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Thread: Ballistic Vests

  1. #1
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    This is bound to stir up things, but I woud like your thoughts on this subject. I've carried for many decades, I own many (perhaps too many) firearms and usually several holsters for each one and lasers/lights for some. I read gun magazines every month and Ive read a number of books on self-defense yet I've never seen this topic addressed.

    There are books written, articles written, DVDs, training courses, etc., available all on how best to defend yourself with the appropriate firearm, the appropriate caliber, the appropriate type of caliber, how to carry, where to carry, how to shoot, etc. But never have I seen anything about an issue that should be paramount: How do we protect ourselves from incoming "mail."

    A ballistic vest can be purchased for the price of a firearm. We prepare ourselves for the worst and if we ever do get into a gun battle, we somehow think we won't get hit or we won't get hit in a vital area, or we will out draw and out shoot the bad guy. I do not own a vest, but I'm thinking about getting one.

    I'm sure that many of you will think that this crosses a line and I must be too paranoid to even think about wearing one. But you carry a firearm around, so why not wear a vest? I've thought about what I would do if I hear a loud noise in the middle of the night. The first thought is to get my firearm, but wouldn't it make more sense to put on a vest instead of your bathrobe before you go looking for the source of the noise?

    I honestly would like to hear all opinions on this and please explain why you feel the way you do, just don't make it personal.

    open4years

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    I forgot something. If you do wear a vest, what one do you wear? Who makes the best vest for civilians that is light-weight and breathable?

    open4years

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    I don't think you are paranoid, but then I don't think that about all but a few really off the wall folks. I don't wear a vest for the same reason I don't carry a rifle: it's really not conducive to my life. A pistol is handy, a rifle is not. I sit in an office for 8-10 hours a day, a vest is not going to be comfortable. I don't really think I need the extra protection, hell, many officers prefer not to wear them. I may live to regret that decision, but for now I'm good with it.

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    FogRider wrote:
    I don't wear a vest for the same reason I don't carry a rifle: it's really not conducive to my life.
    I have to agree. A vest really doesn't fit my lifestyle.
    "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke


    "I like people who stand on the Constitution... unless they're using it to wipe their feet." - Jon E Hutcherson

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Bookman wrote:
    FogRider wrote:
    I don't wear a vest for the same reason I don't carry a rifle: it's really not conducive to my life.
    I have to agree. A vest really doesn't fit my lifestyle.
    Exactly. If I wanted, I could be like protector84 and carry around a taser and mace and a telescoping baton and a knife and handcuffs and a wear a vest... but my lifestyle doesn't incorporate the Tactical needs of Mall Security. :P

    So, I'm content to trust that I can simply avoid/escape from 99.9% of adverse situations, and carry a single tool for the unfortunate circumstance where escape is not possible.

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    open4years wrote:
    A ballistic vest can be purchased for the price of a firearm.* We prepare ourselves for the worst and if we ever do get into a gun battle, we somehow think we won't get hit or we won't get hit in a vital area, or we will out draw and out shoot the bad guy.* I do not own a vest, but I'm thinking about getting one.*
    It's my understanding that some ballistic vests degrade when exposed to heat, moisture, and UV light depending on their design and manufacturer. All of these things are easilly encountered while wearing the garment so it must be replaced every few years to maintain their effectiveness. See http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/journal...ody_armor.html for some additional commentary.

    So, while you can buy a gun once, throw it in your safe, and shoot out of it 50 years from now (assuming you have ammunition) I would plan on periodic replacement of body armor just to be on the safe side.

    Aaron

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    For the same reason I don't drive a tank. Why don't you wear a helmet when you drive? Cost vs. Benefit



    You have a perfectly valid point, though. There are people here that walk around with multiple guns and 6+ spare mags as if they're expecting an extendedwar at the mall. I can't fathom when you'd need any of that, but they believe they do. So, yes, it does raise the question: why not a vest too? Why not a helmet? Why not a rifle? Why not two-way radios so you can communicate with friends in themiddle of the mall conflict? I'll be interested to hear them answer.

