Can Body Armor Protect You from Common Urban Threats?

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Written by Anthony When chaos unleashes in a city, there’s no telling whether or not you’ll be standing in the line of fire. Preparation reduces the chance that you’ll fall victim to a fatal attack. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a society where treasure awaits at the end of a rainbow. Instead, perpetrators carrying guns and knives along with other harmful weapons roam the streets of urban areas, waiting to claim their next victim. Body armor is a necessity in crime […]

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When and Why You Need Body Armor

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In recent years gun-related incidents and attacks have been on the rise. This poses the need for civilians, security personnel, military and law enforcement agents in the US to look into their options for body armor. While no vest is 100% bulletproof, it can significantly increase the wearer’s chances of survival in the event of getting shot. With this in mind, there are different types of ballistic armors suitable against the different types of calibers available in the US today; from soft “lightweight” body armor, to hard body armor with heavy ballistic plates.

To understand how to use body armor in protecting yourself and your loved ones, you need to know what the different levels are and what they protect against. According to the internationally-approved standards of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), there are IV levels of body armor, classified as follows:

  • Level I: Offers protection from .22LR, 40gr/1050fps up to .380 ACP FMJ RN 95gr/1025fps. This level is no longer in use.
  • Level IIA: Offers protection from 9mm FMJ RN 124gr/1090fps up to .40S&W FMJ 180gr/1025fps in addition to all Class I threats. This is also a light vest and can be worn all day without interfering with your mobility or movement.
  • Level II: Offers protection against 9mm FMJ RN 124gr/1175fps (+P?) and .357Magnum JSP IIA 158gr/1400fps, plus all Class I and a threats. This is somewhat bulkier and is worn full time by many law enforcement officers.
  • Level IIIA: Offers protection against 9mm FMJ RN 145gr/1400fps and .44Magnum JHP 240gr/1400fps as well as most other handgun threats and class I through II threats. The aforementioned calibers all being commonplace in many gun collections, class IIIA is a reasonable purchase. This level of protection is the highest available that can still be concealable. Its bulk can make it an issue for daily usage in warmer climates, which can result in health issues, like heat exhaustion. Some of the newer models can be augmented with steel plates that offer further protection, but this adds to weight and heat.
  • Level III: Offers protection against 7.62mm FMJ (M80) 148gr/2750fps as well as class I through IIIA threats as well as against the .223 Remington (5.56×45mm NATO). This armor is heavy and not suitable for daily use. Its benefit comes from tactical use, such as breaching and overcoming barricades. Some of the newer vests can be augmented with hard plates to increase their protective properties. The issues with this level are the same as class II but to a somewhat greater extent.
  • Level IV: Offers protection against .30 Caliber Armor Piercing bullets (M2AP) 166gr/2850fps plus all previous threats and the .308 Winchester, which is similar to the military 7.62x51mm specifications. Other rounds Level IV is effective against are the sniper 7.62×54mmR, the .30-06 Springfield cartridge, the .300 Winchester used by gun enthusiasts, hunters, the Military and Law Enforcement, the long-range sniper .338 Lapua Magnum and the .50 Browning machine gun cartridge. This is the highest level of protection and not suitable in urban settings, for prolonged use, or by untrained individuals. It is for military and law enforcement agents who operate in high-risk, war-torn environments.

While it’s nearly impossible to procure body armor that protects against all firearms in existence and use, there are ways to improve your chances of survival. Knowing the type of environment you will be moving through and the likely threats you are expected to face can help you choose the right bullet proof vest. Be aware that it’s not a good idea to automatically go for the highest possible level with hard plate add-ons as this may add unnecessary weight and visibility to your gear.

In recent years, the most commonly used firearms in random and terrorist attacks are semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and low-caliber handguns. While the latter can be stopped by a standard Level III vest, you will need additional ceramic plates to ensure protection against the 5.56 mm ammunition used in most AR-15 rifles. There is currently a large variety of covert and overt bulletproof vests that have pockets, where extra plates can be fitted to increase the security level. Both carry their advantages in different situations. For example, covert vests work better in urban environments, where you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that you are wearing body armor while overt vests are easy and quick to put on in the event of an unforeseen situation.

These days, access to weapons that combine the firepower of a rifle with the high-capacity ammunition magazines designed for assault rifles with the increased concealability of a handgun is easier than ever. This poses a lot of security issues, the biggest one of them all of how can civilians equip themselves against this type of danger. With proper research and assessment of the crime statistics of your local urban environment, you can take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety in the event of any attack and always be adequately prepared.

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Watch: Learn To Build Improvised Body Armor

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Watch: Learn To Build Improvised Body Armor Ahh, the plate carrier. It’s something many preppers watch from the periphery. Looking at body armor is a powerful moment in your life as a human being. That is particularly true if you have been a civilian all of your life. I liken it to looking at the …

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Body Armor and Protective Clothing for Survival Situations and Civilian Use

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Cordura® w/ Front Zip Carrier

By Staff Writer – The Survival Place Blog

Ballistic body armor has become an integral part of the gear of gun owners. It is one of the greatest modern marvels that has saved thousands of people from death or serious wounds. And while it is part of the standard work equipment for American law enforcement officers, gun enthusiasts are also discovering its many benefits.

