While you may be able to get out on the field and play paintball or airsoft with just the ammo in your hopper or magazine, this can put you at a distinct disadvantage compared to other more well-equipped players. From extra ammo to smoke grenades to sidearm holsters and more, the key to success on the battlefield may be the ease with which you can carry and access extra stuff to aid you in combat. Check out these vests and chest kits to find what augments your equipment the best.
In a Hurry? Here’s My Quick Take:
- Budget Pick: YAKEDA Tactical CS Field Vest
- Versatile Pick: Leons Tactical MOLLE Vest, Condor Tactical Ronin Chest Rig (If you like chest rigs)
- Best Tactical Vest for Paintball: Maddog Attack Tactical Paintball Vest
- Best Tactical Vest for Airsoft: GZ XINXING Tactical Vest
Best Airsoft and Paintball Vests- Reviews
#10. OneTigris Waist Belt with X-Shaped Suspenders
These suspenders have less utility and carrying capacity than any other item on this list, but they hold a #10 spot for one key reason – weight. If you’re looking for the most lightweight rig possible to bring out on the field, these suspenders may be precisely what you’re looking for. They’re adjustable and have room to attach pouches for extra paint on the sides and back of your belt while not adding anything to the front of your kit. Plus, with foam padding and an X-shaped rear supporting pattern, they feel very comfortable even when bogged down with heavy attachments.
I’d recommend these “combat suspenders” for anyone who just needs an extra store of ammo for close-quarters games or those who have a smaller vest that won’t overlap with this belt. These can, in tandem with a lightweight chest rig, be a very worthwhile addition to a fully-packed kit. Or, if you’re comfortable with having very minimal ammo reserves, this could be your only chest gear out on the field. Also, if you’re a sniper who lays in the prone, you may be able to add utility and a sidearm holster to the back of the belt (which is covered in MOLLE straps).
#9. US Army FLC
The FLC is the US Army’s official load-carrying vest, stacked from top to bottom with MOLLE rings for any attachment you can think of. With the Army moving away from their older camo pattern to a new one, the manufacturers of these vests have to sell off their excess stock for cheap. These FLCs might not be available in a few years, but for now, the sheer amount of space for attachments provided at such a low price makes this possibly the best cheap paintball vest for the money. I bought one a while back just because it was so inexpensive and still get occasional use out of it.
Don’t let the low price fool you – these are built to be extremely durable and withstand real combat environments. However, the weak point of the FLC lies in its ergonomics. Compared to other commercially-available vests, the FLC is less comfortable and harder to adjust for the average body size. Plus, its low price only extends to the digicam pattern, which I personally see as a negative since it’s rapidly going out of style. You’ll also need to get your own pouches – this vest doesn’t come with any.
#8. Maddog Sports Tactical Paintball Harness Vest
This was built by paintball pros, for paintball pros. It features multiple stock pouches for highcapacity ammo tubes, a holster on the back to slot in your air tank, various side attachment points, and some extra pouches on the front to store excess paint (or anything else). It has a beefy design reminiscent of real life plate carriers and body armor. With such thick material, you probably won’t even feel paintballs hit you, even at extremely close ranges.
However, there are a few drawbacks to this paintball tactical vest. First of all, it is designed explicitly for paintball, making it less than ideal for airsoft games and other purposes. It’s also one of the bulkiest options on this list if you’re looking for a lightweight vest, then you may want to skip over this option. I think its most obvious design flaw lies in the logo stamped across the back it’s bright white and unavoidably large, forcing you to either cover it up or accept that massive logo on your gear. If you can get past those flaws, though, it should still be one of the most reliable and versatile paintball vests available.
#7. OneTigris Tactical Chest Rig
Just like the suspenders that took our #10 spot, this chest rig is super lightweight and designed to restrict your movement as little as possible. These, however, trade off a little bit of weight saving to add on extra mag storage and gear attachment points. This setup also includes pouches and pockets on top of magazine and paint tube slots, maximizing the amount of stuff you can carry in as little chest area as possible.
I think that this rig hits the sweet spot for what most players want out of fit and utility. It’s the kind of setup that might not work well with milsim or perhaps even speedball play but works ideally when you’re enjoying a casual day out at a permanent field. I think the main drawback is its price for about the same amount of money, you can get a bigger kit of the same quality (although it might not fit as well).
#6. GZ XINXING Tactical Vest
As far as aesthetics go, this might be one of the best tactical vests for airsoft and paintball. Its design works well with a variety of camo options and styles (including a light gray option for winter camouflage) while not appearing out of place for any paintball or airsoft game mode. It has plenty of room on the front for attachments (including several included ammo pouches) as well as side pouches that have MOLLE attachment points for even more stuff. There’s also an extra pouch on the back plus a carrying handle.
For better or for worse, this paintball vest is cheap. Similar options that match its aesthetics and utility can cost twice as much, but that also means that the build quality may be questionable. I wouldn’t use that carrying handle to drag someone into cover, as I’d be too worried about tearing it clear off. The overall fit and ergonomics of the vest are questionable as well and may cause you to overheat faster in warmer parts of the year.
#5. Maddog Attack Tactical Paintball Vest
Just like the more heavy duty Maddog vest featured earlier in this list, the Attack Vest is explicitly designed with competitive paintball play in mind. Thankfully, some of the problems I identified with the other vest are absent on this option, giving it a distinct edge against its own in house competition. This vest is much more lightweight and well fitted than the other, it doesn’t have a huge white logo stamped on the back, and it still has mostly the same amount of utility, all for a similar price. If you’re looking for a no nonsense vest to augment your paintball play, then this is it.
