Corps Buys Body Armor for Shorter Marines

Short Body ArmorThe Marine Corps is buying body armor vests to fit its smaller Marines as a  one-size-fits all approach doesn’t work when it comes to the Improved Modular Tactical Vest.

Marine Corps Systems Command announced it will buy 3,800 IMTVs in sizes small-short, medium-short and large-short this year.

“Based on our latest measurements of a large population set of the Marine Corps, we saw that additional sizes would benefit [smaller stature] Marines,” said Maj. James Pelland, Individual Armor Team lead. “If something is made to fit you better, you don’t have to expend extra energy struggling with it. Energy loss equates to fatigue, less functionality and less lethality. We believe in increasing Marine mobility and performance. That’s what we’re focused on.
Most Marines don’t wear the IMTV in the field. Most wear the plate carrier, which provides less protection, but is lighter, cooler and less restrictive, the Marine message admitted. However, the Corps hopes the additional sizes will encourage more Marines to wear the IMTV in combat.

Contrary to the Army’s efforts to design body armor for female soldiers, the Marine Corps officials said it was unnecessary to design female specific body armor.

Congress has disagreed. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee wrote legislation into the latest defense budget ordering Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to issue a report on the “department’s programs to develop and field individual equipment that is properly sized, weighted, and designed to accommodate its use by women across all of the military services.”

Marine officials said in the announcement that the smaller sized body armor was their answer to the call for female designed body armor.

“We didn’t stop there,” Pelland said in a statement. “We also conducted an attribute workshop with Marines at Camp Pendleton—including smaller stature male and female Marines. They confirmed what we thought—it wasn’t as much a male-female issue as a stature issue that’s related to the length of the torso.”

In the workshop, Marines also tried on four prototypes of the next generation body armor, the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV). The Marine Corps wants to reach a point that commanders can pick from a scalable vest that can be adapted to the combat situation, Marine officials said.

“So we set out about a year and half ago to develop a single modular, scalable vest that builds from the plate carrier all the way up to the IMTV,” Pelland said in the statment. “This gives commanders more choices in terms of armor protection levels to better adjust to the mission at hand.”

The Marine Corps hopes to field the MSV in two years. Officials hope to incorporate plates that are lighter, or of equal size, yet provide more protection. Marine Corps Systems Command also wants a quick release feature to allow Marines to shed their body armor and kit if the situation warrants.

Maybe most importantly, though, the body armor must be comfortable for the Marine, which may include even more sizes.

“Sizing and fit will be critical considerations for the MSV as well,” Pelland said. “It may mean developing new sizes for the vest and possibly the plates, but our overall goal is to size the MSV and its components in order to give Marines both the mobility and protection they need.”

  • Lance

    This customizing process is getting out of hand. Deal with it if its heavy they used to say. Are we having tailors for every recruit for boot camp now?

    • Thunder350

      One size doesn’t fit all. With all the money the government and especially the DOD waste, this is one thing that is actually worth the money.

      • Joshua

        I have to agree.

    • Casey

      All of my uniforms were tailored at boot camp.

  • Gallowglass

    How many members of the House Armed Services Committee hump a ruck? Live in body armor?

    • ERonc

      Steve Russell. That was a quick look there are only 80 members who have service and how many wore armor is another story, Though this is probably the guy to ask.

      Completed Army ROTC program. Russell was then commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant-Army Infantry, which began his 21-year career in the U. S. Army. He completed the rigorous U.S. Army Ranger School in Class 11-87, and he deployed to assignments in the Arctic, the desert, the Pacific, Europe and Continental U. S. stations. Operationally, he was deployed to Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Russell commanded the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry and conducted combat in Tikrit, Iraq. His unit played a key role in the capture of Saddam Hussein, which is documented in his book, We Got Him! Russell completed a master’s degree in history from the Command and General Staff College. Before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, Russell earned the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Valor Device, and Oak Leaf Cluster.

  • WHY?

    • Ash

      Because being shorter-than-average doesn’t mean you have to be as uncomfortable as possible.