People are well aware of the deadly power of guns and proper safety starts with securing tactical armor to protect yourself in case of a dangerous situation. Plain and simple – wearing body armor can save your life. Modern advancements in production and design have made it possible to find a balance between high-level protection, comfort and usability. Body armor has advanced considerably and is now made from lightweight and breathable materials that protect against a variety of threats. There are many levels and styles to find your optimal fit. Manufacturers offer a large selection of lighter and more effective body carriers that can protect you from life-threatening shots.

Armor effectiveness and comfort are both very important elements in choosing the style and type of vest that best works for you. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to body armor. It may seem like a good idea to go by the saying of ‘the more the better’, but this does not apply here. Higher levels of protection are heavier and bulkier, making them a poor choice in certain urban environments or when they need to be worn for hours at a time. Ideally, you want to choose body armor only for the types of threats you expect to face (for example, there is no need to go for additional spike and stab resistance if there won’t be close combat) as this only adds extra weight to your gear. Do some research, learn about your surroundings and make a decision based on your physical qualities and skillset before purchasing body armor for best results.

Understanding the different levels available helps you determine which one is most suitable against certain pistol and melee weapons and choose accordingly.

The most commonly used body armor for civilian protection is Level IIa. Rated for pistol rounds and light fragmentation, it is soft armor, and is good against 9mm, 40 SW and 45 ACP. However, many consider this level to be the bare minimum armor protection.

When it comes to a decent array of pistol weapon threats, versatility and affordability – the best choice is Level IIIa. This armor is considered as standard armor for law enforcement at this time. If offers enhanced protection over level IIa up to a 44mag and it also stops 357 Sig, which is a high velocity round for a handgun.

The style of the vest is equally as important as its level of protection to ensure the best fit possible. There are two types of tactical body armor styles – overt and covert (concealable). Gun owners generally find that the latter offers greatest advantages as it is usable in any scenario as opposed to hard armor which is impractical for daily use and high-risk situations. Covert body armor offers reduced chances of detection, which is particularly important as it won’t draw anyone’s eye. In some cases keeping your body armor out of sight may actually end up saving your life as attackers won’t specifically aim for those body parts left unprotected by your armor.

One of the best advancements in the field of body armor came with the introduction of lightweight ballistic plates. Designed to supplement soft armor – they are a convenient way to enhance the protective qualities of the carrier. The addition of lightweight ballistic plates expands the variety of weapons your vest protects against. This allows the wearer to move through different types of environments adequately prepared.


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Guns vs. Body Armor

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By Staff Writer – The Survival Place Blog

More and more people who are not professionally involved in the military, security and/or law enforcement fields are starting to consider body armor. Civilian safety is, in fact, becoming a hot topic of discussion on both government and public levels as the number of assaults, violent accidents, urban unrest and terrorist attacks through the roof in the last decade. Even though a lot of people have gotten in the habit of walking around with pepper spray or some other form of personal protection, now body armor is quickly becoming the next best thing to stay safe any place, any time.

Body armor comes in many shapes and types, but you should have a good understanding of what it can and cannot do for you in all situations. Essentially, no body armor is 100% bulletproof and different levels are only suited against the type of bullets they are tested against. This means that you should carefully examine the potential threats you are likely to face and choose your vest accordingly.

Body armor is generally classified as soft and hard. Soft body armor is more concealable and lighter, making it particularly suitable in urban situations and scenarios. It can provide protection from bullet and/or stab wounds, but the application isn’t as hard core. Covert soft body armor is designed to be worn under clothing or a light jacket and protects the wearer from other threats that the average person could face. There are a number of ballistic threats that body armor is efficient in stopping, which include:

223 Remington

The .223 Remington (5.56×45mm NATO) became popular in part due to the military acceptance of the M16.  It is almost identical with the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge in terms of external dimensions bu there are differences in maximum pressure and chamber shape. Given its specifications, this round you requires a level III protective vest.

.308 Winchester

The .308 Winchester is similar to the military 7.62x51mm specifications, making it the most popular big-game hunting cartridge in the world. It is commonly used by Military Snipers and Police Sharpshooters. Well-adapted for short-action rifles, it requires a vest at the highest level of IV to ensure protection.


Developed by the Russian Empire, this is the longest serving military-issued cartridge in the world. This round remains one of the few standard-issue rimmed cartridges that are still in military use, and in 2011 the cartridge reached 120 years in service. Mostly used in sniper rifles like the Dragunov SVD sniper rifle and machine guns like the PKM, the round has a similar performance to the iconic American .30-06 cartridge. Adequate protection against this rifle caliber requires level IV body armor.


The .30-06 Springfield cartridge was introduced to the US Army in 1906 and remained in use for the next 75 years. Still a popular sporting round, most major manufacturers produce ammunition for it. There have been slight modifications done over the years, including shortening the barrel at its breech and resizing the chamber. This round also will require a vest at Level IV for protection.

