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SAEJohn

Narrowing Down Chest Protectors

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SAEJohn    1

I've been using the same chest protector, a TAG Collegiate soft protector given to me, new, by a senior umpire during my 2nd season (while I was still using the balloon), 24 years ago.  Finally, a broken harness buckle and stretched out elastic bands on the shoulder pads have me looking for something new.  I'm so used to this one, and like its fit, that finding a new one is a fun task, especially since I've never worked in another one, and since there's not really a place to go try all the options on! Opinions and reviews are all over the place.

About me:  6', hover between 200 and 210'...a bit of a belly, but not huge.  I wear a 36-38 waist and a 43-44 coat.  I work all levels of play, up to varsity hs...mostly JV and 16U.  Summer and travel ball, both.

After some research, I'm still torn about whether to go soft or hard shell.  The ones I'm looking at are:  

Diamond DCP-iX3

+POS ZRO-G

Champion Body Armor

Schutt XV

Keeping in mind the age groups I mention, that I'd like to stay under $100, and that, like my cars, I intend to use these things until they just don't work any longer, I'm turning to others to offer thoughts and maybe get a solid recommendation.  Thanks, in advance.

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Stk004    599

Hard shell hard shell hard shell. The peace of mind is worth it, and you might as well not get hurt if you don't have to. 

I can't speak to the POS, and my disdain for soft shells kills the diamond for me. If you do go with the POS, report back just as @rjdakin did. :)

The Champion, as I and others have expressed, is a very good CP. It's a perfect first hard shell CP with adequate protection for all levels you're working. Plus it's not too hot. 

Ah yes, the XV. My current one and only CP, a personal favorite of mine, and showered with love by @MadMax. Now, if you don't want to undertake the MaXV mod, DO NOT BUY THIS CP. DO NOT USE THE STOCK HARNESS. It's not garbage in the sense of the WV or Honigs CP harnesses..... it's far and away the worst configuration I've seen. I tried to put on the XV as it was out of the box, and it simply wouldn't fit. You can't pull it up as high or tight as it needs to be. It was basically useless until I got the supplies for the MaXV. 

However, if you are willing to invest the less than $20 and 1-2 hours to make the change, this would be my winning selection. It's an easy fix and Max will walk you through it if you need him to. Several times, even, as I'm not the best with my hands and equipment. But the fit is perfect and the comfortable, cool padding is exceptional. Oh, and Max trots this bad boy out for some extremely high level ball, so you can use it in complete confidence. 

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BT_Blue    821

I can second the Schutt XV... oddly enough it was thanks to Max that I got one (and thanks to him for making the mod for me). I too am a bigger guy (though not as tall as you.) But I found that the stock "harness" is not that uncomfortable. But the Max modification makes it way better.

If you go with the Schutt you should check out buying a harness from @Razzer or the Force3/DeltaFlex type harness. You can purchase the latter two from Ump-Attire. 

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SAEJohn    1
1 hour ago, Stk004 said:

Hard shell hard shell hard shell. The peace of mind is worth it, and you might as well not get hurt if you don't have to. 

I can't speak to the POS, and my disdain for soft shells kills the diamond for me. If you do go with the POS, report back just as @rjdakin did. :)

The Champion, as I and others have expressed, is a very good CP. It's a perfect first hard shell CP with adequate protection for all levels you're working. Plus it's not too hot. 

Ah yes, the XV. My current one and only CP, a personal favorite of mine, and showered with love by @MadMax. Now, if you don't want to undertake the MaXV mod, DO NOT BUY THIS CP. DO NOT USE THE STOCK HARNESS. It's not garbage in the sense of the WV or Honigs CP harnesses..... it's far and away the worst configuration I've seen. I tried to put on the XV as it was out of the box, and it simply wouldn't fit. You can't pull it up as high or tight as it needs to be. It was basically useless until I got the supplies for the MaXV. 

