SHot While Wearing Hard & Soft Armor


A interesting thread on BARFCOM right now about being shot while wearing plates and soft armor. Below are some quotes. A few are second hand so.. grain of salt.

I know a number of people who were shot wearing armor. Some were able to keep going with little problem (sometimes because of adrenaline). Others were knocked out of the fight.It’s a little like voodoo. It depends on the quality of the armor, caliber, distance, angle of strike, physique of the person wearing it, and on and on. Everyone I know who took a hit (or more than one) in the armor survived.

I treated an LEO who took two 9mm to his vest from close range.Didn’t penetrate but ended up with 2 broken ribs and one hell of a bruise.

I was shot in the back with an AK no clue on distance. Knocked the wind out of me and left one hell of a bruise. The esapi and soft armor backing did its job.

IIA Soft armor. .380 point blank in the chest. Intentional cause I pulled the attacker’s gun to my vest since we were in a crowded club. Cracked a rib. Didn’t knock me on my ass, but the combo of the impact, muzzle blast, and fighting with the dude for the gun wrecked my brain. I usually tell people I took him to the ground after getting shot and subdued him, but really I think I basically had a death-grip on his hands and gun and simply fell on top of him until I brain rebooted

I took two rounds of 9mm gold dot to the chest while wearing a vest, it hurt like a bitch and the bruising was insane, but I drew a pistol and shot two rounds between his legs and sunk his canoe before he found fire off a third shot.

A buddy of mine took a round right on the corner of his E-SAPI plate while flying a PAVEHAWK in Afghanistan. It saved his life. He was wearing soft armor underneath as well.One of our passengers took a machine gun round to the edge of his Kevlar just above the ear. He lived but got a massive contusion. The thin skin of the C23 did little to slow it down

Took two 9mm to a safariland vest some years ago. Like getting kicked in the chest, bruised a little bit, but otherwise non-debilitating.I wouldn’t do it again.

Friend of mine on his first tour in the ‘stan took an AK round to the chest plate while on patrol. He had no reaction time and best guess was it was fired from about 50 yards away and caught the lower part of the plate. Lots of brusing and said it winded him pretty good. The offender was ushered to the great Snackbar in the Sky.

Another friend, also in the sandbox, got shot TWICE and didnt realize it until someone pointed out to him that his PC had holes in it. As the story goes, they had just walked into a toilet bowl ambush, so Im sure the adrenaline dump from being fired on from all sides was massive.

Third friend, LEO plainclothes wearing soft armor was fired at by a perp with a 9mm. Took one slightly to left of sternum. Perp got deaded but he said he didnt realize he was shot until after when he couldnt breathe because it had winded him, and then had a massive panic moment. Bruising and cracked ribs had him sidelined for a good bit.

Have a buddy who got pegged in the chest plate while he was jerking off on a guard post in Iraq.He said it felt like getting kicked in the chest. He also said it completely ruined his evening plans. Oof!


  1. I’ve heard from BTDT guys that occasionally from impacts on hard armor, bullet fragments have gone up into the area under/behind the chin and upper throat.

    • Disparaging nickname for, which is sorta-nicknamed “arfcom” (with variations in capitalization).
      I remember seeing it pretty often on other forums like M4Carbine and Lightfighter, especially by fairly big names in the industry (Fortier, Pat Rogers, etc) who had been run off by the window-lickers there.

      I’m perpetually amused at the “Barfcom” references on this site from someone who’s not only a long-standing member there, but also seems to get good-quality material from it pretty often.

      Then again, the signal-to-noise ratio isn’t very high, especially in the non-technical forums, and even in those it’s not great. Part of that is, I suspect, a function of sheer volume–it’s one of the largest firearms forums on the Net, with huge post volume and a domain name that is almost guaranteed to pop up when someone searches “AR15 forum” on any engine you care to use.


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