Bullet proof vest

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Is there something I should look for in buying a vest? Like manufacture, thickness, design? Never have had one on before, but kinda seeing the benefits if and when the SHTF. Do they go out of cert? Point me to a good website or brand to go with. Thanks again.
 
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Is there something I should look for in buying a vest? Like manufacture, thickness, design? Never have had one on before, but kinda seeing the benefits if and when the SHTF. Do they go out of cert? Point me to a good website or brand to go with. Thanks again.
Galls or Quartermaster is a good place to start. These are the same company now. There are threat levels and most will show you the weight of the vest by threat level. Better ones are lighter in the same level. They are also more expensive. It's all a matter of how you plan to use it. The higher priced ones are normally more comfortable. Can make a big difference if you are going to wear it all day. If it's just for "emergency" then you can go cheaper. The ones made with Kevlar normally say 5 years. Many don't understand how this works. A vest just sitting on the shelf does not magically stop working one day. It's the way they are used and cared for that makes the big difference. There would be a TON of info on these on line but this will get you started.
 
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KeepnitReel
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Thanks for that info , I was thinking there was a timeframe for the Kevlar. I figure if the SHTF and I'll be wearing a vest , it won't be for just a day and mobility is the key to survival. Don't want a 20lb plate carrier vest to lug around. Ammo is heavy enough

Galls or Quartermaster is a good place to start. These are the same company now. There are threat levels and most will show you the weight of the vest by threat level. Better ones are lighter in the same level. They are also more expensive. It's all a matter of how you plan to use it. The higher priced ones are normally more comfortable. Can make a big difference if you are going to wear it all day. If it's just for "emergency" then you can go cheaper. The ones made with Kevlar normally say 5 years. Many don't understand how this works. A vest just sitting on the shelf does not magically stop working one day. It's the way they are used and cared for that makes the big difference. There would be a TON of info on these on line but this will get you started.
 
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Thanks for that info , I was thinking there was a timeframe for the Kevlar. I figure if the SHTF and I'll be wearing a vest , it won't be for just a day and mobility is the key to survival. Don't want a 20lb plate carrier vest to lug around. Ammo is heavy enough
When you start looking at them you can see the weight vs threat level vs price. Then decide how much you want to pay. As with so many things it's all in how much you want to spend. One of the best is the ones that are tailored to the one buying it. Also wearing them externally is FAR more comfortable.
 
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Thanks for that info , I was thinking there was a timeframe for the Kevlar. I figure if the SHTF and I'll be wearing a vest , it won't be for just a day and mobility is the key to survival. Don't want a 20lb plate carrier vest to lug around. Ammo is heavy enough
Regular vests will not stop rifle rounds or a pistol caliber carbine. Level 3 plates will stop most rifle rounds as well but will not stop 5.56 Green Tip. The best thing to do would be to think about your common threats and get a vest/plate combo to deal with those threats.

If I ever feel the need to wear a vest I'm going to want something that can stop 5.56 Green Tip. A lot of companies have a level 3+ or "Special Threat" plate which stops green tip and is rated for multiple hits. I'm not worried about 30 cal armor piecing to see the need to get level 4 plates.

A Polyethylene Ceramic plate which is rated for 5.56 green tip in Medium SAPI or 10x12 is only around 4 to 5 pounds each. Lots of companies are selling sub 5 pounds plates now. One example: BulletProofME.com Body Armor - Rifle Plates - Ultra-light Level III PLUS Ceramic / Polyethylene
 
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Do you want soft or hard armor? Soft will stop various pistol and shotgun rounds, depending on its rating, but will not stop rifle rounds. Soft armor is generally lighter, is flexible, and usually costs less than hard armor. Hard armor will stop most rifle rounds, depending on its rating, and will stop almost any pistol or shotgun rounds, but it's heavy, isn't flexible, and can cost a lot. Read-up on materials and ratings. Wikipedia is a good place to start: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_armor

Be very careful buying armor based on cost instead of performance. Don't choose a size based on weight, choose size based on the coverage your body size actually requires.

Lots of places will only sell to you if you can provide proof that you're law enforcement or military. Some just require proof of CCW. A few will sell to civilians, but you'll have to do some hunting to find them.

Vests do have warranty expiration dates, usually around 5 years. I've heard from a source I trust who tested well-used vests that were as much as 20 years old that still performed to spec. This makes sense, because the materials vests are made out of are not very chemically reactive – kevlar or other aramids, polyethylene, and various ceramics – so there's little degradation from exposure to air and sweat, and the carrier protects the armor from exposure to sunlight. This being said, you need to judiciously assess the risks you're likely to face, and decide based on your own risk and cost analysis.
 
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Adding to Vorpalis' good advice, the price you'll pay also will determine the weight in an inverse ratio. Weight isn't a big concern for some of us, so what's a pound or two more, anyhow?
The more expensive will = the less weight, but a big factor will be heat retention.

I have an old Safariland III-A and it is hot! I mean, you are miserable-cooking in the summer, though it's just the thing on cold winter days. :)

Some LEO supply stores such as LEEDS (Now Curtis Blue Line) in Tacoma occasionally get trade-ins from the local agencies and that's where you can get the best prices.

Just like carry guns, the best one for you will be the one you actually use, it's not gonna do any good to have a Level IV in the trunk because it's so heavy and hot you can't wear it.

Better a .38 in the pocket than a Model 29 in the safe.
 
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Regarding soft armor, the biggest thing to watch out for; is UV exposure, and chemical breaking down; especially from sweat.

