Tactical Vests Compared: Weighted Fitness Vest vs Body Armor for Emergencies
So-called "tactical" vests (a.k.a. plate carriers) have a wide range of applications, not just law enforcement or combat. It's become very common for plate carriers to be used by civilians for protection, but also personal fitness.
However, there are some significant differences in how you should go about setting up a tactical vest for protection vs a workout at your local CrossFit gym.
A common question we're asked is if it is possible to have a single vest that can be used for fitness training and protection. In this article, we're going to dive deep into the similarities and differences so you can decide the best solution for your situation and budget.
Table of Contents
- What is a Tactical Vest
- Tactical Vests for Workting Out
- High Mobility Tactical Weighted Vest Options
- Body Armor Vests for Emergencies vs Fitness
What is a Tactical Vest?
First, let’s all get on the same page and define the term “tactical vest”. Most tactical vests are designed to be versatile and easy to customize based on the wearer’s needs.
This could mean anything from adding ammunition magazine pouches to attaching hydration hoses and a camel pack for intense training or operations.
Some vests include additional storage chambers such as kangaroo or admin pouches that can store additional items as needed by the user (keys, cell phone, tourniquet, etc).
However, one feature that most tactical vests share in common is that they are designed to hold bulletproof armor plates in the front and back of the vest.
On the job, tactical vests are typically worn by military personnel, law enforcement officers, and other first responders. Even though they are worn to protect from bullets, knives, and other weapons, they also come in different shapes and sizes depending on the purpose they serve.
Let’s look then at the differences and what we recommend for Weighted Fitness Vests, and Body Armor Plate Carriers.
Tactical Vests for Working Out
The best workout vest for CrossFit and Lifting is a weighted vest that does not hinder your mobility. When doing any type of workout, it’s most important to keep good technique, so you can prevent injuries.
There are different shapes of body armor plates, choosing the right plate design is critical. For activities requiring a good range of motion in the shoulders, the Swimmers Cut plate design is superior to all others.
Why Swimmers Cut Plate Carriers for Working Out?
Even though the name implies, the swimmers cut plates are not made specifically for swimming. “Swimmers cut” refers to the shape of the overall plate.
The shape of a swimmers cut plate is significantly tapered more in the shoulders which allows the wearer to freely move their arms without restriction.
The traditional “shooters” cut plate has more material in the shoulder which can obstruct movement for many body types, especially women and men with more narrow frames.
Spartan Armor Systems®’ swimmers cut weighted plates are made from laser-cut ballistic steel. With two different kinds of steel protection levels, level III Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 and level III+ Spartan AR550, you are sure to find what fits your needs.
Spartan Armor Systems® not only makes our Swimmers Cut Plates in-house in Arizona, but we also provide packages that contain our high mobility plate carriers and the weighted plates.
High Mobility Tactical Weighted Vest Options
Don’t be fooled by marketing techniques when looking at different tactical weighted workout vests. Yes, the plate itself is essential when thinking about weight, ballistic protection, and so forth. But you also need to think about the carrier or vest by itself.
Spartan High Mobility Vest
Our Spartan High Mobility Plate Carrier is a great option for people that may be just starting to dabble in the world of tactical vests, and want a low barrier to entry. 860 Denier nylon, lightweight design, and adjustments from Medium to XL, it’s a rock-solid option.
Sentinel High Mobility Vest
Compare that to our Sentinel High Mobility Plate Carrier though, and you will see (and feel) the difference. The Sentinel Swimmers Cut Plate Carrier has extra padding in the shoulders, chest, and back for added comfort to the wearer.
It’s also made with 1000 Denier Nylon and will hold up better and longer than its cheaper counterpart. Make sure to consider these when thinking about how you will work out with these vests.
Body Armor Vests for Emergencies vs Fitness
Can I use the same vest for CrossFit and training at a gun range? The short answer is yes. All of our body armor products follow protection levels set by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). However, there are some important considerations to be aware of.
Personally, I prefer to have a vest setup specifically for working out and a separate vest for emergencies or firearms training. The first reason why I keep two of these vests or “kits” is based on dependability.
If you wear your kit training multiple days per week, it will create wear and tear no matter how good your vest is. In an emergency, I want to have a kit that has been tested, but not put through the grinder.
There are some situations/emergencies where you may need to wear a body armor kit for an extended period, so a lightly seasoned kit is a good idea. I also choose to train with heavier steel plates when I’m running, weightlifting, or at the gym.
However, my emergency kit has lightweight body armor plates that allow me to move with speed and agility, while still being protected against rifle threats. My emergency kit also has MOLLE accessories attached such as magazine pouches, AFAK med kit, a multi-tool, a flashlight, and some other necessities.
Whether you buy a tactical vest for fitness or protection, we have a variety of options to fit your needs.
A major benefit of choosing our products for a weighted vest is that they are actually bulletproof as compared to the traditional weighted vests you may find on Amazon or eBay.
This means that your weighted vest could double as a protective vest should there not be time to get to your emergency body armor kit.
Need help putting together the best body armor kit for your needs? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone, email, or Facebook messenger.
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