Tactical Hi Vis Security Vest Review
Increased visibility, very literally, saves lives, as well as helping the public to identify a professional at work.
A great many industries in the UK (and elsewhere) rely on high visibility vests as an essential part of their professional equipment.
We’ve discovered what we consider to be one of the very finest tactical hi-vis vests on the market today. It combines comfort, efficiency and increased visibility with a reasonable price tag, but it doesn’t do the job of a stab vest.
This tactical hi-vis vest is definitely worth your consideration if your job is one of the hundreds that require one.
1. What is a Tactical Security Vest?
A high visibility (hi-vis) vest is a bright, reflective garment usually worn over other clothing such as shirts, jackets or coats. In environments with low lighting, the vest’s reflective material makes great use of a small amount of light by making the wearer appear to glow.
The vest we have chosen to highlight in this feature marries this functionality to a thoroughly practical ‘no frills’ design, making it more useful for security personnel and other professionals who require specialist equipment.
The science behind hi-vis vests is actually quite simple. Ultraviolet light from the sun reacts with the fluorescent colours of the vest, giving it a glowing appearance. This ‘glow’ actually appears to be stronger during periods of low light, such as dusk or dawn. The effect is much the same when the material is struck by light from an artificial source, such as a hand-held torch or car headlamps.
The two main materials used in the making of a hi-vis vest are glass bead reflective tape, which is a type of plastic vinyl that contains tiny reflective glass beads, and micro-prismatic tape, which is a type of plastic vinyl containing tiny prisms. In both cases, light reflects around the material (via either glass beads or prisms) before being reflected back toward the light source with greater intensity.
The tactical hi-vis vest in question contains thicker strips of reflective tape than most, which are prominently displayed at the front of the garment, ensuring that the wearer is visible at all times.
3. Is It Worth Buying One?
Any hi-vis vest is definitely worth buying if you regularly walk, cycle or ride a motorbike or scooter at night. It is even more important to own one if you happen to be part of the night-time economy.
A basic hi-vis can be obtained relatively inexpensively and is very useful for a variety of outdoor events, such as concerts, parades or even car-boot sales. The bright colours help to catch attention and augment the reflective quality of the fluorescent tape.
This Tactical vest is available in the traditional yellow, as well as black. It is also emblazoned with the word ‘SECURITY’ for easy identification. it also include pocket and holders that make it more versatile than a basic hi-viz jacket.
In the case of the black variety of vests, it is the stark colour contrast (black with white writing) that helps the wearer to achieve increased visibility, aided by the fluorescent material.
Generally speaking, hi-vis vests serve three main functions.
1) Visibility – A hi-vis is so called because it alerts people (especially night drivers) to the presence of a person nearby.
2) Identifiability – A hi-vis vest clearly marks the person wearing it as being separate from the general public. On a building site, it denotes an official visitor or construction specialist. At a concert or public event, it denotes event staff and at the front door of a pub or club, it typically means they are working as a door supervisor.
3) Convenient Item Storage – Some hi-vis vests can be used to store necessary items so that the wearer may easily retrieve them. These items include torches, walkie-talkies, body cams and earpiece equipment.
In security terms, hi-vis vests can form an effective deterrent against people who may be considering taking antisocial action.
4. Who wears a Security Vest?
Generally speaking, professionals who need to be visible are the ones who mainly use hi-vis vests.
These jobs include police officers, dog handlers, security personnel, builders, railway services, couriers, cyclists and most event staff. The actual list is a lot longer, but you get the idea.
The tactical vest we’ve chosen to focus on is especially useful to people who work in security.
5. What are the Benefits of This Tactical Hi Vis Vest?
There are many benefits to owning this particular tactical hi-vis vest. Many of these are among the reasons we like it so much. These benefits include:
Increased visibility – This hi-vis vest will help to keep the wearer safe in periods of low light, as well as to deter would-be criminals and allow the wearer to be easily identifiable as a staff member for searches or ID checks. This makes it a great choice if you’re working the doors at a pub, club or venue.
Tough, Durable Material – The tactical hi-vis vest we’ve chosen is fashioned from Nylon 600d and high quality strong-mesh fabric. Nylon is stronger than polyester, which means that this vest is especially hardwearing and warm.
Choice of colour – The main choices of colour (black or yellow) will evoke different reactions on the part of the observer.
Plenty of pockets/storage options – These vests can hold everything from torches to Tasers, all within easy reach of the wearer. People in security are routinely given a lot of equipment to cart around with them. This equipment must, by necessity, be obtainable at a moment’s notice. The hi-vis tactical vest that we like best helps make this possible.
One size fits all – If you’re an employer, there’s no need to order extra vests in order to cater for the varying sizes and shapes of your staff. One regular vest fits pretty much everyone. The adjustable straps can fit anywhere between size ‘XS’ and ‘XXL’.
Safety straps – Specialised Velcro safety straps help to ensure a snug, secure fit, as well as the safety of any equipment attached to the vest. The vest itself can even be strapped to the wearer’s belt for an extra secure fit. There is also a strong handle on the back of the vest, which allows it to be carried safely when full of equipment, or, in case of emergencies, to drag the wearer to safety.
Removable identification patches/badges – ID patches help to further increase visibility, as they clearly mark the wearer as being ‘SECURITY’ or ‘EVENT STAFF’ or similar. Because these patches are attached by Velcro, the wearer can easily exchange them for different patches (e.g ‘First Aid’ or ‘Dog Handler’). There is also a clear window pocket to contain an ID badge or SIA licence, as well as available spaces for staff numbers or other forms of colleague identification.
Utilities – This vest has been designed to connect with a fairly large array of specialist equipment. The front of the jacket features two utility click holders for a radio, remote speaker mic or body cam (which is very useful if these devices are to be used in ‘hands free’ mode). There is also a radio pocket with an elasticated strap and a Peter Jones ‘Klick Fast’ dock for body cameras or two-way radios.
