We as a community, have not really discussed the issues that women specifically have with body armor. It doesn’t necessarily affect a large portion of our community, right now. Yet, women are now allowed in combat roles in the military and make up an ever larger portion of our police forces. We live in a free-ish market though, if a woman wants body armor she can get some made for her, right? well, sort of. Before we get into specific issues though, we should do a brief overview of body armor, specifically hard plates.

Soft Armor

Soft armor is made from kevlar weaves and is pretty great for civilian security. It’s more breathable than plates, comfortable to sit in, you can get stab proof armor, and it generally fits against the body. For women, especially, soft armor is great in most cases. Unless you have to wear plate armor for work, or you just want some because this is a free country — I’m not judging. Plates offer a wide range of styles and possibilities as well. You can get ceramic, metal, and hybrid plates — in either curved or straight design. You can get plates designed to cover your heart and lungs, plates that cover your entire chest and stomach, and even plates that cover the sides of your body and your genitals. All these choices offer various benefits and costs in a fight: plates that cover the essentials offer +3 agility, while the whole plate set up lets you go in like kill-dozer, but you move slow like kill-dozer. It’s really up to the context of your job or situation to dictate which kind of armor set up you prefer, or can wear.

Hard Plates

My issue is that hard plate armor doesn’t offer the kind of body fit variety that soft armor can — mostly because I don’t think it can. Soft armor has designs geared towards women, and even gets in to specific bra sizes, but it won’t protect against higher calibers. Hard plates, though, leave something to be desired for women who can’t flatten their chest to their bodies. Plate armor is designed to both stop a bullet and disperse its kinetic energy along the plates, when properly fitted the plates should lie flat along the body so that the kinetic energy disperses along the plate instead of back into you. Here-in lies the issue, plates can’t form to the female figure and for certain women can leave pretty large gaps in between the plates and the body. This gap can cause all kinds of problems on bullet impact.

Options for women

What options do women have that gives them the same protection as hard plate, but fits as it should to offer the intended amount of protection? Right now, the outlook is not great. The U.S. Army tested the dragon scale armor, which honestly sounds like the most tactical-Gandalf shit I’ve ever heard, but I digress. Unfortunately, in that testing, they found that the adhesive used on the armor couldn’t stand up to hot or cold temperatures, and even the plate itself couldn’t hold up to multiple bullet impacts. So, while being a dragon-skinned operator isn’t viable today, I think we can all cross our fingers and hope this technology improves in the future. There is also talk of non-newtonian fluid armor around, but it’s still in heavy research phase and probably would cost my first-born to get ahold of. The concept though, is that some kind of superfluid like that green goop you made in middle school science class will fit like a body glove and stop rifle rounds. Honestly, for women, it seems like the only options are to wait until they can live in a science fiction movie.

Right now I’m running 8×10 swimmers cut, and it’s really the best option I have, but as you can see it leaves a lot of room open, both in the top and bottom. So the question still stands, what’s a busty girl to do?


Nicole is a veteran of the U.S. ARMY, Philosophy BA graduate, and a security contractor for DHS. She likes to shoot, camp, and read any book she can get her hands on. Her favorite writers are Sebastian Junger, Aristotle, and Kurt Vonnegut.