5.11 Tactical’s Covert Vest Review

5.11 Tactical’s Covert Vest was designed for conceal carry users as well as Federal Air Marshals. I needed a good IDPA competition vest, so I wanted to try out one of 5.11’s offerings.

I shoot a Glock 34 and as you can see, on my body frame (5’9″ & 155lbs) and the OWB holster I’m using there is obvious printing.

A Fobus OWB holster with a Glock 34 on the right hip.

A Fobus OWB holster with a Glock 34 on the right hip.

Functionally for IDPA competitions, this isn’t a big deal, but if I was to be carrying in the real world, I would opt to use a different holster or more realistically, choose a smaller framed gun. I did like how long the vest was and I couldn’t see the muzzle of the 5.31″ barreled Glock 34 with the vest zipped.

Left: Notice how you cannot see the muzzle of the 5.31" Glock 34 barrel. Right: A glimpse of the vest in action.

A glimpse of the vest in action.

Obviously, there are many different holster/gun/clothing combinations one must try, and it’s clear that 5.11’s Covert Vest would work well – I just didn’t have enough pistols & holsters to test with.

When I switched to a more realistic (for me) carry pistol, a Kimber Ultra Raptor II 1911 with an IWB leather holster, the printing problem was less prominent.

Left:

A Kimber Ultra Raptor II sub-compact 1911 in a Galco IWB holster.

Also convenient on the 5.11 Covert Vest are hidden pass through pockets if you prefer to access a holstered weapon in that manner.

The chest pockets also allow for documents or other gear. I found I could fit a Ruger LCR handgun in one of these pockets without any obvious printing.

A Ruger LCR fits nicely in the chest pocket. The LCR was in this pocket for all the above pictures.

A Ruger LCR fits nicely in the chest pocket. The LCR was in this pocket for all the above pictures.

The 5.11 Tactical Covert Vest works great for me in IDPA competitions — I’m basically looking for a vest that will not get in the way during my draws and one that’s light enough so I’m not sweating during a match. 5.11 met my needs in those regards. I’d be interested to hear others’ experiences with it in either competition, work, or daily conceal carry.

www.511Tactical.com.

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career. He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. www.TopShotChris.com.



Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.

www.TopShotChris.com.


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  • Drew

    Someone should test the vest with a Taurus Judge

  • 2wheels

    It might just be me, but whenever I see a middle aged man wearing a vest I assume he’s packing.

    • Laenhart

      I’m the same way, but from a practical perspective most peoples’ minds don’t work that way. They just assume that the guy is a huge dork. If you were a biker in leathers the police might get a different idea.

      • 032125

        I consider fanny packs, sling bags, and shooter’s vests to be “gentleman’s open carry”; anyone who knows will know, and anyone who doesn’t need not be troubled because you’re not waving it in their face. If all open/concealed carry laws went away tomorrow, I’d still this way.

      • WV Joe

        “Dork” ! As middle-aged white guy with a receding hairline driving a minivan while wearing a fleece vest over my 1911, I would dispute that characterization . . .
        if I could. 🙂
        But seriously, I think a multi-pocket “photo” vest or a vest in warm weather is bad, but just so the weather is appropriately cold, a fleece vest in local team colors looks fine and gives no “tell.”
        A large solid black fanny pack tell a different story so I traded mine in for a forest green “hydration pack” on which I put a few hiking club patches. People see what they want to see: hippies think I have water and granola. . . when I really have water and emergency supplies!

    • Criticalthinkingiscritical

      Or fanny pack, or 5.11 pants with an oversize un-tucked shirt, or an ill fitting baggy cheap suit in the middle of the day with four other identically dressed guys.

    • True but you have an interest in guns. Most people don’t even give that a thought.

  • I wear vests a lot in the spring and fall when regular fleece is too hot, but just a long sleeve shirt is too cold. It’s always best to look for sales, since they can be expensive, but you can mostly get the same type of vest for much less than 5.11’s brand.

    I can easily conceal a Sig P229 under my vest in an OWB holster.