Soft Armor And Other Thoughts

We have another post from Brain, from over at www.thenewrifleman.com. This time is gives his thoughts on body armor for new buyers.

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I obtained some level III soft armor a few years ago. I didn’t get Molle or a camo setup, I purchased a flat black concealable vest from www.bulletproofme.com. My reasoning was, in part, based on my knowledge from FerFal’s book: Surviving the Economic Collapse.

When Argentina’s economy collapsed, the government was still capable of arresting and policing. The situations that arose in Argentina made it clear I should buy some armor. I studied what I saw others using at club shoots and made my decision to conceal my armor rig.

Points to consider:

Rifles didn’t come out to play in Argentina’s collapse: Police presence was still available, and carrying a rifle around with you invited their scrutiny. Not Good. Also made you a target for robbery.

Criminals used handguns: Obvious reasons aside, criminals preferred to look like anyone else on the street, except they would pull a gun and take your cash when the opportunity presented itself.

Criminals became very crafty: A favorite tactic of criminals was to approach you as you fumbled with your keys to unlock the door. In general they used the element of surprise. You should surprise them by being immune to their attacks to the torso.

Instead of going full tactical Molle kit like I see online and at the range, I decided a concealable vest would make more sense in a collapse type scenario. I don’t want to look tactical or out of place in such an event. I want to blend in. Concealable soft armor would likely protect me from the most common threat on the streets: the handgun. Wearing a full tactical kit, pouches, and associated gear WILL WORK if you have friends that will watch your back and you stay out of the authorities eyes. However, for the common Joe, getting a concealable setup gives you the element of surprise against would be attackers.

Getting a full kit on may attract unwanted attention. Be smart when you deploy your tactical setup.

I made one mistake with my armor purchase… Instead of getting a smooth carrier, I should have gotten a molle carrier and wore it as a concealed vest. Leave off the extra gear and it will conceal well enough for day to day activities. If the need arises, the vest can be outfitted with mag pouches, plates, and other necessary equipment. So I need to spend another hundred and convert it to Molle while keeping the slick concealable ready if need be.

Your Rifle and Your Armor

Let’s say things get worse for you/us than they did in Argentina. The landscape is so dysfunctional that police presence is absolutely absent. Limited social services and lack of utilities has caused social unrest and has forced the rifle front and center of your defensive setup. Your armor and rifle (or carbine) need to play nice.

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A telescoping stock with a rubber butt pad is an absolute necessity. The stock must be shortened substantially so the weapon can be deployed with the extra layer of kevlar between you and it. The cordura nylon the carrier is made from does not play well with a plastic butt stock. The rifle wants to slide off the armor at every opportunity. Having some rubber on the stock fixes this issue.
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Furthermore you can see how thick the extra layer is all by itself. While the level III doesn’t look like much, keep in mind it’s not very flexible. It doesn’t conform to your shoulder pocket and the rifle has to sit pretty far out in front of you.

Wrapping Up:

Armor is something we want to get, but typically the money is spent on upgrades to your rifle. This is a sword and shield issue and no one would go into a fight without both. Look at your situation and determine the best strategy for your situation. You may need more concealment and pistols than a full on tactical kit, especially if you are in an urban area. If you want to run a rifle with armor, it’s going to be a massive learning curve and your equipment may need to be set up to mitigate how cumbersome the armor can be.

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