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Body Armor: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly UPDATED 3-12-2019

ftierson

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I can tell you that these plates are expensive - or at least they are by my standards - but they're light (4 lbs.) and neutrally-buoyant.

And they stop multiple Green Tip hits at 50 ft. out of a 20" barrel.

It's the 3800 series from Hesco. Tuscan and I shot this video a few years ago.

Interesting video... :)

Forrest
 

Papadoc

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Brunop, Have you tested those plates vs M193 out of 20" barrel at 50'? Steel NIJ Level III can be penetrated by this round/barrel combo. That is why you see a lot of Level III+ special threat plates sold now.
 

hueyville

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Have a set of Hesco 3810s (NIJ 3+) and are in one of my primary kits. The rear plate (10"×12") is 3.9 pounds but prefer 11"×14" in front which with the 3810s bumps weight to 4.5 pounds for huge coverage up front. In my high threat kit am now running Shot Stop Duritium IV+HA NIJ IV+ plates, the 10"×12" plate weighs 4.5 pounds but is NIJ tested to multiple 30-06 AP, multiple 5.56 M855 EPR, 7.62×63 AP2 and shucks of M855 like flys. Am running the 11"×14" plate in front at 6.0 pounds so added about 2.5 pound total to kit with side plates but can select lightweight kits if prefer.

So many people may have a 300 Win Mag or their 257 Weatherby Mag hunting rifle may be using so if I really plate up want to be as safe as possible will add a pound or two to my kit if worried about locals with their magnum deer rifles. The Shot Stop NIJ 4+ plates are 11.8 total pounds for front, rear and side plates in standard sizes.

We have a wide selection of armor and wife has a set of 8.75"×11.75" NIJ 3+ with front plate molded for female shape that weigh 3.7 pounds each and stop m80 NATO, 7.62×39 MSC, m855, m855a1, xm193 and others. Have to keep her loadout light and she is much less likely to ever come out from behind ballistic cover of the house unless it's on fire and burning beyond our fire suppression systems ability to squash.
 
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hueyville

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If you will buy wives covert armor that looks like this in thin ultralight NIJ 2 they are way more prone to wear something that looks girly. While most men shop Victoria's Secret for their wives mine gets body armor and multicam pattern fatigues. She loves all the pockets and way they fit as she has very small waste and long legs so XS/Long and SM/Long fit her well.

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If wife is in armor when something goes down reduces my worry for her by factor of ten. She is trained to go to cover fast as possible, draw pistol and cover my six. Only get involved if she is under direct threat, otherwise leave me to do whatever I feel appropriate on my on. She has another similar and one that's much dressier with lace but don't have photo in phone and she doesn't like me pilfering her closet with my grubby and nasty hands. She also has two very firm fitting black NIJ 2 covert kits with Level 3 stab panels she wears on motorcycle for back support and extra protection if were to go flying off through the trees...
 

hueyville

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Will have to get pictures but one of my dealers sent me a message saying Safariland made a major change to their professional tactical line mainly aimed at SWAT Teams. Said he had a demo unit and two NIB full coverage vests with NIJ 3a soft armor, shoulder protectors and the newer generation groin protectors designed to interface quickly with a battle/blast belt or just remove if using a ballistic belt and feel you don't need it. Only change from new line is traditional molle instead of laser cut slots.

Same soft armor by Protech as current line and are nice pieces of kit. All are black and take 10"×12" rear and 10"×12" or 11"×14" plates in front along with 6"×6" side plates. The carriers with soft armor and add ons (in addition to included shoulder protectors added neck yokes and sacrum protectors because was selling them cheap) all arrived today. Ordered an 11"×14" NIJ 3+ and 10"×12" rear plus same sizes in NIJ 4 from their Hardwire line. Those ship from another warehouse and didn't arrive today.

Now that Safariland has bought FirstSpear was wondering how it would affect my pricing on FirstSpear items as like their "tubes" side connectors and laser cut molle slots. Especially like their magazine carriers especially the ones that can adjust size on the fly for almost any rifle mag. He said my FirstSpear pricing should be wholesale instead of M&P plus now will be able to by demo and discontinued product cheap.

Now to decide what stays and goes but like a fool purchased three super clean but older model used Protech kits (woodland pattern in medium, large and extra large) plus pair of Protech Gen 4 MICH helmets on fleaybay with Protech factory installed N Rails and night vision mounts. Can't pass up body armor deals and always picking through, updating my collection plus adding a few pieces (needed the L and XL as loaners) but I wear medium while still fit smalls especially in summer with only a t-shirt.

