Protective gear is vital for a paintball game. If you are wondering why we started our article with a strong statement, the reason is simple.
Paintball is a tough and intense game. Shooting others with a paintball sure is fun. However, it can also hurt like crazy, right? From paintball masks to gloves to elbow pads, arm pads, and tactical boots, many things keep you safe in the field.
But we are still missing one highly important safety item. What’s that? Think about it. Your hands are safe. Your feet and legs are also safe. What’s left?
Yes. Exactly. Your torso. Your chest and back need to be safe as well, otherwise, you’d end up with welts and bruises all over your body, since avoiding being hit during the game is impossible. There is no way that can happen, and it’s the nature of the game to get hit.
The only way you can stay safe is by wearing overall paintball protective gear. And that includes paintball armor. Now, don’t go thinking of the metal body frames you see in old movies. The armor we are talking about is more like a vest.
Is it bulletproof? Not really. Vests come in different models. The ones designed for airsoft and paintball games are not going to stop real bullets (we aren’t going to shoot real ones anyway). However, they can either be a premium model with pouches and stuff, or a simple chest protector with padding to absorb the impact of a paintball.
In this post, we’ll take a look at both kinds of paintball armor and more. What more, you ask? Well, we’ve got a list of the top five best armors for paintball, followed by a buying guide with details about the factors you should consider when investing in paintball armor.
Interesting, don’t you think? Let’s start reading.
Table of Contents
The Best Armor for Paintball For The Money
#1 GZ XINXING Black Tactical Airsoft Paintball Vest - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The first best armor for paintball on our list is by GZ XINXING. This tactical vest has been designed for airsoft and paintball players. It is a high-end model that comes at an affordable price. From removable pouches to a Molle system to Velcro and padded protection, this is one of the best paintball armor kits on the market. Let’s take a look at the features in detail, shall we?
Features & Benefits
Made using 900D nylon (you’ll see what that means in the buying guide), this tactical vest is known for its durability and sturdiness. The high quality of the material ensures that the vest can sustain wear and tear and also absorb the impact of paintball hits.
The vest has not one but three standard-sized magazine pouches on the front. You can store the paintball marker’s magazines in these pockets for ready access. Apart from these, there are pouches to carry flashlights, maps, and a water bottle. You can either use the pouches or remove them to reduce the weight of the vest.
- The vest comes in different sizes- from small to double extra large. Both men and women can wear it, and the fittings are great for both. However, some users say that people with broader chests (more than 50 inches) do not feel comfortable in these vests.
- Quick release handles let you both secure and remove the vest in very quick time. The Velcro straps ensure that the vest stays in place and doesn’t shift or hang on loosely on your shoulders.
- Apart from airsoft and paintball, you can also wear this vest for shooting, cosplay, and hunting. It will keep you safe and you can store various kit in it the pockets, like a walkie-talkie. You don’t need to carry them in your hands all day long.
- The breathable material ensures that you don’t feel sweaty or hot. This vest is suitable for all-day use without any issues.
#2 YAKEDA Tactical Vest Outdoor Ultra-Light Breathable Combat Training Vest Adjustable for Adults - Best Lightweight Model
The second paintball armor on our list is by YAKEDA. As the name states, this one is an ultra-lightweight model that is super easy to wear all day long. It comes with adjustable straps for convenience. Made of durable material, the vest allows for proper ventilation and airflow to keep you cool even on hot, humid days. The removable pouches are an added advantage. Want to learn more? Let’s take a look.
Features & Benefits
The paintball armor is made using 600D nylon and is durable enough to last for a considerable time. It can sustain wear and tear, though some users complained about poor construction. Still, the vest seemed to work well in most conditions.
There are detachable pouches to store a flashlight, magazines, shells, a water bottle, maps, etc. There are five shotgun shell holsters on the right side with three removable pouches on the left.
There are additional pouches, such as a draw holster and a few utility pockets. You can store all your ammunition and other items in these pouches.
- There is a zipper in the center of the vest. It is easy to pull on the vest and take it off.
- There is an extra belt, a solid one with a double buckle that ensures the vest fits perfectly and keeps it in place. Still, a few users said they had some issues with perfect fitting.
- There are adjustable straps and a hook and loop system to ensure that you get the best possible fitting.
- We say, spend a little more time choosing the exact size, then the fitting will not be a problem.
#3 GFIRE Tactical Modular Breathable Combat Training Vest Adjustable Lightweight - Best for Customization
The GFire or GloryFire tactical vest is yet another lightweight model. However, this one is different from the previous two paintball vests. This one has been built more to provide an additional layer of protection while training for combat or playing paintball. It doesn’t have any removable pouches, but it has many Molle loops and a map pouch in the front. Let’s read more about this paintball armor.