  • JP23336

    This is the stupiest waste of money. If you can make a plate carrier fit you perfectly, tough S**T.

    • Joshua

      You do realise that a proper fitting plate carrier is the difference between life and death right?

  • Vietnam Veteran

    I guess that is why hey enemy, more and more is going for head shots. Go figure.

  • Doc Steel

    all you guys are getting angry for no reason. The army does this already for their IOTV, I see no problems with the Marines doing the same.

    • RSTA 1

      You are delusional! The IOTV doesn’t not fit people with short torso’s. I’m speaking from experience since I have a short torso.

      • Doc Steel

        I have a short torso and I wear a XS-S IOTV. No problems with mine another than the fact that I prefer wearing my Plate Carrier more

  • TheCdn

    Just going to nitpick, but they keep saying SMALL or SMALLER marines…yet they are getting LARGE-short….so wouldn’t it just make more sense to say we’re getting body armor thats not made for super tall people, so the shorties whatever shape they come in can fit properly.

    Small and Short are 2 different things….you can have BIG jacked short guys, just like you can have Tall small guys..aka BEAN POLES


    This is good thinking. While I’m often critical of what seems like unecessary uniform or equipment spending this is one I’m not. I’m 5’7″/175, my nephew is 6’5″/225. I put on his load when he came home and compared it with mine. While mine was of a different generation it was also lighter despite the advances made over the years. Why? The Marines of today simply carry more. Todays latest generation molle load out is designed to carry more items than the old 782 gear of my generation. His was so heavy and big it was a bit of a struggle to get it on and it was way too long. Bending, sitting, kneeling was awkward due to the interference of competing parts, plate and add ons. Getting a workable cheek weld or even shoulder pocket for weapons mount was more difficult and time consuming. Newer generations brought up on the M16/M4 series of weapons may not have the reference to know but the weight saved by changing from the M14/7.62 rifle/ammo and more has been lost due to additional equipment and add ons. Side plate, groin protectors, knee and elbow hard shells and much more have taken up all the real estate and carrying capacity that can be found.

    • Tiger1

      Well thought out reply.

  • Zach

    Im just curious as to how the sequestration affected the USMC because it doesn’t seem to by the looks of this? I mean they can afford stuff like this and other PPE procurement’s whenever they want it seems yet the Army can’t even afford the money to tell us what camo pattern we are going to wear next. Guess I should’ve been a Marine lol.

  • Elia

    Just recruit 6 feet tall marines only:
    Same length = same size of clothing = cheaper procurement of uniforms and equipment.

    • Paul


  • conradswims

    “Shorter Marines”! Translation! Women! The armor plate will have two humps in the front.


      Now you’re talking. I’d have to see the new plates modeled to make an honest evaluation of their merit.

      • conradswims

        Exterior breast enhancement!

        • Chris

          You guys must be taller than 5′ 9″ I am a male and 5’6″and weigh 165. try to wear a piece of equipment ment for a person over 5′ 9″ it is impossible. It is like you being issued a vest that is made for a someone weighing 300 lbs. Not everyting is one size fits all. If your answer to only inlist people 6′ and over is egotistical and arrogant. I hope your fellow brothers who are “smaller in stature” chew your kneecaps off.

    • Marine Dad

      Gives a new meaning to breast plate

  • RSTA 1

    All I can say is when the Marines decide to upgrade/alter equipment its well thought out. Look at MARPAT for example. I’m continuously surprised by the garbage the Army buys. No wonder why most joe’s go and buy their own equipment.

  • oldbrokendownretiree

    I would rather see money spent on this than another camo pattern

  • Marks

    Still no protection for the shoulders. The enemy knows to wait for a side view to shoot for the kill.

  • Art Velasquez

    Spend the money on the newest training and weapons and then give the
    troops a pay raise they will fight harder.I hate to sound like old redirect But when I was in the core
    Vietnam 1966-1968 if you wanted jungle gear then you looked in the pile of dead guys gear?