Check to see if your body armor really fits

December 21, 2009

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Betsy Brantner Smith Survival Insights
with Betsy Brantner Smith

Tip: Check to see if your body armor really fits

Submitted by: Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith

When was the last time you checked your soft body armor?

Our bodies change and so does our gear; if you’ve lost or gained weight, started using a new duty belt, transitioned from wearing your armor next to your body to putting it in an outside carrier or made some other change that may affect how your vest fits, you need to take a good hard look at those panels that may someday save your life.

Does your vest ride too high, too low, or maybe not wrap around like it used to?

Do you dread putting on your armor, or worse yet, have you stopped wearing it because it’s so uncomfortable?

It may be time for a new vest. Even if the department won’t pay for one, if your vest does not fit, you need to get one that does! It also doesn’t hurt to check the expiration dates, they don’t last forever, but ask the hundreds of “saves” out there: soft body armor works, but it has to fit and you have to be wearing it properly. Check yours out.


About the author

Sergeant Betsy Smith has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, retiring as a patrol supervisor in a large Chicago suburb. A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety's School of Staff and Command and a Street Survival seminar instructor for more than 9 years, Betsy is now a speaker, author and a primary PoliceOne Academy consultant. Visit Betsy's website at

Contact Betsy Smith and Follow Betsy on Twitter

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