Today I'll be showing off the latest addition to my tactical gear.......... A digital camo, soft body armor carrier of my own design and construction.
I have been looking for an affordable and functional vest cover for my old service soft body armor for quite some time now. It seems that most of these covers are in the $150 price range, or are not designed specifically for soft armor. So, I decided to take the matter into my own hands and design and construct my own armor carrier, and that is exactly what I did!
I picked up two US Army ACU, digital camo shirts at our local Goodwill Store for about $12 total price (unissued with tags still attached). One of the shirts was a size "Large, Regular", which is too large for me to wear, so it was selected as the first sacrificial donor. After looking at the various panels and pieces of the shirt, I came up with a plan and a paper pattern. I carefully ripped the stitches out and took the shirt apart. I used nearly all of the fabric on the shirt for the construction of the vest cover. I initially thought that I would have to disassemble both shirts to have enough fabric, but I ended up only using the elbow patch-panels and the cuff Velcro off of the second shirt. I used one of the sleeve pockets, complete with soft Velcro for patches, on the chest of the carrier...... the collar was split to form the two shoulder straps...... the elbow patch-panels from both shirts were combined to form the two side flaps......... I even recycled the shirt labels (after trimming off the garment designator)!!!! There was a bit of a shade difference between the two shirt fabrics, but since I only used a couple of pieces off of the second shirt, it isn't noticeable on the finished carrier. You will however, notice that there are two colors of Velcro................ If you make one of these yourself, try to match your donor uniforms before starting.
The vest carrier has exceeded all of my expectations, in all areas! A total success! That old sewing machine I bought a while back has definitely paid for itself with this project. I have a number of old US Desert Tan camo shirts that may be the base for another armor carrier. When I get done with this series of projects, I should have an armor carrier in each of the camo styles that use.
Here are a couple of shots of the ballistic soft armor panels that I will be using in this carrier:
And here is the photo album of this latest project: