Body armor is quite simply the most important piece of any law enforcement officer’s uniform. It saves lives. Unfortunately, when it doesn’t fit properly, your body armor can also be the most uncomfortable part of your uniform. However, with the correct fit, your body armor will not only be more comfortable but also provide effective protective coverage. All it takes are a few simple measurements and some fine tuning once you have your vest, so let’s get started.
You’ll need a measuring a tape and a friend to help you measure. While it’s possible to take the measurements yourself, it’s much easier and much more accurate if someone measures. For the best results, wear a T-shirt with your uniform trousers and your duty rig. Make sure that the front and back panels will not touch your duty belt (or holstered weapon, accessory pouches, etc.) while standing. Round up all measurements to the nearest whole number.
How To Measure for Body Armor in 5 Easy Steps:
- Chest Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of the chest, starting at the center. Run the tape horizontally around the middle of ribcage. Don’t “suck-in” or “puff-out”, make sure your chest is in a relaxed state and you are measuring around the fullest part of the chest.
- Waist While standing, measure across the waist at its widest point. Don’t “suck-in”. As a general rule, the widest point will be approximately 2″ above the belt. If your waist measurement is larger than your chest measurement, select the size corresponding to the waist.
- Torso/Front Standing Measure from your collar bone to about a ½” above your duty belt. Make sure you are measuring the middle of your chest, not from your shoulders.
- Torso/Back Standing Measure from the base of the collar (center of the back) to the top your duty belt.
- Torso/Front Seated Measure from your collar bone to about a ½” above your duty belt. This measurement should be smaller than the one you took while standing as your torso contracts while sitting down. Get this one wrong, and your vest won’t be comfortable while driving.