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Old 02-13-2009, 11:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thinking about buying Body Armor...

Hey All,

I know most people think it's silly, but I have been seriously considering body armor for a little while.

For a civilian like me, it will almost never be necessary, BUT

Let's say, Just in case...

I have seriously been considering some level IIIA concealable body armor with flaps for a level IV hard plate insert, but haven't really heard much information, or direct reccomendations.

So, any reccomendations?
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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of course my first question would be why? if you dont need it for a job...

but if you feel the need i own

ABA - American Body Armor - body armor, bullet proof vests, concealable carriers

i have also owned second chance body armor, but i dont even know if they are still in business....
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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What is your intended use?

Do you need to conceal it, or is it something you plan on putting on if someone breaks into your home, etc?
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm not an expert in body armor, but I know a few things that you may find helpful:

Concealable vests in Level II (9mm and .357) are lighter, thinner, and more practical than level IIIA vests. A concealable vest should be tailored to the threat you're likely to encounter. A Level II will stop 9mm and .357 Magnum, as well as buckshot. That's easily two standard deviations worth of the threats you'll ever see, let alone actually get capped by. It would extremely rare to be shot by something outside the level II protection range while wearing a concealable vest. You could go for a level IIIA vest and that would be perfectly reasonable, but I see it as overkill because it's a little like wearing a football helmet during sex... and despite any "issues," I've never been that paranoid. Obviously the converse philosophy would be to wear as much vest as you can because a vest that doesn't stop that grandiose .44 Magnum your mugger shoots you with is a waste of effort / money as well.

If you're trying to go light and tight against global jihadists, Level IV stand alone plates (front, back, sides) are the way to go. None of the bulk of soft body armor. This is assuming you need something that can stop 6+ rounds of 7.62x39mm. The problem with a plates-only setup is that you'll have some noticeable gaps in protection at the places where the plates meet up. You'll also need to buy a quality carrier for the 4-plate setup and that can get kinda pricey ($200+) since they're all made to super-ultra-MOLLE-OPS-TACT-TACT-TACT standards.

A full coverage tactical vest with plate pockets (such as the US military's old IBA) is what you need if you're a bearded door kicker and worried about threats typically encountered by the heroes of a Bad Boyz movie.

My experience:

I wore an IBA for nearly two years straight and I can attest to the annoyance of a cheap front-opening vest. Make sure you get a vest that is very adjustable with either quality Velcro or nylon straps with triglides. Nothing worse than buying something expensive that doesn't fit you just right.

I owned Level IV stand alone plates and a Level II vest. It was a well-rounded setup because the II vest could be worn under a loose shirt or jacket and protected me from anything I could expect while dressed as a grocery store ranger. The addition of the plate carrier with the Level IV plates turned the package into something you could wear on a GI Joe dynamic entry into a situation where someone was toting an AK47. Or, if you wanted long term "patrol" protection, you could just wear the plate carrier.

I don't like front opening vests (soft or plate carriers) because they put too much crap on my center line. A side / top donning 'n doffing vest is much more comfortable and makes more sense to me than having another seam in the way.

Things to think about:

Cost: You're talking about $1k easy. You could also easily make it to $2k if you want a top grade plate / soft vest setup.

Plate: Considerations:
-Shape: Get the triple-curved ceramic variety, avoid polyethylene. It's bulky and way too expensive for the weight savings.
-Rating: You can get Level 4 stand alone, which is my preference, or you can go with the standard "SAPI" rating and get square soft armor "backer" panels to save on plate thickness and bulk as well as ditching the need for a soft vest. A lot of different potential combinations to examine.
-Random: I've seen guys that get their plates sprayed with Line-X, the truck bed liner, in order to keep them from fragmenting due to multiple hits. This is probably overkill but Line-X is a fantastic product and I would imagine it works well for that sort of application.

Vest: Three biggies:
-Thickness. Modern materials make a level II vest nearly disappear under a polo. Older or surplus vests are more bulky. The higher the rating, the thicker the vest. Consider your need to conceal versus your need to protect versus your need to burn your credit card.
-Length. You're a tall guy at (73"+) and body armor is usually made for Joe Stubby. Make sure you get a vest that is long enough for you. Having a vest that sits on your navel is an open invitation for a gut shot. Find a happy medium in length. It shouldn't bunch up when you're sitting down, but it shouldn't expose your soft innards when you've got your hands above your head.
- Side coverage. Go for full side coverage on your soft vest. Some people like to skimp on the side coverage of soft body armor because it's "too hot," but all they're doing is wasting their investment in saving their own ass.

Carrier: If you intend on wearing this concealable vest for more two days a week, you'll want another carrier so you can trade out. They get funky real quick. I'd also recommend a sweat-wicking t-shirt for wear under the vest. Don't go bareback, it's gross.

...

You can always PM me if you get really bored and wanna talk body armor.

