Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....

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Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by bagman45 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:22 am

Howdy all! Hope you and your family are well and staying safe in these crazy times. Speaking of crazy times, I've been intrigued by body armor for a while, and, given what's going on in the country just now, am seriously considering buying some. Anybody have any personal experience/recommendations? I get the AR500 emails, but would love to hear from those with actual experience in buying/wearing it. Thank in advance for any guidance that you can provide.

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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by AJSully421 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:54 am

If you don't have it yet, it may already be too late. My recommendation for good and cheap armor and fast would be to look at They are based out of Austin. I bought my first vest from them and I still occasionally use it. The best "bang for the buck" are their police surplus reconditioned vests. Look around on there, find the section about the measurements,do those measurements and write those all down and then call them and see what they have in your size. You may be able to get quality surplus armor for under $400 and have it at your door in a week or so. Remember, according to the most recently available FBI statistics - of the people in the US who were murdered with a firearm, and the type of firearm was known and categorized, right at 93% were killed with a handgun. Everyone wants to get rifle plates... but handguns are, by several orders of magnitude, your greatest threat, so get a concealable soft vest.

For rifle plates, I cannot recommend against steel plates enough. They are heavy as all get out, and will spall if hit and do all sorts of damage to you. Spend the money on ceramic and/or UHMWPE plates. I have a set that is the UHMWPE with a thin ceramic towards the back that is Level 3+ and weigh 4.4 pounds each and I paid $250 per plate a couple of years ago. That is about perfect. I also got a set of steel with bed liner built up on them from a buddy and we use them to torture body guard / special team candidates and I have them in the truck so if they get stolen, who cares. Wearing them for more than 10-15 minutes makes me unhappy, and it will you too. "Buy once, cry once" is the truest statement that you will ever encounter in relation to guns and gear.
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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by flowrie » Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:13 am

I just purchased a level iiia concealable from safe life defense. Was not cheap but wears and feels great but have yet to wear it for more than a few minutes. An insertable plate ( was on back order) is on the way to me. May wear it this Sunday morning for a few hours. I believe you need to order now, from wherever, whom ever, if you want it before early Nov.
No telling what will happen at that time. Hope I never need it, but the wife wanted me to have it just in case.
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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by parabelum » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:28 am

I’ve had Shellback Tactical for few months. Like the setup. It’s level 3 rated up to M80 ball (.308). With front and side plates it has some heft to it but nothing bad. I’ve walked 5 mile stretches in Texas heat w/o issues (slow paced of course :biggrinjester: ).

Oh, all plate carriers/BA will make you look fat (or fatter "rlol" ).
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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by cmgee67 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:49 am

AR500 is my personal recommendation

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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by Grayling813 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:01 am

This is what I bought for church security wear. ... proof-vest

Also have a set of AR500 level 3 steel plates and trauma pads I bought on sale. I never use them now due to weight and the possibility of spalling. I plan to buy ceramic plates to go into the BulletSafe vest.
Last edited by Grayling813 on Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by chamberc » Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:11 am

Yep... AR500 here.
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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by eyedoc » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:04 am

I have 3 sets of AR500 and really like it. One set stays in my truck with me.

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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by anygunanywhere » Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:18 pm

Yes. AR500 3A plates.
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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by Paladin » Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:56 pm

We live in Texas and Body armor is hot.

Having concealable armor is an asset. I'm in shape and its challenging to wear outdoors in August in Texas.

Plates/Helmet are also assets as we are facing serious rioting.

Paul Howe has some worthwhile thoughts here: Training for the real fight
As an assaulter, my body weight was around 230 pounds, but when tactically loaded
with weapon, vest and helmet, it was closer to 310. This was simple assault gear and
not a rucksack.

Fast moving raids require you to move efficiently and swiftly in, around or over
obstacles with all your equipment. I have witnessed individuals packing their vest
with excess ammunition or equipment that was a mental comfort item and not
mission essential. This caused them problems in movement and fatigue.

Physically, you need to be able to move through an obstacle course with all your
equipment to ensure that you can fight with your “combat weight.”
Also, you
quickly find what stays on and what falls off. Make changes as necessary. If
strength and endurance is an issue, get in shape. Hit the pavement, get in a gym or
better yet, do both. If when looking in a mirror, you see yourself wearing
overlapping gun belts, do something about it.
A helmet in particular changes your cheek weld and makes shooting a rifle accurately more difficult. Spend a day shooting a rifle prone with a helmet on and you will know. For irons in particular you must zero with your helmet on. It's important to train with your equipment.
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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by 74novaman » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:59 pm

I started out doing the AR500 route. Then I never trained in it, shot in it or used it because my plate carrier with 4 mags, med kit and 2 heavy steel plates in it was 30 lbs. :shock:

Spend the small amount of extra it takes to go Hesco from the beginning and get a PC you'll actually wear and train in. In the long run, you'll save money over doing it the AR500 steel armor way like I did.

My level 4 rig now weighs half of what my ar500 set up did, has a higher NIJ rating, and would have only cost $200 or so more if I'd done it from the beginning instead of trying to cheap out then having to buy something lighter and more protective.

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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by Aggie_engr » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:36 pm

Word of advice, if you do end up going with AR500 steel plates pay the extra charge for “build-up coating” to mitigate fragmenting shrapnel.

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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by philip964 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:04 am

I have not thought about body armor.

But I have recently looking at my home and wondering about an armored pill box, preferably on the second floor.

Not sure if the Architectural Control Committee would approve a turret on my ‘70’s style rancher home.

I’m concerned about sight lines and not being able to defend if they are too close to the house and under the eaves if it’s somewhere on the roof.

A turret makes the most sense.

I really don’t want to be the couple in St Louis waving guns on the front porch. They were totally exposed.

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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by MadMonkey » Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:31 am

I've had a few sets of plates. So far my favorites are these: ... el-4sicmh/

They aren't cheap, but after having Safariland, Bulletproofme, Army issue (I'm a contractor, not military) and these current ones, the light weight has me NEVER wanting to go back.

Honestly steel armor worries me. If you've ever shot steel, watch carefully at the spall hitting the ground and ask yourself if you want it hitting your arms or throat. I don't know how much I trust bedliner coatings and that sort of thing, it seems like something like a chunk of Delrin (they make cutting boards out of it) would be a lot better. I've watched videos on it but don't know how many of those are edited for sales.

My best friend was shot in both front and back plates by the same guy in Iraq and the SAPIs shattered, but saved his life, and he didn't have other injuries. That's enough proof for me of the effectiveness of traditional armor.
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Re: Anybody bought body armor? Thinking about it....


Post by Diesel42 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:21 am

As AJSully421 said, in Austin is a good provider at a reasonable cost. I went with a Level IIIA with an extra ballistic pad along my spine. The bad people in my neighborhood would shoot me in the back from cover or do a "drive by." It weighs 9 pounds and gets hot in a hurry. I use it at church and wear a suit over it. At my age and health, avoiding hostile situations is the best plan. My body armor is cheap insurance as I greet folks coming into our church. I do not wear it daily, I do not wear it shopping for groceries or buying fuel. Hope that helps,
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