This vest, I feel, may be one of the best options around for competitive paintball play mainly thanks to its back pocket for an air tank. Unfortunately, with its pockets and overall design focused on paintball specifically, it doesn’t make a smooth transition to airsoft play. If you’re looking for a vest for airsoft and paintball combined, then you may want to keep searching. It’s also neither as lightweight nor as inexpensive as its closest in house competitor that narrowly takes the #4 slot on this list.
#4. Maddog Lightweight Tactical Paintball Vest
This vest takes a very tiny edge over its counterpart in the number 5 slot simply due to its lower price point and more lightweight design. While you do give up room for two extra tubes of paint, I still think that four backup cylinders should be enough for most practical applications. This vest is lightweight and great for use outdoors in the hot summer sun.
I think this may be the most lightweight paintball pod vest that still manages to fit an air tank. I’ve seen more than a couple of people wearing this vest (as well as its slightly heavier counterpart) in competitive tournaments. On a more personal note, I also like to slot my tubes in upside down, which this vest facilitates and encourages. Unfortunately, without the ability to use it for airsoft play, I can’t bring this otherwise excellent option into my top 3.
#3. YAKEDA Tactical CS Field Vest
Do you want a tactical airsoft vest that does everything you need at the lowest possible price? This budget tactical vest offers tons of features and included pouches at a price point that most manufacturers couldn’t hope to match. You have room for magazines, pistol magazines, flashlights, knives, and more, all with just the included pouches and kit.
For me, the main selling point of this vest is its builtin pistol holster. Equipping a backup sidearm is as easy as throwing on this vest and sliding your gun into that chest pouch. If you have a sniper setup or enjoy playing airsoft and paintball with pistols only, this may be the perfect vest to add to your loadout. The only place where it loses points is its questionable build quality but, at such a great price, you can probably just buy another if this one starts to break after years of use.
#2. Leons Tactical MOLLE Vest
This highly durable and versatile vest is one that I personally use for most of my woodsball play. It mimics the construction of military grade plate carriers (even including details such as an emergency pull string) while maintaining a relatively low price point. It comes in well printed Multicam (no faded colors here) but unfortunately does not have a solid black option for stealth loadouts.
This vest is built to last and has lived through many different adventures I’ve had through some of the most densely forested environments I could find. It also comes with a set of magazine pouches that, unlike many other competing products, feel tough and well made. If not for this plate carrier mimic only coming in one color and pattern option, I’d recommend it as a supplement for any kit.
#1. Condor Tactical Ronin Chest Rig
While I may prefer a plate carrier style rig for milsim games, the vest I use and enjoy the most isn’t actually a vest at all it’s this exceedingly well built MOLLE chest rig from Condor. Chest rigs may not offer protection against paintballs and airsoft BBs, but if you’re like me and don’t care when you get hit, then that isn’t an issue. This chest rig has tons of space for mag pouches and any other accessories you can think of while not feeling hot or restrictive on even the warmest days of the year. It’s solidly built from the straps to its shoulder and back padding to the MOLLE rings that grant it so much utility, and I feel comfortable taking this chest rig with me to any range I might go to.
There aren’t any frills or pre-included pouches, and that’s the point. Condor wants this chest rig to work for any type of paintball or airsoft player in any kind of arena, and I take it with me for the majority of my weekends spent shooting, regardless of the sport. I have mine in OD green, but there are several other solid color options available to compliment your gear. As the top all rounder I could find and a rig that has served me so well in the time I’ve been using it, the Condor Ronin takes the #1 spot as the best chest rig for airsoft and paintball.
What to Consider When Buying a Paintball or Airsoft Vest
There are a few things you should keep in mind when looking for a good vest or chest rig. Typically, the price would be a major factor when choosing between gear, but since most of the available options are so close in price, we need to take a closer look at each item to determine its value relative to other options.
The most important factor, in my opinion, is capacity. A vest or rig with lower capacity provides less utility than options that allow you to carry more stuff. While you might only need a couple of tubes of paint for each round of speedball you play, milsim games and competitive outdoor environments may require you to carry much more gear than you’d expect. A few options in our top 10 list are well built and lightweight but receive lower rankings due to their lack of space for pouches and holsters compared to other items.
The next thing to keep in mind is the bulkiness of your vest. I prefer to take out a lightweight chest rig since it probably won’t trap heat and restrict my movement like a larger vest would. Often, capacity is a direct trade off with weight – most heavier vests have more room for stuff than most lighter rigs. That doesn’t always hold true, however, as some plate carrier style rigs may not have room for much at all on their relatively large exteriors.
The final big consideration you should make is the aesthetic of the vest you’re buying. If you’re trying to make a themed kit or perfect your milsim look, it might be worth sacrificing a bit of utility to emulate real life military or police gear. Vests and chest rigs can, in some ways, be the centerpiece of your entire aesthetic. If your setup looks mismatched, that could be a problem.
I think that vests are one of the first gear items that you should consider buying multiple different options of. They’re relatively inexpensive and can change enough about your gear aesthetic and style of game play that having two or three different options available can significantly enhance your versatility. I have my chest rig, FLC, and plate carrier, and use all three in various fields and situations.
A paintball and airsoft tactical vest should be lightweight, versatile, and practical in its function. But, as the centerpiece of your kit, you shouldn’t be afraid to choose one option over another just because it looks cooler. Make sure you buy something that can hold all the ammo and accessories you want, though, as storing items in dedicated places can give you a big advantage over players who carry paintball tubes and extra magazines in their pockets. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different choices, too sometimes one vest may work great for one type of play while not being as versatile as your primary choice.