Ballistic ("Bulletproof") Vests?


April 6, 2011, 03:53 PM
Just curious, how many people here besides me wear one out in public? Of course I wear mine UNDER my shirt, don't need to be freaking everyone out.

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April 6, 2011, 03:57 PM
On the "job" I had to wear a vest daily, and I never like it. Now retired I have no need to wear a vest, nor do I understand why anyone not employed in law enforcement or some type of security would need to ware a vest.

April 6, 2011, 04:04 PM
Not sure why anyone who is not reasonably likely to get in a gunfight would wear a bulletproof vest? Carry a gun...yes. Wear a hot uncomfortable vest every day without living a fairly dangerous Just my opinion but this is a free country so I certainly wouldn't push for a law to keep someone from wearing a vest; after all I am a conservative and believe in fewer restrictions from big brother. If that is what floats your boat then by all means, don't forget the side SAPI plates.

April 6, 2011, 04:12 PM
I have one, but it's more of a momento than than anything else. I've never worn it in public, under the shirt or exposed. I live in a pretty safe area though, and the random gunfire I do hear is usually a neighbor shooting a racoon or something. But it does rest next to my bed in case of a late night home invasion.

April 6, 2011, 04:17 PM

April 6, 2011, 05:09 PM
I have a couple nice ones from the very late 1920s and early 1930s, rated to stop Thomson rounds, .38 Super and 30-30 Rifle.

They just look like a regular Suit Vest, only they come up higher, or the one has a fake White Shirt part showing at the center top.

Never have had any occasion to wear them though.

Actually, fine with me if I never do have any occasion to wear them in any ernest.

I used to have some various employment situations where they might have come in handy, but, I managed alright without them.

April 6, 2011, 05:15 PM
No. Unless you live in a rough area I think it's a touch over paranoid. No offense at all. You can wear one if you'd like. lol

April 6, 2011, 05:23 PM
Nope... No reason to wear it anymore. I have one, it's hanging in the closet with all the other useless stuff I've collected.

April 6, 2011, 05:27 PM
I keep one at bedside to don when I go check that "bump in the night".

As for wearing one in public, only when working.


April 6, 2011, 05:40 PM

Cal-gun Fan
April 6, 2011, 06:35 PM
Just me...but I kind of think wearing a bullet proof vest while in public...unless you are Law a bit poser-ish.

April 6, 2011, 07:47 PM
Vests are designed to be comfort-ing, not comfort-able. It is nice having something covering your vitals that will stop bullets.

Even in 110 degree heat and coming home 7 pounds lighter from water weight loss, it is still the best thing to have on over or under a uniform. The Kevlar Survivors Club has over 3000 members whose lives have been saved by body armor.

Louis Awerbuck says in his book Tactical Reality something like, "Anyone who can wear body armor and doesn't is a stupid idiot".

Just my .02,

Jeff White
April 6, 2011, 07:54 PM
Never worn mine off duty. Doubt I ever will...

April 6, 2011, 08:11 PM
well I have 2 both are 3a one for me one for mrs. Dont wear it. Probably never will. I only have them for if the border violence pops off here in el paso. Things would get bad fast.

April 6, 2011, 08:44 PM
No. Unless you live in a rough area I think it's a touch over paranoid. No offense at all. You can wear one if you'd like. lol

Well I retail them, might as well take advantage of such easy access, lol. There's some people who don't like me out there.. I think the saying is "you're not paranoid if they're really out to get you".

Just me...but I kind of think wearing a bullet proof vest while in public...unless you are Law a bit poser-ish.

If you're not going around advertising it, I don't see how it could be "poser-ish". I wear it UNDER my clothing, most people probably don't even notice I have it on.

April 6, 2011, 08:53 PM
I have one hanging next to the safe but vie never needed it. It would be utilized in a SHTF scenario but not everyday use.

April 6, 2011, 09:22 PM
I'm going to start wearing a vest. I just got a job as an RSO. I used to BS with the old RSO and I thought his wearing a vest was a little over the top... after a week as an RSO, with all the noobs around and the things I've seen them do :what:, I'm wearing one now, too. I'll probably put it on in the morning before leaving the house and take it off when I get home, if I stop and get gas or something and I'm technically "in public" so be it.

April 6, 2011, 09:43 PM
IIa for 60 hours a week for a decade, soaked in sweat all summer, freezing in the winter. No longer LE and will never strap another one on.

I *can* wear a vest, unless I live in a war zone no-one is an idiot for not wearing one. I *can* also drive to work in an armor plated vehicles with body guards.

April 6, 2011, 09:47 PM
No why would you unless you expected someone was going to try to kill you, especially here in FL.I think that's over the top. You may have a reason why you feel you need one, if so than that's your business.

April 7, 2011, 01:08 AM
Never wore mind off duty, outside of range training where I wanted to work layout on my kit.

April 7, 2011, 02:17 AM
I can't remember exactly where, but I've trawled around the internet and found vests made to look like "regular clothes" like jean jackets and such, rated to IIIA. And IIIA backpacks, briefcases, laptop cases, etc. Course, they were exorbitantly expensive.