.300 Winchester Magnum

The .300 Winchester Magnum is a popular, belted, bottle-necked magnum rifle cartridge that was introduced by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1963. It is designed to fit a standard length action, based on the .375 H&H Magnum. Extremely versatile popular with a variety of users, the round has found a fan base with gun enthusiasts, hunters, the Military and Law Enforcement. The .330WM is known as the most popular .30 cal magnum among American hunters, and requires a Level IV vest for protection.

.338 Lapua Magnum

The .338 Lapua Magnum was developed for the military long-range sniper. Its potential as an anti-materiel round is limited due to its lack of power, although it still requires the highest level of protection, NIJ Level IV for any sort of protection.

.50 BMG

The .50 Browning machine gun was developed in the late 1910s and became a standard cartridge for NATO forces and many non-NATO forces. The cartridge is available in many variants, and is based on the shape of the .30-06 cartridge. This round will need a vest at Level IV with hard armor plates.

Given the wide range of bullet proof vests available, it is important to choose the right type for each situation and expected threats to ensure adequate protection.  Most soft armors come with the option of additional protection in the form of hard plates, so there is a great deal of flexibility in choosing the right bullet proof vest.

In recent years, the most commonly used firearms in random and terrorist attacks are semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and low-caliber handguns. While the latter can be stopped by a standard Level III vest, you will need additional ceramic plates to ensure protection against the 5.56 mm ammunition used in most AR-15 rifles. There is currently a large variety of covert and overt bulletproof vests that have pockets, where extra SAPI plates can be fitted to up the security level to the desired standard. Both carry their advantages in different situations. For example, covert vests work better in urban environments, where you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that you are wearing body armor while overt vests are easy and quick to put on in the event of an attack.

The ease of access to these guns poses a lot of security issues, the biggest one of them all of how can civilians equip themselves against such a common danger. With proper research and assessment of the crime statistics of your local urban environment, you can take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety in the event of any attack.

This article originally published by The Survival Place Blog: Guns vs. Body Armor

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SafeGuard Body Armor

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This is a guest post from SafeGuard Body Armor.SafeGuard Body Armor

You can never know when danger will strike or when an emergency will take place, but there is no excuse not to be prepared. If a hurricane rolls through your neighborhood and wipes out the power down your entire block, it could be days before it gets turned back on. Or, if you get lost out in the woods on a hunting trip, you will need supplies to build an overnight shelter and wait for a rescue party. As unlikely as these situations may seem to you now – when you’re safe and sound in your own home – they can happen to anyone at any given moment. If you don’t want to learn this the hard way, start planning early.

Bringing a bag of essentials on all travels, and keeping one in the house just in case of emergencies like power outages, thunderstorms, or tornadoes may already be habit. But while some items to include are fairly obvious like medicines, food supplies, matches, gas, etc. – others can be missed. Body armor is a piece of equipment that may seem unnecessary now, but becomes vital in the event of unforeseen situations that warrant protection.

The bare minimum your bug out bag should cover is the 3 basic necessities you need to live; food, clothing and shelter. After that we look at supplies to make your life more comfortable or more secure and body armor falls in the category of the latter.

What is the purpose of body armor?

Body armor is one of the greatest of modern marvels. It has saved thousands of lives, mostly those of cops and soldiers, but it increasingly being used by civilians as well. It can protect people from death or serious wounds. The majority of survivalists have made body armor part of their standard bag out bag.

Body armor can have different protective qualities, which are ballistic (against bullets), stab (against knives, pieces of glass, etc.) and spike (needles, ice picks, etc.) resistance. Each of these types of protections are characterized in the U.S. by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). A vest can have both ballistic and spike and/or stab resistant qualities. However, more commonly, body armor that provides ballistic protection does not provide stab or spike protection.

What type of body armor do I need?

Body Armor is rated at different levels based on the NIJ standards. Because the protection of the armor increases with the level, so does its weight and the cost. Ballistic body armor is rated by the Department of Justice against different round calibers. Basic soft body armor does not stop penetration from sharp objects and weapons, but it will stop thick-bladed stabs and offers protection against slashing attacks. These makes them suitable to wear in places, where there are large gatherings of people (protests, marches, during riots, etc.) as in close quarters – people often use concealable but deadly weapons, such as knives, broken bottles, screw drivers or other piercing objects to cause harm.

Basic levels, such as Level IIA. (Level I is not in use anymore) through IIIA are considered soft body armor types and don’t always offer sufficient protection in high-tension situations, while Level IV provides the fullest protection against pistol and melee weapons but is bulkier and heavier on the wearer.

If you want to ensure you receive maximum protection, you should go for a combination of ballistic and stab proof systems that are available for purchase online but they are more expensive. In terms of bullets – pistol bullets are easier to stop than rifle bullets, because they are slower. This type of combined protection gives the best chances of surviving in risky situations, such as riots or a scenario, where you might need to travel from point A to point B while facing attacks and poor weather conditions.

How can body armor keep you safe? – SafeGuard Body Armor

It’s hard to put into words just how important body armor is, but let’s just say – it can be the difference between life and death in a number of scenarios. Still, many survivalists are quick to buy different type of guns and ammo, but overlook protective vests. However, it’s really this simple – if you own a gun or plan on owning a gun, you should also have a bulletproof vest in your house.

