rifle magazine pockets on the lower left side of the vest.

  • A good choice for people that want a tactical vest that doesn’t draw attention
  • Plenty of storage pockets for mags and tactical equipment
  • Two concealed quick-access compartments for firearms
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Doesn’t include a built-in gun belt

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Condor Recon Chest Rig

The condor chest rig is our top choice for the best battle-ready chest rig you can buy. This model comes with sturdy construction from heavyweight nylon materials. It’s a great starter rig, and there are options to add-on other modules.

The chest side of the rig support six AK or AR magazines, with a string pull pouches for easy access. We prefer that setup overusing the Velcro, and it provides excellent retention for the mags. In front of the rifle mag pouches, you have six Velcro mag pouches for easy access to your ammo.

The vest has good weight displacement, and it doesn’t feel like the mags want to fall forward all the time. The sides of the rig feature molle webbing and the inside of the chest rig has a breathable mesh that wicks away sweat.

The inside of the rig also has a Velcro pocket for storing documents. The padded shoulder straps and adjustable clips provide a snug and secure fit that doesn’t hinder movement. This rig comes at an affordable price, and it’s a must-have item for AR or AK owners.

  • An excellent choice for a chest rig
  • An excellent option for AR owners
  • Affordable and effective
  • Compatible with the Condor gun belt
  • Plenty of space for assault rifle mags
  • Molle options for additional storage
  • Some reviews show quality issues with the stitching
  • Doesn’t fit AK magazines

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Lancer Tactical CA-307T Modular Plate Carrier

This model has a military look and feels to it, with bulletproof plates in the front and rear of the rig. The plate carrier features design and construction with durable 600 Denier polyester material for extended service life.

This model is surprisingly lightweight without the plates seated into the rig. You get all the functionality of a plate carrier; without the additional bulky attachments, you don’t need it. This vest works on a harness system for the base, with three modular tactical panel systems attached.

You get molle panels on the front and back of this vest, with a triple rifle mag pouch on the front of the carrier. Each mag pouch can hold two rifle magazines, and this model fits M4 and AR magazines. On the right side, you have a water bottle holder that is fully removable and replaceable with a modular gun holster or more mag pouches.

The front top chest plat also features a pouch for documents. The sizeable rear panel accommodates a 2.5-liter hydration bladder and features a molle setup for adding more modules. The shoulder straps on this plate carrier have plenty of padding to reduce operator fatigue, and quick-release side clips for rapid adjustment and removal.

  • Lightweight, all-purpose design for urban tactical situations
  • Molle webbing in the front, back, and sides
  • Integrated document pouch
  • Removable rear hydration panel
  • Quick-release fitment buckles
  • Pricey

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Nc Star Children’s Vest

This tactical vest is the best choice for your kids. If you’re putting your family through survival training, or your child is already a young firearms enthusiast, the NcStar vest is the best option available. This model features durable design and construction with nylon materials.

The zip-through vest also features additional secure fitting with the assistance of three clips. This modular system provides plenty of storage space for a cross-draw holster, two rifle mag pouches, three handgun mag pouches, and plenty of other pockets and pouches for your kid’s gear.

This model suits kids from 7 to 12-years old, and the highly adjustable fit make it ideal for a growing boy or girl. The vest comes with a sturdy pistol belt and a central clip that’s robust and secure. With padded shoulder and a back handle to control your child, this tactical vest is the best choice for your kids.

  • Includes a heavy-duty gun belt
  • Adjustable size to suit kids of all ages
  • Features design and construction with durable PVC
  • Kids will outgrow this

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Hunter Safety System Elite Vest

This lightweight tactical vest is a top choice for hunters. When you’re out on public land hunting down elk, deer, or wild pigs, you need the best camouflage and protection to keep you out of sight from your prey.

This model features a comfortable design with a full harness system and plenty of deep pockets. This vest is good for hanging out in trees, waiting for prey, with the harness system providing you plenty of support.

