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The Best Tactical Vest Setup (Choosing the Right Loadout)

Many people struggle with the whole loadout scenario. So I put together a list of the most important things you need to consider when loading your tactical vest.

The best tactical vest setup is one that can accommodate the gear and utilities you’d need in most tactical situations. Every tactical situation is different, but any decent setup should at least have space for ammo, radio, water, and medical kits. The goal is to be prepared for the task at hand.

Please read on for the details.

Solider Holding a Tactical Vest

What Should Be On a Tactical Vest?

When choosing a loadout, it’s important to consider the environment you’re working in, the threats you might face, and your personal preferences. Still, there are some basic things that you should have on you no matter what. 

A tactical vest should have ammo pouches for your primary and secondary vest, a push-to-talk button for the radio, a flashbang pouch, a first aid kit, a hydration pack, and probably general-purpose pouches.

For most people, a vest like this one found on Amazon will provide all the space that you need.

Let’s go over these tactical vest setup essentials one at a time.

An ammo Pouch for Your Primary Weapon

It would be convenient if you had a place to store your ammo, and the front of your tactical vest is the logical place for it. That way, you can reach your ammo quickly when you need it.

There are a lot of different types of ammo pouches on the market, but I recommend getting one that can hold at least four magazines. Some will have more, but four should be enough for most situations.

The pouch should also have some way to restrain the magazines to prevent them from falling off or bouncing around as you move. But as important as that may be, it is also wise to leave one magazine unrestrained in the pouch. This will allow you to reload your firearm fast in a pinch.

Ammo Pouch for Your Secondary Weapon

You might not think you need a second ammo pouch, but trust us, you do. This is especially true if your secondary weapon is a pistol.

Many people make the mistake of only carrying one ammo pouch on their belt. This can be a big mistake in a tactical situation. What happens if you run out of ammo for your primary weapon? You’re going to be stuck without a way to defend yourself.

That’s why I recommend carrying a second ammo pouch on your vest. That way, you always have a way to reload. The pocket should hold at least two magazines for your secondary weapon. If you can find one that holds more, that’s even better.

The idea is to have the secondary mags on the opposite side of your dominant hand. So if you’re right-handed, the pouch should be on your left side. This positioning will allow you to reach for the mags quickly and easily.

Push To Talk Button for the Radio

Communication is key in any tactical situation. That’s why you need to have a push-to-talk (PTT) button for your radio. This handy device attaches to your vest and allows you to communicate with your team without having to take your hand off your weapon.

Most tactical vests have a place for this communication tool in the upper chest area near the shoulder. This allows you to easily reach the button while still keeping your hand on your weapon.

However, some PTT buttons can be placed on the wrist. This is a viable option if you find it difficult to reach the button on your vest.

FlashBang Pouch

A flashbang is a non-lethal grenade that creates a bright flash and a loud noise. It’s used to disorient the enemy and give you the advantage in a tactical situation.

Every high-quality tactical vest should have a place to carry flashbangs. Most vests have a special pouch for this type of grenade. However, you can also find pouches that will hold other types of non-lethal grenades, such as pepper spray or tear gas.

Ensure the pouch has a flap or cover to protect the grenade from damage, and make sure the grenade is easy to reach. You don’t want to have to dig through your vest to find it in a tense situation.

First Aid Kit on the Back

During a tactical engagement, things can go wrong quickly. That’s why it’s essential to have a first aid kit on your vest. 

This kit should include everything you need to deal with minor injuries, such as cuts and scrapes. It should have bandages, gauze, tape, and other items that can be used to treat a wound. It should also have a pair of gloves to protect you from harmful bacteria from the hands of the person who is treating the injury.

The fact that this first aid kit is on your back means it’s out of the way and not taking up valuable space on your vest. It also means you can’t reach it because it is not meant to be a self-aid kit; it’s designed to be used by a team member to help you in an emergency.

A Hydration Pack

A hydration pack is an essential piece of kit for any tactical operative. Not only will it keep you hydrated during long operations, but it will also allow you to carry more water than you could with just a water bottle.

There are many different types and brands of hydration packs on the market, so it is essential to research them before purchasing one. Make sure to choose a pack that fits in your tactical vest and leaves plenty of storage space for your gear.

I’ve found that camelback water packs are some of the most effective on the market. They are durable, have a variety of storage options, and come in various sizes. They also motivate you to drink more than a water bottle does.

General Purpose Pouches

Most people will choose a general-purpose pouch for their tactical vest. These pouches are made of Cordura and have MOLLE webbing on the front and back. This allows them to be attached to a vest, backpack, or other pieces of gear. They are also often water-resistant, making them ideal for carrying gear in adverse weather.

General-purpose pouches are great for carrying useful stuff that you don’t often use, like night vision and batteries. They are also best kept at the back of your vest, as they can be cumbersome on the front.

Three Men With Guns in Tactical Training Wearing Shooting Gloves

Related How Much Does a Backpack Cost? (By Type With Chart).

How Do You Know if You Have Too Much or Too Little in Your Tactical Vest?

The easiest way to tell if you have too much or too little in your tactical vest is by doing a test run. Load up your vest with all of your gear and head out for a walk or run. If it’s difficult to move or breathe, you have too much equipment. If you find it too easy, you can accommodate more gear.

There are situations when you need every piece of gear in your vest. In these cases, you have to deal with the weight and bulk of the vest. But in most situations, people carry more stuff than they actually need.

Another way to tell if you have too much gear in your vest is by doing a combat load assessment. This is a process that military personnel uses to determine the gear they can carry without being overburdened. You can do the same thing to find the right loadout for your tactical vest.

Final Thoughts

A tactical vest is an essential gear for any law enforcement or military operative. It allows you to carry a variety of weapons and equipment, which can be indispensable in a tactical situation. However, it is important to choose the right loadout for your vest to ensure that you are as prepared as possible.

For more, check out What Is the Best Rated Tactical Vest? | Features That Matter.