Subjective Features – Of course, much of the information above could be considered subjective. It is important to consider, then, that although the tactical hi-vis vest can carry a lot of equipment, too much equipment can be a burden, slowing the wearer down and limiting their movement. Velcro, though widely used and highly regarded can, at times, be frustrating, as it sticks to everything, especially itself. It can also ruin clothing. The wearer (or their employer) will also need to source the separate patches for themselves, as the vest only comes with the standard security patches.
6. What The Reviews Say
The tactical hi-vis vest we’ve chosen has around 40 reviews on Amazon, the vast majority of which are positive. We’ve compiled a few customer comments from these reviews, in order to get a more rounded view of the product.
“The vest is really nice looking and definitely makes an impression at work”.
(This is an) Excellent piece of kit. Working in security I carry a lot of cr@p but this vest has helped and is comfortable. (There is) Adequate space for all your needs (i.e. radio, phone, notebook, spray etc.) Would definitely recommend”.
“I like this product, plenty of pockets for me to keep my essential duties in my job. Being called a Police Officer by the staff at my place of work, also get funny looks on the street, until they see Security”
“The good thing about this jacket is anyone can wear it as fits all sizes and me being on the larger side, (it) works well”
“Perfect, I’m a dog handler so I’ve changed the badges. Good quality and really adjustable”
“(The) Velcro (is) too Strong. (It) sticks to my trousers and has ruined them”
“(I) Found the mounting station very tight when using Peter Jones dock”
“(It) Could do with being a little longer”
“The vest is really nice looking and definitely makes an impression at work. Unfortunately mine came with a defect. Some parts weren’t sown properly. It’s a shame because I really like it”.
“(It is) Much better than a standard hi-viz”.
“Extremely well made and well fitting and adjusts very well”
7. Similar Products
Of course, this tactical hi-vis vest isn’t the only quality product around, it’s just the one we like the best. We decided to take a look at a couple of its competitors and compare them to our favourite in order to get a better sense of the overall market.
Viper Patrol Belt
First, we took a look at the Viper Patrol Belt. Although obviously not a hi-vis vest, this utility belt will hold most of the same equipment as the tactical hi-vis vest. It also costs less and, crucially, allows for a greater amount of movement of the part of the wearer.
For obvious reasons, movement is vital to security personnel. The Viper Patrol belt is relatively lightweight, comfortable and very durable. It can even be worn over the shoulder like an action sash.
However, when compared to the tactical hi-vis vest in question, it doesn’t look so hot.
For starters, there is nowhere on the belt to carry a large radio or phone (it categorically will not fit an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy-sized phone). In fact, the storage space on our favourite hi-vis is far more geared up to security work.
While the tactical hi-vis vest fits pretty much anyone from Yokozuna to Yoko Ono, the minimum waist size for the Viper Patrol Belt is 76CM (30”). Additionally, nothing about the Viper Patrol belt will increase visibility or act as a deterrent, which is another great selling point of any hi-vis.
It’s fair to say, then, that if you work in security, a tactical hi-vis beats a belt. So how does our vest do if we pit it against a more expensive model?
Op Zulu’s Advanced Tactical Vest
Op Zulu’s Advanced Tactical Duty Vest definitely looks the part. With large zips, multiple pockets and a design job that looks quasi military, you might be forgiven for thinking that it thoroughly outclasses our little hi-vis in every respect.
…But does it?
Op Zulu is a trusted brand that provides high quality military, police and security gear. The product is similar to our favourite in many ways, but also features hidden glove or torch holders in the shoulder pads, as well as a higher degree of customisability. There’s even a first aid pouch.
So why wouldn’t you choose the Op Zulu?
Well, for starters, the tactical vest we’ve chosen features deeper pockets (ironic really, given that the Op Zulu requires the buyer to actually HAVE deeper pockets!). The Op Zulu’s spray holder is also clumsy and not very well thought out. Additionally, it is only available in black, so not a hi-vis vest at all, really. It doesn’t even have reflective strips.
This isn’t to say that the Op Zulu isn’t a good product, just that our choice of tactical hi-vis vest represents better value for money and offers the consumer more options, such as a choice of colours and greater storage areas.
8. In Summary
So, should YOU buy this product? Throughout the course of this feature, we’ve discussed the benefits, the drawbacks, the competition and even some of the science of the tactical hi-vis vest we’ve chosen to promote. But is it actually worth buying?
The tactical hi-vis vest in question is a smart, affordable and well-designed piece of kit. It is made from tough, durable material. It is both weather-proof and hard wearing.
It makes practical, intelligent use of its pocket space and utilities. It can fit almost anybody snugly and securely.
It places an emphasis on being visually striking, thus increasing visibility. It is customizable, even featuring a choice of colours and the option to replace patches.
It doesn’t restrict movement. It performs well on an average night or under pressure.
Our choice isn’t the most expensive hi-vis on the market, but it isn’t the cheapest, either. It is high performance without being exclusive, affordable without being cheap. We love it for all these reasons and more.
This tactical hi-vis vest marks the wearer out as professional and approachable in an emergency, but at the same time, shows onlookers that the wearer is ‘tooled up and trained’, thereby helping to discourage those who may be looking to start trouble.
In short, this tactical hi-vis vest does everything you need it to do and then some. If you work in security, you could do a lot worse than one of these beauties.
Smart, Affordable and Well-Designed
Places an emphasis on being visible
Doesn’t restrict movement
Featuring a choice of colours and the option to replace patches
Wearer looks professional and approachable in an emergency
Discourage those who may be looking to start trouble
Practical, intelligent use of its pocket space