Gone are the days where officers casually stroll the mean streets with no more than a badge and a duty belt. The age of serious body armor has dawned. For the last two decades, there have been a lot of astonishing advancements in the world of body armor and plate carriers. What’s left for us is to properly utilize and fulfill their purpose by knowing how to fit a plate carrier. Remember, it will only be as effective as it’s supposed to be when you have accurately made a good fit. So here are some useful tips.
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Armor at clavicular line
The first thing you need to keep an eye on is the relative placement of your armor to your body. After wearing your vest, see to it that the front armor plate is sitting right at your clavicular line. Your clavicular line is located just below the bottom of your collar bones.
You can do this by adjusting the shoulder straps or any other known featured configurations of your carrier. Same goes to your rear counterpart. The back armor plates must have the same exact placement – in line with your front armor plates.
The significance of armors sitting at clavicular line can be seen when you raise your hands. Let’s say you’re grabbing something from a height or you’re getting out of a vehicle. Having this proper placement prevents the carrier from jamming up with your chin. The rig will only come up enough to protect even more vital areas but not excessively that it impacts with your neck.
Knowing the right tight
Another essential consideration you have to make is knowing the appropriate tightness of your carrier. A lot of people would want their vest to be “too loose” because they value comfort. However, this is not exactly the right way to do combat. A loose fit will do badly when it comes to running. Additionally, it degrades your defense because a loose fit will expose more of your body. So basically the risk of getting shot at your vital parts increases.
On the flipside, a “too tight” fit will deprive you of sufficient breathing. That’s why it’s only essential to know the right tight. The main rule that lets you know you’re having enough tight is when you can feel yourself breathing against the plate. This means your abdomen must touch with your armor when your diaphragm is filled with air.
You can do this by taking a deep breath and hold it while you adjust your carrier. Your vest must feel “tight” when you’re doing a full inhalation. That way, you’ll have just the right amount of fit.
Vests must move with your body
Another way to configure the appropriate fit is making sure the carrier moves with your body no matter what your movement is. One way to check this is to face a mirror, put your hands in the air and repeatedly bend on both sides (left, right, left, right). Notice how your vest follows with your body. Your carrier must be moving with your body. It shouldn’t be shifting or moving around as you’re doing the transition of bending from left to right.
The second way to confirm you have the right fit is when you twist your torso from left to right. Make sure the vest still moves with your body and is not moving around as you’re twisting.
Another way to check is to bend over as if you’re going to touch your toes. If the vest is not pinching anywhere while you’re bending over then you’re having a good fit right there. If it does, you need to either adjust the carrier itself or make changes on the equipment.
Exercise to check fit
Aside from the basic movements just mentioned above, you can do a real exercise to check if you’re having the right fit and comfort. The best way to do that is by burpee exercise. It’s an aerobic, full body exercise used in strength training. The term “four-count burpee” pertains to the four basic steps used in performing the burpee exercise. Here’s how to do it:
- Stand anywhere as long as it’s a plain surface. A normal floor will do. Stand still.
- Count 1 is dropping into a squat position. Make sure your hands will touch the ground.
- Count 2 is extending your arms and kicking your feet back.
- Count 3 is returning to the squat position in count 1.
- Count 4 is to jump up from your squat position with your arms raised into the air.
- Repeat the steps.
The burpee is a perfect exercise to check your fit because its corresponding movements allow you to attain maximum range of motion. Your whole body is moving, as well as your arms and other parts.
While doing the said exercise, assess whether your vest shifts or not. If not, then you definitely have the right fit. Do the steps repeatedly until you’re sure that your carrier is not loose.
This exercise also determines whether your items are placed appropriately or not. You can tell it’s not when things start to fall off from your body while you’re doing the exercise.
When you see your vest is not inclined with your movement, then you have to adjust it accordingly. Do the exercise again to check if you have achieved the suitable fit.
The world of plate carriers and body armors is varied and sometimes perplexing. Fitting a plate carrier for instance is not just a simple “wear and you’re done” routine. It requires some specific configurations to make it hundred percent operative in combat. Having the right knowledge is vastly beneficial to your part. So follow the tips above so you’ll be more effective and efficient the next time you roll!