Ballistic vest

All posts tagged Ballistic vest

By Staff Writer – The Survival Place Blog

More and more people who are not professionally involved in the military, security and/or law enforcement fields are starting to consider body armor. Civilian safety is, in fact, becoming a hot topic of discussion on both government and public levels as the number of assaults, violent accidents, urban unrest and terrorist attacks through the roof in the last decade. Even though a lot of people have gotten in the habit of walking around with pepper spray or some other form of personal protection, now body armor is quickly becoming the next best thing to stay safe any place, any time.

Body armor comes in many shapes and types, but you should have a good understanding of what it can and cannot do for you in all situations. Essentially, no body armor is 100% bulletproof and different levels are only suited against the type of bullets they are tested against. This means that you should carefully examine the potential threats you are likely to face and choose your vest accordingly.

Body armor is generally classified as soft and hard. Soft body armor is more concealable and lighter, making it particularly suitable in urban situations and scenarios. It can provide protection from bullet and/or stab wounds, but the application isn’t as hard core. Covert soft body armor is designed to be worn under clothing or a light jacket and protects the wearer from other threats that the average person could face. There are a number of ballistic threats that body armor is efficient in stopping, which include:

223 Remington

The .223 Remington (5.56×45mm NATO) became popular in part due to the military acceptance of the M16.  It is almost identical with the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge in terms of external dimensions bu there are differences in maximum pressure and chamber shape. Given its specifications, this round you requires a level III protective vest.

.308 Winchester

The .308 Winchester is similar to the military 7.62x51mm specifications, making it the most popular big-game hunting cartridge in the world. It is commonly used by Military Snipers and Police Sharpshooters. Well-adapted for short-action rifles, it requires a vest at the highest level of IV to ensure protection.

7.62×54mmR

Developed by the Russian Empire, this is the longest serving military-issued cartridge in the world. This round remains one of the few standard-issue rimmed cartridges that are still in military use, and in 2011 the cartridge reached 120 years in service. Mostly used in sniper rifles like the Dragunov SVD sniper rifle and machine guns like the PKM, the round has a similar performance to the iconic American .30-06 cartridge. Adequate protection against this rifle caliber requires level IV body armor.

.30-06

The .30-06 Springfield cartridge was introduced to the US Army in 1906 and remained in use for the next 75 years. Still a popular sporting round, most major manufacturers produce ammunition for it. There have been slight modifications done over the years, including shortening the barrel at its breech and resizing the chamber. This round also will require a vest at Level IV for protection.

.300 Winchester Magnum

The .300 Winchester Magnum is a popular, belted, bottle-necked magnum rifle cartridge that was introduced by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1963. It is designed to fit a standard length action, based on the .375 H&H Magnum. Extremely versatile popular with a variety of users, the round has found a fan base with gun enthusiasts, hunters, the Military and Law Enforcement. The .330WM is known as the most popular .30 cal magnum among American hunters, and requires a Level IV vest for protection.

.338 Lapua Magnum

The .338 Lapua Magnum was developed for the military long-range sniper. Its potential as an anti-materiel round is limited due to its lack of power, although it still requires the highest level of protection, NIJ Level IV for any sort of protection.

.50 BMG

The .50 Browning machine gun was developed in the late 1910s and became a standard cartridge for NATO forces and many non-NATO forces. The cartridge is available in many variants, and is based on the shape of the .30-06 cartridge. This round will need a vest at Level IV with hard armor plates.

Given the wide range of bullet proof vests available, it is important to choose the right type for each situation and expected threats to ensure adequate protection.  Most soft armors come with the option of additional protection in the form of hard plates, so there is a great deal of flexibility in choosing the right bullet proof vest.

In recent years, the most commonly used firearms in random and terrorist attacks are semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and low-caliber handguns. While the latter can be stopped by a standard Level III vest, you will need additional ceramic plates to ensure protection against the 5.56 mm ammunition used in most AR-15 rifles. There is currently a large variety of covert and overt bulletproof vests that have pockets, where extra SAPI plates can be fitted to up the security level to the desired standard. Both carry their advantages in different situations. For example, covert vests work better in urban environments, where you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that you are wearing body armor while overt vests are easy and quick to put on in the event of an attack.

The ease of access to these guns poses a lot of security issues, the biggest one of them all of how can civilians equip themselves against such a common danger. With proper research and assessment of the crime statistics of your local urban environment, you can take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety in the event of any attack.

This article originally published by The Survival Place Blog: Guns vs. Body Armor

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EnGarde Bullet proof Level IV Plate Review

By P. Henry

As preppers we can easily see the value of stocking up on extra food, water and medicines. Having a backup power source like a small solar array or a generator with a supply of treated gasoline is a no brainer, but there is a world of prepping supplies the average prepper either doesn’t consider or else these fall to the bottom of the list.

Front view of the plate after I shot 4 rounds of different calibers into it.

Front view of the plate after I shot 4 rounds of different calibers into it.

