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Body Armor/plate carrier
#1
I was invited recently to watch a rifle class put on by some instructors I know. All attendees were civilians. I was kind of surprised how many were wearing plate carriers with all kinds of mag pouches and stuff hanging on it. Granted "plate carriers" don't necessarily mean these guys were carrying armor in them but most were.  This was a tactical class but holy cow, these guys looked like they were operators just off the streets of Islamabad.  I am way out of touch.

I asked some questions and the answers ranged from, "its a good way to carry gear"... "if the SHTF, I want all the advantages I can get" ..."this is my bug out gear"...."if you are geared up and look like you know what you are doing (i.e, you look like an operator), bad guys  are less likely to mess with you." * The general consensus seemed to be that everybody else is doing it so they should too.

Low and behold a week later I get email for a plate carrier with two soft panels (Level IIIA) for like $150, or you could get hard plates for a lot more.

So now I am thinking that I am way behind the times. I have an old soft armor vest from back in the day which probably won't stop anything but do I need to invest in some high speed low drag stuff just to keep up with the arms race?

This is basically what I am talking about....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CreBI5tPfVs

*I have to admit that during the riots after the police shooting verdict in MO, I thought a few guys decked out like military contractors would probably be a deterrence to looting at some of the strip malls that were hit.
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#2
I'm avoiding conflict if at all possible. I'd rather be incognito than looking like a SWAT team member. My 3gun belt holds plenty of gear and would easily hide under a light jacket or hoodie. Plate carriers with mag pouches and hard plates get awful bulky.
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#3
(08-05-2016, 11:57 PM)mac66 Wrote: I have an old soft armor vest from back in the day which probably won't stop anything...

I also have a vest from 'back in the day', probably 20+ years old.  Level II soft under uniform style.  I know they have expiration dates due to humidity, sweat etc but I wonder if it would still offer protection or not?  Might have to do some investigation.
Governmental dependance makes for poor self reliance.

"What could possibly go wrong with a duct tape boat?"  Cody Lundin

The best defense against evil men are good men with violent skill sets.
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#4
(08-06-2016, 12:43 PM)David Wrote:
(08-05-2016, 11:57 PM)mac66 Wrote: I have an old soft armor vest from back in the day which probably won't stop anything...

I also have a vest from 'back in the day', probably 20+ years old.  Level II soft under uniform style.  I know they have expiration dates due to humidity, sweat etc but I wonder if it would still offer protection or not?  Might have to do some investigation.

Apparently, Kevlar or whatever they make them out now of degrades over time but most expiration dates have more to do with liability than actual performance. My vest is at least 25 years old.

I do agree with Ronin to the extent at trying to keep a low profile and staying out of conflict. But what if you couldn't? What if you and your neighbors were manning barricades during a riot or Katrina type thing where there were roving bands of looters?  Then you might want to look the part.
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#5
If I'm in a static defensive position, I'll do my best to make a bullet resistant barricade. Even simply parking your car across the street and sitting behind the engine block covers way more than a plate carrier. A basic pile of dirt can be very effective too if you have a bit of time to prepare. The significant expense of good armor can be put to better use with other preps.
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#6
I would guess that if you are prepared to the point where you feel you need a rifle, mags and gear to carry you might want also consider having body armor. After all if you do have to use it, it is likely in a worse case scenario where people are shooting back at you.

Right now I have some 6 mag pouches for ARs and AKs. They are on shoulder straps so it is basically grab a rifle, grab a pouch and go. Seeing what others do from a tactical standpoint with chest rigs/plate carriers might be a more efficient way to pack and carry gear in a tactical situation. And if you are carrying stuff on a plate carrier you might want to throw some plates/armor in them just because you can.
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#7
What's the weight like with plates?
Governmental dependance makes for poor self reliance.

"What could possibly go wrong with a duct tape boat?"  Cody Lundin

The best defense against evil men are good men with violent skill sets.
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#8
Weights vary depending on material. Ceramic plates can be down around 4lbs. AR500 can be up to 12lbs. If you go with front, back and sides, you will add 12-36lbs to your gear. With the cheaper steel plates and carrier, you will be in the $500 range. The price can go way higher with lighter ceramic plates.(Disclaimer: there are tons of companies that make this stuff. These are general prices and weights)
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#9
NcStar is making a carrier with level IIIa panels for $150 called the Vism. Weight about 4.8 lbs. Same carrier with hard rifle caliber plates. $300 & 9.7 lbs. The panels will actually stop bullets. There are some reviews and tests on youtube. You can buy just the carrier w/o armor for around $50 if you just want to carry mag pouches and stuff.

Before someone starts the "why buy cheap armor, how much is your life worth" thing, it kinda comes down to this. I either don't buy the expensive high end stuff because I don't think I will ever need it or I buy cheaper stuff just in case I ever do. Sometimes good enough is good enough.
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#10
In this instance, the bargain unit makes perfect sense. Spending more for something you probably won't use is a waste. As long as the cheaper model passes the tests, bulletproof is bulletproof.
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