Body Armor for Women: Finding the Perfect Fit and Comfort

body armor for women

According to a report from 2021, over 13% percent of active-duty law enforcement officers in the United States were female. Additionally, with women’s roles increasing in the Military, and first responders, there has never been a more significant need for specific body armor designed for women. 

Traditionally, body armor has always been designed with Male bodies in mind. This often leads to discomfort, improper fit, and decreased effectiveness for women who wear body armor. We at Ace Link Armor understand this, and our Flexcore soft armor panels and Multi Curve Hard Armor plates are designed to be more comfortable, and better fitting, even for women. 

So, let’s take a detailed look into Body Armor for Women. Lets see how women can find the perfect fit to stay safe while they serve on the front lines alongside their male counterparts. 

Key Issues in Traditional Body armor for women

Apparently, Men and women have different bodies. This is something that is obvious to the clothing industry, but body armor manufacturers still need to catch on to it. The reason…Profits. Of course, females represent a massive part of the consumer demographic in the fashion industry. However, when it comes to body armor, the number of women buying bulletproof vests, and armor plates has for quite a long time, remained way too low compared to men

However, things are changing. Women still make up a small part of body armor consumers, but their percentage is significant enough that any manufacturer that makes body armor suited for them can make some decent profits. 

But first, it is important that we understand the key issues that women face when they use traditional body armor. 

  • Improper Fit on Shoulders: For women, traditional vests don’t fit properly on their shoulders. The straps are too loose, causing the armor to hang awkwardly and not sit securely on the body.
  • Chest Tightness: Traditional vests can be too tight around the chest area. They can restrict movement and make it difficult to breathe comfortably.
  • Lack of Breast Support: Traditional vests don’t provide adequate support for a woman’s breasts. It flattens the chest and leaves the armpits exposed, compromising protection and comfort.
  • Ill-Fitting Waist: The waist of these vests sits too low and is too loose, allowing the armor to shift up and down. This is uncomfortable and reduces effectiveness.

Can Women Wear Male Body Armor?

Sure, any protection is better than no protection, and most women who are currently working in the field have to use the traditional body armor that is available to them. Yes, this armor does still protect women, but not as effectively as it protects men, the people whose body type it is typically designed for. 

Additionally, women have to deal with a lot more discomfort throughout the day when they wear body armor on duty. As we have mentioned above, armor designed for men usually doesn’t fit them well, leading to improper weight distribution, and increased fatigue. 

So, the answer is yes, women can wear men’s body armor, but it isn’t the ideal choice. Luckily, they can use the Acelink armor Flex Core Soft armor panels, which can conform to the curves of their bodies, or use our Level III and IV Multi-Curve Hard Armor plates, which provide additional comfort for both men and women. 

A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Body Armor for Women

Though some companies are making body armor specifically designed for women, the truth of the matter is that they are very few. Additionally, the body type and size can vary significantly between women as well, and it’s highly unlikely that you will find armor that is perfectly made for your body. 

So, this is a more practical guide, designed to help women get the best Body armor available to them in the current Market. 

Consider Body Shape and Size:

As a woman, if you want body armor that fits your body, you need to keep two things in mind. First of all, you need to buy Armor panels that are either flexible or have a curved design. More importantly, you need to make sure that the carrier, or vest you choose offers a lot of adjustability. As we’ve mentioned before, body type and size can vary significantly between women as well. So you need to be able to adjust the shoulder straps, and side straps of your vest to ensure a proper fit. 

Prioritize Comfort:

Comfort is an essential feature to look for, especially if you are someone who wears body armor on duty. It’s important to understand that body armor will never be as comfortable as regular clothing. However over the past years, manufacturers have introduced a lot of new features in body armor that make it more comfortable. 

First of all, make sure to opt for lightweight armor. These days, many manufacturers are making ultra-light armor plates and panels, which are much easier to wear all day. Typically, PE Plates are the lightest when it comes to hard armor, however, they can be slightly more expensive than steel or ceramic plates. Check out the Ace Link Armor Multi Curve PE or PE-Ceramic Composite plates for the best lightweight, and comfortable plates on the market available at an affordable price. 

The second thing to look for when it comes to comfort is breathability. When you choose a plate carrier or vest, make sure that it is made from breathable materials, and has integrated breathable foam padding along with air channels. These features help you stay cool and comfortable during long days of wearing armor. 

Manage Expectations

The truth of the matter is that Body armor is inherently uncomfortable, whether you are a man or woman. It is important to understand why there is a lack of female-specific armor in the market so that you can manage your expectations. You see, as we have mentioned before, Women’s bodies can be vastly different among themselves as well, Much more so than men’s. For men, around 4 or 5 standardized sizes will fit almost every man on earth, but you cant say the same for women.

Moreover, incorporating curves into armor plates can compromise their ballistic integrity, and segmenting Kevlar pads for a better fit also diminishes their protective capabilities.

So, in short, most “Female-specific” body armor plates or panels are little more than a gimmick. Very few manufacturers make it , and in most cases, it won’t stand up to the rigorous testing that they do on traditional armor panels. 

Still, there are many ways in which women can get comfortable armor. Though “female-specific” ballistic panels may be a gimmick, you can still get outer carrier vests that fit you better, and offer more adjustability. Additionally, if you compliment them with ultra flexible armor panels, like the Ace Link Flexcore armor panels, which are NIJ Certified, and Tested to provide Multi-Hit Protection, you can have a comfortable, and effective armor system. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while body armor designed specifically for women is still a developing niche, significant strides have been made to address the unique challenges that women face when using traditional male-oriented body armor. The key to finding effective and comfortable protection lies in understanding the importance of a proper fit, prioritizing comfort features, and managing realistic expectations regarding the capabilities of the armor. By choosing adjustable vests and incorporating flexible armor panels like those offered by Ace Link Armor, women can achieve a level of protection and comfort that supports their vital roles in law enforcement, the military, and emergency response. As the industry continues to evolve, the hope is that more manufacturers will recognize the importance of developing body armor that meets the needs of all wearers, ensuring that everyone on the front lines can stay safe and effective.