Personal armor (also known as body armor) is the whole of protective clothing, designed to absorb and/or deflect slashing, bludgeoning, and penetrating attacks. They were historically used to protect soldiers, whereas today, they are also used to protect various types of police (riot police in particular), private citizens, private security guards or bodyguards. Two types exist: regular non-plated personal armor (used by the people mentioned above, except combat soldiers) and hard-plate reinforced personal armor, which is used by combat soldiers, police tactical units and hostage rescue teams.
Many people think that body armor like “bullet proof vests” are only for cops and soldiers. In fact, many people might not even know that it is perfectly legal for a citizen to own just about any kind of body armor. Yes, there may be some laws in some states prohibiting citizens from buying some body armor, and felons may also be prohibited. However, for the vast majority of us, body armor is very accessible and legal to own…for now. Yes, you can buy body armor. That may be about to change, however.
The same group of people (statist Democrats) who want to weaken our right to bear arms are now also eying our right to protect ourselves from bullets with body armor. Read about this effort to ban body armor HERE. Note that there is an exception for people who own armor PRIOR TO the ban. Exceptions include: “enhanced body armor that was lawfully possessed by any person at any time before the date this section takes effect.”
We recommend that no matter what your view of the future, or the actual odds of this kind of legislation passing, you buy yourself some body armor, now. Even if a nationwide ban doesn’t pass, if you live in a state like Maryland, California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, etc. you know they have to votes to ban it at the state level because they already used their votes to ban your guns.
So, what to buy? In my very unprofessional opinion, you will want to have two sets of armor. One, an “every day carry” type of pistol threat protection (level II or III-A), the other, more of a “SHTF” rifle threat protection (level III or IV). Depending on what you buy, you could easily have one of each for less than $600 total. I do. They sit safely at home 99% of the time, because I don’t feel a threat that warrants their use. However, the same may not be true in the future, just as I might not be able to buy the protection I need in the future if the control freaks have their way.
I have one manufacturer refurbished level II vest that is lightweight and comfortable and can be worn under a shirt without standing out much at all. Below are a few similar examples that are available right now on Amazon:
In addition to the level II vest I have had for a couple of years, I recently bought multiple sets of level III armor for rifle threat protection, mostly to store in my SHTF collection. I went with the Line-x coated AR500 steel armor and plate carrier packages. A quick Google search can point you to dozens of authorized dealers. Now as you can imagine, unlike lightweight Kevlar or Dyneema used in level II armor, steel plate armor is just too heavy and uncomfortable to warrant wearing in anywhere other than a combat zone, in my unprofessional opinion. The carrier and steel plates together weigh about 20 lbs – without a pistol and spare magazines loaded in it. There are also lightweight composite inserts that tend to cost more, and be more fragile than steel. Steel will protect you from dozens of impacts, composites may only be rated for a single impact. Either way, if your neighborhood, state or country becomes a war zone where rifles are being used, you must have at least level III protection if you plan to survive an impact. Level II won’t protect you from an AR or an AK, level III will.
So for those of you anticipating a scenario, however unlikely, that you may end up getting shot at by a rifle, perhaps because of a societal collapse, martial law, civil war, terrorism, etc. you will want to acquire some body armor sooner rather than later. For the price of 1000 rounds of 5.56 you can buy a nice (steel) level III rig and put it away for safe keeping. It will not go bad, weaken over time, crack if you drop it, lose value over time, etc.
The other thing to consider is family members. Would you want your wife and kids protected if things got ugly? Will you be able to legally or anonymously buy body armor in the future? While I pray for a change in direction for this country, it seems like America is heading the direction of either banning or registering guns, ammo and now body armor. That is why I am thinking of my family when I buy those items. I buy enough for my kids to be able to use when they reach an appropriate age.
So that’s one man’s take on body armor. In addition to body armor, there are many other forms of portable ballistic protection to look at. I didn’t even touch on helmets, groin protection, backpack inserts and the rest, but those options are also out there. I just am not sure that kind of protection is for me. I’m not a SWAT operator or a soldier. If the shit hits the fan, (whatever that means to you) my job is to protect my wife and kids, not fight a war.
If you have any experience you would like to share, please comment below. Thanks, and stay safe.