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How to Accurately Extract the Right Soft Body Armor Measurements

How to Accurately Extract the Right Soft Body Armor Measurements

The global body armor market was worth a whopping $2.3 billion in 2021. It is expected to grow by 6.6% each year from 2022 to 2030. New tech is changing the armor industry and making it grow.

If you're in the market for soft body armor, correct sizing is crucial to protect vital body parts. A well-fitting vest can be the difference between protection and vulnerability. It's not just about having armor; it's about having armor that fits snugly, moving with you, and providing a layer of protection where you need it.

Keep reading to learn how to get your body armor measurements right.

What Measurements Should You Take?

Soft body armor sizing involves taking measurements of specific parts of the body to ensure a proper fit. Here's a look at the most important measurements and how to take them:

Chest Measurement

Stand upright with your shoulders relaxed. Locate the widest part of your chest, typically right across the nipples. Measure this part of the chest using a flexible tape measure, ensuring the tape is level all the way around.

Breathe normally and don't puff out your chest. The tape should be snug; not too tight or too loose. Record the measurement in inches or centimeters.

Waist Measurement

Identify your natural waistline, which is usually just above your belly button. Wrap the tape measure around your waist, keeping it level. Ensure the tape is snug but not uncomfortably tight; you should be able to fit a finger between the tape and your body. Breathe normally and record the measurement.

Torso Length

Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Relax your shoulders and arms. Place a flexible tape measure at the base of your neck, where it meets your shoulders.

Extend the tape measure down the center of your chest and stomach, over your belly button, to the top of your pubic bone. Write down the measurement.

Front Panel Length

Stand up straight and relax your muscles. Place the end of the tape measure at the base of your neck, and at the front of your body. Measure down to the top of your duty belt.
Round the measurement up to the nearest inch. This determines the length of the front panel of your vest.

Back Panel Length

For the back panel, measure from the most prominent bone at the base of your neck down to the same level as the front panel. This measurement ensures the back of the vest provides adequate protection.

Side Coverage

Consider your range of motion and comfort. The body armor panel should not extend too far under the arms or impede your hip movement. There should be a gap between the front and back panels on each side to allow for flexibility.

Shoulder Width

Measure the distance between your shoulder points, where the horizontal part of the shoulder meets the vertical part of the arm. This ensures the shoulder straps of the vest will sit correctly.

Neck Diameter

Measure around the base of your neck, where a shirt collar would sit.
This is particularly important if you're considering armor with neck protection.

Measure each area at least two or three times. If you get different measurements, take them again until you get consistent results. Write down each measurement as soon as you take it to avoid confusion or forgetting the exact number. 

How Can You Ensure Accuracy When Taking Body Armor Measurements?

Taking accurate body measurements is critical to ensuring the body armor fits properly. Below are some best practices to help you take precise measurements for armor fitment.

Use the Right Tools

Always use a flexible measuring tape for body measurements. Metal tapes or rulers can't accurately measure the contours of your body.

Wear Fitting Clothing

Wear snug-fitting clothes or ideally just your undergarments during the measurement process to get the most accurate readings. Remove any bulky items or accessories that could distort the measurements.

Stand Naturally

Maintain a normal, relaxed posture without puffing out your chest or sucking in your stomach. Check that your weight is evenly distributed on both feet for consistency.

Consistent Pressure

Apply consistent pressure with the tape measure, ensuring it's snug but not tight. The tape should not compress the skin or clothing.

Use a Mirror or Partner

Use a mirror to ensure the tape is level all the way around, or better yet, have a friend or partner assist you. Double-check all measurements to minimize any potential for error.

Understand Armor Sizing

Be aware that body armor sizes might not correspond directly to your clothing size. This is because armor is designed to cover your vital organs and must fit precisely to offer the maximum level of protection. Always consult the manufacturer's sizing chart for guidance.

View HighCom Armor's soft armor sizing chart here.

Consider the Range of Motion

Make sure the armor allows for a full range of motion. It should cover vital areas without restricting movement.

Account for Weight Changes

If you intend to lose weight or gain muscle, consider how this might affect your measurements in the near future. Regularly update your measurements to ensure continued proper fit.

Why Is Proper Body Armor Sizing Important for You?

Getting the right body armor measurements is vital, whether you are part of a security team, a journalist in a dangerous place, or a civilian in a high-risk area. Here's why you need correctly sized body armor.

Proper Fit

Body armor is designed to protect vital organs. If it's too big, it may not cover these areas adequately. If it's too small, it can be restrictive and uncomfortable, which might discourage its use.

Maximum Protection

The effectiveness of body armor in absorbing the impact of bullets or shrapnel is highly dependent on its fit. Armor that doesn't sit flush against the body can create gaps that compromise protection.


Comfort is essential, especially if you need to wear the armor for extended periods. Ill-fitting armor can chafe, restrict movement, or cause discomfort, leading to distractions and potential safety risks.


Armor should allow for unconstrained body movement. Tight-fitting body armor can impede your ability to move quickly in an emergency, which could be critical for your safety.


For some people, the ability to wear body armor discreetly can be important. Properly sized armor is less conspicuous and can be worn comfortably under clothing.

Longevity and Cost-Effectiveness

Well-fitted body armor is more likely to be used consistently and maintained properly, ensuring you get the most out of your investment.

A well-fitting body armor provides the intended level of protection and does not hinder mobility and comfort. This makes it an essential consideration for anyone looking to buy body armor products for personal safety.

Get Superior Quality Soft Body Armor at Top Armor

Taking accurate body armor measurements is a crucial step in finding the right body armor for your needs. At Top Armor, we offer a wide selection of high-performance armor products and tactical gear at competitive prices. If you need fast, affordable, and convenient access to high quality soft armor, view more of our full collection of soft panels, plate backers, soft cummerbunds, and more.

Next article What Size Body Armor Plates Do I Need? A Full Sizing Guide

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