  • A lightweight and highly functional vest
  • Plenty of room for accessories
  • Rubber coated buckles for stealth use
  • Comes with a matching harness
  • Soft fleece in the vest lining adds to the stealth ability
  • Good for the summer, but the camouflage doesn’t suit the winter

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Other Best Selling Options

Bestseller No. 1
Actionunion Tactical Vest Airsoft Vest - Paintball Vest Military Vest Combat Vest Molle Vest Adjustable Tactical Vest for Women Men Outdoor Shooting
  • ☆ ADJUSTABLE TACTICAL VEST: The Shoulder Strap and Belt Can Be Adjusted In Length According to Your Needs.Fit Most Body Types. Equipped with a Zipper, Easy to Use and Wear.
  • ☆AVERAGE SIZE:This Military Tactical Vest Maximum Chest Size is 51'', Maximum Waist Size is 45'',Suitable for S-XL Mens、Womens、Kids.Please Note This Important Size Information Before Place an Order.
  • ☆PROTECTIVE & DURABLE:This Mens Womens Tactical Vest Made From High-Density Neoprene and High-Strength EVA Protective Plate, with a Soft Touch, Waterproof,Shockproof and Heat Preservation.Strong Tensile Wear-Resisting Ability.
  • ☆MOLLE SYSTEM:Heavy-Duty Molle System Compatible.This Airsoft Vest Can be Use It with Other Tactical Equipments According to Your Own Need. Provide Perfect Chest Protection.
  • ☆MUTI-OCCASIONS:This Molle Tactical Vest is Suitable for Various Indoor/Outdoor Activities,It Can be Used as a Tactical Vest,Airsoft Vest,Paintball Vest,Shooting Vest,kid Airsoft Vest and Other Tactical Games Gear,Such as Law Enforcement, Motorcycle,Mountaineering, Fashion, and Cosplay of Counter-Strike Game,Movie Costume.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Chief Tac Military Tactical Molle Vest Mesh Light Army Airsoft Paintball Utility Vest, Breathable Lightweight Hunting Fishing Vest for Men Women
  • ONE SIZE - Regular: adjustable for 40"-52" Chest, this Load Bearing Tactical Vest comes in one chest size as airsoft paintball vest size is suitable for most men and women.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & BREATHABLE - Tactical vest is made of quality breathable mesh nylon fabric, feel very light and breathable when you use it as fishing hunting paintball or airsoft vest for long time or in Summer.
  • QUALITY & EASY CARRY - This military vest is made of quality mesh nylon and quality zippers,it's very soft and can be folded very small. Tactical vest is structured lightweight and comfortable for maximum performance.
  • WEB & LOOP PLATFORMS - Featuring a fully customizable web and loop platforms on the exterior, this tactical molle vest is easily compatible with holster mag pouch radio pouch or extra packs that will storage your many gear.
  • SPECIALIZED POCKETS - Especially designed for professionals on-the-go, this army vest has an integrated ReadyPocket on the chest and hydration pocket on the rear to provide ample storage and effortless access to all your mission-critical gear.
Bestseller No. 3
YAKEDA Tactical Vest Outdoor Ultra-Light Breathable Combat Training Vest Adjustable for Adults 600D Encryption Polyester-VT-1063 (Black)
  • 【ITEM SIZE】Adjustable for adults, S-XXXXL: the maximum waist is 57 inches (145cm), the smallest waist is 35 inches (89CM); the longest length is 22.5 inches (57cm); the shortest length is 20.5 inches (52cm), it could be adjusted to fit the shoulder and waist size. NOTE:Different people and different assembly methods will cause differences in waist circumference and belt size on both sides,please be patient to adjust it.
  • 【ADJUSTABLE】Adjustable shoulder and side straps,belt design allows you to adjust it according to your needs, so you have full freedom of movement.
  • 【HIGH QUALITY】 Made from durable, comfortable high-density 600D Polyester,With mesh design, more breathable and light.
  • 【MULTIFUNCTION】Has plenty removable pouches and Hook-and-loop Closure, Drain Holes and Elastic excellent plug in systems, so it is reasonable and well organized when playing the CS game .
  • 【USES】CS Game,Army fan, mountaineering, fashion, business,outdoors activity,Target Shooting,Law Enforcement,Air Soft&Paint ball,Cosplay of Counter Strike game.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Rothco Ranger Vest, Black, Medium
  • Quality tested and ensured for maximum durability
  • Designed with only the toughest, roughest users in mind
  • Comfort and performance come hand in hand with rothco
Bestseller No. 5
NC Tactical Vest Military Vest Combat Training Vest Ultra-Light Breathable Tactical Vest for Outdoor Sports … (Mud)
  • Material:800D Nylon. High quality material more durable.With mesh design, more breathable and light.The mesh design is breathable, light. Even the intense exercise will not be very tired
  • Adjustable shoulder strap and side strap, belt design can be adjusted according to your needs, so that you can move freely, not too tight to tired, not too loose affect your plan
  • Dimension: Free size. Adjustable for adults, S-XXXXL: the maximum waist is 57 inches (145cm), the smallest waist is 35 inches (89CM); the longest length is 22.5 inches (57cm); the shortest length is 20.5 inches (52cm),
  • The Velcro design makes it easier to pick up items, and the multi pocket design allows you to store many items.
  • CS Game,Army fan, mountaineering, fashion, business,outdoors activity,Target Shooting,Law Enforcement,Air Soft&Paint ball,Cosplay of Counter Strike game.