Planning ahead and being prepared for a number of scenarios gives you time to equip yourself with the right type of body armor and stay safe in all circumstance. Equipping yourself with adequate protection helps you stay safe in specific circumstances. You need to understand how body armor works, what it can and cannot do for you against different threats, and how to select the best one for you to make an informed decision when buying one.

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Essential Body Armor for TEOTWAWKI

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Essential Body Armor for TEOTWAWKI There are certain topics than when evoked take the topic of preparedness from mundane to the very serious reality of what’s at stake. Growing vegetables, storing food and even packing a bugout bag can all seem like fun things to do. The moment you add body armor to the picture …

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Body armor life saving tactical gear!

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Body armor life saving tactical gear! Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! Hey guys and gals, on this episode of “The Prepping Academy” we’re covering fun life saving tactical gear. That’s right, we are talking body armor. We have a special guest expert on this topic joining us in this show. It’s going … Continue reading Body armor life saving tactical gear!

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Body Armor to Help You Survive a SHTF Situation

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No matter how carefully and thoroughly you have prepped for a SHTF situation, if you get shot you will probably die. That is why you need to think about some sort of body armor to protect you. We covered some options in the Tactical Vest post recently, but that was more about preparedness and having quick access to your essentials. This post is about physical protection.

Body Armor Level

There are many different types of body armor, defined by the type of bullets they protect against. Here is a table that displays the levels:

Armor Level Protection Material
Type I Pistol – .22 LR, .380 ACP Para Aramid Fibers (Kevlar and Twaron)
Type IIA Pistol – 9x19mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP Para Aramid Fibers (Kevlar and Twaron)
Type II Pistol – 9mm +P, .357 Magnum Para Aramid Fibers (Kevlar and Twaron)
Type IIIA Pistol – .357 SIG, .44 Magnum, 10mm Auto, 7H21 Para Aramid Fibers (Kevlar and Twaron), Ballistic Steel Core
Type III Rifles – 7.62×39mm, 7.62×51mm NATO Ballistic Steel Core, Polyethylene, Ceramics
Type IV Armor Piercing Rifles – .30-06 Springfield Ceramics

Deciding what level of protection you want to invest in is tough. Body armor is expensive and if you want to protect multiple people the investment grows exponentially.

Bullet Proof Body Armor Material


Would you believe the first bullet proof vest was actually made of silk? In the 1800’s, Japan and Korea both used silk (30 layers) as protection from the black powder weapons of the time. Even in recent history the U.S. Army has asked for testing of a new material called Dragon Silk, produced by Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc, which uses genetically modified silk worms to create silk that is stronger than regular silk.

Kevlar Armor and Twaron Armor

When I think of a bullet-proof vest the material that pops into my head is Kevlar, developed by Stephanie Kwolek at DuPont in 1965. In the early 1970s Kevlar — and a little later Twaron (by the Dutch company now called Akzo Industrial Fibers) — became the industry standard material used. Both are known as a para-aramid fibers that are heat-resistant, thin, and very strong. These fibers are woven and layered in different directions to maximize the effectiveness. Body armor made of this material is light and flexible and can absorb multiple hits until the overall structure is damaged. Type I all the way up to Type IIIA armor can be made with Kevlar. The level of protection depends on the number of layers used.

Ballistic Steel Core Armor

These steel plates are made of an advanced ballistic grade steel core that is much harder than traditional steel. Though they are a little heavier than some of the other options, ballistic steel core plates are relatively inexpensive and can take multiple hits.

Polyethylene Armor

Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) plates are made of fibers similar to the Kevlar process. Fibers are woven together and layered in different directions. But instead of a flexible fabric like material, the plates are layered together with a gel material that hardens to a solid end product. The plates are more expensive than the steel ones, but they take multiple hits and are much lighter than their steel counterparts.

Ceramics Armor

These ceramic plates are the only Type IV protection available. Made of made of boron carbide or silicon carbide ceramic. The weight is between the steel and the Polyethylene plates. Ceramic plates break the bullet into smaller pieces and reduce the feet per second of the fragments, then a backer made of steel or Kevlar catches the pieces. The theory is a single bullet flying at 2,900 feet per second is harder to stop than several pieces at twenty five percent of the original feet per second. Unlike the other plates each hit on this plate degrades its effectiveness. They need to be replaced after each hit.

Other Possible Armor Materials

Carbon fiber armor is a common question. If you do a Kevlar vs carbon fiber comparison you will find that strength and heat-resistance is better in carbon fiber. But you just don’t see carbon fiber body armor or carbon fiber plates. The reason for this is that it tends to be too brittle and expensive. One shot would destroy the integrity of the material. The material is better suited for car panels and motorcross armor, where stopping bullets are not the purpose.

Graphene body armor is a future possibility. Graphene is an atomic-scale hexagonal lattice made of carbon atoms, which means it is a extremely thin sheet of incredibly strong material. A million layers of graphene is only one millimeter thick. Tests have been done with a hundred layers of the material and it was able to outperform Kevlar and Ballistic Steel Core. But for now there are no Graphene body armor available. It is still too new of a material to work its way into the commercial market.

