Top 5 Best Tactical Vests 2023:
- The Condor Cross Draw Tactical Vest
- The Modern Warrior Tactical Vest
- The UTG Law Enforcement Tactical Vest
- Lancaster CA-310 Tactical Vest
- The Condor Elite Tactical Vest
Are you a professional shooter, a shooting enthusiast, or a paintball fan?
No matter what your answer is, you need a tactical vest!
A tactical vest is one of the best pieces of gear a shooter can get a hold of. Its most significant value lies in the fact that it allows for super-easy access to your ammunition and kit and thus saves you valuable time when you need it the most.
In order to decide which is the best tactical vest for your circumstances, you need to think long and hard about what you are going to use it for. Not owning one is not an option if you consider yourself a serious shooter.
So, let’s try to avoid a lengthy in-depth read and get down to business ASAP. Check out our detailed buying guide and our top five picks, and you are sure to find a tactical vest that will tick all the right boxes and make you an even better shooter!
5 Best Tactical Vests In 2023: Detailed Reviews
1. The UTG Law Enforcement Tactical Vest – An entry-level tactical vest that suits most user’s needs
The UTG Law Enforcement Tactical Vest is designed as an adjustable piece of gear and thus suits the needs of most operators. First of all, it is outfitted with a wide variety of tactical pouches to accommodate your ammo, magazines, and other equipment.
This UTG entry-level tactical vest is designed for a rifle based system. It combines the fixed and customizable layout so that it can better fit your needs. The fixed layout includes three double magazine pouches that can hold up to six 30 round AR 15 magazines. It also offers a cross draw holster situated on the left side of the vest as well as three pistol pouches placed directly above it. These pouches can accommodate three double or single stack magazines too.
A heavy-duty pistol belt is attached to the vest as weĺl, so you’ll have no problem accommodating your secondary weapon for sure. Two horizontal magazine pouches are placed on this belt and serve for your pistol ammunition. The back of this vest is covered with MOLLE webbing, and you can customize it as you wish. The size can be adjusted, but the vest feels stiff.
- Partly customizable layout
- Dedicated communication pouch
- Reinforced drag handle if you ever need to be pulled to safety
- Pocket for your hydration bladder
- Breathable materials allow for ventilation
- Durable #10 gauge zipper
- A cross draw holster
- A heavy-duty pistol belt with two horizontal magazine pouches
- The back covered with customizable MOLLE webbing
- It is rather stiff
2. Lancaster CA-310 Tactical Vest – Traditional looking vest with modern features
If you prefer a more traditional appearance, the Lancaster tactical vest might be right up your alley. Do not worry though, this vest is entirely up to date as far as tactical gear trends are concerned and will provide you with all the modern commodities you might need.
This Lancer Tactical CA-310 Series Cross Draw Vest weighs only 3.8 pounds. As a result you can gear up with heavy artillery and still not feel overburdened. It is quite important during missions that require speed and quick response. You can adjust it to fit snugly too so it will not limit your mobility in any way.
The vest features a pistol holster that can, thanks to the Velcro strap, be removed when not needed. It can hold a rather large gun and has enough pouches on the upper-right side, the belt, and on the holster to store the needed ammo and magazines too. There are four pouches for rifle magazines as well.
You have two large interior pocket compartments with zippers for your valuables as well as Velcro sealed hydration bladder compartment pouch located on the back panel. You can fit a 2.5L bladder.
The high quality stitching guarantees durability but zippers seem to be of poor quality. Overall it is a great vest for the price.
- Fully adjustable
- A removable pistol holster strapped on with Velcro
- High-quality stitching
- Quite sturdy, especially for the price
- Six pouches for pistol magazines plus four rifle pouches
- Interior pockets
- Cannot be adjusted while in motion
- Poor quality zippers
3. The Modern Warrior Tactical Vest – An excellent choice for hot environments
Thanks to its mesh design, the Modern Warrior Tactical Vest is an excellent choice for hot climates. It is rather breathable and provides adequate ventilation keeping you cool no matter the outside temperature. Besides, the mesh material helps keep the weight of this vest low, making it more than suitable to be worn over the body armor. It is very adjustable too and can thus quickly wrap around hard rugged armor.