However, if you are willing to invest the less than $20 and 1-2 hours to make the change, this would be my winning selection. It's an easy fix and Max will walk you through it if you need him to. Several times, even, as I'm not the best with my hands and equipment. But the fit is perfect and the comfortable, cool padding is exceptional. Oh, and Max trots this bad boy out for some extremely high level ball, so you can use it in complete confidence. 

Considering that I've found the XV for $59 new, that may be doable, bringing it right in line with the other hard shells.  I'm not great with my hands, either, so I may ask for help on the modification if the stock harness turns out to be that bad!

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blue32    163

You sound like a good fit for a West Vest Platinum. I have seen great condition used ones for as low as $50 with some creative searches. A new one can be had here for $115:

http://baseball.epicsports.com/prod/93036/pro-platinum-baseball-umpires-chest-protector.html

I also saw a full set of Tag gear that looked to be in really good shape somewhere out there just yesterday. Can't remember exactly where but if you want I can try and track it down a little later tonight after my game.

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BrianC14    422
1 hour ago, blue32 said:

You sound like a good fit for a West Vest Platinum. I have seen great condition used ones for as low as $50 with some creative searches. A new one can be had here for $115:

http://baseball.epicsports.com/prod/93036/pro-platinum-baseball-umpires-chest-protector.html

I also saw a full set of Tag gear that looked to be in really good shape somewhere out there just yesterday. Can't remember exactly where but if you want I can try and track it down a little later tonight after my game.

Let me plug the Wilson Platinum.   Have been well protected with it for .... years.   Many years.   I am 5'11", 180 #, average build.    Never an issue with it.

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Storm13    14

I use the Champion and like it.  For the money it is a great protector and after I got a customized CP harness from @Razzer I love it even more.  

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kylejt    518

Long after the money is spent, you never regret buying the best.

Lots of great advice, but it's all rather pointless unless the rig fits you. Fit is critical, and what works for me, or others, may not work for you.

So, I'd go the ump-attire route, with their superior return policy.

 

p.s. I like the All Star System 7.

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BrianC14    422
28 minutes ago, kylejt said:

Long after the money is spent, you never regret buying the best.

Lots of great advice, but it's all rather pointless unless the rig fit you. Fit is critical, and what works for me, or others, may not work for you.

So, I'd go the ump-attire route, with their superior return policy.

 

p.s. I like the All Star System 7.

+1.

At one time I tried on a Wilson Gold, and liked it except for the seemingly tighter neck fit and the 'wing pads" under the arms.   That led me to the Platinum, which fit like a charm right out of the box.  

And yes, you can't go wrong with Ump-Attire.

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zm1283    385

If I didn't love my Douglas and didn't want to spend $140+ on a new chest protector, I would get the Champion. $55 for a hard shell is hard to beat. 

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BCBrad    52

I'd second @BT_Blue on the Schutt's XV.  Like him, took @MadMax advice and self-retroed a delta-flex on it (see image). Fit nice and stays snug, protecting my clavicle. 

I have taken foul shots off it and never felt it. Previously, had a Rawlings soft-shell and after a few bruises on my chest, (looked like I was in a fight), decided I needed a hard shell. As @Stk004 said, "Hard shell, hard shell, hard shell."

 

image.jpg

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Stk004    599

@BCBrad , I see you utilized Max's three strap design. For the rest of us interested in the MaXV, it's also easily done in a 4 strap configuration. 

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BCBrad    52
4 minutes ago, Stk004 said:

@BCBrad , I see you utilized Max's three strap design. For the rest of us interested in the MaXV, it's also easily done in a 4 strap configuration. 

What I tried to do was use as the XV original upper strap. Used a two rectangular hoops that work great for securing the straps of the  delta flex. Followed @MadMax original retrofit for connecting the bottom two straps. Did my own stitching (Charlie Brown style), but would like to get a cobbler or leather worker to do a custom job. 

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JimKirk    280
19 hours ago, SAEJohn said:

Yep...read that before even posting here!  Thanks!

It did hit me "maybe he's narrowed it down to these he's read the guide". Good stuff. Thanks. Made my day to know that.