April 7, 2011, 02:29 AM
I have two (one for me, the other for...) in my B.O.B. never a daily fashion statement. They might get outlawed here in Komunist ********** if Nancy P. has her way about things so I got mine early, just to be safe you know... LOL

April 7, 2011, 03:41 AM
On Duty , all the time . off duty ? no thanks .

April 7, 2011, 03:59 AM
I've worn a IIIA vest for tens of thousands of hours of work as a police officer, and have NO desire to wear that uncomfortable, smelly, annoying sweat-suit outside of work. Vests are hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and never as comfortable as wearing a regular piece of clothing.

As the others have said, I can't understand why anyone would want to wear one of these things if they weren't working in a capacity where they expected to have a significantly above-average chance of becoming involved in a gun fight.

If you like to wear one for personal outings, more power to you. Since you sell them and like to take advantage of the access to them, I can't fault you for your logic. But, from my perspective on the subject, the idea seems about as appealing to me as walking around while trying to balance a brick on my head all day!

April 7, 2011, 07:30 AM
As often as I wear my garlic necklace.

April 7, 2011, 10:05 AM

Ok you sell them, so I could understand wearing one to a trade show or the like to demonstrate the vest. But everyday? Where do you live, Afghanistan? If there are people out there that are really out to get you maybe you need to change more than just wearing a vest.

April 7, 2011, 10:16 AM
Serious question here....any of you folks that don't like the vests ever been shot?

April 7, 2011, 11:06 AM
Shot at but never shot. Even under fire you get a much better warm fuzzy from cover than from body armor.

April 7, 2011, 11:11 AM
no... not gonna wear my vest if I don't have to... and a resounding HELL NO to the SAPI plates too! can't wait 'til I don't have to wear them anymore, again, ever! c'mon July!!! only 3 more months!

April 7, 2011, 11:50 AM
any of you folks that don't like the vests ever been shot?
Nope, well not with a pistol or rifle round. Been peppered with shot from shotguns but nothing serious. And took some blank wads to the forehead...

I used to wear one everyday for work. Your chances of actually needing one in everyday life are about as good as getting struck by lighting. Do you wear a lightning rod too? If it works for him, then hey knock yourself out. I see a line between being reasonably prepared for everyday life and lining my hat with Kevlar.

April 7, 2011, 12:18 PM
Your chances of actually needing one in everyday life are about as good as getting struck by lighting. Do you wear a lightning rod too?

Couldn't the same be said for Conceal & Carry?

April 7, 2011, 12:49 PM
Couldn't the same be said for Conceal & Carry?
Indeed it could. See we differ on what being prepared and being paranoid mean. I live in the 2nd largest city in the state, which makes us 41 overall. It is fairly safe here. I do not in any way fear for my life. But I see a difference in carrying a side arm for what if, and wearing body armor.

And honestly if it comes down to my having to draw my weapon I have failed big time. My weapon is a tool of last resort. I should be aware of my surroundings and know when to exit an area long before I have to draw.

Rail Driver
April 7, 2011, 12:50 PM
I wore one for probably about a year before I got tired of this FL heat and humidity making my vest stink. I forget how many times I had to clean the carrier. Ended up replacing the carrier before I sold the vest. (should've kept it for a "just in case")

April 7, 2011, 01:20 PM
Same could be said for concealed carry, I guess, but to me it's higher on the scale of threat prep than just a pistol and a spare mag or two. Wearing body armor in my mind is more on par with carrying a go bag with a stack of spare mags, trauma blow out kit, and food/water to E&E with. Maybe a time and place for that to, but it's not my day to day.

Larry Ashcraft
April 7, 2011, 01:25 PM
I have an old friend from school who retired from Seal Team 1. He's now a sheriff's deputy and wears his vest daily. His reasoning? "I've been shot, and it hurts."

For me though, I'm not in LE, so I'll take my chances.

April 7, 2011, 01:25 PM
If I had the money and found a good deal I'd probably buy one but I doubt i'd ever wear it. It would be nice to have for SHTF situations but that'd be it.

On a side note, do you have a briefcase with extra ceramic plates in it so you can shield your head while catching the .308 rounds?:neener:

Just kidding.

April 7, 2011, 01:36 PM
lol well, some of my more expensive IIIA vests are pretty thin and flexible (like 5.6mm thickness i think?) so i would assume that would increase your comfort level.

ANYWAYS, it isn't like I wear it all the time. If I'm going to be walking I will, if I'm just driving to a store or something, probably leave it at home.

mgregg85 - funny you mention it, i might be stocking some "bulletproof briefcases" in the future. LOL

April 7, 2011, 04:22 PM
Just curious, how old are you Iceman?

April 7, 2011, 04:49 PM
Turning 19 years of age in June.

April 7, 2011, 04:52 PM

April 7, 2011, 05:02 PM
Out of curiosity...

A couple of you said the vests were hot in summer and cold in winter. I understand why it would be hot in the summer, but what makes it cold in the winter? Is it because you sweat and sweat in cold air makes you cold? Or what?

April 7, 2011, 05:14 PM
You sweat under the vest and the evaporation cools your core body temperature down. Wearing body armor feels great on a cold day up until you start to sweat then it sucks. It is especially bad if you have to stop and remain relatively motionless for any period of time.