Maybe we can get a discount if we order enough pieces? See, I know these guys...
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Last edited by Plan9; 02-14-2009 at 09:32 AM..
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Body armor all depends on how much you're willing to spend. You can get into a decent concealable vest, even up to IIIA, for less than $500.00 if you shop around. This'll stop just about any "street" round (other than 5.7x28, which is hardly a gangbanger's choice). On the opposite extreme of practicality, if you like, you can drop $6,000 on a Dragon Skin vest that'll stop just about anything short of .30-06 AP or a serious Heavy Rifle round (.338+). Balance your perceived threat level with your budget: are you likely to encounter bad guys with P-90s, 5.7's, or M4's? No? Then stick with something half-comfortable that you can stand to wear. Remember; even Dragon Skin or an Interceptor does no bloody good if you're not wearing it because it's too damned hot.
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Old 02-16-2009, 05:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What does everyone think about this?

Bullet Proof ME.com Body Armor - TACTICAL Body Armor and OTV, Interceptor Mil-Spec



Level IIIa with removeable neck and groin guard..possibly concealable. Has room for plates. Made for slimmer people.

I'm also seriously considering a thin level IIa vest too.

BulletProofME.com Body Armor - ProMAX Bullet proof Vests

Stab resistant level II or just regular? Probably regular right? But...since I live in Baltimore...would a knife threat seem likely?


Btw, thank you everyone for the responses. I'm mostly getting this stuff for peace of mind. I don't want to get shot while walking home late from the library AND

I don't want to get shot by some idiot while running a tactical carbine course.
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ok, here's what I would suggest.

A concealable level IIIA Vest...less coverage than what you have pictured so you can wear it around without people noticing.

Then, a seperate plate carrier you can put on over the vest with plates if the situation dictates. You can also wear the plate carrier as standalone protection if you need to put something on fast (like a bump in the night).

It gives you maximum flexibility for different situations and against different threats.
-----Added 16/2/2009 at 09 : 35 : 20-----
That vest looks Way too cumbersome, I wear full level IV body armor and it is less bulky than that.
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Last edited by Slims; 02-16-2009 at 06:35 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Slims,

Even if it breaks down in to this:



Is this still too cumbersome?
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It is my belief that you don't need MOLLE loops on a soft vest. They should go on the plate carrier that you're wearing over it.

...

I'll wait a bit until I post my second body armor tangent.
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Someone reccomended this from M4 Carbine.net. A pretty reputable person:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_s View Post
My suggestion is these inserts in this carrier. Just under $500 for the package.
The majority of respondents here have far more experience than I, so any feed back is very well appreciated. Thank you all!


Last edited by KirStang; 02-17-2009 at 01:34 PM..
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KirStang View Post
Btw, thank you everyone for the responses. I'm mostly getting this stuff for peace of mind. I don't want to get shot while walking home late from the library AND

I don't want to get shot by some idiot while running a tactical carbine course.
Nothing personal, but are you aware of how ridiculous this sounds?
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:32 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Haha sure thing MSD.

There's been students who have been robbed at gun point on the way home late from the library. I live in Baltimore--it happens about once or twice a year.

And I'm slightly worried that an error in barrel discipline while running a carbine drill will result in a bullet in my back. I guess this seems less likely.

Thank you for your input though.
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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In that case, fuck Baltimore.
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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For what it's worth, I ALWAYS wear hard armor when shooting and moving with other people. I don't think body armor is a bad idea at all if you spend a lot of time training...even professionals sometimes screw up and accidentally shoot their buddy (of course they are immediately fired, but you get my point).

I agree with Crompsin, for your purposes I would get a simple plate carrier with MOLLE and a slick level IIIA vest that is EASILY concealable (or it will be a hassle and you will leave it at home rather than wear it). Paraclete makes a lot of good products and they have a solid reputation. Check out Diamond Back Tactical also, though they may not make concealable armor.

For your range-armor I would recommend buying some soft inserts for your plate carrier (in addition to the plates, of course) and just running a plate carrier (or buy stand alone plates, which are more expensive but better). The soft armor on the sides won't protect your from a rifle around anyways, so don't bother with it.
-----Added 20/2/2009 at 06 : 23 : 41-----
Oh, by the way, I am friends with one of the owners of Grey Group (the store whose pic you linked). Feel free to call them and ask your questions, they are a major paraclete dealer now and may have access to more than is up on the website.

They also run/coordinate a lot of good schools if you are seriously interested in practical shooting.
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"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dream with open eyes, to make it possible." Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E. Lawrence

Last edited by Slims; 02-20-2009 at 03:23 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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All,

(But Primarily for Crompsin )

Thanks for all the great advice (Cromp & Slims, thank u so much again), here's what I got:


(Found a MSA MICH for a great deal--couldn't pass it up. It even comes w/ Oregon Aero pads! =D).

Ceramic Plates: Level IV standalone





I have it thrown in to an Airsoft Plate Carrier. Functions well for now....let's hope the PC doesn't snap and break at my next Carbine Course.

Battle Bra Slung on: (Was showing a guy how the sling can go muzzle up over my back)


Concealable Vest: Level II (Safariland Police Surplus)



Snapped a pic after my first range trip w/ the level II



=======================

The Level II is not as concealable as I'd like--namely the vest juts out around my shoulder-blades, making it *very* apparent when I lean forward (i.e. studying late at the lbrary).

Also, the level II is *HOT*. Need hydration after wearing it indoors, even more so when underneath clothing and indoors. Gah.

