Looking for the best tactical vest for you?
Tactical vests are a handy piece of tactical equipment to add to your collection. They can be used for a variety of purposes such as for hobbies, training or in a survival situation.
Tactical vests are popular amongst law enforcement, preppers, hunters and everyone in between. They provide a means of holding all your tactical equipment such as flashlights and radios as well as storage for ammunition and magazines.
Our team has tried and tested a whole lot of tactical vests on the market to determine the best tactical vest in 2021. We have narrowed down our list to the top 10, all of which have unique and individual features and establish themselves on our list for different reasons.
- 1 Looking for the Best Tactical Vest in 2021?
- 2 Top 10 Best Tactical Vests of 2021
- 3 Best Tactical Vest Buyer's Guide
- 4 What are Tactical Vests?
- 5 What Would I Use a Tactical Vest For?
- 6 What Types of Tactical Vests are Available for Purchase?
- 7 Are Tactical Vests Protective?
- 8 Features You Should Consider before Purchasing a Tactical Vest
- 9 Examples of Tactical Gear You Can Have in Your Vest
- 10 Top Brands of Tactical Vests
Looking for the Best Tactical Vest in 2021?
Top 10 Best Tactical Vests of 2021
Now that you are bottled up on knowledge about everything you need to look for in a good tactical vest, check out some of our favorites.
Our team of tactical vest experts have chosen 10 vests that represent the best on the market including cheap tactical vests for those on a budget. Enjoy!
The YAKEDA Tactical Vest is an Amazon Bestseller for a reason! Available in 7 different colors and sizes ranging from S to XXXL this tactical vest is the best choice for anyone in search of a top quality vest.
It is made from high quality 600D polyester and has mesh material that makes the vest breathable and lightweight. Don’t worry about wearing a standard vest, the adjustable shoulder straps and side belt design can be fitted to your needs. The YAKEDA tactical vest is a right hand draw.
The YAKEDA vest is highly versatile with ample removable pouches, drain holes, hook and loop closures and elastic plug in systems to hold magazines. It has 2 large internal zip pockets great for storing documentations and maps as well as a rear mesh pocket for storing your hydration bladder.
It also has 4 adjustable rifle magazine pouches (3 on the right and 1 on the left) to keep your mags in place.
There is no wonder the YAKEDA tactical vest is a crowd-favorite. The high quality, durable vest can be used for anything from outdoor activity, to business to whatever you may desire.
The Marmot Tactical Vest is an all around great tactical vest choice that we would recommend to anyone and everyone looking for a long lasting, practical vest.
The vest is lightweight and comfortable and has a mesh ventilation system that keeps the wearer cool at all times. It is made from 600D polyester mesh materials, making the vest strong and durable to last you for years to come.
It comes in sizes S to XXL so will fit most users.
The Marmot Tactical Vest is designed to be a multipurpose, versatile vest that comes with removable accessories for a customizable experience.
The removable parts that the vest comes with include a shotgun shell holder, mag pouch and a holster for your compact, subcompact or standard pistols. You are also able to attach any other pouches that you have via the velcro strips.
Other features include a radio pouch and an internal zip up document pouch great for securing items like your cellphone.
It is fitted with a heavy duty adjustable belt that has mag and flashlight pouches. The adjustable shoulder straps have 2 long velcro strips and 2 metal d-rings that allow you to attach carabiners.
What are you waiting for?! Get your hands on this great tactical vest now!
The Condor Recon Chest Rig is our personal favorite choice for a reliable, top of the range chest rig at under $50.
It is fitted with kangaroo style mag pouches to allow you to have fast and seamless access to your mags for a quick reload. It has 3 built in stacker/kangaroo style mag pouches with the capacity to hold 6 M4 mag and 6 pistol mags.
The chest rig itself does not feature a holster, but has MOLLE webbing on both sides of the rig for you to mount one.
It has pistol pouches with adjustable and removable flaps so the user can store small accessories or a knife/multi tool.
The GLORYFIRE Tactical Vest has been named 'Amazon's Choice' tactical vest for a reason.
