Why Custom Fit

1. Medical

In response to survival, the body kicks into a heightened state of function while releasing large amounts of adrenaline into the bloodstream.  When an individual is in a dangerous situation, especially involving a chase, their body’s response to stress includes:

  1. Rapid breathing to supply oxygen to the heart and lungs.
  2. Elevated heart rate to transfer increased supplies of oxygen to the brain and muscles.
  3. Diaphragm muscles and tendons expand to draw more air into the lungs.  Diaphragm and lungs push out against the rib cage for an increased lung capacity.
  4. Heat is produced by this increased activity as the body literally “burns” energy.  To maintain normal body temperature and prevent stroke or heat exhaustion, water (perspiration) is released through the pores and evaporates when in contact with air – a body’s natural cooling mechanism.

A vest worn too tight can restrict air supply to your lungs.  If the body cannot supply oxygen to the brain and muscles during stress, it will simply shut itself down for protection.  The symptoms an individual will experience are:

  • Hyperventilation
  • Light-headedness
  • Loss of ability to think and feel extremities

High ambient temperatures in summer months or southern climates compound this problem.  Air is not only needed by the lungs, but also by the surface area of the skin in order to keep the body from overheating. 

Ironically, most officers wear their body armor too tight for various reasons.  These officers do this not only at the cost of comfort, but at the cost of safety.

2. Safety

A vest can only stop a bullet if it is worn.  The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) cited that the #1 reason officers choose to not wear their vests is discomfort.  When getting in and out of a patrol vehicle an ill-fitting vest has to be constantly readjusted and pulled back down into place.  A vest that is too long rubs on the gun belt, too wide can impede aiming/firing your weapon or driving your vehicle, and too small can expose areas of the officer’s body to threats.  When polled, it was found that 33% of officers choose not to wear their issued vests.  An officer’s risk of being fatally injured is 14 times greater if he/she is not wearing body armor at the time of incident than an officer who is wearing body armor.

3. Quality of Life

How many times do you get in and out of your patrol vehicle during a shift? 50 times? 100 times? More?  The general quality of life of the officer goes down if he/she has to battle an ill-fitting vest and endure discomfort while on duty.  We found that an officer will eventually choose not to wear their vest, placing their life in danger up to 14 times more than an officer wearing body armor.

In addition to discomfort and increased fatigue, an officer with a poor fitting vest loses mobility.  The first law of gunfire is when the bullet comes your way, be someplace else.  At U.S. Armor we feel that you shouldn’t have to change your tactics to accommodate your equipment, you should change your equipment to accommodate your tactics.

4.Things To Consider

How important is it to be comfortable while working?

How many times do you get in and out of your patrol vehicle?

How long would it take to decide not to wear something that constantly caused discomfort?

If a vest does not fit properly, can it be a safety hazard for you and your partner?

These are important questions to consider when looking for body armor. With U.S. Armor, we can custom fit your vest specifically to your body style so that it will keep you safe, mobile, and comfortable every time.

U.S. Armor…you’ll wear it.™