Standardized Plate Sizes

When you look at the sizes of plates sold on Amazon it looks like everything is 10″ x 12″ and this works for most people. But the United States Military required five different size so that it would fit better for individuals of different sizes. These Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) sizes are listed in the table below:

Size Type Inches Metric
Extra Small Front and Back 7¼ x 11½ 184 x 292 mm
Small Front and Back 8¾ x 11¾ 222 x 298 mm
Medium Front and Back 9½ x 12½ 241 x 318 mm
Large Front and Back 10⅛ x 13¼ 260 x 337 mm
Extra Large Front and Back 11 x 14 280 x 356 mm
Torso side plate 6 x 8 150 x 200 mm

Obviously there are bound to be other sizes. You will need to verify the size of compatible plates that fit your plate carrier.

Concealable Body Armor

You can buy concealable plate carriers and just “plain” bulletproof vests. These are very minimal vests held in place by Velcro. Often they are just soft armor carriers. Worn by important business men/women and political people.
Concealable Body Armor

Tactical Vest Plate Carriers

In a prior post I spent some time showing you different tactical vests. They have a lot of versatility. You are able to add accessories to them to customize for your needs. Worn on top of your clothes they are not meant to be concealed.
Tactical Vest Plate Carrier

Backpack Plate Carriers

Another option is to have a backpack that has a plate carrier compartment. Obviously there is only one side of protection provided from a back pack. But a backpack is better than nothing. This is a great option for a EDC bag. Additionally if you have children in school, you can send them out the door every morning knowing that they have a little bit of protection. Some schools have metal detectors at doors. But Kevlar armor is still available for this environment.
backpack plate carrier

Owning Multiple Panels

Since there is no way of knowing for sure what kind of emergency to play for, you may want to have more than one type of panel. If you are in a situation where you need to move fast and weight is an issue, having the light Kevlar Type IIA panel may be enough.

If you’re going to be wearing a bug out bag on your back, you may have a heavier panel on your chest and the lighter soft one on your back. Assuming that your items in the back pack may absorb some of the bullet energy.

If you are going into a situation where you are completely screwed, an easy way to increase protection is to use two panels. The lighter soft panels made of Kevlar are thin enough so that you can usually have one underneath a solid panel. Yes it adds weight, but it also adds a lot of protection.

Body Armor Links

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How To Build A DIY Ballistics Plate Body Armor For Cheap

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How To Build A DIY Ballistics Plate Body Armor

How To Build A DIY Ballistics Plate Body Armor



How To Build A DIY Ballistics Plate Body Armor

Today I have not one but two youtube videos for you. You get a DIY build video on How To Build A DIY Ballistics Plate Body Armor and then the test shooting of that DIY ballistics plate. 

I really want a real body armor plate. I also want to shoot the hell out of one. There in lies my problem. If I had a ballistics plate, like the great guys at AR500 (hint hint) I would want it for a SHTF scenario. But I also want to try to destroy one as well. 


DIY 2 Survive!

My solution is to build and show you How To Build A DIY Ballistics Plate Body Armor. Will it be as good as a professionally made one? Nope. Will it stop a bullet? Hell yes, it will! I don’t recommend you building one of these and going out to fight ISIS. In a SHTF I would wear one of my DIY ballistic plates over wearing nothing. 

The cost for this was around $30. I used a steel I-beam piece, a ceramic floor tile, duck tape and a can of plastidip. This thing is heavy as shit.  And tough as a hell. 

Shooting The DIY Plate Armor

The second Video is Couch Potato Mike and I shooting the ballistic plate. Now that you know How To Build A DIY Ballistics Plate Body Armor it’s time to destroy it. For the $20~30 bucks I spent building this DIY body armor it was money well spent. No bullets got through the plate. The ceramic tile was demolished. And shrapnel went everywhere. 

So although no vital organs would be ventilated you would likely be shredded from the shrapnel. The pastidip did not work as well as I had wanted. For version 2.0 I will use a truck bed spray on liner. If you want to buy one I found the Cheapest One on amazon. To me $80 to shoot is still pricey. 

Enjoy these videos. Go build a DIY plate armor for yourself. If you have any build suggestions drop them in the comments! 


Want to hear yourself on the podcast? Call in with your questions at (615) 657-9104 and leave us a voice mail. 

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AW Ban? Worry About Body Armor Too

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Given the recent terrorist attack in Orlando we can expect new attacks on the right to keep  and bear arms. The usual suspects are already at it. Let no crisis go to waste, right?

Well, as always the main debate revolves around firearms but this article caught my attention.

CNN: Orlando shooter TRIED to buy body armor

Apparently the attacker attempted to purchase level III body armour before the attack and for some reason the retailer refused to sell it to him. The interesting part is that the article puts on a positive light the idea of limiting or restricting the purchase of body armour. Of course they don’t seem to care that body armour saves people’s lives every day from people like this terrorist madman that attacked innocent people.

The problem is that unlike firearms, the right to own BA is not protected by the Second amendment and I’m sure gun grabbers would love to take those too.

