Tactical Vest Buying Guide

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Tactical Vest Buying Guide

A tactical vest offers two main functions: storage and protection. When playing paintball, hunting in the woods, or if for whatever reason, a person is in a real-life survival situation, the right tactical vest offers function and protection to the individual. There are so many different styles and protection levels from which to choose. Before making a purchase, consumers need to know the purpose of a tactical vest, its uses, how to determine a threat level, and the styles available.

Description of a Tactical Vest

A tactical vest is lined with strategically placed hard plates to help stop injury from bullets. There are various levels of protection offered, all depending on the need for the individual and the environment. The tactical vest offers sewn-in pockets and clips that allow individuals to carry ammo, cell phones, water bottles, and other survival equipment. Depending on the layout, a tactical vest offers a quick way for individuals to retrieve anything that they need quickly and effortlessly.

Tactical Vest Uses

Military and law enforcement officials, as well as civilians, may wear tactical vests. Civilians who wear tactical vests are often involved in paintball environments, where combat interaction with friends is common. Other civilians who wear tactical vests include hunters, fishermen, and outdoor survivalists. Anyone who requires either protection from potential threats or equipment to be handy can benefit from wearing a tactical vest.

Determining a Threat Level

Not all situations in which an individual may need a tactical vest offers a bodily threat. However, in situations where protection is the most important factor of the vest, knowing the threat levels and the protection levels of both the environment and the vest is essential.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) provides a threat Matrix that rates armor based on its effectiveness. The Matrix helps the consumer to determine not only the threat level that he or she is facing, but the protection level of the vest he or she needs.

Threat Level

Common Threats

NIJ Level 1

.22 long rifle, 40 grain, 1,050 feet per second (FPS)

.380 ACP Full Metal jacket (FMJ), 95 grain, 1,025 FPS


9mm FMJ, 124 grain, 1,090 FPS

.40 S&W FMJ, 180 grain, 1,025 FPS


9mm FMJ, 124 grain, 1,175 FPS

.357 Magnum, 158 grain, 1,400 FPS


9mm FMJ, 124 grain, 1,400 FPS

.44 Magnum, 240 grain, 1,400 FPS


7.62mm FMJ, 150 grain, 2,750 FPS


30-06, 166 grain, 2,850 FPS

It is extremely important for an individual to realize that a tactical vest is not bulletproof. It provides protection at certain levels to help reduce injury, but not intended for use as a bulletproof vest. When playing in an airsoft environment, there is no need for the added protection of major threats.

The Different Styles

Choosing a style is one of the hardest parts for an individual when deciding upon a tactical vest. Tactical vests organize gear for tactical use so the layout and design are extremely important to the function. Three of the most common tactical vest styles include those listed below.

Tactical crossdraw vests provide a configured pouch layout, which is not customizable by users. The vests provide organization for all of the equipment that the individual needs.

Plate carrier vests provide a fully customizable experience for the wearer. The pouch configuration offers endless possibilities, which makes it ideal for anyone for any type of activity.

Chest rigs are fully customizable but are much smaller and lighter than plate carriers. The chest rig vest offers precision and speed, but provides less storage space for equipment and less protection area.

Choosing a Layout

Choosing a layout for the pouch design is up to the individual's needs. The vests that provide customizable pouch designs allow the individual to prepare it for shotgun gear, paintball equipment, or medical field equipment. Each scenario requires a different layout and, with the customizable feature, the layout rearranges as needed for each situation. So, a day on the paintball field with the tactical vest one day, and then a day out on the lake fishing with the vest the next is possible.

How to Buy a Tactical Vest on eBay

Reliable sellers on eBay offer a wide variety of paintball tactical vests and pods from which to choose. In addition to using the tactical vests for a full day of paintball, many of the higher-level tactical vests provide enough protection for real-life threatening situations or protection while in the woods during a day of hunting. Search for the available tactical vests by entering the search term or description into the search bar found on any eBay page. Filter results by location, price range, condition, and convenient shipping options for a more specific result.

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