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JimKirk    280
13 hours ago, kylejt said:

Long after the money is spent, you never regret buying the best.

Lots of great advice, but it's all rather pointless unless the rig fit you. Fit is critical, and what works for me, or others, may not work for you.

So, I'd go the ump-attire route, with their superior return policy.

 

p.s. I like the All Star System 7.

I'm glad the word is getting out. I'm not sure that everyone understands the benefit of our new free returns policy. 

The free returns policy is NOT JUST that we don't hassle you about giving you a full credit on the price of the item when you return it.

The returns policy (in the contiguous U.S) is:

  1. We WILL credit you for the price of the item and;
  2. WE'LL  PAY FOR THE SHIPPING COST BACK TO US
    In other words, the risk of something not fitting or not being to your liking is ON US, not you. You guys get nickled and dimed enough.

So take my new friend @SAEJohn and his situation as an example. He could order all 3 of the items we carry, try them all on in the comfort of his own home, pick his favorite and send the other 2 back. We pay for the shipping. He can easily print in less than 1 minute right from our returns page.

And it's not just gear. It's shoes...shirts...pants...you name it. Not sure which size pant will fit best? Order 2 sizes and send the other one back.

We know many of you don't have a store in your local area. So we want to bring the store to you. It's already on your mobile device, and now with free returns it's now at your home.

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Panther32    22
15 minutes ago, JimKirk said:

I'm glad the word is getting out. I'm not sure that everyone understands the benefit of our new free returns policy. 

The free returns policy is NOT JUST that we don't hassle you about giving you a full credit on the price of the item when you return it.

The returns policy (in the contiguous U.S) is:

  1. We WILL credit you for the price of the item and;
  2. WE'LL  PAY FOR THE SHIPPING COST BACK TO US
    In other words, the risk of something not fitting or not being to your liking is ON US, not you. You guys get nickled and dimed enough.

So take my new friend @SAEJohn and his situation as an example. He could order all 3 of the items we carry, try them all on in the comfort of his own home, pick his favorite and send the other 2 back. We pay for the shipping. He can easily print in less than 1 minute right from our returns page.

And it's not just gear. It's shoes...shirts...pants...you name it. Not sure which size pant will fit best? Order 2 sizes and send the other one back.

We know many of you don't have a store in your local area. So we want to bring the store to you. It's already on your mobile device, and now with free returns it's now at your home.

This is exactly why I keep coming back to you guys, and always check to see if you have the item I want before checking other places.

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blue32    163
14 hours ago, BrianC14 said:

+1.

At one time I tried on a Wilson Gold, and liked it except for the seemingly tighter neck fit and the 'wing pads" under the arms.   That led me to the Platinum, which fit like a charm right out of the box.  

And yes, you can't go wrong with Ump-Attire.

It's funny how the gold and platinum are both just a small change away from being just about perfect. The sternum pad, for lack of a better term, can be a annoying depending on the mask I use, so I think I'm going to remove it. On the gold, the pectoral pads never settle in the right position for very long, although they are more tolerable when I took the oval hard shells off of them. I am going to take a closer look and see if there is a way I can reduce the size of them, then try and devise a way to make them a little more integrated into the main body, if that makes sense, sort of like the body on the platinum is. I don't want to remove them entirely, because they do serve a purpose, and the gap that leaves is bigger than I would like. 

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mbkcoach    127
6 minutes ago, blue32 said:

It's funny how the gold and platinum are both just a small change away from being just about perfect. The sternum pad, for lack of a better term, can be a annoying depending on the mask I use, so I think I'm going to remove it. On the gold, the pectoral pads never settle in the right position for very long, although they are more tolerable when I took the oval hard shells off of them. I am going to take a closer look and see if there is a way I can reduce the size of them, then try and devise a way to make them a little more integrated into the main body, if that makes sense, sort of like the body on the platinum is. I don't want to remove them entirely, because they do serve a purpose, and the gap that leaves is bigger than I would like. 

You could remove the golds wings and change then with a pair of side pads from the force 3 CP. 

