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Tactical Vests for Airsoft and Paintball - never lose a mag again!
Airsoft Tactical Vest
If you play airsoft seriously, sooner or later you will buy a vest. This is a major purchase, because a vest is a big part of your camouflage setup. It also has to be comfortable.
A personal favorite of mine is the UTG tactical vest. I don't think it is based off a real vest, but it is really good for airsoft purposes.
This airsoft vest comes with a right-handed cross draw holster for your pistol, which is pretty good and can be rotated to different angles or removed completely. The only drawback with this holster is that it tends to push on the magazine release button of your airsoft pistol, so a helpful tip for this vest would be to tape your magazine in, to prevent losing it.
The pistol holster can be swapped for 2 extra magazine pouches (for a total of 6). Each magazine pouch comfortable holds a 0.5L water bottle, or a bottle of BBs. Each mag can hold two M16 magazines (tight fit) or 2 Ak 47 magazines (really tight fit). Because most people use high capacity magazines, this vest offers a lot of options in terms of what you bring to the field.
The vest has 2 large internal zipped pockets for your valuables (if you decide to bring them to the field), and each pocket can comfortably hold a 4000 round BB bag.
I personally found the extra pistol magazines on the belt to be useless, and instead added the 2 additional magazine pouches to the belt, which is really good for long games.
The vest featurs a command pouch for maps and such, I usually carry a first aid kit in there. The shell holder is detachable and can be replaced with a Velcro based patches.
The vest features a total of 4 small magazine pouches +2 on the belt. I found the 3 magazine pouches in front to be really useful for carrying around anti fog solution, a spare battery and a hex key/flashlight.
The radio pouch on a shoulder is rather useless, as it is too small for most modern store bought radios.
As for the sniper shoulder, I found that to be making some squeaking noise when touching rubberized gun stocks, something that's rather annoying for sneaking up on the opponents.
The vest features 2 shoulder loops, so you can run your hydration pack tube through there, but the vest itself does not have a hydration pack mount.
I've never used the rescue loop on the back, but it seems rather flimsy.
Overall, this tactical vest is of a great quality and has lasted me many airsoft games. I actually own 2 of these - a woodland digital and olive. Over time, these picked up some kind of musky woodland smell, and I've washed them once. This is nothing to worry about, just rather peculiar.
This vest can be adjusted to fit a lot of body types, but it takes a rather long time and is done best with someone helping you. Adjusting the vest for yourself alone would require you to take it off and on many times. The most picky part is the belt - it has to be unbuckled to be taken off
Paintball Tactical Vest
A word about the color of your vest
While there are a lot of cool pictures of vests out there, the most important questions that you have to ask yourself are:
- Will I want to play large airsoft or paintball scenario games?
- What color will my primary camouflage be?
Some colors that you would want to avoid: Black and variations of white. Solid black is very easy to spot in the woodland, as is white. According to a professional sniper, digital woodland is still the best camouflage for urban areas, while most "urban" camouflage is just a variation of the snowflage :)
Paintball tactical vests
Paintball vests feature larger pouches for paintball containers, as opposed to realistic pouches for magazines
- Military boots for outdoor sports
Avoid common airsoft and paintball ankle injuries and look cool by getting a pair of military boots. This is a long term investment that will save your sneakers and expensive timberlands
Paintball tactical vests
Read my review of the UTG Airsoft tactical vest above to get a feeling for the quality of this paintball vest. They are practically the same thing with a minor change in the pouch layout. I do believe UTG/Condor makes good quality vests, specifically for airsoft and paintball. This particular tactical vest can be modified to fit a variety of people using straps and velcro tabs.
The defining feature of this paintball vest are the 4 large coverless pouches that can be used to store paintball bottles. They are not detachable, but are very convenient for long skirmishes and allows for easy access. I have spoken to several people using this variant of the utg vest and they love it.
Remember, paintballs are VERY expensive. The design of this vest, leaves the paintball tube tops exposed, so I would strongly encourage you to tape the tops of your paintball canisters to prevent you from losing valuable ammo!
Cleaning your vest may be a hassle, but these survive washing in a washing machine.