Features & Benefits
This is one of the best quality paintball vests on the market. It is made using 1000D polyester, and it offers great protection and durability. The Molle webbing lets you add pouches if you want to. You will need to buy the pouches separately.
There are padded shoulder straps and on the sides that you can adjust for a perfect fitting. The mesh layer allows airflow and breathability, letting you remain cool even in hot conditions. This provides great comfort on the inside.
- This paintball vest is waterproof and suitable for various seasons. You don’t have to worry about a shower or full rain drenching your vest and adding more weight to your shoulders.
- For a vest that doesn’t come with any extra pouches, it does seem a little expensive.
- The vest is strong enough to withstand rough usage and a lot of wear and tear. This makes it a compatible vest that is great for customizing.
- The shoulder straps are anti-slip and stay in place. This ensures that the vest doesn’t slip off the shoulders at all.
- The vest also absorbs rifle recoil with ease and is great for an intense paintball game.
#4 Maddog Pro Padded Neck & Chest Protector Combo Pack - Best T-Shirt Style Vest
Maddog is one of the most famous paintball brands in the market. This padded protector is more of a chest protector than armor, with pouches to store all your paintball gear. And the best part is that this chest protector also comes with a padded neck protector. Both working together are key to keeping you safe during the game. Here’s a little more about this model.
Features & Benefits
This paintball armor is designed to resemble a T-shirt rather than a regular vest. It comes with padded sleeves so your upper arms will also be safeguarded from being hit by a paintball pellet. The sleeves of the armor end where the arm pads begin. Every part of your body is indeed padded and protected.
Despite being a padded T-shirt, it is made of breathable fabric and is flexible enough to let you move freely during the game. You can wear this chest protector inside your shirt as well as on the outside. You just need to pick the size accordingly.
- One thing we love about this model is the range of sizes to choose from. You can get a padded T-shirt for youngsters (smaller size) right up to someone who is triple XL.
- This is one of those paintball armors that provides padding and protection on the chest, back, and sides as well. Not to forget the upper arms too.
- Since it is designed like a T-shirt, you don’t have to really adjust anything. You only need to pick the right size and pull it over your head.
- If you are bothered about ventilation and breathability, fear not. The company took care to ensure that the chest protector allows for airflow to keep you cool.
#5 Maddog Padded Paintball & Airsoft Chest Protector - Best Budget Model
The last paintball armor on our list is another model by Maddog. This one is budget-friendly and has been designed for newbies. It is affordable and lets you get used to wearing a vest or a chest protector during a game. The padding is soft even though the vest looks stiff. It lets you move freely in the paintball field and concentrate on your game.
Features & Benefits
This is a lightweight padded vest that mainly aims to provide protection against paintball hits. It doesn’t have any pouches or pockets for you to store things. This model is suitable for beginners who don’t want to buy something complex and heavy.
The chest protector provides similar protection to your back as well. It has the same padded material on the front and the back. Since it comes in a single size that’s suitable for all, it might take a bit of time to adjust the fittings to suit your comfort levels.
- The company claims that the vest is for people of all sizes, ranging from small (child) to XL. However, users said that people who are taller than six feet will not be comfortable in this vest.
- The dual straps on the shoulder are made of elastic so that they can stretch and fit your torso.
- The vest comes in two colors- black and a reversible woodland camo style. It is flexible enough for beginners, though does not suit professionals.
- This is strictly a beginner-friendly, entry-level chest protector.
Buying Guide for the Best Armor for Paintball
We’ve got all types of paintball armor covered above, right? From high-end to entry-level models, you can choose a vest that suits your game and budget. There are a few necessary things you need to consider when preparing for a paintball game. Professional players know that they should invest in the right protective gear.
Beginners shouldn’t take their safety lightly either. Your head, chest, the sides of your torso, your back, hands, etc., are just some sensitive areas that need protection on the paintball field. While there are strict rules about where to shoot and where not to shoot, accidents happen. You need to be prepared for it.
The paintball vest/ armor you wear should be sturdy enough to withstand the impact of paintball shots. Nevertheless, it has to be flexible and comfortable enough to let you play your natural game and move around on the field.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Armor for Paintball
The following are a few factors to keep in mind when you choose paintball armor/ a vest for the game.
Nylon and polyester are the two most regularly used materials to manufacture paintball armor. High-grade synthetic materials ensure that the vest is strong and durable enough to provide you with good protection on the field. Though many vests are made from these materials, check the D number mentioned in the specifications.
