Quantcast

Body Armor, now more affordable.

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by EMT40SW, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. EMT40SW

    EMT40SW Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    244
    Location:
    Southwestern US
    Over the last year I have realized the value of Armor for me & my family. Houses are real bad at stopping bullets. Then Colion Noir made a great video about armor for civilians, every if they are anti-gun. I acknowledged the need for a defensive firearm but was in denial the benefits of armor. Now with a Level 3 steel rifle plate setup at $150, soft 3A Armor with Carrier $100, or 3A panels for backpacks $40-$50. Venders like AR500 Armor & Botach have been great for me. Bulletproof me is good too.



    How about anyone else?
     
    drobs likes this.
  2. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,647
    Location:
    Rural, far beyond the beltway, Northern Virginia,
    No, I do not feel the need for armor inside (or outside) of my house.

    Relative to the possibility of having to discharge a firearm inside my house (and for shooting enjoyment in general), I was hoping for the cost of suppressors to come down radically, but after the last election ... <sigh>
     
    Corpral_Agarn likes this.
  3. cheygriz

    cheygriz member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    3,550
    Location:
    High up in the Rockies
    I wore it every day for over 20 years. Haven't worn it since retiring.
     
    ColtPythonElite and bbqreloader like this.
  4. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    Ok, my favorite is Colion's #5 reason.

    However, I have a lifetime's experience in armor, from light (as in steel pot and frag vest) to heavy. Pretty much, you are giving up 25-30%. The "of what" is a calculus, a matrix of agility, flexibility, stamina, mobility, load-carrying. It's not uniform, just as we, each of us, is not uniform. You can improve upon that loss, mostly by training, a lot of training. Which means wearing the armor everyday, continually adjusting it (or building up callus to it). Wearing armor every day, to use a word, sucks. It's not good for the person, it's not good for the armor, either.

    CN's rig is a young man's setup, really minimal coverage; to my (admittedly biased) eye, he's trading exposure for agility, flexibility, and size. His threat protection is only about 1.5 to 2 MOA. And, bullet protection is a case where you want 10 or 12 MOA of protection, even 18 or 20 if you can get it. (But that latter looks rather more like a LAV-25 or Bradley.)

    Armor is no panacea, a way to go through life with one fewer worry to furrow one's brow. Sadly, until there's another huge leap in technology, it remains a way to ruin undershirts in record time and to experience the joys of donning armor fresh from the freezer.

    But, I'm jaded and cynical on this topic.
     
  5. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,702
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    Minutes of Angle seems like an interesting way to measure body armor coverage - mostly because it seems to require a range estimate regarding where your attacker is while he's engaging you.
    Say CN has a normal 10" plate in there. At 2 MOA that means you're assuming an attacker is 500 yards away? And at 50 yards the same armor is 20 MOA? I must be missing something...

    Spot on regarding mobility and weight. A few pounds here and a few pounds there doesn't seem bad until you have armor, mags, and all the other crap you may want with you (Medical, random junk pouch, belt for your pistol/pistol mags, maybe a radio...) and then you put it on and start thinking "and just how am I supposed to fight in this?". Anyone with an armor setup should put it on and then do some burpees. Great way to find out how out of shape you really are :D

    I include myself in that as well - I'm not out of shape per say, but every time I put on armor I wish I was in better shape.

    That said, I DO think armor is something important to have if you are serious about defensive firearms. Not necessarily a first or second thing to buy, but if you've got 5 ARs and 10 other guns with the appropriate optics, lights, slings, mags, etc, I think it's worth looking into armor instead of buying one more gun. I bought mine specifically for shooting classes. A bunch of people who I don't know (who may not have much training) firing rifles in close proximity to me, with movement and potentially bounding (depending on the class)? I'm going to be tired at the end of the day, but I'm wearing armor. (Also that whole "train how you fight" thing).

    I also think it is useful for home defense. If you knew that at 11:35 on Tuesday you were going to be in a gunfight (and you couldn't just not show up, you HAD to be there) wouldn't you bring rifles and armor and ammo and everything else that might give you a better chance at winning/surviving? I certainly would! Now move that to a home defense scenario. If you have time, wouldn't you want the option of having armor?

    Of course use common sense. If it's a raccoon in the trash can, you don't need to get fully suited up. If it's someone trying to kick down your door, I'd want every advantage I could get - including protection should the other guy get some shots off.

    For the full (or localized) end of the world type thing, I would wear the armor but try to conceal it (not real easy without a sweatshirt or something like that). I would want the protection, but also would want to blend in as best I could.
     
