Tactical body armor isn’t something you just toss on and suddenly you’re invincible. While it’s much more comfortable, durable, and lighter than armor of just 20 years ago (and infinitely more so than what they were trying 100 years ago), it’s still a heavy piece of clothing that will change the way you interact with the world. Even soft armor will change the way you walk and feel. That’s why it’s incredibly important to practice movements in your tactical body armor and wear it as much as possible so that it feels natural.
- It will alter your shooting stance - More clothing, no matter if it’s body armor or a winter coat, will put more space between your torso and your biceps. (Even increased biceps can change your stance...do you think The Rock can touch his navel?) Practice shooting with your armor on so that you know how to accommodate your changed stance and form. Don’t forget to practice your kneeling stance as well to see how the plates land on your upper legs.
- It will alter your draw - Whether you’re drawing a sidearm or raising a rifle, tactical body armor (especially plated armor) will change how you move. Your arms will move the plate carrier into positions you weren’t expecting, and that's why it's so important to practice. While the carriers are expertly designed, it’s the wearer's duty to accommodate and get accustomed to wearing it and finding out how it will move on his body.
- It will alter your fighting style - This one is huge...if you find yourself fighting hand-to-hand in tactical body armor, even soft armor, you must know what you can and can’t do. You might not be able to use the defense techniques you’re accustomed to, but you can instead learn techniques to use the body armor to your advantage. Lure your opponent into punching an AR500 plate and his hand is suddenly broken. You now have fewer vulnerable places, but you must know how to use that so that you come out alive.