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Brian's Optik Chest Protector Review


braedub90

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Hello all! I'm excited to share with you my impressions of the Brian's Optik chest protector. Hopefully this review can help answer any questions you may have about the unit, and give you better idea on how it compares to other models on the market. My size: Large body, Medium arms.

I will be breaking it down into different subjects: arms, sternum, ribs/kidneys, shoulder floaters, and overall impression. Also, I may be comparing some aspects to my old CCM Premier Pro. Let's dive in!

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ARMS

The arms have been a hot topic on this unit, with a lot of people not liking how they fit out of the box. Even I have to admit, I was worried how they would fit and perform based on the early impressions.

What I have noticed so far is that, while they are not as easy to get on as my old CCM Premier Pro's, they stay secure throughout the game. I've noticed with some chest protectors, I'm having to adjust my arms because they slide too far forward, towards the wrist. With the way these are fitting now, I don't have to touch them in game, and I've noticed they have already loosened up a bit (I've had about 5 ice times in them).

I believe the elastic strapping pictured here is the main reason for the arms feeling snug out of the box. It may take a while for them to have more give so it can be easier to put on.

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The arms are velcroed to the unit, with a great deal of options as far as placement. I ordered Medium arms, as I prefer shorter arms so they won't interfere with my gloves. Because of this, I placed the Velcro tab near the bottom of the attachment to still give me the length that I need.

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One concern I had while I was looking at the unit is the fabric where it connects with the Velcro at the shoulder. I wasn't so concerned with the durability, as I was with the lack of padding in that spot. After playing in it, though, I realise that it provides extra mobility, and my shoulders don't even come close to being exposed (to monitor).

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The forearm padding is a big reduction from my previous CCM Premier Pro, which were goddamn tanks built into the arms. While these are significantly smaller, they are still solid. I also noticed that they were much more flexible out of the box compared to the CCM Premier Pro. I didn't measure the CCM arms, but the Optik measures at 6".

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There is also a pad that sits under the forearm padding, that you can tighten or loosen as needed (Velcro). I've kept mine pretty much how it came, because I feel it may come undone if you loosen it up any more.

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STERNUM

Very solid sternum protection. The sternum pad, plus the chest pad, plus the belly pad equals to around 3.5" of cumulative padding, so believe me when I say you won't feel a thing when a puck hits you here (a considerable difference from my very old Vaughn Epic C&A). Compared to the CCM Premier Pro, I would say it's fairly evenly matched, with an advantage to the D30 foam in the CCM Premier Pro. The sternum plate also doesn't move much, so it will stay right where you need it to.

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The belly pad is removable and adjustable as far as position goes, and the honeycomb padding is super comfortable and plush. My favourite feature of it is the XStatic liner in it. This material prevents odour from accumulating, which with my experience with C&A's, that's a big deal. My only question is why they didn't include it in the arms?

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RIBS/KIDNEYS

Not much to say about the rib and kidney area, it provides full coverage. Isn't that all you really want? The only thing I've noticed so far is that it may ride up, but it's not all the time, and it might be because of how loose I wear my unit.

The Smart Strap is super simple to use, and because it's elastic, it aids in moving with you. There are Velcro attachments on both sides of the kidneys, unlike the CCM Premier Pro, which only had an attachment on the one side.

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SHOULDER FLOATERS

The shoulder floaters on the Optiks are much narrower than what I'm used to, and I really like it. It's mobile, flexible, and protective. I had Brian's add the suspender straps like @TheGoalNet did with his unit, and it works perfectly. Because I wear the suspenders over my floaters, they sit down quite a bit, allowing for full motion of my mask. They are adjustable as well, so you can have them sitting higher/narrower if you desire. Because the shoulder floaters are so flexible, there's very little ride up when down in the butterfly position.

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OVERALL

I really like how this unit is performing so far. It is mobile, yet protective, and I don't feel I've lost much size due to the NHL limitations. Like I briefly said earlier in the review, I am a little disappointed that the XStatic material wasn't included in the arms. The arms will be something I will continue to monitor, seeing if they loosen up any more. As of right now, they have loosened a little bit, but I can see how people may not like how much tighter they are out of the box.

I wouldn't call this unit a tank, only because of the size reductions. But with how it has been performing, it feels solid. Mobile, protective, and quite adjustable, the Optik, in my opinion, is a great unit so far, and I'm looking forward to updating everyone as the season goes along.

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Thanks for review. I’m seriously considering the Optik as well and appreciate your input. My LHS only had an XL and a M to try on and I need a L. So I’m a little concerned with just ordering one to replace V6 Velocity 2200 Pro that has been great for me. I’ve been comparing the Optik with the CCM Extreme Flex II Shield as well since they are both getting some good reviews. Leaning towards the Optik as of now. 

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4 hours ago, Jblack151 said:

Thanks for review. I’m seriously considering the Optik as well and appreciate your input. My LHS only had an XL and a M to try on and I need a L. So I’m a little concerned with just ordering one to replace V6 Velocity 2200 Pro that has been great for me. I’ve been comparing the Optik with the CCM Extreme Flex II Shield as well since they are both getting some good reviews. Leaning towards the Optik as of now. 

Is there a reason why you want to get out of your Vaughn? I haven't tried on the Extreme Flex II, but it definitely looks solid.

I'm a sucker when it comes to rule changes, hence why I went with the Optik unit. The Kenesky units are looking great as well.

1 hour ago, TheGoalNet said:

Good review. 

Couple questions:

1. Does your back plate ever separate from the shoulders when taking it off?

2. I didn’t see it listed above, but any arm protection issue?

1.) The backplate hasn't separated in any situation, including when I'm taking it off. I have mine tight and high up, as you can see in the photo. How is yours connected?