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blue32    163
40 minutes ago, mbkcoach said:

You could remove the golds wings and change then with a pair of side pads from the force 3 CP. 

That's a thought, but I think I can accomplish what I am looking for with the existing pads. I'll just have to make them a little smaller.

 

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BT_Blue    821
8 hours ago, JimKirk said:

I'm glad the word is getting out. I'm not sure that everyone understands the benefit of our new free returns policy. 

The free returns policy is NOT JUST that we don't hassle you about giving you a full credit on the price of the item when you return it.

The returns policy (in the contiguous U.S) is:

  1. We WILL credit you for the price of the item and;
  2. WE'LL  PAY FOR THE SHIPPING COST BACK TO US
    In other words, the risk of something not fitting or not being to your liking is ON US, not you. You guys get nickled and dimed enough.

So take my new friend @SAEJohn and his situation as an example. He could order all 3 of the items we carry, try them all on in the comfort of his own home, pick his favorite and send the other 2 back. We pay for the shipping. He can easily print in less than 1 minute right from our returns page.

And it's not just gear. It's shoes...shirts...pants...you name it. Not sure which size pant will fit best? Order 2 sizes and send the other one back.

We know many of you don't have a store in your local area. So we want to bring the store to you. It's already on your mobile device, and now with free returns it's now at your home.

I can personally vouch for this idea. Before the season started I placed a $700 order with US.

This order included two sizes of the new NB low top plate shoe, two chest protectors (Schutt and All Star), two pairs of Smitty Polydex pants, and some other stuff I am forgetting.

It shipped to me fore free. And free shipping of about $500 of that order back.

Besides finding deals on here, eBay, and (possibly) Facebook. Ump-Attire is the only place I will go (and that includes being able to get an association discount at some other places.)

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MadMax    1,216
On 6/15/2017 at 11:08 AM, blue32 said:

It's funny how the gold and platinum are both just a small change away from being just about perfect.

The sternum pad, for lack of a better term, can be a annoying depending on the mask I use, so I think I'm going to remove it.

The pronounced billow cushion is there for a completely superfluous purpose: to keep a throat guard from audibly "CLACK'ing" against the plastic carapace. Cooperatively, the Wilson Titanium mask – which was introduced at the same time as the Platinum CP – has an extremely forward rake on its chin guard, and that is to allow a dangling throat guard to swing forward when the umpire drops his chin to look down. Unfortunately, because of how rigid the shoulder arch plates are by default, and how pathetic the harness is at applying tension to these plates so as to force them to curve and contour over the shoulders, far too many umpires wear the Platinum too low, like a shop apron, and this billow cushion becomes what they think to be a sternum pad.

There isn't just one small change, there's a whole list of small changes... that should have been undertaken over the past 10-plus years the two CP models have been on the market! But Wilson hasn't done much of anything to progress either one of these CP's, other than re-arranging the location of the silkscreens on their carapaces – still the same stuffy sofa cushion foam, still the same pathetic harnesses, still the far-too-short coverage height, still the lack of an attachable extension, still the stock-rigid plastic plates, still the presence of ill-executed components (side wings, billow cushion, etc.). And, the greatest insult and travesty? The sticker price!

So, where's your money really going?

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Scotty_Ump    29
On 6/14/2017 at 3:00 PM, SAEJohn said:

After some research, I'm still torn about whether to go soft or hard shell.  The ones I'm looking at are:  

Diamond DCP-iX3

+POS ZRO-G

Champion Body Armor

Schutt XV

I used to own the Diamond iX3. Skip it. Hard shell ONLY.

I recommend Champion. I've had it for two seasons and it's taken shots from 16U pitching - including a batted foul ball that went direct to my chest. I felt nothing. An inning later my partner comes in to talk and tells me my bottom shirt button is gone. The ball had shattered it and I found pieces of it lying behind the plate.

Ultimately, take @kylejt's advice...find the [hard shell] CP that fits you. My other CP is Wilson Gold and the main reason I bought that instead of Wilson Platinum is I tried them both on at a retailer and the Gold fit me better.

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