April 7, 2011, 05:21 PM
I have to where an IOTV damn near every day (3a plus front/back/side SAPI) and i wouldn't where a vest when off duty if you payed me. I was wounded in the leg in 2004 and i still wouldn't ware a vest state side unless i was forced too.

Steve Raacke
April 7, 2011, 07:48 PM
I wear my old Second Chance vest under my uniform. As soon as I clock out the vest comes off. Heavy, hot and restrictive.

April 7, 2011, 08:03 PM
When working in the field - always. Off duty - never.

April 8, 2011, 01:10 AM
Interesting replies and thanks for the answers! I asked the question as I was rereading a post from this blog here which originates from Argentina:

This entry reminded me of a conversation I had with a handful of Hispanics at my wifes church. They are an interesting group as one was a Captain in the Guatamalan police; another had been a police officer in Ecuador; the others were from a grab bag of Central/South American countries. Several of them had body armor and would wear it much as described in the blog even though they now live here in 'safe' America. I remember asking 'why?' as the idea hadn't really entered my mind at the time. They replied that violent crime happens suddenly and body armor can give you the edge you need to survive, and most importantly, getting shot hurts! (Some of them had the bullet and surgery scars to prove the point).

I don't have body armor yet, but I'm seriously considering investing in one of those 2A soft armor vests for just those types of occasions mentioned in the blog article. I can't see wearing it all the time, but there sure are times when it would be nice to have.

April 8, 2011, 04:09 AM
Serious question here....any of you folks that don't like the vests ever been shot?

I haven't been shot, but I've been shot at a few times in my career. The vest didn't give me the least bit of comfort in those situations, to be entirely honest with you. As the other poster who responded to this question already said, a larger piece of cover was much more comforting!

Wearing a vest is much better than wearing nothing when working in LE, but the vest still only covers a relatively small portion of your body, and a number or important vital areas are still very much exposed outside of the vest. Even with that said, I've never worked a day on the streets without my ballistic vest, because I've always sort of figured that it was more comfortable to wear than a body bag. But, the risk-vs-reward balance shifts quite a bit when I'm on my own time, since I estimate that my job is far more dangerous than my personal life.

On the subject of being shot at, the greatest comfort to me at those times was the gun in my hand, and the knowledge that I could probably use it better than the guy who was shooting at me. The least comforting fact in each of those situations was that I was being ambushed, and hadn't yet identified the shooter's location. Fortunately the shooter wasn't skilled in any of these encounters (I can think of three incidents), and I'm still here to talk about it!

Sure, wearing a vest on my own time could theoretically make me less likely to die at the hands of an armed violent sociopath. On the other hand, I could probably be even safer if I only ever traveled in an armored car, and never exited the vehicle in public. Personal security is always going to require a balance between being safe and being practical. For most of us, wearing a ballistic vest as a part of our daily routine isn't necessary, or practical. Tacticool, perhaps, but still not needed.

April 8, 2011, 06:04 AM
While wearing my vest off duty some years ago I was run off the road by what was most likely a drunk driver and struck a tree. My vehicle was severely damaged and I was almost killed. The other driver fled the scene and left me in the woodline. The accident occurred in a deserted, semi-rural area. Because of the vest and its titanium insert I was able to extricate myself and get help before collapsing from shock. The doctors couldn't understand why my upper torso was unharmed until I explained to them that I was wearing body armor with an armored plate over my heart. My treating physician told me in no uncertain terms that without the vest and plate working together my ribcage would have been destroyed.

I still have that vest and plate to this day. Whenever I'm tempted to not wear my vest because it's hot or uncomfortable I remember what it felt like to be in intensive care with the doctors telling me that I was twenty minutes away from death when I arrived at the E.R.

Modern body armor is only mildly uncomfortable particularly if you have a vest which is properly fitted and of high quality. Proper fitting is the key. In my experience more than half of people who wear a kevlar vest never had their measurements taken properly or the vest was incorrectly sized. As for heat, Level IIA vests are very lightweight these days.

I don't look down on anyone who chooses not to wear one but I can tell you from personal experience that there are more reasons to wear kevlar than protection from small arms.

April 8, 2011, 06:48 AM
Naw. I made Kevlar for 25 years. Never have worn it.

April 8, 2011, 10:31 AM
I cannot imagine why anyone would wear such an uncomfortable thing unless a LEO or planning to get into a gunfight.
I wonder if a court might find that a person who wore one would be looking for a fight?

Anyway, not me.


April 8, 2011, 10:41 AM
I wonder if a court might find that a person who wore one would be looking for a fight?

That would be dumb but now that you mention it, I could probably see that...

That would also be like saying "wearing steel-toe boots means you're looking to drop something heavy on your foot" though.

April 8, 2011, 12:21 PM
I live in Texas and it can get up to 110 degrees the vest were ClassIIA. My undershirt would be soaking wet.Sometimes in the heat I removed the back protection so my body could breath.I knew the risk but I tried not to turn my back to a subject on a stop.After I retired I said no more vest for me.

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