Concealable Body Armor: A Review of Ballistic Vests

The newest ballistic vests for everyday use under your uniform.

American Body Armor

The Xtreme Force (XTF) concealable vest from American Body Armor utilizes the newly improved ballistic material Spectra Shield II to construct a vest with up to 20 percent more stopping power than its predecessor. The new XTF is strong, yet still lightweight and flexible. With up to 40 percent greater strength than aramid fibers and up to 20 percent greater ballistic performance over previous Spectra Shield ballistic composite products, the XTF benefits from hybrid engineering. Honeywell's Spectra Shield II material utilizes a Spectra fiber 15 times stronger than steel, and Twaron, one of the most reliable bullet-resistant materials available. XTF is the newest model in the Xtreme Body Armor series.

Need FREEInfo?  Visit American Body Armor online.


The Cougar Classic concealable vest now also comes in an all mesh, breathable, anti-microbial, moisture-wicking material to provide ultra comfort on even the hottest of days. The vest is available in Level II and IIIA packages and features self-supporting ballistic panels. Also included is a sonic-weld water resistant ballistic pouch as well as standard Box-Tac anchor stitching that is applied to all Velcro attachments. The vest also comes with the option of ArmorShield's patented Blunt Trauma System, which reduces the overall blunt trauma to the body. The system allows for up to 35 percent less blunt trauma. Available colors include black, navy, white, tan, and dark brown.

Need FREEInfo?  Visit ArmorShield online.


The new Lawman Series from Bianchi Body Armor includes ready-to-wear concealable ballistic vests that are designed to protect law enforcement officers who require an off-the-shelf affordable, high-quality body armor solution. Bianchi vests are constructed with 100 percent Dupont Kevlar ballistic fiber, proven to be one of the most reliable materials in the industry. Lawman Series vest panel coverings are constructed from breathable and waterproof Gore-Tex. Vests are available in eight different sizes in black, navy, or tan.

Need FREEInfo? Visit Bianchi Body Armor online. 

First Choice

N-FORCE from First Choice is the first vest to use NanoRepel technology in fabric fibers, to form a fortification matrix around the ballistic panel. The vest meets Level II NIJ 0101.04 and NIJ 2005 Interim requirements and features NCNM08 Poly-Mesh, Diamond Ripstop, and one-time shoulder adjustment of straps for personal fit. Also featured are a patent-pending Leveler system that eliminates shifting and a 5 x 8-inch soft trauma plate. Options include an anti-stab/anti-trauma or curved titanium plate, a Cool-Tek mesh carrier, a carry bag, and Evercool cooling inserts. Available colors include black, tan, navy, and white.

Need FREEInfo?  Visit First Choice Armor online.

GH Armor

The Vanquish II by GH Armor Systems utilizes Honeywell fabric for a lightweight solution that provides excellent trauma reduction. The vest also includes GH's exclusive patented desiccant system, which allows for absolute moisture management for the protection and longevity of your panels. Both male and female sizes are offered with a variety of moisture wicking carrier options.

Need FREEInfo? Visit GH Armor Systems online.


PACA's Blue Steel concealable vest comes with a Tri-Level Temperature and Moisture Control System. Its outer shell allows for a great amount of air transmission so that the vest is lightweight and breathable. Wik-Away mesh in the front and rear shirt-tails keeps the vest in place comfortably and also works to draw moisture away from the body and keep the wearer cool in warm temperatures and warm in cold temperatures. Loading ballistic panels is quick and easy with the vest's convenient front and back mid-torso zipper opening. The vest is available with NIJ Level II or NIJ Level IIIA ballistic systems.

Need FREEInfo?  Visit PACA Body Armor online.



Designed for street teams, undercover agents, and regular duty patrol officers, Safariland Armorwear's Mantis concealable vest provides customizable protection for both male and female officers. Its lightweight, low-profile design features recessed zippers and hardware that result in less wear on clothing and helps prevent the carrier from snagging on accessories or duty gear. The new field-tested female cut provides improved comfort for female officers. The male carrier employs adjustable and ported shoulder straps, affording protection that is ergonomically adaptable for each wearer. Anti-microbial mesh interior and exterior front mesh vents allow better air flow, and the option of one or two waist straps allows officers to secure the vest without sacrificing ventilation.

Need FREEInfo? Visit Safariland online.

Second Chance

By combining comfortable and wearable designs and construction with proven ballistic materials such as Kevlar and Twaron, Second Chance is dedicated to providing the best protection for law enforcement officers. The design of Second Chance's Apex concealable vest provides greater weight distribution and maximum concealability. Its X-Static fibers contain thermodynamic, anti-static, and anti-microbial properties that increase comfort and prevent odors. Removable, heavy-duty elastic side and shoulder straps provide greater adjustability, and hook-and-loop ballistic panel attachment systems hold panels in place for better fit and comfort.

Need FREEInfo?  Visit Second Chance online

Survival Armor

Survival Armor's Falcon concealable armor uses state-of-the-art ballistic material and an innovative design to give its wearer high performance with exceptional weight and softness. The Falcon line of armor is offered in both male and female versions and NIJ levels II and IIIA. The vest has also been tested against special threats faced on the street today.

Need FREEInfo? Visit Survival Armor online.


The Comfort XLT concealable vest from US Armor is 25 percent lighter and more flexible than vests made with all-aramid fabric, but still results in V-50 ratings exceeding NIJ requirements. The vest comes in IIA, II, and IIIA protection levels against handgun threats. It uses Kevlar Comfort XLT, which is the latest ballistic technology from DuPont. The vest also comes with a removable, washable panel cover in male and female sizes and anti-microbial closed-hole mesh fabric with built-in two-way stretch. The vest keeps you cool with Akwadyne moisture-wicking mesh. The vest is available in black, navy, tan, white, and custom colors upon request.

Need FREEInfo? Visit US Armor online.

In August, 2007 POLICE conducted a Web Poll asking readers if they kept their ballistic vests on even when they were hot and uncomfortable. Here are the polling results.

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