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    AWDstylez wrote:
    For the same reason I don't drive a tank. Why don't you wear a helmet when you drive? Cost vs. Benefit
    +1

    Every person has to decide the line of "reasonable". For example, I almost never wear a helmet when bicycling. I hate to wear them. I used to road train intensively and still only wore a helmet when riding in a pack situation or rough off road. However, I always wear a helmet when riding motorcycles. My body, my choice, my playing the odds, my cost/benefit analysis. By the same token I choose not to wear a ballistics vest. I can't say I never would see the need to own and/or wear one, I just do not at this point. I might feel different if I lived in DC or Killadelphia or the cess pool citizen disarmament zone of Baltimore for examples.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    I have considered getting one myself. I doubt I'd wear it every day, though. Perhaps that defeats the purpose, but it's just a fact that sometimes you go to places that are just more likely to have crime. You can use the old line about, then don't go there, but I'm not going to alter my life because some places are just naturally more dangerous than others.

    For example, in most cities, downtown areas generally have a higher crime rate than suburbs. I do the vast majority of my personal business in the suburbs, but occasionally, there are things that you simply have to go downtown to do. I think that is a situation where I'd consider wearing a vest.

    I've seen some vests rated for most pistol calibers for around $275. That doesn't seem too unreasonable a price to pay for what it gives you. It's not a priority for me, but I'm sure I'll pick one up eventually.

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    open4years wrote:
    The first thought is to get my firearm, but wouldn't it make more sense to put on a vest instead of your bathrobe before you go looking for the source of the noise?
    I own a vest(can't remember brand) and I use it just as the OP discribed - I hear a noise in the middle of the night, I put on my vest, strap on my pistol, pick up my Mossberg 500, and then I investigate the ruckus. I also have it for when( not if ) they come for my guns. There will be a stand off because if guns become outlawed I will become an outlaw.

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    Sheepdawg wrote:
    I own a vest(can't remember brand) and I use it just as the OP discribed - I hear a noise in the middle of the night, I put on my vest, strap on my pistol, pick up my Mossberg 500, and then I investigate the ruckus. I also have it for when( not if ) they come for my guns. There will be a stand off because if guns become outlawed I will become an outlaw.
    That is the primary use that I was thinking of using one for, although if I could tolerate it, I would attempt to wear it on a regular basis.

    I know some people who never wear seatbelts and even more who only wear them if they are going on a "long" trip, even though most accidents happen within 25 miles of home. I'm not capable of predicting when I would need one when I leave my house but I do know that it would feel mighty comforting investigating a bump in the night.

    Plus, LE informs me that more and more bad guys are beginning to wear them. In fact, 15 vests were stolen from our military base. I would hate to go up against a bad guy wearing one, if I wasn't equally equipped. I'm either paranoid or thinking logically.

    open4year

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    open4years wrote:
    I'm either paranoid or thinking logically.
    People tell me I'm paranoid. I tell them, "I may be paranoid, but I'm also still alive."

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    I have 4 IIIa vests and SAPI plates for two of them. The only time I'd wear them is in a SHTF situation.
    Bitka Sve Reava!
    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

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    ODA 226 wrote:
    I have 4 IIIa vests and SAPI plates for two of them. The only time I'd wear them is in a SHTF situation.
    Who are they made by? Why four vests? Are they different configurations from each other?

    The main reason I'm thinking about buying one is besides being a PI and having a lot of ex-husbands mad at me for "ruining" their marriage by catching them cheating is that I help a LOT of people on the roadside,with a disabled vehicle or an accident. God has given me this wierd ability where I suddenly get an urge to turn down a road and there has always been someone broken down.

    I also realize that not everyone, on the side of the road, is needing or wanting help. They might be in the middle of a drug deal or they are faking being in need to rob/kill the person who comes to help. I've walked up to a lot of cars at night. This is what lead me away from just a gun on my ankle as I would never get to it in time. Sure I could quit helping people and not expose myself to this risk, but it isn't in my nature to pass someone by who appears to need help.

    There have been a lot of LE shot doing the same thing, even with their training. I'm sure you have seen the video on TV and read about cases.

    I've looked on the net and I don't have a clue as to what I want or need. I would want a 3A minimum but as for brand, style, etc., I'm lost. Any advice from those of you who do wear them woudl be welcome?

    open4years

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    If I were going to buy body armor, I would ensure that it is as resistant to a blade as a bullet.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    deepdiver wrote:
    If I were going to buy body armor, I would ensure that it is as resistant to a blade as a bullet.
    From my limited research, most are resistant to knives at least at the protection level that I'm considering which is all handgun rounds, but not rifles.

    open4years

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    Sheepdawg wrote:
    open4years wrote:
    The first thought is to get my firearm, but wouldn't it make more sense to put on a vest instead of your bathrobe before you go looking for the source of the noise?
    I own a vest(can't remember brand) and I use it just as the OP discribed - I hear a noise in the middle of the night, I put on my vest, strap on my pistol, pick up my Mossberg 500, and then I investigate the ruckus. I also have it for when( not if ) they come for my guns. There will be a stand off because if guns become outlawed I will become an outlaw.
    I still have my army kevlar (they never asked for it back). I keep it next to my bed, that's it, no formal dinner parties. Home protection and that's purely the extent of it.

