ACU Ballistic Elbow Pad Insert- Threat Level II - 5" x 6" - 4.5 ounces
ACU Ballistic Shoulder Pocket Insert- Threat Level II - 4" x 5.5" - 3 ounces
I had a chance to check out the knee pad inserts earlier and luckily I now also have a set of elbow and shoulder inserts to show you guys. In the same concept as the knee pads, these pads are made to fit inside ACU pockets with no sewing or mods required.
Both are rated Level II protection (24 kevlar layers) so offer great frag protection and can even defeat a .357 Magnum pistol round. Of course the bruise after that would be quite a sight, but it sure beats getting shot normally. The pads fit into their designated pockets fairly easily, yet fill them up enough to prevent shifting. As with the knee pads, it doesn't matter which direction the pads are inserted, which is nice to not have to worry about. I recommend picking a consistent insert direction to help with breaking in flexibility, but the user does not have to worry about any protection loss if they forget.
The elbow pads go into the ACU elbow pad pocket, as you probably guessed. This area is wider than one might first think of an elbow area to be to give some wrap around coverage. The placement is actually mostly on the forearm instead of the middle of the elbow to make arm usage less restricted. The result is good coverage on the forearm and enough on the actual elbow joint to keep it protected as well. The upper part of the elbow is unprotected so consider this when doing a backwards elbow strike. Although the Tacarm elbow pads will keep your elbows from getting scraped or stabbed, If you bang your elbows a lot, adding in some simple foam elbow pad inserts in addition to the ballistic pads would be in your best interest. This way you can have both ballistic protection and some blunt force protection. The price of the protection is some minimal added weight, less breathability causing heat, and slight decrease in mobility/comfort.
The shoulder pads go into the shoulder/bicep pocket. Rather than being a common physical impact point like the knees and elbows, the shoulder pads are geared toward specifically adding more ballistic protection. Some may find these a less obtrusive alternative to the full size standard issue bicep armor pads. Although the Tacarm pads offer less space coverage, they are lighter and don't come in contact with any joints to keep comfort as high as possible. Since most users are used to having something in their shoulder pockets, adding in the ballistic pads is quite a non-event and hardly noticeable when worn. Depending on your pocket contents, the Tacarm pad may be useful as a pocket divider in some cases. The main down side is loss of some pocket space and some minimal weight added.
They may be simple, but I find all of the Tacarm ballistic pads to give great protection options. Since they use the existing pockets, they are not a hassle to take in and out multiple times in one day to adjust as the mission requires. The more you use them, the more flexible they become allowing them to become less noticeable to the wearer. Also keep in mind these pads will work with many military tops out there such as the SKD Enhanced Combat Shirt (BDU) and the, Tactical Response Uniform (TRU), any that are ACU-like. For those in high risk areas that want some extra protection, but don't want to be weighed down with too much "fluff", I highly recommend checking out what Tacarm offers.