Pro-Armor Harnesses

By Bill "BillaVista" Ansell
Photography: Bill Ansell
Copyright 2012 - Bill Ansell
(click any pic to enlarge)


Safety has sure come a long long way in the 20+ years I've been involved in the offroad world. In that time I've learned a thing or two along the way as well. And one of the things I've learned is that no matter how well intentioned you are, no matter how safety-conscious or disciplined, the fact is, if safety devices are not convenient and comfortable - you end up not using them as religiously as you should.

Driver restraint systems, or "harnesses" fit squarely into this category. If they're uncomfortable or a pain to use, you end up taking shortcuts and unnecessary risks - like only wearing the lap belt for "just this one quick trip"! I've seen it countless times and even been guilty a time or two myself.

That's why recently I was happy to hear from an old friend and colleague, Chris Cahill. Chris and I have worked together in the past when he was with Twisted Stitch seats and I brought you a review of the suspension seats offered by the then new company. Well, Chris had recently moved on to new things and is now with Pro Armor. Pro Armor are well known in the burgeoning side-by-side market, but are relatively knew to those of us in the 4x4 and offroad buggy arena.

Anyway, Chris contacted me and told me about the new company and particularly their line of harnesses that have some innovative and unique features. As it was time for new harnesses in my buggy anyway, I gratefully accepted the opportunity to check out what they offer.

Pro Armor offer 2" and 3" systems in 4- and 5-point configurations.
The packaging is top-notch - which is always a good sign.

2" 4-point H-style "easy in & out" Harness

My personal favourite is the 2" harness with "easy in & out" shoulder harnesses sewn to the lap belts.

They incorporate a bunch of unique and innovative features that add up to create a very user-friendly, comfortable, and convenient system.

Let's have a look at them one at a time.


First and foremost, the shoulder straps are sewn directly to the lap belts. This makes getting into the harness much easier, and greatly simplifies the buckling of the harness - one link, one latch - that's it!

Not only is this great for kids, wives, and other occasional users - but it's great for regular drivers too.

In fact, the design makes it awkward and uncomfortable to try and just use the lap belt only.

So - easier to do it right, and less comfortable to do it wrong - that's a safety advantage in the real world.


But what about those times when rockcrawlers need some extra manoeuvering room to hang out and get a good view of the rocks? This is one of the occasions when I see people using lap belts only. Problem is - with a traditional latch-and-link system it's a pain in the ass to undo the buckle, take off the shoulder straps, re-buckle the lap belt, and then re-do it all once through the tricky spot.

So people just leave off their shoulder straps - which isn't good.

The Pro Armor harnesses have the situation covered by using these nice big tabs for loosening the shoulder buckles.

Even with the buckle springs that keep the straps from loosening, these tabs allow you to get a good grip and loosen the buckle off easily.

This way, you can keep the shoulder straps on at all times (good), use the tabs to easily loosen them occasionally when really needed (dodgy, but unavoidable sometimes), and then easily cinch the straps down again (good).

Here's a view of both the loosening and tightening mechanisms - note also the nice big loop on the tightening side.

All the Pro Armor harnesses come with integrated padding on the shoulder straps - and it is really nice and comfortable padding with an excellent feel to it.

Not all harnesses are equal here and these are among the best I have used.

There are also a bunch of other nice features built in to them...
...starting with the most obvious and unique - these two pockets on the shoulder straps.
First, on the left strap, is a nylon, water-resistant pocket with Velcro closure that is perfect for storing...
... a smart phone / MP3 player or other portable electronic device.
My HTC One Smart Phone fits perfectly...
...tucks right in...
...and is nice and secure with the flap closed.
Here I am inserting my Garmin Oregon 450 portable GPS...
...and it fits perfectly too.
But you don't need to use it for electronic gizmos... Gerber Multitool and a small waterproof flashlight fit perfectly too.
And the last thing I tried was my Gerber seat belt cutter.
This is the tool with a razor-sharp blade protected by a safety hook.

It too fits perfectly in the pocket, and right on the harness is a great place to keep it in case one was to ever get trapped and need to cut out in a hurry.

That said, another advantage of this harness design is that without the shoulder strap buckles, there is less chance for the latch-n-link buckle system to jam when under tension.

I should note that these sewn-together harnesses have passed all SFI testing but are not SFI certified for racing.

The right shoulder strap sports this mesh pocket , also with Velcro closure.
And the harness ships with this triple-LED flashlight...