I have written about the importance of body armour several times before. If you haven’t done so already, I suggest you look around and buy some before its too late, or before you end up needing it!

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

What You Should Look For in Body Armor

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Written by Chris Taylor on The Prepper Journal.

Whatever you choose to focus on, it is worth considering exactly how you can keep yourself safe. While the situation will change, body armor is an easily accessible product that has a number of surprising benefits.

The post What You Should Look For in Body Armor appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Body Armor For What?

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Body Armor For What? A bullet proof vest is a very useful tool for a wide variety of people. From Police Officers to Soldiers and even civilians, a protective vest can protect against a number of threats and keep you safe in wide variety of situations. Of course, body armors main function is to protect you … Continue reading Body Armor For What?

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Interesting Threats Your Body Armor Can Protect You Against

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Body armor is a useful product that can provide protection in a range of circumstances. It will seem obvious to most that personal protection is important to consider when preparing for the end of the world, and all preppers should at least be aware of the options available to them in body armor. For example, most will consider a bullet proof vest for the benefits it can provide even before the SHTF. However, many will not be aware that there are a variety of threats and weapons that a bullet resistant vest cannot protect you against.

As any good Prepper knows, a weapon of any kind can be fatal in the right hands, and many can be fatal even in the wrong hands. Without considering the end of society and the associated problems that may come with it, there are numerous threats that should be considered when choosing body armor. It is important to be prepared for the worst, and below are just a few examples of the unique threats you may find yourself up against and what protection you will need, whether it is a bullet proof vest, stab proof vest, or spike proof vest.

Sticks and Stones

It may seem unlikely, but even a single solitary rock can kill you- just look at David and Goliath. Even without divine intervention, stones, rocks, and fists can cause a great deal of damage, and require little to no skill to wield. While it may take more than one to kill you, and their range and power are solely dependent on the thrower, they can still kill you. When dealing with the difficulties of post-apocalyptic society you may not see them coming either. This is why you will need body armor, which can absorb and disperse the energy from the impact, keeping you safe from the attack.

Swords and Shields

Even shields can damage you if used correctly, but the real danger here is from swords. These and indeed any edged or spiked weapons like axes and pikes have proven to be exceptionally deadly. They will need some degree of skill to wield, but anyone can get lucky and cause you a potentially fatal injury. After the inevitable decline of firearms after the SHTF these weapons may become more and more common, and a bullet proof vest cannot protect you against them. There are options available however, and both stab and spike proof vests use Kevlar and additional materials like chainmail and/or plastic laminate to stop edged and spiked weapons, keeping you on your feet and able to fight back.

Bows and Arrows

These weapons are very similar to swords and axes, both in deadliness and reliability. Of course, these weapons require far more skill than any other to use properly, but even a lucky shot can kill you. In fact, even improvised paper crossbows have been used to deadly effect. Just like the previous category, you may not see an attack with these weapons coming, and a bullet proof vest will not protect you. The Kevlar in the vest will mitigate some of the damage, but you will still need a spike proof vest for complete protection.

Teeth and Claws

In the most extreme scenarios, particularly judging on popular films, you might not only be facing human attackers. It is important for Preppers to be prepared- hence the name- and it may be worth anticipating attacks involving animals, or even more exciting reanimated creatures. Animals have spelled doom for a great many people, and protecting yourself against teeth, claws, and horns is very important. Again, a bullet proof vest cannot stop weapons like these, but spike proof vests can help with their tough surface and energy-absorbing aramid layers.


Before going any further, it should be noted that there is no guarantee of protection against an explosion, particularly above a certain level. Of course, the same can be said of any threat, and body armor is never a guarantee of protection, and should never be a substitute for proper awareness and preparation. Nevertheless, the damage of a reasonable explosion can be mitigated with body armor; the chainmail and/or plastic in a stab/spike proof vest can help deflect fragmentation and debris common to IEDs and grenades, whereas the Kevlar in the vest will absorb the energy of the explosion and impact, potentially saving your life.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are many threats that you may come across after the SHTF. Your research and preparation has to reflect the threats you are likely to face, and only then can you decide on your personal protective equipment. Nevertheless, body armor should be considered as an accessible and effective option in protection against a wide range of threats.

Commander Vest from SafeGuard ARMOR

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commander vestAs important as body armor is even before the SHTF, it is important to know what you’re getting if you’re relying on it to take a bullet for you. Safeguard Armor have provided me with one of their tactical vests to review, called the Commander.

Commander Vest from SafeGuard ARMOR

The Commander has a durable Cordura carrier, and boasts waist and shoulder straps to help adjust the fit. Pockets in both the front and back allow for rigid plates to be added, giving protection against high-caliber weaponry. The vest itself is available at NIJ Levels II and IIIa, which are capable of stopping just about any handgun you might find yourself up against. If you’re going to be coming  up against people close quarters, it can also provide stab and spike protection.

I’m going to be reviewing this to see just how well it stands up against its claims, and I’ll give you some more information on what it feels like and how it is to wear. Look for a video soon!