I am talking about higher-end items including but not limited to Night Vision Goggles, Long Range Sniper Rifles, Expensive Rifle scopes, Gas Masks, NBC protection, and Ballistic protection in the form of bulletproof vests. There aren’t any of these items that I would say you don’t need if money is no object. Of course I know that anyone reading this blog has other bills to pay and other responsibilities to think of. We don’t cater to the wine and cheese club I don’t believe so costs and the likelihood of needing some of this gear has to be weighed in all of your own (mine included) preps.

One of the items in the above list that I would purchase first would have to be body armor. Why? Well, because if someone is shooting at you, these can save your life. It’s as simple as that. Our military and police all wear body armor for just this same reason. But who would ever shoot at me you ask? I don’t know, but I would rather not have that to worry about. I know this is a large expense but if you think the fat lady is warming up like I do, it may be something you will wish you had.

Now, I am not trying to say that having a vest makes you bulletproof. On the contrary, you can be shot just like anyone else, so traipsing down the street like you are Billy Bob bad ass in a bulletproof vest is a dumb idea. If you find yourself needing to wear this level of protection you should be just as careful as you would normally be. This is not something that makes you invincible but it does give you a huge level of protection that could save your life.

View from the rear. Zero penetration.

View from the rear. Zero penetration.

Bulletproof vests are really only designed to stop massive damage to your vital organs but it does leave everything else exposed. It is just another force multiplier you can use to protect yourself but don’t have any illusions that you will survive anything just because you have a vest.

I was given the opportunity to test out a level IV hard armor plate from Engarde Body Armor. Body armor comes in various flavors. Each level is certified by the National Institute of Justice to provide different ballistic resistance. To give you an idea of the protection levels in the vests, I have outlined them below.

  • Type IIA (9 mm; .40 S&W)
  • Type II (9 mm; .357 Magnum)
  • Type IIIA (.357 SIG; .44 Magnum)
  • Type III (Rifles)
  • Type IV (Armor Piercing Rifle)

The EnGarde level IV hard armor is rated to withstand .30 caliber armor piercing (AP) bullets (U.S. Military designation M2 AP) with a specified mass of 10.8 g(166 gr) and a velocity of 878 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2880 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) when it is combined with a Level IIIA soft armor panel and plate carrier just like the one we are giving away in our contest. I decided to test the plate on its own with a .30-.06 round and a few .223 rounds.

The plate by itself is 10″ x 12″ and weighs 7 pounds. Its thickness is just a hair over ¾ of an inch thick. For complete protection you would have a plate carrier with two Level IIA soft panels and two Level IV plates. This isn’t going to be light and comfortable, but a .30 caliber round slamming into your chest isn’t going to be comfy either. The coverage is probably smaller than you would expect at 10″ wide so this will seem to leave a lot of exposed area unprotected. You do have to factor in gear straps and the placement of the rifle but in here also.

We took a plate to the range and decided to fire some rounds into their level IV bullet proof plates. This was not a scientific test because it wasn’t on a body obviously and wasn’t matched to the soft armor panels for complete protection You can see the results of the test in the video below. I conducted this test at 50 Yards and shot the vest 4 times. The first time was with a .30-.06 round and then three .223 rounds. I still have a long way to go on the video quality and if I find myself conducting more reviews I suppose I will need a better camera and tripod set up.

All in all, the bullet proof plates stopped 4 direct hits at 50 yards and I would trust them to stop a bullet for me. You can learn more about EnGarde Body Armor and their panels at their website. – The Prepper Journal

The Survivalist’s Guide to Bullet Proof Vests

By P. Henry

What if tomorrow you wake up to a world torn apart by a nuclear war? What if the governments fall and the society you knew goes crazy with neighbors attacking neighbors, looting local stores, etc.? What if a deadly virus was leaked as a bio-weapon and turns the people that were surrounding you for many years into mindless, flesh eating zombies? What if you will need to survive in at least one of these worst case scenarios?

Probably, the very first thing you should take care of during survival is the protection of your body. Living in a progressive world, where most everyone is allowed to own and use fire arms, defines the nature of body armor you should have (or be looking for). Whatever the case is, you will make the most benefit from using a bullet proof vest, because you never know, who will be walking behind your back and that person (or persons) can carry a gun and have no good intentions towards passersby.

English: FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. (Dec. 11,...A Bullet proof vests is a very useful thing to have in your arsenal, when surviving in extreme conditions. This little vest that covers about 15-19 inches of your back and front can save your life on multiple occasions. You may think that it’s better to wear tactical body armor, because you will have most of your body parts protected. But, even here you will have a weakness – the enemy will see the protected parts of your body and will intentionally attack the unprotected ones. Moreover, if you are in conditions that require you to constantly move, tactical body armor may cause a severe disadvantage and slow you down. Regular bullet proof vests are much more effective in this case.

