Why DO I NEED body armor?
Body armor is like life insurance. You hope to never use it but glad you have it. The typical law abiding citizen owns a gun for the purpose of protecting himself, his family, and his property. Body armor increases your chances of survivability and that of your family.
IS IT LEGAL FOR CIVILIANS TO OWN BODY ARMOR?
Yes, it’s legal for civilians to purchase and own body armor in all 50 states except NY. However, they must be over 18 years of age and not have a violent felony conviction. In federal court and in many states, you will receive an enhanced sentence if body armor was used in the commission of a crime. In CT, you can only purchase body armor in person.
WHAT LEVEL OF PROTECTION SHOULD I BE WEARING?
The level of protection you want is often a compromise between threat perception, armor weight, and affordability. While rifle plates are ideal for stopping both handgun and rifle rounds, they are typically heavy and difficult to wear for long periods of time. You can wear lighter weight plates (made of polyethylene or ceramic), but they are more expensive. For the typical civilian who is concerned only with home protection or civil insurrection (rare occurrences), rifle plates are a cost-effective solution. Any encounter is likely to be brief so weight is less consequential. If you're in the security or law enforcement field, the typical compromise is to wear lightweight Level II or IIIA ballistic panels (like Kevlar), so that you can remain functional and comfortable during working hours.
WHAT questions should I be asking when purchasing body armor?
Aside from making sure you specify details of your requirements such as concealable or tactical carrier, pistol or rifle protection, you want to consider the ballistic product itself. Not all soft and hard armor is the same. For example while all Level IIIA rated ballistic panels have the same stopping power, they vary in thickness, weight, country of manufacturer, and certification. The same applies to rifle plates. We recommend you ask about the weight and thickness to make sure it reflects your requirements. A concealed thick panel may be both uncomfortable to wear and obvious to all. However, in a tactical vest, this may not be a problem. Thinner panels are usually more expensive due to material cost. Ask about "areal density" and "weight" (lbs./sq. ft.). Compare to other providers. Consider country of origin. A number of well known body armor companies advertise the advantages of their body armor without telling you where the ballistic material is made. Ask, as part of your research. If the material comes from China, it cannot be NIJ certified. The product price may be lower but it's generally thicker, heavier, and not as reliable (especially if it's not NIJ certified). You can check online for all NIJ certified ballistic products (cjtec.org/compliance-testing-program/compliant-product-lists/) by manufacturer.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEVEL III AND LEVEL III+ RIFLE PLATES?
The short answer is that Level III+ plates are rated to stop M855 or what's more commonly known as "Green Tip" rounds. Level III plates are not rated for that type of round. If you're looking at steel plates, Level III plates are typically made of AR500 steel. Level III+ plates are typically made of AR550 steel, which provides a higher level of ballistic resistance. NIJ0101.06 does not currently recognize Level III+ but most manufacturers make it. The next NIJ update should recognize Level III+ plates.
Do you have a Retail store?
We do not operate a retail store but meet customers by appointment at our warehouse. This allows us to focus on each customer without interruption and keeps our overhead down and prices lower. For our LE customers, we will come to your location. Contact us at: 770-456-5612 for questions or to make an appointment.
IF i place my order today, when can i expect shipment?
We typically keep all listed products in stock and ship within 1-2 days following the order. Custom ordered concealable or tactical vests take 6-8 weeks. If a manufacturer cannot fill our orders on a timely basis, we will indicate product is out of stock when you try to order it. Our goal is to fill orders quickly, even in times of increased demand. We can usually offer solutions when others cannot or have a long lead time.
WHAT forms of payment do you accept?
We accept all credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover Card. Government issued POs are encouraged. We also accept Apple Pay, PayPal, and cash.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR ENSURING A GOOD FIT?
There are some standard rules of thumb when it comes to proper fitting body armor. The key is to make you as safe as possible while considering mobility and comfort. If you consider safety only, the vest will potentially be uncomfortable or inhibit mobility. And visa versa. For concealable vests, you want the front of the vest to extend from the clavicle notch down close to but not touching your (duty) belt (you want to make sure that when you sit, the vest does not curl into your belt or push up and choke you). The back should extend down to about an 1" or so above your (duty) belt. The sides should meet or slightly overlap to ensure full coverage. Given the concealable nature of this vest, fit is all important and should not be left to online shopping. We don't charge extra for custom fitting and you'll be happier with the results. When it comes to tactical plate carriers, they are a more generalized fit. Civilian plates come in two sizes, 10"x 12" or 11"x 14" (the Military has four ESAPI plates sizes). So the most important sizing consideration is what size plate offers you the best coverage. Then look at plate carriers matching that plate size. 90% of plate carriers are designed for the 10"x 12" size plate. From there it's about features, comfort, and price. While it's much less of a guess to buy tactical plate carriers online, we are here to help advise you. You can always contact us by phone or in person (770-456-5612).