It is a high quality model made from tough and durable 600D Oxford Fabric with reinforced stitching and a breathable mesh material build.
It is full adjustable through the side and shoulder straps and can be fitted to any size to ensure comfort and agility when wearing.
The vest is made with a holster that is detachable to suit both left and right handers. This MOLLE pistol holster can also be removed and added to your tactical belt or backpack.
There is also plenty of storage in the vest. The 2 internal pockets are zipped and the rear mesh pocket great for storing large items like documents or maps.
Other functional parts include a shotgun shell holder, utility, magazine and flashlight pouch and a detachable mag pouch.
The GLORYFIRE Vest has a full MOLLE system for adding or detaching any pouches you may have.
This vest comes in at under $50, so don't wait to get your hands on this great piece of tactical equipment now!
We love the GFIRE Tactical Vest for its minimalistic and discreet look whilst still having all the features you would want in a great tactical vest.
The GFIRE is equipped with an emergency drag handle and shoulder straps with anti slip and hook and loop webbing. Unlike other brands which use 600D, GFIRE have used 1000D polyester to make their tactical vest lighter and more robust than other vests on the market.
The heavyweight MOLLE webbing and loops allows for modular attachments of your choosing. With a significant MOLLE design you will be able to carry all the items you need and be able to store and retrieve your items with ease.
The vest is equipped with a large front map pocket that has snap, hook and loop closure as well as extra side pockets for storing your other tools.
It is well sized for a comfortable and secure fit for its user through the shoulder straps and internal waist that are easily adjustable. The shoulder straps also have quick release buckles so you can quickly get in and out of your tactical vest.
The sizes M through XL will fit pretty much most users and the vest can be purchase in 3 different colors: black, green and tan.
The GZ XINXING Tactical Vest is the only tactical vest you will ever need!
GZ are so confident you will love their vest that they even offer a 30 day money back guarantee.
This vest is able to be worn by sizes S to 4XL and is fully adjustable through 6 side tension straps and adjustable shoulder straps. It will fit a user from 100 to 350lbs. The vest is made from nylon mesh material which promotes ventilation and cooling whilst wearing it.
The vest zips through the front and can be further secured by the included pistol belt which threads through the bottom of the vest. On the shoulders there are 2 metal D rings to attach carabiners and other attachments.
Features in the vest have a left side holster which fits most medium psols and 3 pistol mag pouches which are adjustable to the size of most normal sized mags too. The right side also has 3 ammo pouches, a shooting pad and a large shell carrying pouch. On the back of the vest it has double ply mesh so you can carry a hydration bladder. The ideal size hydration bladder that it suits is 2.5L
It also has 2 internal zippered pockets which can fit tablets, maps and other documents. The heavy back loop system also lets you add any of your additional fear to your vest.
Act now and get your hands on this excellent tactical vest that comes in 6 different colors and is less than $50!
Barbarians is centered on producing premium products and we have to agree that their tactical vest is no exception to this. Designed with high quality mesh material, this tactical vest is great for anything from shooting and airsoft to combat and self defense.
It is a versatile vest that has many features on the front and back for storage purposes.
The front of the vest has ample storage including 3 rifle magazine pouches and 3 equipment pouches as well as a single pistol holster. Other pouches include a flashlight pouch, an interphone pouch, a phone pouch, another accessory pouch and a removable bullet holder.
At the rear of the vest there is an interior mesh pocket for your hydration bladder. There is also 2 internal document pockets, a rear MOLLE panel and velcro label and 2 D-rings.
The Barbarian Tactical MOLLE vest can be fitted to waists of sizes 34 inches to 48 inches through the adjustable nylon straps. The tactical belt that comes with it is also adjustable and has 2 pistol mag pouches. You can also adjust the length of the vest through the shoulder straps.
This multipurpose tactical vest is great for both novice and professional use and will store everything you need in this vest and more. Purchase your Barbarians Tactical MOLLE vest today!
The vAv YAKEDA Tactical Vest is a really robust tactical vest that is designed to fit adults of size S to XXL.