2.) I haven't experienced any arm protection issues... yet. I say yet, because like I said in my original post, I was concerned about the lack of padding at the connection point of the arm. I just had my 6th game in it tonight, and it was against ex-Junior and collegiate players (Rec A division), and I took a couple of hard shots off my glove arm, and it felt fine.

I'm wondering why Brian's chose not to have padding in that one spot, because I'm low key expecting a squeaker to hit me there. Is @Brians_Joz still active on here?

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4 hours ago, braedub90 said:

Is there a reason why you want to get out of your Vaughn? I haven't tried on the Extreme Flex II, but it definitely looks solid.

I'm a sucker when it comes to rule changes, hence why I went with the Optik unit. The Kenesky units are looking great as well.

I've had no complaints with my Vaughn. It's actually been absolutely solid since day 1. However it's seen its share of action over the years and it's starting to have issues with wear and tear. I'd rather replace now then wait for it to get worse or break in a game. I recently made the switch to Brians a few year back with the SubZ3's and now using GN3Tiks with the IV's coming next and love their gear. Which is why I want to try the Optik chesty now. The only reason I thought about the CCM is being able to try one on at my LHS in my size and liking the feel/fit versus not having the correct size Optik to try. Ultimately I think I should be fine with just ordering the Optik.

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3 hours ago, Jblack151 said:

@braedub90 Knowing you have the suspender straps added and the stock do not, any input on how the suspenders work without the straps added? Would they work comfortably over the floaters or just along the neck area? Or would you wear them under the chesty on your shoulders?

Without the straps, I think it would only work along the neck. If it just sat on-top of the floaters, they would slide off too easily. These shoulder floaters move around very easily, as you may have noticed when trying it on, so I'm not sure if the suspenders would stay secure without the straps.

I wasn't charged for having them added, so to me it makes sense to me that if you're ordering a model from Brian's, have them apply the straps.

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I have been using my unit for about 2 months now and think this is a very accurate review. I ordered mine with SubZero 3 shoulder floaters because I felt my shoulders weren't protected when trying them on in store and why not be as big as possible!

Strongly agree with your comments about the arms being extremely tight out of the box. Was quite worried when I first got it but after a few uses they have definitely loosened up and the elbow caps never seem to slide.

Fortunately I haven't had any stingers yet.

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7 hours ago, Kapz said:

I have been using my unit for about 2 months now and think this is a very accurate review. I ordered mine with SubZero 3 shoulder floaters because I felt my shoulders weren't protected when trying them on in store and why not be as big as possible!

Strongly agree with your comments about the arms being extremely tight out of the box. Was quite worried when I first got it but after a few uses they have definitely loosened up and the elbow caps never seem to slide.

Fortunately I haven't had any stingers yet.

How have the arms been for you, as far as protection? Mine have been good, but like I said, it's only been 6 games. Do you have anything to add, since you've been playing in it for a couple of months?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/15/2018 at 7:29 PM, Jblack151 said:

Thanks for confirming @braedub90. Any new updates to the performance and overall feel?

No updates, it's still performing great. I'm still waiting to feel something in that connection point on the arm, but I haven't felt anything yet.

I think the mobility will be similar to your Vaughn C&A, if that's a concern.

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On 10/18/2018 at 5:57 AM, braedub90 said:

No updates, it's still performing great. I'm still waiting to feel something in that connection point on the arm, but I haven't felt anything yet.

I think the mobility will be similar to your Vaughn C&A, if that's a concern.

Thanks @braedub90. I’m purchasing my Optik today. Hoping to find some non-game ice time once it arrives to test it out. 

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I’m going to add my initial out of the box review to @braedub90 post here instead of creating a new thread. I have no intention of highjacking his thread. I just felt it would be best to combine them for others on here since I found great value with what’s already been posted. 

I got my new Optik yesterday afternoon. I didn’t use it in my game last night since I’m still adjusting the various velcro areas in the arms and shoulders to get a good feel of where I like them and it was an important game for us not to lose. And yes we did win! 

First impression is it felt a little restricted in certain mobility areas but overall nothing crazy and expected since its new. When I say certain mobility areas, I’m talking solely about reaching for my helmet with my arms or when imitating drinking water with my water bottle. All other movements feel just fine and will improve with the break in process. As I said there are so many ways to adjust this piece which is amazing and really impressive. It’s definitely well protected and I don’t feel it’s any less protected then my old chesty except in the lower torso areas where the Optik is more streamlined.

As I always do with a new chesty, I’m going to throw it in my steam shower on a hanger just to help with the break in process and will use it in two games next week and will follow up with some additional input. 

Here’s a picture compared to my current Vaughn V6 2200 for comparison. Thank you to everyone who contributed their input on here to help me confirm to buy mine! 

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  • 2 months later...

Hello, all. I thought I would give an update as to how my Optik chest protector is holding up.

I'm about 50 games into this season with this chest protector, and I am so happy with how it performs. The ability for me to look over my shoulder is important, and I feel I can easily move my head in this unit, looking side to side with no restrictions. the concern I had with this unit was where the arm connects to the shoulder, but over the course of the season, it's been a non issue. As with any other C&A, I've felt a couple of shots right above the elbow floater, but no stingers.

There's been a little bit of fraying of the airknit material in the lower rib area, and I imagine that it's from me tucking my C&A into my pants. It's not a worry, though, as it seems to be fairly minor. All the stitching is holding up, nothing coming apart. 

Again, I am really happy with how this unit is performing, and I see myself playing in it a long time, which is a relief, because I have been trying out new C&A's every year or so, trying to find the perfect balance of maneuverability, and protection. I believe I have found that in this unit.

@Jblack151 how are you finding yours to be, if you are still using it?

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