Tactical Vest Buyer’s Guide

A tactical vest provides the wearer with convenient, mobile, on-body storage of tactical gear, such as guns, ammo, magazines, other weapons, and crisis medical kits. A tactical vest acts as a backpack but conforms to your body. You have easy access to all your gear, which is essential when in CQB or open engagement scenarios.

When the stress of the scene unfolds, you need to reach for that mag to reload without hesitation. The tactical vest has the design you need to make sure you are fast and responsive in a combat situation. Law enforcement SWAT teams, private security contractors, and military combat units all understand the importance of wearing a good tactical vest.

However, civilians can also benefit from the use of tactical vests in a home defense or bug-out scenario. In this section, we’ll go over everything you need to know about buying a tactical vest.

Why Do You Need a Tactical Vest if You’re Not in the Military?

Many civilians ask this question. Seeing someone wearing a tactical vest with an AR-15 slung over their shoulder and a gun on the hip is an intimidating sight. As Americans, the Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms, and as responsible gun owners, we choose to explore that right.

Military-style weaponry is available for the public to purchase for home defense. You can take a trip to the gun store and pick up a military-style Sig Sauer MPX for a few thousand dollars. That weapon is a high-power, semi-automatic carbine with outstanding performance – and is available for civilian purchase.

Now, let’s say you want to take your Sig MPX and your Glock 19 Gen 5 to the tactical course for a few runs with your instructor. Your instructor will want to keep the situation as realistic as possible, setting up multiple tactical scenarios for you to learn how to use your weapons.

When carrying two guns at the same time, where are you going to put your spare mags, and other tactical equipment, you would need to train with to handle a crisis? It’s not like you can stuff your pockets and hope they don’t fall out while you’re running around the course.

A tactical vest helps you secure your equipment to your body, providing you with easy access for rapid mag changes and equipment access in the field. Whether you’re training for societal collapse, a home invasion, or the zombie apocalypse, a tactical vest is a must-have piece of equipment.

How Do Tactical Vests Work?

A tactical vest fits your body using a zip or clip system – or both. Regardless of the type of platform, the goal of the vest is the same. Your vest needs to hold your gear and have it available for rapid presentation in the field under a combat situation.

One of the most important parts about any tactical vest is how easy it is to get in and out of it. In a home CQB situation, you need to find, open, don, and secure your tactical vest as quickly as possible. Therefore, your vest must include rapid access systems like quick-release buckles, Velcro, and pinch clips.

Shooters will get plenty of utility from a tactical vest. Depending on the model, you could get plenty of pouches for storing items like pistols, mags, medical kits, gloves, and communication gear like walkie-talkies.

Tactical vests are available for a variety of uses. Home defense is the most common use, but you have vests that suit hunting, fishing, and other outdoor sports as well. If you’re using the vest for outdoor sports, then you might not prioritize the need for more mags, and might opt for other carry options like binoculars, maps, compass, gloves, and other survival gear.

The primary role of a tactical vest is to give you easy access to your gear, even in pressure situations. Therefore, when assessing your choices for the best tactical vests, ask yourself which model will suit your needs.

Do you want a vest for home defense, sport shooting, or tactical use? Do you want to carry firearms and ammo, or do you only plan on carrying outdoor gear? These are questions you need to ask yourself before settling on your ideal model. Look at the carry options on each model and try to visualize how you would use the vest.

What are the Different Styles of Tactical Vests?

When selecting the best tactical vests, you have the option of going for three different models. Unfortunately, there are no manufacturing classes for these vests, so there’s no way to discern the model types, other than by going through the features of the vest.

