Care, Use and Fitting Guide

“It is absolutely essential that those who select body armor and each officer who wears it realize that there is no such thing as a bulletproof vest. The routine use of appropriate soft body armor significantly reduces the likelihood of fatal injury, but 100% protection in all circumstances is impossible. Body armor selection is to some extent a trade-off between ballistic protection and wear ability. The weight and comfort of soft body armor is inversely proportional to the level of ballistic protection that it provides.” — National Institute of Justice.

Hard Armor Fitting Guide

Caliber Armor hard plates come in a number of sizes, weights and thicknesses. All of our hard body armor plates are tooled with our CMC™ technology for your comfort. Torso plates provide front and back chest protection. Side plates are also available for additional protection.

The primary organ to be protected is the heart. Since the heart is located with its apex near the left center of the chest, you need to choose a ballistic insert wide enough to ensure complete coverage of this area for optimum protection.

Torso Plate Sizing Chart

Step 1: Determine your chest measurement and length of the plate that suites you best.

Chest Measurement: Measure under arms around fullest part of chest. Be sure to keep measuring tape level across back and comfortably loose. Length of Plate: Determine the plate length that is optimum for you and your body type. When standing, the top plate edge should rest at the level of the jugular notch (the soft spot right above the sternum). Bottom of the plate edge should extend to approximately 4.5 inches above your service belt insuring protection of vital organs and vessels. The plate should fit comfortably when standing or sitting.

(This information is for general guidance only and is subject to user preference or experience)

32-35” Chest: XS SAPI Cut (7.25 x 11.5”) or S Shooter Cut (8 x 10”)
36-39” Chest: S SAPI Cut (8.75 x 11.75”) or S Shooter Cut (8 x 10”)
40-43” Chest: M SAPI Cut (9.5 x 12.5”) or L Shooter Cut (10 x 12”)
44-47” Chest: L SAPI Cut (10.25 x 13.25”) or L Shooters Cut (10 x 12”)
48+” Chest: XL SAPI or Shooters Cut (11 x 14”)

When you purchase your plate carrier, be sure it accommodates your new ballistic inserts.

Mobility and Comfort

Once the proper plate size is determined, it is important that the plates be worn in the correct position on the body to allow maximum protection with minimal discomfort.
When in a standing position, the top edge of the plate should rest at the level of the jugular notch (the soft spot right above the sternum). When your finger presses in that spot, the top edge of the plate should touch the bottom of your fingertip.

The bottom of the plate will rest on the wearer depending on your physical height. To ensure protection of vital organs and vessels, the bottom edge of the front plate should extend to the bottom of the rib cage, or approximately 4.5 inches from the top of the service belt when standing. For comfort when seated, the space between the bottom plate edge and the service belt closes naturally preventing the insert from riding up into the neck area.
A properly fitted torso plate should not interfere with the comfortable movement of the arms and shoulders. A plate that is too large may impede mobility and result in difficulty holding, aiming or discharging a weapon.

Positioning Back Plate

As a general rule, the top edge of the back plate should align with the top edge of the front plate when viewed from the side. The bottom edge of the back plate should be about .75 inches above the service belt. This space prevents the insert from pushing upwards into the neck area when standing.

Side Plates

Side plates are available in two sizes, 6 x 6” and 6 x 8” for added protection. The side plates protect the vulnerable areas of the abdomen from side shots. If worn high enough in the tactical vest they can also provide side protection for the heart.

For more information regarding size, weight thickness, curvature and threat performance, please contact a Caliber Armor representative with any questions you may have.

Hard Armor Fitting Guide

Caliber Armor Care and Use Body Armor Guide 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this guide is intended solely to provide general guidance. We reserve the right to make changes to this document without notice at any time. Nothing in this guide is a substitute to the need to use adequate independent technical expertise and judgment. 

As a leader in protection products, Caliber Armor engineers’ products that inspire confidence for multiple uses in law enforcement and security applications. Everything we do is focused to ensure that law enforcement and security agents return home safely.  

Third-party NIJ certified laboratories are solely responsible for conducting product performance testing on our body armor. All of our ballistic inserts have been verified to mirror or exceed the applicable ballistic resistance requirements specified. 

Using your Caliber Armor Body Armor 

Please inspect your ballistic body armor items carefully to ensure your order is correct. Contact us immediately if there is any discrepancy with your original order. 

Wear Your Body Armor Properly: Your body armor is a vital part of your safety equipment. It must be worn properly in order for it to perform as designed. Before and after wearing your armor, make sure the ballistic plates are in the proper position within the vest or carrier and that the vest or carrier fits properly. Wear only the correct size and use only carriers and vests that are designed for the ballistic insert. Inserting a ballistic insert into an undersized or oversized carrier pockets may lead to misalignment of the insert exposing the user’s vital organs to potential threats. 

Avoid Exposure to Moisture and Chemicals: Ballistic material should never be exposed to any petroleum, chemical or chlorine products. Exposure to these agents will result in loss of ballistic resistance and void any warranty. 

Improper storage of your body armor may contribute to premature wear, as well as reduce the protective capabilities of the ballistic material itself. When you are wearing your body armor, it should be stored under normal environmental conditions. Storage at room temperature in your locker or closet is recommended. It should not be stored for extended periods in extreme hot/cold, low airflow environments such as a car trunk or other non-ventilated areas. Care should be taken to store your body armor flat, either on a shelf or other flat surface. When that is not practical, suspended in its carrier or vest on a hanger that can handle its weight is acceptable. Improper storage or exposure to adverse conditions can reduce the protection properties and expose the user to increased risks. Improper care or storage of your body armor will reduce its effectiveness and void the warranty.  

General Care and Maintenance

Follow these procedures when cleaning your Caliber Armor ballistic inserts: 

  • Remove body armor insert from vest or carrier 
  • Gently wipe insert using a sponge or cloth dampened with a mixture of cool water and mild laundry detergent or antimicrobial soap 
  • Remove all excess soap and with a damp sponge or cloth and cool, clean water 
  • Lay insert flat and, using a clean absorbent towel, gently pat all surfaces dry 
  • Let insert dry naturally, ensuring it is completely dry before re-inserting into vest or carrier 
  • Make sure body armor insert is placed into the vest or carrier in the correct orientation as indicated by “wearer side” markings 
  • DO NOT immerse in liquid 
  • DO NOT hang or line dry outside 
  • DO DOT blow dry or dry in oven 
  • DO NOT dry clean or commercially launder 
  • DO NOT expose insert to bleach (liquid or vapor), solvents or chemicals of any type 
  • DO NOT attempted to modify or alter the plate in any way 
  • DO NOT intentionally damage the plate in any way by means by drilling, breaking, hitting with force or misuse 

Ballistic material should never be exposed to any petroleum, chemical or chlorine products. Exposure to these agents will result in a loss of ballistic resistance and void any warranty.