First created in 2051, the military-grade combat armor was designed to protect key sections of the human body from ballistic trauma with hard armored plates made from complex polymers and ceramics, with a flexible body suit interwoven with thermal-dissipative membranes and bulletproof material. The earliest models of the combat armor were manufactured as specific plates mounted on combat webbing, although as the technology improved, body-enclosing suits of armor were created and entered active combat duty, though in limited quantities. The armor came with a matte-finish olive drab coloring by default, making it suitable for woodland and/or urban camouflage.
Prior to the Great War, combat armor was nearly exclusively the property of military forces and special police units. Currently-available historical documentation shows users only in the North American continent, but allied nations were likely to posses identical or similar systems. Combat armor was the de facto armor of the United States military, issued to all combat soldiers not in the powered armor units. Additionally, at least one Canadian partisan was caught on camera wearing a suit of combat armor.
This armor is a reasonable compromise between the Ranger battle armor and the tribal power armor, offering more AP than the battle armor, has 3 less AP points than the power armor (the power armor gives 15 but it's effectively 13 with the -1 Agility penalty), and more damage resistance. In addition, it is less cumbersome to wear than the tribal power armor (as power armor reduces movement speed) adds 10 points to the Big Guns skill, and repair materials for it are much easier to locate.
The actual benefits of Lag-Bolt's combat armor over the Ranger battle armor are debatable for characters wishing to maximize AP with 10 Agility, Action Boy/Girl and Ledoux's hockey mask, as the extra 5 AP allows very few weapons to get an extra shot in V.A.T.S.; the most notable weapons are the railway rifle, atomic pulverizer, and the ritual knife. For habitual jet users with 10 Agility, this armor does make a difference with all 25 AP weapons.