The death of the photographers vest

The tan photo vest was the calling card of protection in the 90’s.  If you had one on everyone in the business knew you were working.  We got away from them by 2001 although a specific detail we worked in Mclean, VA it was the standard uniform of the day.

We came up with another version of running slick that seems to have caught on by others at the same time.  Shortly thereafter 5.11 came out with their line of shirts that caught on like wild fire.  We started wearing the short sleeved flat-bottom shirts that hanged outside your pants.  Something like the Tommy Bahama shirts.  We ran our comms inside our shirts and had the pigtail protrude out the back of the collar of the shirt.  The mike was run to the front of the inside of the shirt and clipped in the button area.  To key the mike, you just pinched the mike in your shirt and transmit your message.  No wires are exposed and you look like a tourist or a model in the spring edition of GQ. Whenever you didn’t want anyone to know that you were working we’d take off the pigtail and place it in the collar area.

With any change comes adjustment.  This change in regalia called for a change in critical response.  How would we draw our weapon.  I tested everything from the inside the waist holster, air marshall, concealed shirt holster,  to the regular leather pancake holster.  It became an expensive testing phase, but I found my niche and stayed with it.  The key to any change of habit is re-education.  I trained with the new set up to nauseum.

What are your ideas on this?  Have you switched out the photo vest or do you still use it?


  1. Rhino

    I still use all of these applications it just depends the venue and the climate for me ,all though I have a 5 11 vest I find that my 24 7 vest works and dosnt scream gun as much, it looks a lot less agent looking . I also wear a t shirt holster shirt that I can wear under anything and you would never know I am carrying. But I think that it's all a matter of personal preference and what works for the agent. Just my two cents!


  2. BPI Security

    Thanks for your comment. Personal preference is always a consideration, keeping in mind the dress code for the detail. Thanks again and keep checking in.

    Eric c/s "Pineapple"

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