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Body Armor Test – Part 1

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Every time I get around other like-minded folks the topic of firearms always comes up. What do you have? What do you recommend? What is the minimum number of magazines to have? What do you consider to be a good minimum amount of ammo to put back? Ak or AR? 9mm or 40S&W or 45ACP? It goes on and on. You know a question I have never been asked?

“Hey, what kind of armor do you have?”

Nope – never been asked. The reality is preppers spend a ton of money on guns and ammo preparing for possible defensive situations and most preppers don’t consider body armor. Maybe the reason is all the time spent at the range shooting and hitting targets that don’t shoot back. Maybe it’s denial. Maybe spending a few hundred dollars on a hunk of metal or ceramic just isn’t as “cool” as a new gun. The reality is if a firefight happens and triggers are getting pulled rounds will go in both directions. Body armor just might save a life.

I have been slowly accumulating body armor vests and plates over the past few years. A couple months ago I contacted ModernSurvivalOnline sponsor to get me a steel plate. Although not something they normally carry they we able to source a plate for me.


Levels of Protection

To summarize there are different levels of protection provided by body armor. These are generally categorized by a specific “Level”.  The chart below shows the different levels of protection and corresponding ammunition that specific level protects against. The higher the level the higher the level of protection.

The plate provided by Safeguard Armor is rated Level III.


NIJ Ballistic Chart


How Plates Are Carried

Plates are carried in plate carriers. These are vests provide a “pocket” on the front/back, and sometimes on the sides which plates are placed in. The plates ride in the carrier and cover vital areas.


Rourke’s Condor Modular Operator Plate Carrier – his current setup


Testing and Protection Demonstration

This initial testing included shooting a variety of calibers I had on hand. Part 2 will include additional calibers which should fit within the plates Level III rating.

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Level III plate ready for punishment.


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A couple shots of 115-gr FMJ 9mm had very little effect on the plate other than paint removal.


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Standard 55-gr .223 Remington  – nothing more than paint removal.


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This photo shows both the 9mm and .223 Remington hits.


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The Winchester BRI Sabot Slug fires a .50 caliber hour-glass 437 grain slug at around 1375 fps. Say you want a .50 caliber? Throw a Sabot Slug in your 12 gauge and you have one.


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The 12 gauge Sabot Slug hits with tremendous power – but still no damage to the plate.


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Here is a close up of the Winchester BRI 12 gauge sabot slug’s impact.


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After this initial testing the back of the plate shows no deformity or damage at all.


In a few weeks I will be back out on the range punishing this plate with some additional calibers – including those that should push its limit.

I want to give a “shout out” to Safeguard Armor for sourcing this plate. If you are interested in body armor they carry a huge variety and are one of the industry leaders. As a sponsor of this website they help support me so I can keep being here for you.

Stay tuned for Part 2.



REPOST RE: Ballistic Plates Yes or No by Max Velocity

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Ballistic Plates Yes or No by Max Velocity. A very worthwhile post at Max’s place. I talked about this general issue some time back. 3 years later I cannot say my thoughts have changed significantly.

1- If you can afford you should have body armor. Everyone expected to carry a rifle should have body armor. Depending on your concept of use, budget and needs it could be a somewhat lighter set of ceramic plates or AR 500 body armor.

1A- Body armor is nowhere near as expensive as it used to be. There are a lot of options in the 4 bill range and some in the mid to high 3 bill range if you shop carefully.

2- The discussion about whether you should wear body armor in a given situation is an entirely different one from whether you should have it. For any defensive situation you want armor. For any deliberate offensive situation like a raid or a attack you want armor. Gun fights are dangerous!

3-Personally the times I might not want armor are roughly as follows:

-Situations where the risk of contact are minimal and speed is of the essence. Say a person is acting as a runner between some sort of a base and a patrol or outlying group. The risk of contact is very low otherwise this would be a deliberate patrrol. The runner is going to check up on that group, pass some orders/ messages and new frequencies/ link up or dead drop locations. The runner might be carrying a rifle, a camel back with 2 spare mags, small first aid and survival kits, a knife and if applicable written orders/ maps/ comms cards.

-The added (roughly 20lb) of a plate carrier means I would not be able to carry a sufficient sustainment load. This is particularly applicable when the risk of immediate violence is minimal. Say a group is going to do a LRS type mission and set up an over watch an area to gather intelligence. They are going to infiltrate at night and stay in position for 3-4 days. Their goals are to watch, take notes, draw sketches and take pictures. The location being watched is not actively patrolled by the opposition, say it is an electric sub station vs a combat outpost or something. We would need to bring a fair bit of food and a lot of water to make that work. Hauling say a rifle,  20 pounds of kit, a 40-50 pound ruck and 5 gallons of water a piece would suck. Doing that with another 20 pounds might well not be feasible.

This would extend to situations where a patrol is unable to project their force far enough due to lack of sheer physical ability to carry weight. Doing the math a 4 day patrol is probably a bridge too far with the addition of body armor, especially if water resupply en route is not available. The math just doesn’t work.

