Have you ever considered getting a bullet proof vest?
Before running out and adding one to your stash, there are a few things you should know first.
Why Would You Need a Bullet Proof Vest?
You have enough to worry about with food, babies, and bills – so what would you need a bullet proof vest for?
The simple fact is, if someone is shooting at you it could save your life. But the next question of course would be why would someone be shooting at you?
Hey, I don’t know what risky behaviors you’re involved in so you’ll have to evaluate that on your own, but here are a few scenarios where it might come in handy…
- If You Hear an Intruder in Your Home
- When You’re at the Gun Range with Idiots
- After Disasters When Looters Run the Streets
- For Late Night Wal-Mart Shopping Trips
- Hunting Trips With Dick Cheney
- During a Breakdown or Collapse in Society
- When the Wife’s Mad ;)
*For more reasons check-out 10 Reasons a Civilian Should Consider Owning Body Armor & also Is Body Armor Necessary?
Owning body armor isn’t for everyone, so take a moment to evaluate your own threat level (or what it could be in the future) and make a decision that is right for you.
It’s not exactly cheap, but neither is your life.
What Type Protection Do You Get From a
Bullet Proof Vest?
Don’t get the wrong impression that by just by throwing on a bullet proof vest you’re suddenly invincible. There are different levels of protection depending on the materials used & thickness of the various products.
A bullet proof vest is tested by the National Institute of Justice and given a rating according to the amount of blunt force impact it is capable of stopping.
For any performance level, NIJ’s test protocol requires that the bullet does not perforate the vest and that the vest protects against blunt trauma.
Current Levels of Protection:
- Level II-A (9 mm; .40 S&W; .45 ACP) – These are the thinnest available, about 4mm (0.16 inches) thick.
- Level II (9 mm; .357 Magnum) – These are usually 5mm (0.2 inches) thick.
- Level III-A (.357 SIG; .44 Magnum) – These are 8 to 10 mm (0.32 to 0.4 inches) thick.
The following levels usually require some sort of vest or plate carrier that will allow for incorporating hard armor plates in the front and back.
- Level III (Rifles) – These range from .5 to .75 inches thick & weigh between 3-6 pounds.
- Level IV (Armor Piercing Rifle) – These are about .5 to .75 inches thick & weigh between 6-9 pounds.
NOTE: Some bullet proof vests are designed to allow the wearer to insert additional armor plates to add layers of protection. These vests can accommodate armor plates to make a vest stab-resistant as well as bullet-resistant, as soft body armor can protect only against slashing knife attacks, not stabbings.
Differences Between Soft & Hard Body Armor:
Soft Body Armor:
- Soft body armor can stop bullets from most handguns (Usually your Levels II-A, II, & III-A)
- It works by using layers of special fabrics to catch the bullet in flight and disperse the force of its impact.
- Soft body armor is made from woven aramid fibers such as Kevlar or Twaron, or resin-impregnated parallel or cross-plied polyethylene fibers such as Spectra or Dyneema.
Hard Body Armor:
- Hard body armor can stop anything from a rifle bullet or shotgun slug (Usually your Levels III & IV)
- It works by using plates of metal or ceramic material that are inserted into a special carrier that can be worn.
- Hard body armor plates are often made of steel, ceramic, or polyethylene.
Is a Bullet Proof Vest Concealable?
It really just depends on the amount of protection you want – the more you have, the less concealable it is. Also, your body type and clothing play a major factor in the overall ability to be able to conceal it.
You’re not exactly going to prom in one of these, sorry ;)
Level II-A and Level II vests are the easiest to conceal and can usually be worn under a loose shirt.
Level III-A vests may require you to pull out your sweaters and jackets to conceal effectively (which might make you stand out in the middle of Summer).
Level III and Level IV vests are usually worn over clothes, but if you’re really up for a challenge you can try concealing it under a large jacket.
Are They Legal?
It’s common to see the police and military sporting a bullet proof vest, but regular citizens also have the option to beef up their protection if they choose to.
Body Armor Laws in the United States:
- You cannot buy body armor of any sort if you have been convicted of a felony.
- Residents of Connecticut are prohibited from buying Body Armor unless you show up in person to complete the sale.
Each state (or country) has a different set of rules, so be sure you know what they are before you buy a bullet proof vest.
Do Bullet Proof Vests Really Work?
Absolutely! They are saving lives everyday.
You need to remember that the main job of a bullet proof vest is to protect your vital organs and that everything else is still exposed. We had a friend who nearly lost his life after being shot in the leg, so in no way do these prevent bullets from finding a different entrance point.
Another issue, is if you get hit hard enough and close enough, it can still do some serious damage (but hopefully you would still be alive and that’s what counts).
While a bullet proof vest can prevent bullet penetration, the vest and wearer still absorb the bullet’s energy. Even without penetration, modern pistol bullets contain enough energy to cause blunt force trauma under the impact point. – Wikipedia
Testing Out a Bullet Proof Vest from EnGarde
EnGarde Body Armor was kind enough to give me the opportunity to test out their level IV hard armor plate in a tactical T.R.U.S.T carrier.