The Denier or D rating is the thread count number of the fabric, and a higher number means better quality. It indicates that the vest is made of thicker material and will last for a longer time. And, as you would expect, paintball armor and tactical vests that have a higher D rating are expensive compared with other models.
Size and fitting
It’s inevitable that not all paintball vests are the same size. While some companies design vests for various sizes, ranging from small to triple XL, some brands have come up with another solution. They manufacture a single-sized armor with adjustments and fastenings. These straps let you adjust the fitting to suit your body size.
Maddog’s chest protector is one example of this approach. The same vest is suitable for a teen and someone who wears extra large size clothing. The straps at the shoulders are adjusted to provide a secure fitting.
As with elbow and arm pads, it is vital to choose the right size for your body. If the feels more like a corset, you’ll find it hard to even breathe. Running and crouching are going to be beyond your capability. You need a vest that fits well yet gives you the freedom to move, bend, and be active on the field.
Molle system and accessories
Wondering what Molle is? Let’s look at that first. Molle is short for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is usually present on tactical armor that the military wears. These are adjustable pouches where you can store water bottles, spare paintball markers, maps, gloves, shades, etc. The pouches are designed to be lightweight so you won’t feel any extra weight hanging over your chest. When it comes to paintball armor, the Molle system is not essential. Having removable pouches sure is an advantage, though.
That said, these vests are expensive compared to other models. If you are a pro paintball player and like to recreate a military set up on the paintball field, you will love the armor with Molle systems.
Airflow, ventilation, and breathability are essential factors to consider when you buy paintball armor. The size of the vest doesn’t necessarily guarantee breathability. It’ll only be loose or tight. These important elements come from the type of material used to manufacture the vest. Luckily, Nylon and Polyester, and even Oxford materials, are known for being comfortable and allowing airflow.
Aside from that, the vests can also have mesh lining and tiny grooves to allow proper ventilation. It can be really hard to wear a vest on hot summer days if it doesn’t let your skin breathe. You’ll start to sweat, and the skin will heat up. That’s never a good thing during a paintball game (or any other game).
As we mentioned earlier, not all paintball armor is made the same way. Some come with various pouches, while other models allow you to customize and add pouches if you want to. Some may not offer even that option and are limited to act just as padding for your back and chest.
It’s up to you to decide which model to buy. If you are a beginner and a non-regular player, an entry-level vest with basic features and good protection should be enough. Be sure about the storage customization before you go ahead and invest in any paintball armor. The ones with various pouches aren’t necessarily the best choice for everyone.
Yes, customer reviews are important for every product, and paintball armor is no exception. All brands promise to be the best in the market. It’s the users who tell us the truth. Does the vest last long, or does it start to come apart after a game or two?
Does the vest provide enough protection and absorb the impact of a hit? Does it allow the user to move freely? Does it live up to the expectations? Are the sizes matching the details listed by the brand? We often see users having issues with size. Even armor manufactured in standard US sizes may not fit everyone perfectly. Customers are the best people to tell us the truth about these factors.
Type of vest
Paintball armor can be high-end with many flashy fittings, or an entry-level model. The choice is, of course, yours. But something you should check are the sides of the vest. A lot of us focus on the front and back padding. Yeah, those are essential. But what about the sides of your body?
Doesn’t it hurt when a stray paintball hits you on the side of your ribs or under your diaphragm? The paintball armor you choose should provide all-around protection for your torso. From your shoulders to the sides of your chest and back, everything has to be protected. Some paintball vests come with neck guards so that your neck and throat will also be safe.
Under vs. over the shirt
Similar to knee and arm pads, paintball vests can be worn under the shirt or over it. The ones you wear under the shirt will not have any additional fittings like pouches. They will simply be padded vests that absorb the impact of a paintball shot and prevent it from hurting your body. They are thinner and lightweight. Make sure to wear them over a T-shirt rather than directly on the skin. You can also wear these vests over a shirt.
The paintball armor you wear over a shirt is bulkier and has accessories and pouches. It becomes easier to store your items and access them whenever you want. This factor again depends on your personal preference and comfort levels. Both types of vests are equally usable.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Have you decided which paintball armor to choose? Are you not sure if you should pick the basic model or the fully customized pro model? Well, let us recommend the GZ XINXING Black Tactical Airsoft Paintball Vest. This is a good choice that ticks most boxes.
It is affordable, can be used for more than just paintball, provides flexibility on the field, is of high quality material, and allows ventilation. We have already seen the features and benefits of this paintball armor in detail, right?
To conclude, the GZ XINXING Black Tactical Airsoft Paintball Vest is surely one of the best armor for paintball and is worth the price you pay for it.