... that fits neatly in the mesh pocket. The light turn on and off with a simple press on the front face of it.

Now you have ready source of light, independent of vehicle power, right at your fingertips at all times.


All of the harnesses from Pro Armor feature adjustable sternum straps with easy-to-handle plastic buckles than can be opened one-handed...
...and a warning label that actually provides good information on adjusting the length of the straps in order to position the straps in the right place on the body - more on this shortly during installation.
Cool embroidered logo.

3" 5-point SFI-approved H-style Harness

For those the prefer a 3" belt, or traditional buckling, or require SFI certification, Pro Armor also offer 3" 5-point SFI-approved H-style Harnesses.

They have all the same great features of the 2" harness, except the shoulder belts are not sewn onto the lap belt and must be buckled on.

They come with the SFI date stamps required my most sanctioning bodies for those who race or compete.
Have the same adjustable sternum strap...
... and large tabs for easy buckle loosening.
The lap belt and anti-submarine strap are traditional format separate pieces.
The lap belt is a pull-down to tighten style.
And just like the 2" harness there is a larger, brightly colored tab for releasing the lap belt buckle latch-n-link.


The Pro Armor harnesses come with an excellent set of instruction, including printed copies of the following two SFI documents:

  1. SEATBELT INSTALLATION GUIDE FOR UPRIGHT SEATING, June 5, 2012 (depicted at left); and
  2. SEAT BELTS Essential to Driver Safety by Jennifer M. Faye, June 14, 2012

Therefore I don't intend to repeat all that information, but there are a few things I think are worth pointing out.


First, all the tabs on all the harnesses, including the 2", are drilled for 1/2" bolts.

I like to use name-brand Grade-8 bolts with all-metal deformed-thread locknuts.


As explained in the installation instructions, the 3-bar slides on the shoulder straps must be adjusted to length and then completed with triple wrap.

The 3-bar slide must also be installed as close to the tab as possible as shown here.

To complete the wrap properly, feed the loose end back through the slide on the tab end... this, and then...
... pull it tight.
Here's a view of the shoulder strap slots in my seat and the double-shear brackets for the tabs on the shoulder straps.
Feed the tab and 3-bar slide through the seat slots...
...insert the tab into the bracket...
...and secure with an appropriate bolt and nut.

The position of the tab and 3-bar slide on the shoulder strap will determine the position of the shoulder-strap pads and sternum strap in relation to the seat (and your body).

Recall the warning label stating that the sternum strap must be at least 4" below the neck? This is where that adjustment is made. You may have to make a few adjustments to get it right, and each will require you to unbolt the tab and reposition it and the 3-bar slide on the shoulder strap - but it is critical to get it right.


Once you have positioned the tab and 3-bar slide and installed the straps and bolted in the tabs, get in the seat, put on the harness, and check the position of the sternum strap.

If it is too high on your body, you need to make the shoulder straps longer by moving the tab and 3-bar slide further towards the end of the shoulder straps, reattaching the tabs in their brackets, and test-fitting again.

Take the time to get it right - there's no shortcut.


The lap belts should be fed through the seat slots and bolted in place. Their tabs are sewn into the lap belts so their is no 3-bar slide adjustments to make.

You can also optionally use an anti-sub strap with the 2" harness as well as the 3".

I like to do this as it not only prevents slipping out under the harness in a collision, but also helps ensure the proper positioning of the lap belts, and prevents tightening of the shoulder straps from causing the lap belt to ride up out of position. The lap belt should should ride within the curvature of the pelvic bone preferably just below the iliac crest (top of the hip bone).

Finally, when adjusted properly, the latch-n-link buckle should be centered on the body 1 to 2 inches below the belly button when all belts are tightened.


The combination of comfort, ease-of-use, convenience, quality construction and cool features make the Pro Armor 2" H-style "sewn together" harness the favourite I have used so far. I love the ability to easily slip in and out of them, appreciate them preventing me from getting lazy and using only a lap belt, and particularly like the combination of the following features:

  • Phone / Tool pocket
  • LED flashlight and pocket
  • Super-comfy padding
  • Easy one-hand sternum strap
  • Big easy-to-grab loosening tabs on the shoulder buckles
  • All mounting hardware drilled for 1/2" bolts.
  • Excellent instructions.


Pro Armor

5867 Jasmine St.
Riverside, CA 92504
951.343.9270 / 888.312.7667


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