A concealed plate carrier is a discrete form of body armour that can be worn under other clothing to give protection, whilst not being visible and so allowing the wearer to present a less aggressive posture. These concealed plate carriers were often issued to those negotiating with tribal elders in Afghanistan, civil servants who needed to look obviously non-military but still need protection etc. These concealed plate carriers are known as ‘covert vests’ in British military parlance and eschew soft armour for a simple pair of plates. Today we are looking at a covert vest in tan that dates from 2013:
This vest came without plates, so I have used a cut up yoga mat as a placeholder to fill out the cover, this makes the images look softer than they would with a hard plate inside them but as the plates are hard to find I hope you will forgive me.
The vest is very simple, with a cover for the plates front and rear, joined together with a pair of shoulder straps. A long pair of straps passes around the body to secure the vest, one fitting over the other to give a range of adjustment:
The rear of the vest is plain, however the stitching for the shoulder straps can be seen which shows how securely they are fastened, the weight of the plates being such that a firm connection would be essential:
As the vest would be warm to wear, the interior face is lined with a mesh fabric to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion:
A single label is sewn inside the vest with details of date, NSN number etc:
Information on these vests is very limited, although a number of these covers did come onto the collectors’ market in the autumn of last year, hence why I added this example to my collection. They are certainly interesting items, and I would suspect that the use of hard Osprey type plates would make them more effective that the soft armour that is more traditionally used for this type of concealed vest, even if the added bulk would make them less concealable in the first place!