I'm very satisfied w/ the PC and the plates. Comfortable, and I feel secure knowing that some asshat with poor muzzle discipline won't be able to kill me.

Went with a split-vest set up (instead of an all in one like a CIRAS) because I wanted to wear the level II concealable more often, and throw on the plates if I went to the range. (I have a BH low-vis carrier).

Vest: Brand new: $310. Plates: $540. Carrier: $50. (MultiCam Carrier was $125 with Pouches...good deal).

Security: priceless .

Only worry now is that the level II vest isn't worn nearly as much as I'd like. Meh. Anyone got any concealment tips? Duct tape? (That seems so bubba and uncomfortable....so probably NO.)

Concealed:




Tell-Tale Hump:

Last edited by KirStang; 04-05-2009 at 08:35 PM..
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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*Fap fap fap*

...

Oh, hi! Heh, nice setup. I used to have (almost) the exact same thing! And then it was stolen by asshole Americans in South Carolina.

Soft Vest: What kind of clothing are you wearing? A t-shirt is never enough. How does it feel in a button up shirt? Collars help as do windbreakers. Have you tried extending the shoulders a bit to lower the ride in the back?

...

Also: Since you're independently wealthy, you may want to get your plates sprayed with Line-X. I know a few of ninja-types that had it done at Bragg. Keeps the plate from fragmenting due to multiple strikes. Nice extra touch.
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Last edited by Plan9; 04-05-2009 at 09:05 PM..
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:13 AM   #17 (permalink)
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All you need now is an iron mask for your face, cause, well, your vest won't jump up to catch the bullet racing to your forehead.
You're now ready for armageddon. (Saw that collection of magazines in the closet, what weapon do those belong to?)
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:43 AM   #18 (permalink)
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They do make "bulletproof" goggles and see-through face shields, but that's a little too Stars Wars Stormtrooper for most.

Offense and defense must be kept in balance. Mobility and protection. You can only wear so much armor before it hinders your ability to shoot, move, and communicate effectively.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biznatch
(Saw that collection of magazines in the closet, what weapon do those belong to?)
The tacticool'd carbine sitting next to them.

...

Kir... are you wearing pink flip-flops in that last picture?
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Last edited by Plan9; 04-06-2009 at 09:48 AM..
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:22 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Haha, I have ANSI rated Goggles.

I have AR-15 and about 30 mags for it.

....Pink flip flops? Haha those are just my pasty pasty bare-feet.
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:21 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Not sure of the winter weather in Baltimore but Dragon Skin turns brittle in the cold. I'm in Afghanistan at the moment and you can't give it away here. Money and comfort may be an issue but you can only die once.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:00 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spotteddevil View Post
Not sure of the winter weather in Baltimore but Dragon Skin turns brittle in the cold. I'm in Afghanistan at the moment and you can't give it away here. Money and comfort may be an issue but you can only die once.
Not to mention, if you survive, the bill for surgery & physical therapy is probably much higher than a $600 ceramic plate!

First, thank you for your service.

Second, it was my understanding that Dragon skin was NOT adopted because it failed army tests which subjected Dragon skin to high temps. So, much like Polyethelene (I think?), ballistic resistance becomes substantially degraded after exposure to desert-like temperatures.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:57 PM   #22 (permalink)
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...Dragon Skin has been thoroughly debunked.

on a slightly different note, there are dozens of videos showing the stuff getting shot by MP-5's dozens of times, but I have never seen a single example where it successfully stops 7.62x54R, especially when fired at an oblique.
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:54 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Kir, let's see some pr0n shots of that plate carrier all opened up. I'm lonely tonight.

...

I'm starting to get lured into the 5.5mm thick IIIA (4mm for the II) Goldflex soft vest that BPM is pushing. $630 but oh-so-tight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slims View Post
...Dragon Skin has been thoroughly debunked.
What are you talking about!?! Some big bald pretty Navy SEAL dude that talks like a modern version of William Shatner just said it's the best shit ever on Future Weapons. He's authoritative! He even says "awesome" like it has five syllables.
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:43 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Crompsin,

Will this be enough to get you off? (LMFAO)


Last edited by KirStang; 04-15-2009 at 06:53 AM..
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:55 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I wonder if the government keeps special tabs on civilians who are not involved with the military or the police, who buy body armor for personal use? I mean, buying a semi-automatic assault rifle, such as an AR-15, is one thing. (You can justify its purchase for hunting and/or recreational target shooting.) But body armor... ?
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:10 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crompsin View Post
Kir, let's see some pr0n shots of that plate carrier all opened up. I'm lonely tonight.

...

I'm starting to get lured into the 5.5mm thick IIIA (4mm for the II) Goldflex soft vest that BPM is pushing. $630 but oh-so-tight.



What are you talking about!?! Some big bald pretty Navy SEAL dude that talks like a modern version of William Shatner just said it's the best shit ever on Future Weapons. He's authoritative! He even says "awesome" like it has five syllables.

You know, I've heard that Goldflex doesn't stand up well to contact shots. That actually has me slightly worried as I think my vest is constructed primarily of goldflex .
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