Review - Crye Precision LVS Base Vest Patrol Cut
History of Crye Precision
Crye Precision is one of the worlds leading developers, manufacturers and distributors of high grade clothing and equipment not only serving US Military forces and Law Enforcement Agencies but also globally to other military and LEA's. Crye gear is used across the different arms of the military and at the base level, provides uniforms and tactical armour plate carriers and pouch systems.
For more info - visit Crye Precision website.
Why the Crye Precision LVS Base Vest Patrol Cut?
The traditional overt deployed stance involves visible 1st Line and 2nd Line Gear generally consisting of belt, pistol, 1st aid kit, plate carrier, mag pouches etc. When rolling into a hostile environment where action is likely to take place and armour and ammunition is required (being modular to suit the scenario), these overt items of tactical equipment are required. When deployed in either a covert or low profile overt role, the less attention that an operator can draw to themselves the better. Being the 'grey man' is what it's about. So in a world of plate carriers, micro rigs and everything in between why reach out to the LVS Base Vest Patrol Cut (BVPC)?
I was after a capable low profile armour carrier that didn't require additional pouches for the bare minimum of equipment and didn't stand out too much in a crowd. The added bonus of it being lightweight, slimline, 'one piece' (ie armour stitched into panels) and manufactured by a leading company, Crye Precision, meant that the LVS BVPC ticked the boxes and was worth a closer look.
Herein lies the product description from the website;
This is the 'Patrol Cut' version of our LVS Base Vest. The LVS Patrol Cut front panel is narrowed at the upper chest area for improved mobility. The standard cut Base Vest is sized to provide full soft armor coverage under a standard rifle plate.
The first image below illustrates the different defined shape of Standard vs Patrol Cut and the second image illustrates the visible difference of the shape of the armour on the front panel.
The LVS system sets a new standard for concealable body armor. Our proprietary three-dimensional forming technology allows us to shape the vest to directly match the contours of the human body, delivering an unprecedented level of concealment and comfort that only this production process can deliver. Because it is molded, the armor will not crumple and fold up in the bottom of the carrier. In fact, LVS Base Vest requires no external carrier at all. This is due to our unique “Insert As Vest” architecture. This construction greatly reduces bulk and visual printing. The LVS system is extremely versatile. A wide range of optional covers allow the same armor panels to be quickly swapped between vest configurations. For instance, a patrol vest can instantly become a tactical entry vest... or anything in between. Additional side and abdomen armor panels are available to add even more coverage. The LVS armor is NIJ IIIA Certified. Made in the US from US materials.
Our proprietary IAV (Insert As Vest™) architecture dramatically reduces bulk and printing
3D formed armor panels match the human body - delivering enhanced comfort & concealment
Base vest includes 2 built-in pockets suitable for radio, rifle mag, pistol, or pistol mags
Anti-microbial fabrics used throughout
Proprietary forming technique eliminates crumpling of armor
Wide range of optional carriers allow one system to economically cover many roles from low-vis to overtly tactical
Optional side armor panels are available
2” and 4” elastic side straps provided with vest
The size of the BVPC purchased was a Small.
The LVS BVPC was shipped within a large toughened clear plastic bag with one product detail sticker on the inside. The LVS BVPC in total (including packaging) weighed 2.20 kg.
The LVS BVPC package simply contained;
4x 2" elasticated straps (fitted)
2x 4" elasticated straps (included within separate bag)
LVS BVPC exterior in detail
The LVS BVPC is manufactured using a mixture of materials of Crye Precisions own design as a part of the IAV (Insert As Vest) architecture. The covering fabric noticeably is laminated directly onto the armour panels.
LVS BVPC Front Panel Measurements
Height (thick line) 33 cm
Height (thin line) 31.5 cm
Width (thick line) 22.8 cm
Width (thin line) 44.5 cm
Depth 0.75 cm
Width 6.3 cm > 5 cm
Length 7.5 cm
The BVPC front panel weighs 729 g
LVS BVPC Rear Panel Measurements
Height 38.5 cm
Width (thick line) 25 cm
Width (thin line) 40 cm
Depth 0.75 cm
Width 7 cm > 5 cm
Length 7 cm
The BVPC rear panel weighs 896 g
BVPC & Storage System 2.17 kg
Storage System 510 g
BVPC total 1.66 kg
Front panel 729 g
Rear panel 896 g
The LVS BVPC can be split into 3 sections; Front panel, Rear panel and Elasticated straps. The images below illustrate the BVPC broken into its separate sections.
The LVS BVPC as the name suggests is the Base Vest Patrol Cut version of Crye Precisions existing armour, the LVS Base Vest. The main difference is that the BVPC ballistic front panel at the top is cut in the shoulder area to allow for movement of the rifle into the shoulder without it sitting on or catching on the armour panel.