It is made out of 900D nylon together with a thick PVC lining which gives it its durability and resistance against wear and tear.
Wearing this tactical vest you can store up to 8 magazines, in the removable closed and open type magazine pouches. These pouches are adjustable height and can fit any sized pouch through the removable velcro straps.
Other features include the dump pouch, tactical MOLLE pouch, and the double pistol mag pouch. The vest comes equipped with an administrative pouch which essentially is a pouch for storage of any extra miscellaneous items that you may have. There is also an extra outside storage pouch for your flashlights or another magazine.
This tactical vest is fully fitted with the MOLLE system designed for load bearing.
Available in 4 different colors, the vAv YAKEDA Tactical Vest is an all-inclusive tactical vest that will store everything you need and more!
The MGFLASHFORCE Tactical Vest is a one size fits (basically) all tactical vest that can be adjusted from adults of sizes S to XXXL.
The vest is made from 600D high density polyester combined with a mesh fabric to offer a ventilation system that keeps you cool at all times whilst wearing. We really liked how high quality this vest felt whilst wearing. The front zip was sturdy and kept the vest in place, and the velcro and buckles gave that extra stability when needed.
The size of the vest is fully adjustable through the shoulder straps which adjust the length and the six side tension straps which adjusted the width. This vest also comes with a military belt which has 2 bonus magazine holders.
With this vest you will have no issues with organizing all of your tactical gear. It is complete with many pouches as well as MOLLE loops, for all your items.
Other features of this vest include mag pouches, a phone/radio pouch, a utility pouch, a shotgun shell holder, a flashlight/mag pouch and the detachable right hand draw holster for your pistol.
The back of the best has the MOLLE system as well as internally has 2 large zipped document pouches and the mesh pocket for your hydration bladder.
To round out our list of the best tactical vests here is the Himal Tactical Vest which is a high quality, professionally crafted tactical vest that is great for any activity. Available in 3 colors, it is able to be fitted to waist sizes of 37 inches to 48 inches and the length can be altered from 23 inches to 20 inches.
The vest is made from 600D polyester as well as strong mesh for a lightweight whilst still durable feel. The excellent quality material ensures that this vest will last you for years, whilst being resistant to tears.
It is easy to assemble and disassemble through the removable pouches. The first pouch is the shotgun shell holder which has 5 shotgun ammo slots which are fully secure. The radio pouch is great for radio or cell phone storage. The cross-draw pistol holster fits various sized handguns, so you don’t have to worry about a one size situation.
It also has a utility and equipment and accessory pouch as well as 2x 3 rifle magazine pouches. The adjustable belt that it comes with can also accommodate 2 pouches.
In the back of the best, it has extensive module webbing for your extra equipment and the 2 D-rings which can attach carabiners.
Overall this is an extensive, high quality tactical vest that’ll give you years of reliable use in whatever activity you are taking part in.
Best Tactical Vest Buyer's Guide
We have also curated a detailed buying guide to give you all the information and insights into what features are in a tactical vest and what you should consider before purchasing your vest.
We also address some FAQs to help our readers make an educated decision on which tactical vest best suits their needs.
Keep reading to find out everything you will need to know about the best tactical vests on the market!
What are Tactical Vests?
Tactical vests (or tac vest for short) are vests which have the primary purpose of storing tactical equipment and gear. This can be anything from flashlights, radios and hydration bladders to ammunition and magazines.
They are utilized by many professions like law enforcement and the military, as it provides them with a means of carrying all their equipment which can then be accessed easily when needed. These professions all require different gear, and a tactical vest allows it all to be organized.
You are able to find tactical vests in all different styles which have their pros and cons. Different styles include lightweight tactical vests, molle tactical vests and military tactical vests to name a few.
Before purchasing a tactical vest you should take into account the types of items you will be storing.
What Would I Use a Tactical Vest For?
Tactical vests are a popular item for many purposes, and even for regular civilians as they are extremely versatile.
If you are involved in outdoor hobbies such as hunting, trekking or fishing a tactical vest is an easy way to have everything you need at the ready. Maps and navigation equipment, flashlights, knives to name a few can all be stored.
Other great activities like airsoft or paintballers can also utilize the tactical vests. Wearing one, you will have immediate access to all your gear in a flash. Military tactical vests are also widely used.
Or in a personal survival or home invasion. You can easily put on your tac vest which gives you everything you need like access to, like your ammunition stores, immediately.
The possibilities for your tactical vest use are limitless and are a must-have piece of gear!
What Types of Tactical Vests are Available for Purchase?
Fixed and Custom Layout
On the market you have a choice between 2 main types of tactical vests. These are fixed and custom layout vests.
Fixed layout vests come with tactical pouches and pockets that are already in place.
Custom layout vests have PALS AND MOLLE webbing which allow you to attach a variety of compatible attachments. The custom aspect allows you to have full control of your vest and you can cater for your own considerations. Molle tactical vests are our personal favorite.
Getting a custom layout vest may be a better idea if you are a left handed shooter, as fixed layout vests tend to have a weapon storage on the right hand side. This leads us onto our next consideration of whether you are looking for a tactical vest with holster.
You can watch this video for great tactical vest set-up ideas and inspiration.
A custom layout may come at a slightly higher cost as you need to factor in buying the extra pieces. You will then need to attach the pieces to your vest.
Chest Rigs, Cross Draws, Harness Battle Belt Tactical Vests
Chest rigs and cross draws are two of the most popular types of tactical vests across all its users.
They are designed for the purpose of storing ammunition and magazines for your handguns and rifles. You can find chest rigs that will hold up to 6 magazines for each of your weapons. Chest rigs mostly work in conjunction with a gun belt.
You will wear both simultaneously, and the gun belt will holster your weapons.
Chest rigs feature a front pocket and go over the shoulder using straps. They are minimalistic and primarily store magazines.
Cross Draw Vests
Cross Draw vests actually store the weapon on the vest. More often, the holster is on the left side which allows cross draw for right handed shooters. The gun fits higher up on your body, which depending on your preference, can be easier for access.
Cross draw vests also come equipped with plenty of storage on them. It is probably the better choice for you if you are looking to carry a lot of combat equipment.
Harness Battle Belt
These are tactical vests that have MOLLE straps which allow even distribution of the weight of your vest across your shoulders. The MOLLE straps allow the addition of more pouches and it’s structure and fit allow for maximum mobility.
Are Tactical Vests Protective?
Most of the time tactical vests are not protective and will not protect from bullets. As previously mentioned they are made for equipment loading.
Certain tactical vests that can fit plates, are called plate carriers and we have written a guide which you can read here. If you are after bulletproof vests you can check out our buying guide here.
It is also common for tactical vests to be worn over the top of body armor. If you are intending to do this, considering sizing up.
Features You Should Consider before Purchasing a Tactical Vest
Before diving in and purchasing a vest there are a number of considerations you should make beforehand. Factors such as the weight of the vest, the weapons (if any) in which you plan on carrying as well as the size, comfort factor and look are all important.
The standard composition of a tactical vest is that it has a holster and storage for 5-6 rifle magazines and then up to 4 holders for your pistol magazines. It will also have a shotgun shell pouch.
Fit and Weight
A tactical vest should give you ample freedom to perform any stunts and move as freely as you would be able to when you aren’t wearing one. If the vest is restrictive, it is not fulfilling its purpose.
If the vest is too heavy it can weigh you down and you will inevitably move slower. This is not ideal in a critical situation. Tactical vests generally weigh anywhere in the range of 2lbs to 6lbs. If you plan on wearing it for long periods, we would advise choosing a lightweight tactical vest. If not, it won’t make too much of a difference.
Unsure of what size to purchase? we recommend choosing the one closest to your regular size. Do not size up thinking you will need a tactical vest that is roomy. Your vest should be a close fit. After all, a vest that sags on your body can compromise your performance.
If you still aren’t sure what to choose, check out the vests product sizing guide which will give you a good indication.
