An overhead photo of a tactical military bulletproof vest with an American flag badge lying on a camouflage cloth background.

Buying Your First Tactical Gear: Here's What to Look Out For

While it is not possible for someone to change their fate, there are measures that one can take to be ready whenever disaster strikes. Buying tactical gear is one way to protect yourself whenever you're going to be in the same vicinity as firearms. That said, purchasing tactical gear for the first time can be a daunting task. Here, we are going to take a look at some of the best tips to keep in mind when it's time to purchase your first tactical gear.

The Threat Level

Investing in tactical gear is a smart way to add that extra layer of protection whenever you are using firearms or be in a situation where you could get injured or worse by firearms. However, if you don't have a clue where to start when it's time to purchase your first tactical gear, it's best, to begin with the threat level.

This is a crucial factor to consider when choosing tactical gear because the threat level varies from person to person. For instance, those in law enforcement are more likely to be in a high-threat scenario, while hobbyists, hunters, or those who simply want to protect themselves will be in lower but varied threat levels.

For those who are unaware, there are six different threat levels, depending on the weapons, bullet caliber, and other factors. If you are going to be purchasing tactical gear for the first time, then you will first need to factor in what type of weapon (e.g., caliber bullets or knife blades) you expect to come in contact with. Figuring out the threat level is going to be your first step toward choosing the right tactical gear based on those potential threats.


The most common mistake that first-time buyers make while choosing tactical gear is that they focus more on appearance and other features rather than on one of the most important factors, which is comfort. If you're choosing tactical gear, then chances are, you're going to be wearing it for hours on end, especially if you are going to be wearing your tactical gear outdoors or while on a hunting trip.

While you would want your tactical gear to keep you protected if you come in contact with firearms or other threats, it is important to keep comfort in mind when choosing tactical gear. Besides, you wouldn't want to be stuck wearing tactical gear that you aren't comfortable in for hours on end, which is only going to result in further discomfort and probably injury.


Another major factor to consider when it's time to choose your first tactical gear is maneuverability, or your ability to move around easily when you wear the tactical gear. More often than not, first-time buyers focus more on purchasing the heaviest gear they can find without trying out the tactical gear first.

This can be a big mistake since you need to choose tactical gear that you are going to be comfortable wearing while moving. If you are using tactical gear outdoors, you will probably be moving around a lot. The tactical gear that you choose must be comfortable to move around in and not restrict movement. To be on the safe side, it is always best to first try out the tactical gear by wearing all of it and then moving around to see if it is not restricting your field of movement in any way.

Before you purchase your first tactical gear, put all of it on and then try to walk around. Lift up your arms and move them around to see if your arms aren't rubbing against the hard layer of the tactical vest. Now that you've tried the tactical gear while walking, it's time to take it up a notch; run and jump around to see if your gear isn't too heavy. You wouldn't want to be in a situation where you need to run but aren't able to because of the heavy tactical gear you're lugging around.

Get the Right Size

Getting the right size is a big part of being comfortable and, even more importantly, being able to move freely when wearing tactical gear. Contrary to popular belief, choosing a tactical vest that's one size larger does not mean you are going to get extra protection.

To find out the right size for your tactical vest, first, you will need to place a tape measure 1" below the armpit area. Make sure that you are using a fabric tape measure and using it over the clothes. Now, measure the circumference of the upper chest. The measurement you get (or up to 2") is going to be the right size for you.

Don't forget to measure the length of the tactical vest by placing the fabric measuring tape at your shoulder, just above the shoulder blades, till where the bottom of the tactical vest ends. Getting a tactical vest that's longer is only going to hinder movement and sitting or crouching positions.

As a rule of thumb, plate carrier and tactical vest designers usually maintain a size range of around 33" to 37" for chest width, a 37" and 41" chest width for medium sizes, and 41" to 45" for large-size tactical vests. It is also possible to find oversized tactical vests with a larger chest width of 57" to 73", usually sold under 2Xlarge sizes.


This could very well be the first factor to consider when choosing tactical gear for the first time. You wouldn't want to be wearing sub-par tactical gear that's going to fail when you need it most. While the durability of any product mainly depends on its brand and its cost, that's not necessarily the case when it comes to tactical gear. There are many great brands out there, such as Shield Concept, that are offering high-quality tactical gear at affordable prices. The tactical gear from these brands provides just as much protection and quality as many big-name brands in the tactical gear space.

Ending Note

Just another tip to roll off with when selecting tactical gear, particularly a tactical vest, it is important to know what color you will get. Thanks to the growing popularity of tactical vests over the years, there is no dearth of options when it comes to colors. While this might be a good thing since you find tactical gear in just about any color these days, it might also be confusing for many who will be choosing their gear for the first time.

As mentioned, tactical gear can come in multiple colors. You can choose from Woodland Camo, True Timber New Conceal, A-Tacs, A-Tacs FG, CRYE Multicam, Digi Desert, True Timber, True Timber Mixed Pine, Black, and Olive Drab. For more information on choosing the perfect tactical gear for the first time or finding the best tactical gear option, you can visit Shield Concept, the go-to destination for tactical vests, plate carriers, mag pouches, belts, and more.