If you need to survive, you don’t want to spend your time looking for stuff you could have prepared ahead of time. Since it’s not the end of the world right now and you have the time to read this, you should think about getting a bullet proof vest, before anything actually happens. Online you can get them shipped in a day, companies like SafeGuard Armor offer this type of quick protection service, so you can be protected by tomorrow! Even if you will never get a chance to wear and use it, you will at least not regret that you weren’t prepared for an extreme situation.

English: Stab Protective Body Armor, Concealab...Bullet proof vests can offer two types of protection – ballistic protection and combined ballistic and stab protection. The latter is more effective, of course. Moreover, there are two types of protection rankings for ballistic and stab attacks provided by the NIJ and HOSDB, respectively. While there are 6 NIJ protection levels, there are only 2 HOSDB protection levels. Obviously, the higher the protection level, the heavier the vest. Heavier vest means it’s bulkier and less comfortable. These facts have to be considered, when choosing the vest.

You can purchase a bullet proof vest in an online store. Make sure it’s of the right size and will suit you well. In order to make sure about this, you can talk to the online support and find out everything you need. However, it is best to visit an actual body armor store and get all the required assistance, because an online support worker can’t see you and can skip something important. It’s always better to be prepared, rather than being caught napping. – The Prepper Journal

Editors Note: This post was contributed by SafeGuard Armor. We reviewed SafeGuard Armor’s vest in an older post that you can view here. I highly recommend this vest if you are in the market for bullet proof vest protection.

safeguard armor 226x300“This article was first published at reThinkSurvival.com.”

I’ve been wanting to purchase body armor for a long time now. But, to be honest, I don’t know a darn thing about it and I’ve always felt like it was way too expensive for somebody like me to buy it… boy was I wrong! Anyway, I spent some time reading the info about body armor here and learned quite a bit.

First Impressions

Over the past few days I’ve had the opportunity to review this SafeGuard Stealth Concealable Body Armor (ballistic level 2, stab level 1) from SafeGuard Armor. My first impression–being a complete newb–was that I was surprised at how lightweight and thin the vest really was. For something that’s supposed to protect my vitals from a bullet, I expected… well, more girth and weight. Not only is it relatively lightweight–I measured about 4.2 pounds on my trusty bathroom scale though they say up to 5.5 pounds depending on size–it’s surprisingly thin; I didn’t try to measure the vest but if it’s much more than a 1/2 inch in thickness I would be surprised.

In fact, not one person I knew or ran into during the entire time I wore the vest said anything to me about “what I was wearing” until I choose to say something or, in my wife’s case, she touched me and immediately wondered what I was wearing. I can say that even looking in the mirror I couldn’t tell that I was wearing a vest–though I was looking a bit more buff if I do say so myself. The only “thing” I noticed was that as I walked around I felt like I could hear my clothes rubbing on the vest but I was probably just being paranoid. icon wink

I Forgot I Was Wearing It… Most of the Time

By and large I forgot I even had the vest on most of the time I was wearing it. From sitting down to walking around and even running around coaching a bunch of kids during a flag football game on Saturday (yes, I even wore it then), it didn’t bother me much at all. About the only concern I had was that the vest wanted to ride up–particularly when sitting down–and not fit as snug as I would have preferred over my mid-section but I suspect that’s normal with any vest.

Anyway, the vest is easy as can be to put on and remove. After draping it over my head it’s just a matter of securing two large Velcro straps at the front and… voila… you’re done.

Choosing Your Protection Level

There are basically two common ballistic levels of protection (though there are others and you can learn more about the differences here): Level 2 (for lower velocity rounds handgun rounds) and Level 3A (for higher velocity handgun rounds). Likewise, there are different levels of stab protection (level 1 or 2) and even spike protection as well. FYI: these guidelines are set by the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and all vests sold by SafeGuard Armor comply with them. As I eluded to at the start, I ended up with a vest that conformed to a ballistic level 2 and stab level 1 protection.

Sizing Your Vest

As you might suspect, it’s NOT a one size fits most purchase. You need to measure your chest and place your order appropriately. In addition, they suggest that if you’re shorter than average (which I am) then you should purchase a “short” vest whereas if you’re taller than average then purchase a “long” vest. The goal is to have the bottom of the vest reach your navel (belly button). Upon receiving the vest (and I didn’t realize it at the time) that’s precisely how it fit, which was concerning to me.

Apparently the vest only needs to go down to your navel in order to protect your vital organs. Eventually, I got used to the fit but a small part of me is quite attached to my intestines and if I had ordered again I would strongly consider purchasing a “normal” vest so that my entire torso were covered. Of course, the folks at SafeGuard Armor know better than I do how to size a vest so it’s probably best to order a vest as they recommend. To size your own vest use this link: http://www.safeguardarmor.com/body-armor-size-guide/.

Oh, and lest I forget… you can order a vest in either white or black. I choose white as I figured that can be “hidden” better but I honestly didn’t think about it too much.

My Conclusions

Overall I’m quite pleased with this vest and SafeGuard Armor as a supplier. The vest fits well, didn’t break my back or the bank, and seems to do what I expected it to do: provide a truly concealable option to protect my life.