Each year, those in the firearms industry gather for the largest event of its kind, the SHOT Show. This year’s SHOT Show took place in Las Vegas from January 25 – 29. Manufacturers revealed exciting new products designed to keep police and military members safe. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the latest body armor trends on display at the 2019 SHOT Show.
More Pockets Than Ever Before
Manufacturers have begun adding more pockets onto their body armor products. The belief is that these pockets are much more accessible than the pockets on tactical pants, which could be difficult to access when kneeling or sitting. For instance, the Rise 2.0 from Angel Armor now features two hidden front utility products. The material on these pockets stretches, allowing you to fit large accessories. Angel Armor says that the pockets can fit a(n):
- Folding knife
- Small firearm, such as a pistol
- Extra magazine
External Carriers For Everyday Use
Over the past couple of years, a routine day for a police officer has become significantly more dangerous. Many units across the country have moved away from traditional duty belts to safer options like load-bearing vests. Studies show that doing so could be healthier for police officers as well, as carrying their equipment on vests can significantly reduce lower-back and hip pain.
So, it’s no surprise to see manufacturers release body armor designed for everyday use. This year, many companies released external carriers that feature ballistic panels, providing dual functionality. Not only do these vests provide bullet resistance, but they also make it easy to carry accessories as well. The carriers are low-visibility and come in standard uniform colors, including:
Perhaps another acknowledgment of the fact that officers will likely use these vests more frequently than ever before, companies have introduced designs that are more comfortable. Multiple manufacturers at the SHOT Show noted that they had begun collaborating with apparel manufacturers and fashion designers to understand better how clothes fit the human body.
Take, for example, Angel Armor, which conducted 3D body scans while working with Colorado State University. As a result, manufacturers now appear to be scaling panel sizes by the size of the vest. Whereas old body armor vests featured small and large panels of the same shape, manufacturers have started changing the forms of panels to fit better the individual wearing the garment.
Similarly, manufacturers also introduced body armor made of “stretchy” materials. No longer are the days of hook-and-loop fabric that made it difficult for officers to move and sit down. Now, those wearing the vest can rest assured that the vest will not shift or push into their neck when they sit. This also allows officers to wear the vests comfortably in the car throughout the day.
As the use of body armor grows, it will be interesting to see how manufacturers modernize their designs. We’re excited about the trends revealed during the 2019 SHOT Show and the models to follow in the coming years.