– Situations where we need to do all manner of work and the risk of violence is present but minimal. One can work a lot more efficiently without being encumbered. Say the state of things is such that folks clearing rubble or cutting wood feel the need to carry pistol and wear a light battle belt/ patrol belt. Maybe they carry rifles and maybe they keep them within a couple steps reach while working.  That is a realistic load for a person to wear while doing hard work. Add much more and the effort becomes self defeating.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that. What do you think?

Pleased to Announce Our Newest Advertiser JRH Enterprises

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JRH Enterprises is an awesome company I am thrilled to welcome to the Total Survivalist team. They are probably best known for higher end products like PVS 14 3rd Gen Night Vision and DBAL I2 IR Lasers (both of which I own. Got my NOD from them and reviewed it here. Also my thoughts on the combo.) and the FLIR Scout I have a serious case of gear lust over.

However they do offer a wide variety of products that appeal to a variety of needs and budgets. Their AR500 body armor combo is a heck of a deal. More to follow on that particular piece of kit. Anyway I am happy to be working with this excellent company. You should check out their site and consider them when making a purchase.

A Prepper’s Guide to Body Armor for the End of the World

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preppers guide to body armorMany preppers are eager to equip themselves with all kinds of weaponry, but the need for proper protection is something that few are aware of. This is exactly why they need to read up on a Prepper’s Guide to Body Armor.

A Prepper’s Guide to Body Armor for the End of the World


Survival means that you need to be prepared for the worst that could happen. This could mean ensuring that you have ample supplies of food and water, a well-fortified location to live in, and the skills and knowledge necessary to survive, in whatever situation the world has descended into.

All of this means preparation, from building up stocks, to ensuring you have the right equipment. Many survivalists are eager to equip themselves with all kinds of weaponry, but overlook the need for proper defensive protections.

Isn’t it ironic that being adequately prepared may turn you into a greater target; as those who did not have the foresight to prepare will covet your supplies. Despite how well-armed and well-supplied you are, if you are not protected, it is all for naught.

This is why it is crucial that you have body armor. Body armor incorporates a wide range of products; including bullet proof vests, stab proof vests, and even ballistic helmets. A bullet proof vest is the most appropriate protection for preppers and survivalists, as firearms become more and more coveted. Even before the world, as we know it, ends, firearms will be your most serious threat.


Bullet proof vests are rated by different levels, depending on the ammunition it can stop, so it is important that you consider what types of firearm will most likely be used by your potential attackers.

Armor at Level IIa can protect against 9mm, .45 and .380 rounds, whereas armor at Level IV can stop armor-piercing ammunition. These Levels refer to the US National Institute of Justice’s levels of protection (NIJ Levels) as decided on through their own rigorous testing methods. Each Level is capable of stopping all ammunition outlined at lower levels.

As time passes and the world continues to turn, covered in inhospitable weather, with roaming bands of scavengers or even shambling reanimated corpses, firearms will be lost in battle or break, become scarcer and scarcer. Your preparation will ensure you survive as long as possible, maybe even long enough that knives and spiked weapons have become a more serious threat than firearms.

Edged and spiked weapons are easily accessible and deadly weapons, and it is important that you can protect against these also. You may wonder how someone could get close enough to you to do damage with one of these weapons, but all it takes is a lucky shot, with a crossbow, from an amateur Daryl Dixon and all your preparation is wasted. Therefore, you will need edged and spiked protection.

Even where weapons are not used, your body armor can protect you. The materials, used in a bullet proof vest, are excellent at absorbing and dispersing energy, meaning that blunt force and impact trauma can be negated. Debris strikes and vehicular accidents become less deadly when wearing body armor.

Turning to the more fantastic (but not impossible), body armor can even protect you against the undead. While the ballistic materials used in bullet proof vests can protect you from brute force, the nails and teeth of these rotting horrors will simply rip and tear the fabric, much like an edged weapon does. Making sure your body armor has stab and spike protection will not only stop all types of weapons, but the layers of chainmail and/or laminate will help stop anything from penetrating through your vest.

Adding additional layers of protection will increase the size and weight of armor. This increase is negligible, and the extra protection is invaluable. The increase in size and weight is so slight that even armor offering the highest levels of protection can be worn comfortably underneath clothes. Some of these vests even use temperature-regulating technologies to help draw moisture away from the skin and keep the wearer cool. Vests worn underneath your outer lay of clothing are labeled as covert vest.

These covert vest are best when you do not wish to draw attention to your protection. You may wonder why you’d need a covert vest in a hostile and violent new world.

Those with advanced training and aim may choose to attack the unprotected areas of you body, rendering your protection useless. Many experts also hotly debate the fact that overt body armor might even make you more of a target, inviting attacks.

This can happen whether or not you are wearing covert armor, and you may wish to have additional protection for areas like the upper arms, groin, throat and neck. This will necessitate an overt vest, which is worn over clothing, yet is still lightweight, flexible and comfortable.

The presence of body armor should help deter potential attackers, who will think twice about attacking in light of your obvious preparation.

Whatever your choice of vest type, it has to reflect your preparation and be suitable for the potential threats. You can be confident that it will keep you protected while remaining comfortable.

Guest Post from SafeGuard Clothing

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