The realities of body armor effectiveness in civilian life

A year ago, my wife was skeptical with my decision to buy body armor. I got a lot of questions as to whether such a purchase was actually necessary, and if my PTSD should maybe get re-evaluated… I’m not crazy! I bought level III+ armor from AR500 Armor, and I couldn’t be happier! I wear it to the range frequently because…who doesn’t look like a Recon-SEAL-Scout Sniper-Ranger-MARSOC Operator while showing off their new Kit?! The answer is almost everyone does because it’s cool.
Now for the bread and butter of this conversation…how and when should one use body armor in civilian life? If you are EXPECTING a threat either offensively or defensively body armor is a must, and you’ll be glad you have it. The unfortunate reality in today’s uncertain times it that wearing body armor in populated areas makes sense. Also food for thought is it takes seconds for a trained entry team to smash in the front door and begin clearing rooms. Since time is valuable in that particular situation I suggest having your significant other cover the front door while you don the armor, and do so quickly. Smooth is fast. Fast is smooth. Train donning and doffing your gear, because time matters when repelling the enemy assault! Semper Fidelis, and may God bless these United States. image

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That is one I have questioned about doing. Then there is the Kevlar helmet? Then there is night vision? Then there is inferred scope? M-18s? Flash bangs? M-249? Oh, the memories of the good ol’ days! Semper Fidelis Teufelshund!!!

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@MarineGrunt,

Thank you for your service.

Can’t tell you about the looking cool part. After reading things here I made changes to some of my habits. I have a belt set up, armor set up and an AR set up.30 seconds from dog bark to kit up.

I was EOD, so I know a bit about making my home difficult to clear quickly. 4 ways in but only one works and you have to go through the most obstacles. Plus I have 30 foot chain ladders for my family to egress while I fight from a prepared position (The prepared position is new since the riots and looting). But my security plan is always evolving.

I don’t know if I would call it PTSD so much as being aware of changing battlespaces.

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@MarineGrunt,

Thank you for your service.

Sounds like a plan.

I was actually looking yesterday at this ad for a backpack that turns into an armor, there’s even a kid’s size. If I still had school-aged kids, I wouldn’t mind the price tag.

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Veterans be like:

vets

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Roger that brother. My current room clearing obstacles primarily consist of toys left on the floor. Still effective though. Particularly in the night.

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Semper Fidelis to you as well!

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I like the flexibility of a 3A vest with level 3 plates front and rear. You get better coverage from the vest and the plates allow you to dress up or down as circumstances dictate. Plus the vest alone allows the flexibility of, more or less, wearing it concealed.

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I have considered getting body armor that is more concealable as well. Even with the mag pouches removed my armor is too bulky to hide well. There is always a fine line between ballistic protection and mobility. Too much weight and bulk stops rounds, but moving too slowly ensures that you will catch more rounds as well. There is a balance.

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Thank you. The armor backpack would be ideal for school aged kids. Something to use as a shield to allow them to escape unharmed would be worth its weight in gold.

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I got a level III as well. I’m not US military, but born and raised in apartheid South Africa so war-zone is the norm for me. I believe in everything that gives one an advantage, however little, is a good thing!

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I personally also own level 3 steel plate armor, it’s a nice piece of mind, but on the flip side. There is a right place, right time to utilize armor. Recently while I brought mine out, I had a co worker say “man! You look like an operator or someone with the FBI” to which I thought about riots in Madison…it’s better to look like a gray man then THE MAN in some cases.

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I also have level 3a armor and the side plates and also a level 3 backpack with flip over front armor plate,and is close at hand along with my DP12 alternately with 00 aught buckshot,armor piercing and flechettes,and for cqb have my AR 45 ans my AR 9mm close be with my 45 in shoulder holster and my 9mm in ankle holster.Basically I am awake all nite,and sleep off and on during the day and at nite I am reloading ammo for all my weapons. Bad things usually happens at nite,so dont want to be surprised in the current climate

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A – I only wear concealed body armor while at work. Too many firearms in the hands of too many people who can potentially be dangerous. That said, it is readily available in the event of a threat in my home.

B - I can surmise you are talking about a mi threat such as rioters trying to enter your home or property.

C - otherwise there’s no need for body armor. If you are “expecting a threat“, you’d better get the hell out of there. That is the only sane choice and most often the only choice that will keep you out of jail.

D - We are not in the military anymore, boys.

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Lol, true. I super miss it every day though. Great post.

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You are right about that brother, I’m way too fat to be in the Corps now!

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Now that’s a glass half empty…
Just think of it as having a caloric advantage

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Me too, my friend. Army up bringing here, but every time I go to the pharmacy on base, I worry that I’ll be referred for a body fat test. I do miss the life though. After decades, I still dream of old friends.

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I have a few thoughts on body armor.
Body armor is positioned, normally on the chest and back. What happens if you are shot in the arm or hand that you shoot with, have yoou trained to go to the weak side and continue to fight?
Body armor is great for feeling like you did in the military, but at 50,60 or 70 that feeling is in your mind not in excution. We don’t see. hear and/or react the same as when we were young.
A shot to the arm pit or to the femoral artery and your body armor will belong to some else.
I think money is better spent on training, home security and trying to avoid the fight. My days of worrying about what people might think if I walk away from a fight have long since passed, while I don’t pretend to be some bad ass, just remember old men fight dirty.
These are my thoughts and feelings, if body armor makes you feel safe then by all means, do it.

Larry

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I agree with the main premise of your comment. It is true that we age rather quickly post military service. But, while I’m still able I like to have the option of armor. Also, if people decide to buy some I recommend training while wearing the armor often. If you feel uncomfortable in it you won’t be combat effective.

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