The three types of tactical vests available for home defense are the following.

  • Chest Rig
  • Cross Draw
  • Plate Carrier

You need to understand the differences in these three types of tactical vests to choose the right one to meet your needs. Each of the options has a unique offering to suit different weapons platforms and combat situations.

Chest Rigs and Cross-Draw Vests

Both types are the most popular tactical vests for home defense scenarios. When people imagine what a tactical vest looks like, they’re thinking about one of these two models. Some newbies refer to these types of vests interchangeably, but there is a significant difference between the two options.

Cross-draw rigs are typically for use in law enforcement and private security, allowing the user to store their weapon on the vest for easy access. Typically, the gun holster sits on the left side of the vest, offering easy cross-draw with the right hand. This setup makes it easy to carry the gun high up on the body.

Cross-draw rigs come with plenty of spare mag pouches for handguns, torches, and other tactical gear. If you need a tactical vest to make it to a bug out location in the case of a crisis, this vest would be a good choice to carry all your combat gear. A cross-draw rig often looks like a mesh or nylon jacket, and it has a snug form factor against the body.

A chest rig is a bit different from a cross draw rig. With a chest rig, you store mainly magazines, for both your handgun and your rifle. Some chest rigs can accommodate up to six magazines for your AR and six magazines for your pistol. Most of these rigs have a front compartment and cross over the shoulder using straps.

There is one primary difference between a chest rig and a cross-draw vest. With a chest rig, you’re likely wearing a gun belt and using that to holster your firearm. With a cross-draw vest, you’re relying on the vest to provide the holster for your pistol.

Plate Carriers

A plate carrier is a bit of a combination of the other types of tactical vests. The military most uses this model. The plate carrier gets its name for the bulletproof plates that slip into pockets in the front and back of the vest. The overall setup of this tactical vest looks like the chest rig.

One the front compartment, you have the chest plate, with up to six AR magazine holder and six pistol mag holders. On the rear, you have another bulletproof plate, and sometimes there are options to Attach packs to the back using a Velcro system.

What are the Features to Look for in Tactical Vests?

Tactical vests come with various arrangements to suit specific use. When deciding on your tactical vest, look for the following criteria.

Fit and Comfort

Ensuring that you have the right tactical vest to suit your scenario is the first task. However, your vest could have plenty of functionality, but if it isn’t comfortable, you’ll be hesitant to wear it, and you’ll want to take it off too early.

A tactical vest needs to fit you like your favorite jacket. It should contour to your body, providing a snug, but not a tight fit. Check that your tactical vest comes with adjustable straps allowing you to set it up to your exact specifications.

Carrying Capacity and Functionality

Your tactical vest needs to have the correct carry capacity for your guns and gear. For instance, if you’re handgun owner, then purchasing a chest rig with capacity for AR mags seems like a foolish waste of your money, unless you intend on getting a rifle in the future.

If you don’t pack out the vest properly, then it might sag, hindering performance. That’s the case for pate carriers as well. Wearing your plate carrier without the body armor plate will cause it to sag, ruining performance.

A cross-draw vest will have plenty of room for mags, knives, and other accessories. However, that’s of no benefit to you if you don’t intend to use them.

Movement and Performance

Your tactical vest should feel like a comfortable jacket. When you’re wearing the vest, it should allow for a full range of motion in your joints. The vest should not encumber your movement in any manner, leaving you free to run, jump, and roll, without the thought of losing your gear.

Tips for Choosing the Best Tactical Vests

When selecting the best tactical vests, we put a focus on models that offer peak performance during use. However, without trying on the vest itself, you won’t know how it fits. Therefore, we recommend you always go with models that offer a high degree of customization and adjustability with straps, clips, and Velcro.

When selecting your vest, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Purchase a vest that meets the size requirement of your everyday clothing, and there’s no need to upsize. If your shirt size is a medium, then you’ll fit into a medium tactical vest.
  • The next critical factor for a good fit is to check for straps, clips, and Velcro adjustments to customize your fit.
  • Check that you have enough pouches for your magazines and other tactical gear.
  • Check that the magazine compartments fit the right size mags. For instance, the Sig MPX is a 9-mm mag, and that’s different from the larger mag used in assault rifles.
  • Buying the wrong size pouches can leave your gear slopping around in the vest. Check for vests that have Bungy-cord pull ropes to tighten down your gear in a loose pocket.
  • Check that the pistol holster on your vest points the muzzle in a safe direction away from you and towards the ground.