The front panel is simplistically broken into; ballistic panel (red box), shoulder straps (blue boxes) and wings (yellow boxes).
The ballistic panel itself is National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Level/Type IIIA which means it's designed to protect against large calibre high velocity rounds as well as from common handguns, therefore it's protection rating ranges from 9mm, .357 Magnum, .357 SIG and .44 Magnum (covering ammunition from Type II to Type IIIA). The panel is stitched into a fabric outer that is then laminated on the front and rear of the armour panel, designed to protect the panel and prevent any damage. The panel comes with a moulded curve to it (3D moulded design is a selling feature of the BVPC by Crye) and is designed at being only 0.5 - 0.7 mm thick to be able to be used as a part of Crye Precisions 'Insert As Vest' architecture, providing a slim and near invisible profile when worn, especially if worn under clothing.
On the interior of the panel is a Crye Precision sticker featuring product information, manufacturing date, warning label and ballistic certification as well as care instructions. It should be noted that the black vertical stripes seen in the image below (and also seen on the rear panel interior) are designed to stop the outer panel fabric cover from scrunching up and causing folds or creases of material that would a) damage the material through wear and tear or b) cause pressure points against the operators body if not worn correctly. Where the material is positioned is where the wings are most likely to be curved to fit to the operators body.
The shoulder straps are affixed to the panel outer and both have a large surface area of loop velcro. This ensures that there is a large amount of adjustability in regards to drop available for the operator.
On the left and right hand side are the wings which are split in two, front and rear. The front wings are simplistically two pouches sewn onto the front ballistic panel with a large 14.5 x 10 cm (H x W) loop velcro panel on each wing as seen in image one. These panels are used to attach the horizontal elasticated straps to, again providing a large surface area to enable adjustments if required. These front wings further double as not only an attachment point, but also as a, pistol, radio or magazine pouch (on both left and right hand side), enabling the BVPC to be worn without any other type of carrier / rig etc but enabling the operator to carry the bare essentials. The pouches also feature a small black tab which can be used to to tie or clip equipment to if required. These pouches sit over the top of the rear wing housing the ballistic material as seen in the fifth and sixth images below. The rear wings are a continuation of the ballistic panel to protect the midriff as seen in the second and third images below.
The rear panel is simplistically broken into; ballistic panel (red box), shoulder straps (blue boxes) and wings (yellow boxes).
The rear panel is near similar to the front panel other than the difference in shape and where the wings provide space where the elasticated straps attach to the rear. Viewing the exterior of the rear panel, the ballistic panel can be seen within the fabric outer as being wider at the top without being cut down like the front into the patrol cut shape. This is to provide maximum coverage of ballistic material to the user. The rear as can be seen features prominent stitching horizontally across the middle and then down to the bottom creating an internal pocket lined with velcro which is where the elasticated straps feed into and attach.
On the interior of the panel is again a Crye Precision sticker featuring product information, manufacturing date, warning label and ballistic certification as well as care instructions.
The shoulder straps are affixed to the panel outer and both have a large surface area of hook velcro. This ensures that there is a large amount of adjustability available for the operator.
The BVPC ships with 4x 2" elasticated straps and 2x 4" elasticated straps. Each strap has an individual Crye Precision tag on the interior denoting Crye Precision, product code and size.
The 2" straps (LVSSS1) were already fitted to the BVPC when it arrived and measured 28.3 x 5 x 0.3 cm (L x W x D). On the exterior, each strap can be seen to be constructed using a half loop velcro panel and the other half being elasticated as seen in the first image above. On the interior of the strap is a strengthened section, elasticated section and a small hook velcro section as seen in the second image above.
The 4" straps (LVSSS2) that are included in the BVPC package measured 28.3 x 10.3 x 0.3 cm (L x W x D). The sections of velcro and elasticated material are near identical to those on the 2" straps.
BVPC Storage System
The storage system that comes with the BVPC is manufactured using strengthened ABS plastic and is designed to be used for storage of the BVPC when not in use. The BVPC when placed into the storage system has to have the front panel turned 180 (degrees) before it is placed into the system (as seen in the first image below), or it can be completely removed and laid on top of the rear panel. There are 2 velcro adjustable straps, 1x horizontal and 1x vertical which are designed to hold the BVPC in place and maintain its shape. Of note is the vertical strap has a carry handle which is of use when transporting the system. The intent of the horizontal strap is when pulled tightly is to create a curve in the storage system so that the BVPC also bends to that shape when stored, maintaining its curved shape.
Fitting the LVS BVPC
The LVS BVPC is designed to either be used standalone or in conjunction with one of the LVS covers on their main website.
To fit the vest correctly, place vest on ensuring that it's seated comfortably. Adjusting one shoulder strap at a time either lower or raise the front panel and then reattach the shoulder strap. The BVPC is designed so that the wings on both the front and rear panels when sitting correctly are at the same level.