EnGarde T.R.U.S.T.™ Plate Carrier:
The EnGarde Tactical Response Under Special Threats plate carrier is designed to provide ballistic protection from rifle threats during high-risk operations and “active shooter” call outs.
MOLLE pockets allow 10″x12″ armor plates to be placed in the front and back. For the EnGarde T.R.U.S.T.™ carrier we offer both soft armor Level IIIA plates as well as hard armor Level III and Level IV plates.
NIJ Protection Level: III-A (3.4 lbs w/ 2 inserts), III (8.6 lbs w/ 2 inserts), or IV (18.4 lbs w/ 2 inserts).
EnGarde Level IV Hard Armor Plate
This insert consists of a combination of Aramid and ceramic. The insert is curved and can withstand grenade shrapnel and armor piercing bullets (e.g. 7.62×63 AP) This insert gives a Level IV protection in conjunction with (ICW) a Level IIIA vest.
Specifications: Size (10″x 12″), Weight (3.2 kg / 7 lbs), Thickness (1.9 cm / 0.76″)
For complete Level IV protection with the T.R.U.S.T plate carrier you would insert a – Level IIIA soft panel and a Level IV plate – in both the front and back of the carrier.
With this type of protection it’s suppose to be able to withstand any gun you point at it, so I decided to put it to the test!
It’s not everyday I ask my husband to shoot me, but I must be doing a few things right because he didn’t take me up on my offer ;)
I went ahead and made a wood man to shoot at that could wear the bullet proof vest instead of me, and took him out for a few rounds.
My testing criteria was fairly basic – shoot the vest & see if it stopped the bullet.
I shot 4 guns with different caliber bullets to see the effect each of them would have on it:
- Sig p238 (380)
- S&W (9 mm)
- AR-15 (.223)
- Rifle (.270)
Anyways, you can see the results below in my 1st YouTube video ever!
So you better be nice, none of that thumbs down crap ;)
TEST RESULTS: Pass!
The bullet proof vest from Engarde was able to handle every bullet I sent into it.
I hope things never get to the point where I feel a need to wear body armor around, but if it did, I’m fully confident in EnGarde’s ability to take a bullet for me!
You can learn more about EnGarde’s bullet proof vest and other products on their website: EnGarde Body Armor
So have you ever considered getting a bullet proof vest? or do you already have one?
P.S. Just in case you didn’t notice, I’m wearing the vest all wrong – so make sure you don’t make my mistakes and wear your bullet proof vest correctly!
John R says
I have just returned from Front Sight Gun training range. I was so surprised to see all the young ladies and women there that knew their way around a weapon. You are a bigger surprise. You are my “go to girl” to learn cooking, canning, and gardening. Now I see you would fit in at any gun range. You go girl. You showed us that you are at home on the end of any weapon.
Jamie S. says
You’re too nice, it’s a little nerve-racking posting a video for everyone to analyze ;)
I haven’t been to a gun range in forever, but my sister is part of a ladies group in her area that meets once a month to go shooting. I should probably join one here and get out more.
Thanks for your comments! It’s always fun hearing from you!
The Lady Kay says
Great job on your first YouTube video!! I loved the music too! You looked great shooting all the different weapons. How much fun you probably had testing out this bullet proof vest!! Thanks for a great review.
Be Well, The Lady Kay
Jamie S. says
I had to use some music to try and cover-up all the extra background noise from my 4 tag alongs ;)
It was a lot of fun to get out and shoot, it’s been awhile!
John W. says
Great article with tons of information. It is important to remember to properly adjust your body armor and plate carrier so they cover your vital organs (heart, lungs) as much as possible. For example, the plate carrier in the photos above should be worn much higher. Almost as high as possible to cover the majority of your chest cavity. Granted, it would leave your stomach more exposed, but stomach wounds are generally not immediately life threatening.
Wearing the plate carrier up higher may be more uncomfortable, especially for women. If you have to wear one, ballistic protection is more important than comfort. Let’s face it, if they were made for comfort we would be wearing them all the time.
I write this as a 20+ year veteran of military and law enforcement service. I also own/operate a tactical nylon fabrication business in San Diego. We focus on custom tactical nylon gear, and have made many pieces to accommodate a woman’s frame.
In fact, we recently launched a line of tactical nylon gear sized for women. Feel free to contact me with questions, or visit our site at http://www.wildebuilttactical.com.
Jamie S. says
Thanks for the tips!
This is my first time ever putting one on, so I’m sure I was wearing it all wrong ;)
I’ve never thought of getting one for personal use. As a veteran I’m very familiar with them, although mine was an ugly green! Something to think more about.
Katie @ Clarks Condensed says
Very cool! I’m the most paranoid person ever, and I think I’m going to get shot…maybe I’ll get one of these ;-)
And I was totally worried for a little bit that you were actually going to test it out on yourself ;-)
Jamie S. says
Yeah, I think I worried a lot of people ;)
You’re too funny, let me know if you ever get one!