A Checklist for Modding Your Tactical Vest

When you receive your tactical vest, it comes in a standard configuration. It’s time to customize the vest to meet your needs. If your vest doesn’t offer a comfortable, snug fit, then you are wasting your money. More than that, you could be diminishing your performance in a CQB situation, such as a home invasion.

You can use a few adjustments to tweak your vest to the perfect fit, offering you all the functionality you need in a combat scenario.

Here are a few tips for modding out your new tactical vest.

  • When receiving your vest, remove all the VOCs with a heavy machine wash. VOCs from the manufacturing process can cause allergic reactions in some people. The washing also helps to loosen the fibers in the vest, making it easier to break it in.
  • Cut all the square edges of your Velcro releases round. This tip helps to avoid catching and irritation when wearing and using the vest.
  • Close and open your Velcro straps 20 to 50-times. This strategy minimizes the noise required for removing the Velcro.
  • Don and remove your tactical vest at least 10 to 20-times to train your muscle memory into putting it on as fast as possible.
  • When storing your vest, make sure you don’t close any Velcro straps. If you’re trying to be quiet when donning your vest, the last thing you need is to start tearing Velcro.
  • Use a lighter to burn down any loose threads and prevent unraveling of the stitching.

Tactical Vests FAQ

If you still have a few unanswered questions after reading the buyer’s guide, check out this list of FAQs. We provide you with additional information to help you settle on a purchase decision that’s right for you and your tactical needs.

What do you carry in a tactical vest?

Tactical vests make it easy for you to carry ammunition for your rifle and handgun. They also act as holsters for your firearm, and most models also feature storage for documents, flashlights, knives, and medical kits. A tactical vest lets you keep your gear on hand and ready for use in a CQB situation.

 Is it legal for civilians to wear body armor or tactical vests?

In the US, it’s legal for private citizens to purchase and wear body armor and tactical vests. However, there are a few limitations to this rule. For instance, committing any crime while wearing body armor in Kentucky is a crime in and of itself. In the state of Louisiana, wearing body armor on a school campus is illegal.

Is a tactical vest bulletproof?

Some tactical vests are bulletproof. These options are known as “plate carriers.” You can slip body armor pates into the front and back of the vest, providing you with CQB protection. However, many tactical vests don’t include any capacity to add body armor. Therefore, if that is an essential factor for you, consider looking into a plate carrier instead.

What tactical vests do the SEAL teams use?

The USMC uses the Improved Modular Tactical Vest (IMTV). This tactical vest has a cummerbund-style main vest featuring neck, groin, and lower back protection. This system allows marines to add or strip gear and parts from the vest to suit combat scenarios.

What do I need to carry in my plate carrier?

You’ll need to carry armor plates in your plate carrier. If you don’t, the rig will sag. If steel body armor plates are too heavy, consider swapping them out for Level IIIA Soft Armor Inserts.


By now, you should have a good idea of the right tactical vest to suit your needs. Whether you’re an elite-level sports shooter, or a prepper looking for the best tactical gear, there’s something in this review to suit your needs.

You can rely on our top choices for the best gear in this review if you’re still on the fence and choosing your new tactical vest.

The UTG Law Enforcement Tactical SWAT Vest is a fantastic option, and it comes with all the accessory and ammo storage you need for any urban tactical situation. It’s a good choice for homeowners and law enforcement officers as well.

For those with the budget to spare, we recommend you go with the Condor Cross Draw Vest. This premium vest offers plenty of built-in storage, and the Condor tactical gun belt comes included in the package.

For those gun-owners looking for an affordable but high-quality tactical vest, the VISM by NcStar is an excellent option. This vest comes with breathable mesh, plenty of storage, and a tactical gun belt.

Choose the tactical vest that meets your needs, and then head to the checkout. Buying your tactical vest online will save you some money because online retailers don’t have the same overheads as brick-and-mortar stores.

Jake is an explorer, he loves all types of outdoor pursuits such as hunting, fishing & hiking. Jake has been a full-time writer & blogger for many years now and he's here to share his passions with the BeActiveOutdoors readers. Contact Jake@beactiveoutdoors.com

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