Tactical vests fit usually either 1 of 2 ways. The first being that they are slipped on over your head and the second one arm at a time and then zipped or clipped up. Your vest should be fitted with ample velcro and quick release buckles for quick changes in and out of, and deployment of your items.
The vest will also have shoulder and waist straps which will tailor the length and width.
Shoulder straps can be adjusted to help you vest sitting higher or lower on your body which promotes better movement. The side straps should then be adjusted for better chest fit.
This leads on to the comfort element of the tactical vests. Comfort in your vest means the ability to easily put on the vest and take it off. It also relates to the padding on the vest that reduces chafing and uncomfortable edges digging into you. The vest should also have adjustable waist and shoulder straps to ensure a snug fit.
Your tactical vest should give you ample regions to store anything you may need.
We recommend looking for a MOLLE tactical vest or one with PALS as this allows for a large degree of customization through adding pouches and accessories for your needs.
Before shopping we think it is a good idea to write down a list of all the gear you plan on storing in your vest. This will allow you to choose the vest that fits all your needs. It is also important to consider what you will be doing whilst wearing it. A long mission or outing will require you to have more supplies on hand, whereas wearing your vest for short activities will not require this.
If you are looking for the best MOLLE attachments and pouches for your Tactical Vest, check out our guide here
Weapon You Plan on Carrying
There is a good possibility that you will want to carry a weapon in your tactical vest, so you want to make sure that your vest can accommodate different sizes of ammunition and not all of them are the same. For a good example, AK 47 magazines are much larger than AR 15 magazines.
A magazine pouch is not one size fits all - and having your magazines bouncing around inside could cause the ammunition to fall out or come loose.
If you plan on carrying a second weapon this is another consideration. Firstly does it have a compartment to store a second weapon like a handgun? Then does it have extra pouches to store the ammunition of this second weapon?
Tactical vests are available for purchase in black, khaki green, camo and tan. Your color should ideally fit with the situation you’ll be in. For example, if you are hunting then camo is your go-to, or if you are a law enforcement officer chances are black is your best choice. For other outdoor activities you could go with khaki or camo.
Examples of Tactical Gear You Can Have in Your Vest
This goes without saying but a flashlight is a must-have item in your tactical vest. Survivalists and preppers as well as law enforcement agents and SWAT team members will all want to be equipped with a powerful LED flashlight that can be used in an emergency.
First Aid Kit
It is always better to be prepared for the worst, and what's better than having a first aid kit and any other medical supplies that
It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant and you can just put together your own. Just put together some tylenol, bandaids, medical wrap and strapping etc, and you have yourself a DIY first aid kit.
Top Brands of Tactical Vests
It’s always a good thing to be familiar with the top brands. When purchasing a tactical vest you want to be certain you are only purchasing the best quality.
What is MOLLE?
In short, MOLLE is what allows you to fully customize your tactical vest to your liking. We would recommend choosing a molle tactical vest as they are more versatile.
How much do tactical vests cost?
Tactical vests generally will cost you no more than $100 for a good quality vest. Factors such as material used, craftsmanship and capabilities will dictate the price. If you are on a budget, it is easy to find a cheap tactical vest at your price point.
Is my tactical vest insulated and will keep me warm?
No, your tactical vest will unfortunately not keep you warm. If you will be in cold environments, dress appropriately underneath your vest wearing an underlayer and a jacket.
Are Tactical Vests legal for purchase in the USA?
Yes, the purchase of tactical vests is legal in the USA.
How should I clean my tactical vest?
We recommend reading the manufacturer's instructions on cleaning your tactical vest to not damage it. Just do not throw it in the washing machine. It is sufficient for most tactical vests to be cleaned with a wet sponge or cloth.
When hunting for your ideal tactical vest, we would point your towards Amazon picks in particular our top 3 favorites - the YAKEDA Tactical Vest, the Marmot Tactical Vest and the GFIRE Tactical Vest. If you are looking in particular for a chest rig, you should go for the Condor Chest Rig.