Installed one of the Safariland APACS kits in a medium Gen 3 IOTV kit with NIJ 3+ plates as had an identical kit so went out and walked a bit on my cane then sat in a chair in direct sun for about a half hour with each. Only difference was one had Stealth Armor 5"×8" NIJ 3 soft side plates and other had 6"×8" NIJ 3a special threat side protectors over the full coverage armor. Was comfortable as could be with the APACS equipped kit and didn't even notice the extra 1/2" thickness or 1.8 pounds of added weight.

The fan mounted dead center of lumbar made sitting in chair a bit awkward but when removed it cotton t-shirt was dry. Same basic test and time in kit without APACS and was miserable hot and soakimg wet to point of needing shower when took it off. Other APACS is going in my NIJ 4 Osprey 4 kit this week but will test with fan on side. Discovered could tether directly to my internal soft battery and drop the weight of the battery if wanted using a simple adapter to plug into a power port. Will likely run the supplied battery as want my kits to have plenty of power if end up wearing for 24 hours with no chance to swap or recharge my vest.

Brunop, Have you tested those plates vs M193 out of 20" barrel at 50'? Steel NIJ Level III can be penetrated by this round/barrel combo. That is why you see a lot of Level III+ special threat plates sold now.
May be wrong but can't seem to remember any plate rated for M855 not stop M193 except for some of the older AR400 steel and steel plates are just targets for me.
 

hueyville

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Had outpatient in ATL today and while setting up my Tier 1 PUGs snapped a few photos, these are Short Bark Industries size Large. Can wear Mediums but small and medium use a smaller trauma pad the Large through 2XL share same size pad so get a much bigger pad in larges, actually huge and Short Barks run small. I can't wear a Large in Secure Planet as they want to ride down my hips and bind up because are too big, can actually fit in a small with Secure Planet but medium fits me perfect and large Short Barks fits well.

Photo shows the PUGs with two sets of panels in each pocket. Rated for 17 grain fragments from USGI grenades and have tested these with handguns. A single panel whether Short Bark, Secure Planet or others will stop an 88 grain 380 acp fired from one of my AMT 380s from 7 yards/21 feet but won't stop a 380 Hornady Critical Defense fired from a Walther PK380. The longer barrel of the Walther (wife has a few which are her primary defensive carry guns) in combination with the hottest 380 load we stock will defeat a single panel while a generic white box 88 grain HP from a tiny pocket 380 is stopped. Using sculpters clay as backing to measure the backface signature indicates even a stop with single pad and could still bust an artery but beats bullet from a "pocket pistol" getting inside and breaking down your hip.

Two panels stacked on top of each other will stop all 9mm, 45 acp, 38 special, and 125 grain JHP 357 ammo have tested but again backface signature is horrendous. Two panels have failed to full power 40 Smith, 357 SIG, 10mm, hot 140 grain 357 Mag loads, and 41 Mag. So that is a basic idea of how the panels test. Wear no trauma panels when working or general wear just like the fragment protection for groin, crotch and butt plus their comfortable and antimicrobial. All I wear now and wife wears hers when riding motorcycle or when she was still able to run the lawn mower and on occasional trips to grocery or ATL. If she bothers to wear PUGs she wears a single trauma panel but never doubles up.

Below are Short Bark Industries size Large PUGs with two panels per pocket. Wallet size photo of dead president gives idea of how much coverage to hip area that with double pads consider NIJ 2 minus special threat round rated. The yellow is blast rated for fragments and made of some really cool blend of antimicrobial Kevlar.

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Without the dead president and even with double pads are amazingly comfortable. With single pad are almost unnoticeable and without pads as comfortable as any underwear, actually more comfortable than cotton.

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Two pads overlapped with dead president to give idea of size.

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Label from pads with all the official ballistic rating, numbers and information military requires.

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The rear end showing how much coverage area of the blast rated yellow Kevlar. Secure Planet have more Kevlar coverage but smaller trauma panels and are most comfortable of all so what I wear most. Short Barks are for Atlanta or days know will be working at table saw, shaper, joiner, planer, CNC router, power tools and pretty much anything where it can be tragic if bit or blade comes apart.

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