Body Armor -- How do you know it's real?


PDA






ArmedBear
May 4, 2007, 09:20 PM
If someone is selling body armor at, say, a gun show, off a folding table, how do you know it's not just a vest packed with a few layers of nylon?

I was talking to a seller, and this crossed my mind. I didnt' buy it.:)

Thoughts?

If you enjoyed reading about "Body Armor -- How do you know it's real?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
trueblue1776
May 4, 2007, 09:24 PM
check the inserts, they are removable. If they aren't labeled by one of the major armor companies don't buy it. If you need it, you need it to work.

Surplus/used/opened armor is not usually a good deal, panels degrade in open air, especially when exposed to moisture or cleaning products.

Most dept's trash them after 3-5 years if they last that long.

ArmedBear
May 4, 2007, 09:27 PM
If you need it, you need it to work.

No kidding!

Furthermore, it's better to wear a t-shirt and know it, than to THINK you're wearing body armor when you're not (in the unlikely event that you need it)!

CWL
May 4, 2007, 09:57 PM
Only buy from reputable distributors or directly from the manufacturer.

Don't depend on fake or worn armor if your life is at stake.

Ron James
May 4, 2007, 10:02 PM
Try it on, have someone stand 25 feet away and have them shoot you in the chest with a .357, If you survive then it's probably a good buy.

J-NM
May 4, 2007, 10:06 PM
Did I just read that Ron is offering to test it for you?

Gee Ron your such a nice guy would you test a few other things too?:)

Lucky
May 4, 2007, 10:13 PM
Most dept's trash them after 3-5 years if they last that long.

That's not really based on any substantiated testing, just that lawyers and accountants worked it out to be cheaper than the possible costs of 'what if'. Plus technology changes in that time period offering a substantially improved product, and the old ones get ugly sweat stains.

Most aramids are very stable and durable. Even PASGT vests have been tested and found to perform better than rated for (from the factory), 20 years on.

Lupinus
May 4, 2007, 10:17 PM
go to the next table and buy a gun and some ammo and then do some product testing.

trueblue1776
May 4, 2007, 10:58 PM
Lucky,
That sound right, an 8 year old Galls (lower-end) IIA stopped a .357sig Cor-Bon 125gr, which is a very hot auto pistol round in my opinion. Vests are not so expensive that I would try to get more than 5 years out of one, plus mine usually smell like swamp balls after a year and a half (Febreze keeps me going). With the conflict in Iraq it is difficult to get working type vests for under 350$ at the moment but it can be done. The cheapo Galls vests are decent enough, they fit about as good as the older (3yrs ago) Second Chance units, I think they are about $300 from Galls.

eng23ine
May 4, 2007, 11:30 PM
Most dept's trash them after 3-5 years if they last that long.

I wonder where somebody could get their hands on some old ballistic panels?

I'd like to see a real world "vest o' truth"

trueblue1776
May 4, 2007, 11:33 PM
we have "morale shoots" (personal weapons allowed), to ahem, "dispose" of old panels. It's fun but I'd rather shoot something that shatters or explodes.

Tinmancr
May 4, 2007, 11:59 PM
body armor is a very general term, from "bullet-resistant", Knife, and riot impact armor.
If it is Kevlar you should be able to check for tags but remember, old school flak jackets were considered body armor too.
there may be a listing of the rating on it unless use is strictly covert don't go with anything less than AA.
oh yeah and for the always amusing "used" body armor... if you don't get it :<
and lastly if it is not dragon scale don't bother most the other stuff is not good after first use.

Ian
May 5, 2007, 12:33 AM
eng23ine - BulletProofME sells really old (20+ year) vests that were certified by now-obsolete NIJ standards for $25 each, specifically for people the experiment with. They claim that those stop 9mm FMJ and .357 JSP every time.

trueblue1776
May 5, 2007, 12:39 AM
What is the "AA" rating? I have never heard of this I have heard of IIA or 2A, as opposed to level II or 2. Most soft armor is rated I (1), II (2), or III (3). Think of the A in IIA as a +P on ammo, it's a little bit thicker than the II.

Lucky
May 5, 2007, 01:14 AM
A=minus; IIa = not quite level II, IIIa = nowhere near level III. Level III+ exists, but more of an informal term aiui, to show that the product exceeds III specs.

trueblue1776
May 5, 2007, 02:50 AM
Thanks Lucky, damn I got schooled on this twice in one day.

10 Ring Tao
May 5, 2007, 03:05 AM
Why, put it on your little brother or dog, and take some evidentiary shots of course.

Tinmancr
May 5, 2007, 06:07 AM
I am a bit rusty on my body armor, after checking up there are records of stuff "full breach" and beyond Level IV-V these will stop 308 fmj!
don't believe me check out these guys Pinnacle Armor should be vids on sight.
they seem to have there own system by the by.
http://www.pinnaclearmor.com/body-armor/

Soybomb
May 5, 2007, 07:35 AM
I personally wouldn't buy any of it used, if you think you need it, its not worth saving less than the cost of a new handgun on. There's so much crap that can happen to it...you might be get a laminate piece thats gotten hot and has started to come apart, you might get armor thats gotten wet inside the carrier, you might get some crappy old zylon blend thats not going to provide its rated protection. Plus all the research now is showing that the NIJ standards kinda suck and contact shots melt through the previously thought of as safe laminates.

Above all buy nothing with zylon in it, ever. If you go this route try to buy a 100% woven kevlar vest.

CNYCacher
May 5, 2007, 08:16 AM
For sale, one parachute. Used once, never opened, small stain.

Double Naught Spy
May 5, 2007, 08:47 AM
I wonder where somebody could get their hands on some old ballistic panels?

I'd like to see a real world "vest o' truth"

I used to buy the odd panels (1/2 of a set with no match) for fairly cheap on ebay and test them with various forms of ammo. The ratings are (or used to be) for 3 shots that were spaced a few inches apart that impact the center of the vest. I would overload the vest with shooting it with 9mm or .45 acp up to about 50 times, all over, usually from about 2 yards. The vests I purchased after 2001 were usually made in the late 80s or early 90s and were always kevlar, usually II or IIIa rated. What I found is that they all did exceptionally well. I found not get penetration failure (where the vest fails to stop a round) usually until well after 20 rounds and more often after 30 if I didn't actually shoot the same hole more than once.

As I understand it, vests basucakkt work by "catching" the incoming projectile. When that happens, the fibers not actually destroyed in the impact will 'catch' by pulling from their surrounding weave. This loosens the weave quite a bit and the vest loses its ability to 'catch.' So I found it usually too high round counts to loosen the weave all around the vest. I also found that a vest is more likely to fail near the edges than it is in the center. That is because the edges don't offer as much of the weave's pulling resource to catch the bullet.

If you enjoyed reading about "Body Armor -- How do you know it's real?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!