This is EPIC, a new armor vest from TYR Tactical. Under development for over two years and a finalist as part of the US Army’s Soldier Protection System – Torso and Extremity Protection program, the Enhanced PICO Improved Carrier is actually available in two versions; Male and Female variants.
It’s a five piece design called the Integrated Ballistic System that increases ballistic protection, decreases side spall and reduces back face deformation. The five piece design includes a panel suspension and energy disbursement frame. Known as the Ballistic Vein, it increases the overall load carriage performance of a carrier and provides a more rigid platform for adding weight to the system. It also reduces fatigue by improving the complete structure of the carrier by retaining the soft armor panels in the proper configuration, preventing bunching and supporting the plates to improve edge hit protection. It reduces blunt trauma and back face deformation values and ultimately increases V50 performances by up to 125 feet per second by absorbing energy from projectile engagement.
While developed in-house, prior to the SPS-TEP solicitation, the EPIC design was tweaked in order to meet all of the requirements. A couple of innovations came out of the design such as the Ballistic Vein we’ve already mentioned as well as the Ballistic Ridge. The Ballistic Vein can be seen above, along with the armor package and the Ballistic Ridge around the Armor Plate. One of the specifications for the Improved Outer Tactical Vest is that there is a 1″ overlap of soft armor behind ballistic plates in order to deal with spall from edge shots. TYR’s Ballistic Ridge moved the 1″ of soft armor unto the edge of the front armor plate and .5” of additional ballistic coverage beyond the side plates. Thanks to the Ballistic Ridge (and a couple of other things like their PV material), TYR was able to offer a 30% weight reduction over the current issue IOTV. Considering the Army’s goals were a 15% reduction within 18 months and 30% in the course of five years, this is impressive.
One of the requirements of SPS-TEP was that the armor had to utilize the current 4-cable cutaway found on the IOTV. TYR has incorporated it into the EPIC design and it’s common to both Female and Male models with the pull tab located in the front center, below the Vecro flap. Cutaway buckles are located on both shoulders and on the EPIC Base Cummerbund.
EPIC can also be integrated with the Brokos belt and XFrame for enhanced load management.
Something that sets EPIC apart from other vests currently on the market is the patent pending female cut, which you can see above.
While the baseline PICO armor carrier is well known for its ergonomic cut, you can really see the Female cut in the (above) photo and its advantages are obvious (below).
– PALS webbing for MOLLE attachment
– Hydration/Communication Tabs for routing
– EPIC Low Profile Shoulders
– Removable Assaulters Zip-On Back Panel
– Lace Adjustable Cummerbund
Here are the Soft Armor inserts, which offer 360 degree coverage, in Male (left) and Female (right) versions. These can be removed from the EPIC vest and used as concealable armor with these carriers. Once again, you can see that the Female variant is designed to accommodate the differences in anatomy from their Male counterparts.
Regardless of Male or Female version, EPIC is available in three different styles depending on the profile (thickness) of your plate:
-EPIC 1 accommodates standard SAPI/ESAPI plates (approximately .75” thick)
-EPIC 2 will hold Cercom & Ceradyne plate styles (approximately .5” thick)
-EPIC 6 will hold TYR-HA3/7 plate styles (approximately .5” thick)
Although the US Army ultimately chose the government design for SPS-TEP, individuals and agencies can now purchase EPIC directly from TYR Tactical. It not only meets, but exceeds SPS specifications and unlike SPS, comes in both Male and Female versions. Available beginning 4 July, 2015.