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    According to my roommate at the time, someone threw a P.A.C.A. vest over our back yard fence, and told him that he would be back for it later. My roommate gave me the vest when the guy never returned. :shock:

    Too bad it doesn't have any panels. :?
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    Sheepdawg wrote:
    open4years wrote:
    * I'm either paranoid or thinking logically.
    People tell me I'm paranoid.* I tell them, "I may be paranoid, but I'm also still alive."
    Yeah, but whomever you're speaking to is also alive, and without the paranoia. Unless you're speaking to the corpse of a murder victim, this isn't going to impress them.

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    deepdiver wrote:
    If I were going to buy body armor, I would ensure that it is as resistant to a blade as a bullet.
    Except.... kevlar is very weak against sharp objects.

    Stopping a bullet is considerably different than stopping a blade. You are trying to "catch" the bullet, akin to a baseball mitt, but you want to either deflect the knife edge or just plain prevent it from penetrating. There is less force driving the knife, but the sharpened edge makes is what gives it its cutting power.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    marshaul wrote:
    Sheepdawg wrote:
    open4years wrote:
    I'm either paranoid or thinking logically.
    People tell me I'm paranoid. I tell them, "I may be paranoid, but I'm also still alive."
    Yeah, but whomever you're speaking to is also alive, and without the paranoia. Unless you're speaking to the corpse of a murder victim, this isn't going to impress them.
    How do you impress a corpse?!:celebrate

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    open4years wrote:
    ODA 226 wrote:
    I have 4 IIIa vests and SAPI plates for two of them. The only time I'd wear them is in a SHTF situation.
    Who are they made by? Why four vests? Are they different configurations from each other?

    3 of my vests are Second Chance, 1 of the 3 is concealable, the other two are tactical vests. All 3 are military issue. The other is a Paraclete Tactical Vest that I bought for use in Iraq.
    Bitka Sve Reava!
    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

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    At a recent gun show I bought his and her level IIIA body armor just in case things get out of hand, or as one commenter said SHTF. I do walk my dog at 3 am sometimes and I live in a jurisdiction where carrying concealed or open is a felony. Care to guess how safe it is. Nonetheless so far have not felt the need to wear on those late night walks yet, but I want the option. Mine is made of Spectrashield which is supposed to be stronger than Kelvar. I just upgraded the trauma plate to Pro Tech Impac. There are demos on utube showing the trauma plate alone stopping everything up to a 12 gauge slug. Anything above IIIA will be hard body armor -- i.e., ceramic plates. If SHTF that badly, I intend to be hold up under cover with my AR and Mossberg and LOTS of ammo.

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    ianto94 wrote:
    At a recent gun show I bought his and her level IIIA body armor just in case things get out of hand, or as one commenter said SHTF. I do walk my dog at 3 am sometimes and I live in a jurisdiction where carrying concealed or open is a felony. Care to guess how safe it is. Nonetheless so far have not felt the need to wear on those late night walks yet, but I want the option.
    Where do you live?
    Communist Russia, Nazi Germany or Washington D.C.?

    honestly, and I really hate to say this, but if you don't have some type of defensive weapon, that vest isn't going to do anything but prolongthe inevitable. If you get mugged, and that vest saves you from the first couple of hits, eventually the thug is going to shoot enough to negate the protective value of that vest, or he's going to get a head shot in.

    personally, I wouldn't live somewhere that provides no means of lawful carry. I carry every day, any time I leave the house.

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    AbNo wrote:
    deepdiver wrote:
    If I were going to buy body armor, I would ensure that it is as resistant to a blade as a bullet.
    Except.... kevlar is very weak against sharp objects.

    Stopping a bullet is considerably different than stopping a blade. You are trying to "catch" the bullet, akin to a baseball mitt, but you want to either deflect the knife edge or just plain prevent it from penetrating. There is less force driving the knife, but the sharpened edge makes is what gives it its cutting power.
    Just get dual threat armor, it's not rare, just pricey.

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