The 4PV-FEM Female Body Armor from Propper
A review by Jessica Cioci, Alliance (OH) PD – as previously posted on the Propper blog.
I have been using the Propper 4PV-FEM for the past year and, ladies, listen up: this is the most comfortable vest I have worn to date.
This vest must be custom fit by someone who has knowledge of the system or you will have comfort issues, so make sure to double check when you order this vest from Propper. They have staff that can help you find a vendor that knows what they are doing.
The vest out of the box is a four-piece set that fully articulates when you move, decreasing vest ride up when you are sitting in the cruiser or going hands on with someone. The cut is very form fitting and should be snug on your body. The straps provided are special to the female vest and need to be placed correctly so they will pull the vest “in” around your chest.
Hands down, the best part of the 4PV-FEM is the lack of darts. Any woman who has worn a vest with darts will understand the pain involved.
If you wear the wrong bra to fitting or you are not measured correctly for the dart placement, then you get a vest that is uncomfortable and unflattering under your shirt. The 4PV-FEM takes the misplaced – or as I like to call them, Madonna Boobs – out of the equation and presents as a flat, single sloped vest. It’s the straps provided and the placement that pulls the vest into your chest under the “girls” and creates a custom fit no matter what you are wearing underneath that day and eliminates the crushing and side boob created with typical male armor.
Let’s talk about the side panels. Bet you didn’t even think about having side armor on a daily basis. You have two panels that are independent to the vest and completely customizable to your body type, which adds to the comfort of the whole vest.
The standard vest overlaps on the sides creating a weak area and little to no ballistic protection. The 4PV-FEM eliminates that.
Remember, these are also ballistic so you will have much better protection while wearing this vest. They are what creates the full articulation of the vest and where the front and back straps will attach to creating the suspension system.
Looking at the rear panel, it is cut more generously to cover more area in the back by your shoulder blades. The front has a slimmer cut to compensate for freedom of maneuver. Think about drawing and presenting a firearm… You won’t have any restrictions with this vest around your arms, and the vest won’t ride up. Bottom line about fit, make sure your measurements are correct when getting measured and then spend the time getting your straps adjusted correctly.
Wearing the vest for the first time can be a little tricky. You can’t just sling this over your head, pull a few straps, and run out the door. Since there are four independent panels you will have all kinds of things swinging around your head. The side panels go under the two main ones and you may have to untwist the straps to get it on correctly. Once you adjust it for the day, you shouldn’t have to mess with it until it’s time to take it off.
I have worn this under a patrol uniform while pushing a cruiser and under a polo shirt when in plain clothes.
This isn’t as low profile as I would like and it does print, but not as much as a standard female vest with darts. It looks more natural, but people will know you have something on under your shirt. The vest is pretty thick and retains heat. Kind of a double-edged sword keeping you warm in the winter, which is great, but is also very hot in the summer. I have not washed my vest once, on purpose, to see when it would start to get funky. No issues so far, but I do let it hang to air out at the end of each shift. The vest doesn’t smell springtime fresh but it’s not offensive either, so no need to rip it apart too often to clean it with regular use.
The straps are very, VERY secure. Like, so secure I need two hands to get the hook and loop off at the end of shift. Not complaining about that one bit because it has held up very well and there are no issues of the straps not securing the vest. Just be advised that once you get this vest on it’s not coming off without some work.
As we all know, vest choice is very personal and you should give this one a good look. The vest isn’t the lowest pro or lightest around but I don’t think you will be disappointed one bit.
Jessica Cioci is not currently a Breach-Bang-Clear contributor, but she is a veteran patrol officer, detective, and trainer for the Alliance (OH) Police Department.
Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
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