As far as capacity is concerned, this Modern Warrior vest features numerous practical and adequately sized pouches for your tactical gear and weapons. First of all, there are four large magazine pouches. These pouches are quite versatile as they can accommodate various magazines, including the AR 15, AK 47, M1A, and G3 magazines.
A cross draw holster is there to keep your handgun close, and it can fit both full size and compact firearms. Three magazine pouches are cleverly positioned right above the holster to store your extra pistol magazines.
The vest comes with a belt that has two extra-long utility pouches. You can use these pouches to hold your pistol magazines too. However, they might be better suited for your flashlight or pepper spray.
- Breathable mesh design
- Keeps you cool in a hot environment
- Can be worn over almost any body armor
- Four large magazine pouches compatible with various magazine types and sizes
- A cross draw holster and a belt
- Adjustable torso for the best fit
- The zipper teeth seem to be of poor quality
4. The Condor Cross Draw Tactical Vest – A fixed-layout vest tailored for dynamic actions and tight spaces
The Condor Cross Draw Tactical Vest offers a fixed layout vest most suited for short and quick actions. It is slim looking in comparison to other rather bulky tactical vests on our list. Being lightweight as well, it is adequate for female shooters too.
On the left side of this Condor vest, there is a cross draw holster designed to fit most duty-sized firearms. It utilizes an active retention device to make sure your weapon stays securely in place. A magazine pouch attached to this holster is quite versatile and practical as well.
Speaking of magazine pouches, we have to mention the three additional pistol magazine pouches positioned right above the holster. Besides, there are three main rifle magazine pouches on the opposite side of the vest too. These pouches can be somewhat adjusted and can thus fit both AR 15 and AK 47 magazines.
The slimline design makes this vest suitable for those of you who have to get in and out of vehicles or operate in tight quarters. You can adjust shoulders and girth for the best fit possible and customize the best layout via MOLLE webbing on the backside.
- Lightweight and quite versatile.
- A large shell pouch
- Cross draw pistol holster
- One built-in utility pouch and three pistol mag pouches
- Padded rubberized shoulders
- Built-in shock stop
- Tactical belt included
- Mesh back for ventilation
- MOLLE webbing
- Adjustable shoulders and girth
- A drag handle is not reinforced, and thus we doubt it is functional at all
5. The Condor Elite Tactical Vest – A dedicated rifleman’s vest
The Condor Elite Tactical is the go-to tactical vest for a dedicated rifleman. Why is that? First and foremost, it features as much as six adjustable magazine pouches to store magazines of all sizes. The pouches can accommodate both the 12 AR 15 magazines and 6 AK 47 magazines, leaving the choice of weapon to you.
Besides, these pouches are equipped with practical elastic bands on both sides, and that gives you even more freedom when it comes to the size of the magazines. Thanks to these bands, all the magazines will be kept safely attached to your vest at all times too.
The Condor Elite vest has two accessory pouches as well. They are conveniently positioned above the magazine pouches.
Although the front of the vest is rather busy with fixed tactical pouches, the MOLLE webbing at the back of the vest gives you the freedom to attach additional pouches or a hydration pack if you desire.
Mesh back will keep you well ventilated as well, while padded shoulders with built-in shock stop will help make the burden more manageable. The size is adjustable, but still, this vest is best suited for people with a small torso.
- Numerous built-in pouches
- Padded rubberized shoulders
- Built-in shock stop
- Pistol belt included
- Breathable mesh back
- MOLLE webbing on the back
- Adjustable shoulders and girth
- Quick-release buckles
- Not suitable for tall persons
Tactical Vests Defined
As their name suggests, tactical vests are vests designed to store or carry your tactical gear; first and foremost, your ammunition and magazines but other necessary equipment as well. Therefore, they usually have a place for your flashlight, handcuffs, and other essential tools too.
The best vests prioritize easy access to your ammo and magazines as these two things can mean a difference between life and death when you find yourself in a firefight. After all, anyone who needs ammo needs to be able to reload the weapon as quickly as possible.
You can see tactical vests on members of military or police forces as they usually use them to carry gear needed for their missions. Your needs might not be the same, though, but do not worry, there are different kinds of vests for all sorts of individuals and their specific needs.
Tactical vests have numerous different applications from home defense, hunting adventures,
and action sports such as airsoft. They are practical companions for anyone who has to carry a lot of gear.
The main goal of any tactical vest is to provide easy access to the essential gear as well as make carrying it more comfortable. If a vest does not allow you to organize your gear in such a way that you can access it quickly and easily – it is not the right model for you.
What are the other things you need to consider when choosing a tactical vest?
Although we are going to look into this topic in much more detail in the following section, it does not hurt to mention that the most important things you need to consider when buying a tactical vest are your weapon or weapons, type of ammo and magazine you require, whether or not you have a handgun and your intended mission.
How To Choose The Best Tactical Vest For Your Mission?
As we have already established, tactical vests are not a one size fit all type of gear. As a result, you must consider quite a few things before you can find the one tailored to your needs.
Here are the most important things you need to think about before you make your final decision:
You have two options when it comes to the layout of the tactical vest, as there is a customizable and fixed layout design. Both options have specific strengths and weaknesses.
- Fixed layout vests are more affordable, but they are also pre-equipped with tactical pouches and most often suitable only for right-handed operators. On the bright side, they offer enough space and pouches to outfit any rifleman, and they can hold all the modern tactical gear that you might need.
- Customizable layout vests provide you with ultimate control of the layout of your tactical vest. By the use of MOLLE or PALS webbing, you can attach different tactical pouches in the way you find most fitting. A customizable layout is a perfect choice for left-handed shooters too. On the downside, once you consider the price of the pouches you need to buy separately, the cost of a customizable layout vest is higher than that with a fixed layout. You also need to invest a lot of time and effort to weave the pouches in and out of the webbing.
2. Accommodation For Hard Plates Or Soft Kevlar Armor
A tactical vest can double as a body armor if it can accommodate hard plates or soft Kevlar armor. Such vests are called plate carriers, but they tend to cost more and are not very popular. Most users, police officers included, prefer to wear separate body armor and a tactical vest over it. If you choose to do so as well, go for a size up when buying your vest.
When considering the capacity of the tactical vest you want to buy, you need to determine the goals of your mission and how much ammo you will need to complete it. If you are going out on an overnight mission, or even longer than that, you need more capacity than you would for a short daylight raid.
The next step is to make a list of all the extra gear you will have to take with you. If you need a lot of water, your flashlight, compass, maps, and a medical kit, you should be shopping for a high capacity vest.
If you need to wear your tactical vest in tight spaces such as your car, you should consider
its size and keep it minimal. The overall size of the vest is essential when it comes to your mobility. A large tactical vest with a lot of pouches is more likely to get caught on things around you and slow you down.
5. Weapon You Use
Different weapons require different ammunition and gear. For example, a shotgun needs bandoleers while an AR 15 requires magazines, so there is no universal solution for all kinds of weapons. After all, different magazines are not the same size either. As a result, you need to find ammo and magazine pouches that are compatible with your weapon.
6. Space To Mount A Secondary Weapon
A secondary weapon is often a necessity in tactical operations. If your vest needs to accomodate a secondary weapon such as a handgun, you need to make sure it offers enough space. You will also need additional magazine pouches to store extra pistol magazines.
Some vests offer an alternative solution. Namely, they cannot accommodate a handgun but offer a belt to accommodate a holster instead.
See Also: The Best Rain Poncho
We have hopefully convinced you that a tactical vest is the modern piece of equipment that will help you carry all the necessary gear into combat, field or arena.
You saw that there are different configurations for different shooters, and now it is time to choose the one that best suits your needs. Remember to consider your mission, weapon, and ammunition, and all the other gear you plan to bring with you. The vest should work for you!
If we had to pick the overall winner, it would be the Condor Cross Draw Tactical Vest as we highly appreciate the freedom of movement it provides us with. As summer is fast approaching, you might consider an ultra-light and breathable Modern Warrior Tactical Vest too.