Once the height has been adjusted, the operator can then adjust the elasticated straps on the side of the BVPC and they should be tightened so the BVPC sits comfortably and the operator is able to perform normal functions ie, sitting, leaning, lifting etc. In the images below the standard 2" elasticated straps have been fitted and show the profile of the BVPC from various angles when worn over clothing.
In the images below the standard 4" elasticated straps have been fitted and show the profile of the BVPC from various angles when worn over clothing.
The manual suggests fitting the straps to the front panel, and when worn adjusting the straps to see their positioning when pulled back. My experience differs. I attach from the rear panel first and then see whether the straps then reach the front panel.
If you're going to be using the BVPC and specifically the 2x integrated pockets in the front wings, i.e. for M4 magazine carriage, put the objects you're going to be using in the pockets. Attach the elasticated straps to the rear panel and approximate length of strap required. Fit the straps into the rear pocket and don the BVPC. Now you can more accurately size the elasticated straps with objects in the pockets, rather than sizing it to perfection and struggling to fit a magazine or radio into those pockets. In the example below I used an M4 magazine and a Baofeng radio in the pockets.
As with all clothing and tactical equipment, maintenance should be a part of the routine of handling, using and storing your gear. Gear that is cleaned, repaired and looked after will last longer which is essential when considering replacement costs of damaged gear through negligence. One important factor is to ensure that when the BVPC is not used, it is stored using the provided storage system.
Use a soft brush to remove any external dirt on BVPC surfaces.
Damp cloth to be used to wipe away additional dirt if required.
Allow to dry naturally.
Store in storage system.
Store out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.
The testing phase did not include the ballistic protection offered when shot at with multiple handgun variants. Obviously this is a) dangerous, b) not necessary and c) rendering the BVPC useless post test phase. I have left it to the experts who are accredited and conduct these tests and I feel safe in the knowledge that the tests conducted are correct and the product I now have in my possession and use is safe.
It is important to note that if armour plates / BVPC etc are worn and are subject to impact from a live round, the armour should be replaced. One hit can severely damage the integrity of the armour.
For the purposes of the testing phase I donned the BVPC whilst operating in and around a vehicle in both the overt and covert role (necessitating the BVPC to be worn over the top of a shirt and underneath of a shirt). Due to the 3D contoured shape of the BVPC it felt perfectly snug and when the elasticated straps were fitted there were no obvious gaps or crumpling of materials on the BVPC. When sitting in the vehicle it was noticeable that there was a lack of a thick ballistic plate sticking into my back and shoulders allowing me to sit more comfortably into the seat. Getting into and out of the vehicle whilst conducting vehicle checks (interior and exterior) using a wide range of movement didn't cause any issues and again as the armour hugs the body closely it was barely noticed.
When conducting offensive and defensive drills based around the vehicle its' lightweight properties and lack of pockets / molle etc that could snag ensured when worn over the top of a shirt it didn't offer any resistance or any risk to get caught up on seatbelts or door handles.
Use of the wing pouches further enabled an additional M4 or Glock magazine to be carried along with a radio and knife meaning that a bulky plate carrier or micro rig was not needed.
Thoughts and opinion
The BVPC is designed for low profile and covert work. It's slimline, minimalistic outline ensures that when worn under a shirt it's barely visible and even when worn over the top of clothing, it's drab colour when combined with darkened clothing enables the wearer to work in amongst the masses if in an urban environment. The purpose of purchasing the BVPC was to obtain low profile plates at a reasonable price that were lightweight, one part and no frills. This is exactly what the BVPC provides.
The built in pockets on the left and right hand side are useful if utilising the BVPC standalone, with pouches even able to be attached to the side elasticated straps if required (such as a GP pouch or larger radio pouch. The added ability to combine this with the LVS Overt Cover (Mag Pouch) ensures that it's versatile and can when needed be changed enabling the operator to step up to a higher level threat requiring the carriage of extra magazine and equipment to deal with the threat.
The BVPC was not cheap. Armour is not cheap. Cheap is dangerous and buying unknown is dangerous. You have to do your research, especially if you're after plates for a specific role. Lengthy reading of manufacturers details, reviews, contacting sellers and manufacturers themselves are important steps to make. An ill informed decision or want to save money and cut corners can be a one time mistake.
As mentioned for what I require from the BVPC, it holds its own well and the next steps are to look at a review of the LVS Overt Cover (Mag Pouch) to illustrate the increase in threat on operations. This will be the next step in the BVPC evolution.
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I am not paid for my blogs by the manufacturers or companies that I purchase my items from. I am not offered freebies to promote a product. These blogs are purely written from my own experience in truth to help advise and inform others who may wish to purchase the items or understand more about them. If I am sent a freebie to review this will be stated at the beginning to make you aware.