Thanks to your user manual, you can figure out a way to set up virtually any equipment or device. And even if you can’t, you probably know someone who can.

But let’s say you’ve acquired premium tactical gear and shooting accessories and are embarking on your first mission. This could be anything from a day of paintballing with friends to serious law enforcement or military operation.

You’ll need to ensure you have all the necessary tools and accessories. But you don’t want to overload yourself and become a liability to your team, right? So, how do you set up your tactical vest? For starters, it’s advisable to heed the advice of professionals. After all, your life may one day depend on it.

And though it’s common sense, it helps to set up your vest correctly to get the most out of it. And since a manual might not suffice, consider the following tips and tricks:

A Snug Fit

Get a vest that fits snugly and is adjustable. If your vest is too loose, it can impede movement and get caught on things. Conversely, if it’s too tight, it could be uncomfortable and constrict your breathing. The idea is to go for a vest that allows a full range of motion while not being so tight that it’s painful to wear.

And if you’re preparing for a high-stress situation, the last thing you want is to be distracted by an ill-fitting vest. Well, how can you find a fitting vest?

Simple – try it on. If you’re buying online, check the size chart. And when in doubt, always err on the larger side, as you can constantly adjust it to fit snugly. In-store purchases are preferable, as they allow you to try on the vest. While at it, you can find the perfect fit by adjusting the side and shoulder straps.

Weight Distribution

Even weight distribution will help you move quickly and fluidly. If your vest is top-heavy, you’ll have difficulty maintaining your balance. On the other hand, if it’s bottom-heavy, it will ride up and make it difficult to sit or crouch. So, how do you achieve even weight distribution, you wonder?

It’s all about finding the right balance of essential gear and accessories. For instance, if you’re carrying heavy accessories, spread them out evenly in different pockets on the vest. The same goes for other gear and tools, such as a flashlight, multi-tool – the list goes on.

After determining what goes where, do a few test runs – walk around, jog, crouch, and even sprint. Make the necessary adjustments if something feels off or the vest is rubbing against your skin uncomfortably.

The Right Pockets

Be strategic about the placement of pockets. That means the items you’ll use most should be within easy reach. For example, if you’re carrying a lot of ammo, put pockets near the center of your vest for quick and easy access. Thus, you can focus on the task rather than waste time fumbling around with your gear.

If you have the gear you won’t need right away, such as a first-aid kit, place them on the sides or back of the vest. And if you need to carry a lot of gear, consider getting a vest with MOLLE webbing. This system of straps and loops lets you attach extra pouches and pockets to your vest.

Essentials for the Job

Establish the tools you’ll need for your job. Case in point, if you’re a defense instructor, you’ll need different gear than someone who works in law enforcement. Endeavor to carry only the essentials. That way, you’re not weighed down by unnecessary items.

If possible, list the equipment you need while shopping for your vest’s accessories. For instance, if you need an attachment for one flashlight, ensure the vest you’re getting has the feature.

The same goes for other gear and tools. Do you need to carry a multi-tool? Again, get a pouch that can accommodate it without adding too much bulk. The idea is to take essential items only, allowing you to save space you could use for other equipment.

Familiarize yourself with Your Setup

This implies knowing how to don and doff your vest quickly. Plus, it includes familiarizing yourself with the placement of your equipment or accessories.

Take the time to practice putting on and taking off your vest. And if you can, do it while wearing gloves. This way, you won’t have a hard time operating your vest while your hands are covered. You should also know how to make adjustments on the fly.

And by knowing where everything is, you can grab whatever you need without having to think about it too much. The goal is to make the process second nature.

By being familiar with your gear and knowing how to set it up correctly, you can be confident that you have everything you need to get the job done right. And by implementing these tips, you can rest assured that your tactical vest will serve you well in any situation.

By Manali