A group of female soldiers about to deploy to Afghanistan is taking along a brand-new style of body armor designed specifically for women. Old gear was restricting, making it difficult for women to bend over, fire rifles mounted on their shoulders, or maneuver in and out of tight spaces, reports the AP. But the new vests feel lighter, fit tighter around the chest, and are shorter in length.
A team of 19 women, who will be interacting directly with Afghan women during their deployment, will test out the gear, and the army will make further alterations based on their feedback. So far, they have good things to say. "I remember as a joke, my friends tipped me upside down and my old armor fell right off me. It didn't fit me at all," says one soldier. "But with this, I did a cartwheel when I first got it and it did not move at all." (Read more female soldiers stories.)