If the armor has not been worn day in, day out, and has been stored flat in a cool dry place, then the kevlar layering is okay to use. But if it has been worn on a daily basis, then treat it as suspect. If it smells like body odor, avoid it.

For hard plates; it seems there are two camps currently fighting over the merits of the two main types of armor... on one hand, there's the AR500 steel armor which is budget friendly somewhat, BUT the thing is that most AR500 armor is heavy for level of protection and the cheapest ones do not have anti-spalling coating on the back, nor are they comfortable... the other camp is firmly entrenched, ceramics of various types. While more expensive, and more often a single-hit affair; they are lighter, and they are not as susceptible to spalling like plain steel armor.

EDIT; spalling is what happens when a metallic projectile hits a steel plate, it transfer energy through the steel and push out a piece of steel on the other side, which if not coated with anti-spall, will certainly hurt the user, possibly even kill, for it is like shrapnel. This is an old phenomenon found with the first steel armor in vehicles and in WW1 on personal armor plates.
Granted with the addition of a Level 2 or Level 3A soft armor behind the steel, it is offset, but the soft armor does not stop any rifle rounds, so there is the thinking that its not really of use when you have side plates plus front/back plates.

As to who to buy from? I can't make a recommendation here, you gotta do your own research to find what works for you

Surplus armor is 50/50 chances of being okay, or worn out. Surplus carriers are fine for the most part, but it depends on how comfortable they are on you. Some carriers are totally fine being worn under clothing, others, not so much.

Then there is the opinion that if lightweight, mobility, and so on are the prime mission profiles, a large chest rig with a simple front plate-only setup could be of use...but this assumes that you wont get shot in the back.
 

nwslopoke

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I say get what you can afford now and upgrade as you can. I have items I never hope to use in a real world situation but will be glad I have them on hand if we need them.
If I can obtain ceramic plates later that will be wonderful. Until then I'll deploy old fashioned metal plates and make do.
 

Camelfilter

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I say get what you can afford now and upgrade as you can. I have items I never hope to use in a real world situation but will be glad I have them on hand if we need them.
If I can obtain ceramic plates later that will be wonderful. Until then I'll deploy old fashioned metal plates and make do.
Playing devils advocate here...

I have ceramics, but will be getting steel plates "in case something happens" that we would need to wear them on a daily basis.

Thought being, the ceramics are excellent to have in the SUV & Truck as "get homes", or for some wierd isolated active shooter/terrorist type event.

If the ceramics take a hit they're done.

If there were some type of event which were to happen where family security merits wearing body armor fequently/constant, there will be no replacements available...
 

nwslopoke

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Playing devils advocate here...

I have ceramics, but will be getting steel plates "in case something happens" that we would need to wear them on a daily basis.

Thought being, the ceramics are excellent to have in the SUV & Truck as "get homes", or for some wierd isolated active shooter/terrorist type event.

If the ceramics take a hit they're done.

If there were some type of event which were to happen where family security merits wearing body armor fequently/constant, there will be no replacements available...
While I am totally on board with this level of protection/defense, for 99% of us this is like space travel insurance. We're probably not going to need it. But it comes down to a philosophy. How bad of a situation do you intend to survive? As civilians our supply line or reinforcements levels are zero. Medical, zero. In a case were there are multiple attacks on your house or location we have to realize there are limitations.

For smaller or weaker family members ceramics may be the best solution. There's no one best answer.
 

Camelfilter

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While I am totally on board with this level of protection/defense, for 99% of us this is like space travel insurance. We're probably not going to need it. But it comes down to a philosophy. How bad of a situation do you intend to survive? As civilians our supply line or reinforcements levels are zero. Medical, zero. In a case were there are multiple attacks on your house or location we have to realize there are limitations.

For smaller or weaker family members ceramics may be the best solution. There's no one best answer.
Agree, however there is also a higher possibility of limited WROL, where assistance may be hours away. Bad folks may take advantage knowing of such, therefore less space travel insurance, IMO.
 
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Agree, however there is also a higher possibility of limited WROL, where assistance may be hours away. Bad folks may take advantage knowing of such, therefore less space travel insurance, IMO.
Look at places like NO after the storm, or LA or Seattle when the riots were going on. When there is total breakdown it's scary if you are caught in it. Many of the snowflakes turn into mobs. What scares me most is the years of Government cradle to grave care. Even many gun owners support this thinking it's worth paying people not to be criminals. Sooner or later this will crash. If it does and that free money stops those people will only know how to do one thing. Riot and form mobs.
 

Dazed

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:s0014:Just remember, in case of major civil disorder the law enforcement will be tasked with protecting city hall, fire stations and such. They will probably not be going to providing officers for you. We all have to preplan our own protection. Remember the LA riots? In Korea town the shop owners stayed inplace on the stores roofs with small arms and rifles to prevent the looters from destroying everything!
 
OP
KeepnitReel
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With the different options, I think having at least the bare minimums is a must. So I decided to go with a completely refurbish bulletproofme vest. Level II plus ,
  • PACA KGS (Kevlar, GoldFlex, Spectra) vests - very flexible
Thank you for all your insights.
 
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With the different options, I think having at least the bare minimums is a must. So I decided to go with a completely refurbish bulletproofme vest. Level II plus ,
  • PACA KGS (Kevlar, GoldFlex, Spectra) vests - very flexible
Thank you for all your insights.
Nice!!! Since I'm not in tactical shape & not wanting to wear metal plates I'll probably go this route too.
Let us know what you think when it arrives.;)
 

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