  6. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    No, I was using angular geometry in two different directions and not clarifying that use.

    When we shoot at paper targets, we are concerned with a cone of dispersion based upon a flat circle. A circle maybe 8-9" in diameter. However, that's a sphere of about volleyball dimension. Ideally, we'd want protection for 360º of that region. Which is complicated by the human torso being a bit barrel-shaped, and, by necessity, needing open top & bottom.

    Math gets a little funky here. A 4 MOA cone at 25 yards is about 1" on "our" volleyball. So, a 10" plate looks like pretty wide protection. Ok, now rotate the threat, at 25 yards, oh, 30º either way from centered straight on. That's 1800 MOA. So, the cones don't overlap quite so well.

    Note that does not adrdess if you have "bladed up"--turned your torso to reduce your apparent width--toward your putative opponent. 80% of us will rotate ourselves near 45º to our right--to "lead with the left" as it were. Most of us will have dropped the left elbow down alongside where that plate just moved away from. Sadly, most elbows are not impact rated, if better than nothing.

    Body rotation also has another effect on plate carriers, lean forward--like many of us might, particularly if taught "combat crouch"--and you rotate that plate 30-40º which reduces the height about a third. Ok, some upside in crouching, it really increases necessary penetration distance (this has not escaped the notice of trauma surgeons).

    All these angles and moving variables can want to melt a person's brain. But, then again, so can calculating the closest point of approach of a container ship in a narrow channel at night against a contrary current.
     
    Corpral_Agarn likes this.
  7. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,702
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    Ah, ok. I've never heard armor protection described in that manner, but it makes sense.

    You're right about the numbers and variables getting a little wonky, but it's always fun to learn a new way of looking at things.
     
  8. WrongHanded
    • Contributing Member

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,169
    As I have understood it, soft armor has an expiration date. Next time I buy, I'll buy plate. Not that it does anything but sit next to my home defense shotgun. But like the shotgun; it's nice to have should I ever need it and have time to get it into action.
     
  9. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,702
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    The expiration date on soft armor is more of a liability issue for the manufacturer rather than a date that the armor actually goes bad. There's been lots of testing on old/expired soft armor panels and the general consensus is that they will continue to stop rounds from their original rating long after they have expired.

    Now if you're hard on your armor and use it every day, get it wet, etc the life will be a bit shorter than if you hadn't. But if your armor is stored in a climate controlled home and not being constantly exposed to the elements, you shouldn't have to worry about replacing your soft armor for quite a few years.

    On the other hand, if you go with steel plates those older soft armor panels would probably be great for spall protection.
     
  10. labnoti

    labnoti Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2018
    Messages:
    1,226
    I've always thought the helmet was the most important piece of armor. Vests tend to be worn by law enforcement because helmets are less practical for their line of work, but wouldn't a soldier in combat be better off with a helmet and no vest than with a vest and no helmet? It seems helmets have always been more practical in combat even before current soft armor and plate carrier tech became standard. Understandably, a helmet is not more practical for civilians than it is for law enforcement for everyday use. But if a civilian isn't going to wear a vest daily, it seems like a helmet and ballistic shield would be more practical to have on standby for home defense or protection in incidents of civil unrest like rioting or looting.
     
  11. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    This is a cogent point.

    Human body has a number of vulnerable points--neck, armpits, front half of the pelvis, and both thighs. All of these areas are hard to protect. Which gets more complicated when you do not have certainty on the threat axis.

    Now note this shows both the benefit and the liability of a good shield. Shield gives a big arc of protection, but, only if the threat is in that arc.

    On helmets, a person will read and hear much on how the head is a small, moving, target, and hard to hit. And, it is. Except for when it's not--like if you are focused on something, or aiming, or using binoculars or the like. The head is somewhat more vulnerable to smaller, and lesser, injuries than the rest of the corpus vivendi. This is one of the reasons that militaries all adopted helmets about a century ago. They didn't have to be perfect, just good enough (80% of battlefield casualties are from low velocity, <300 fps, fragments). But, helmets restrict sensory inputs, too (many of which are concentrated in the head).

    You also need practice wearing one, too--you need to build up neck strength becasue your head has a different mass and inertia with a helmet than without.

    Helmets have become pretty standard for a number of thing nowadays, too. Climbing, biking, even the ubiquitous hard hat. Each can offer some protection. The question becomes how much protection is "enough."

    And, that latter is the conundrum. There is no simple answer for how much is enough. I can't answer that question. Not even, universally for myself. If I lived in a higher threat environment (I don't, as part of a layered strategy) I would look harder at some of the shield that are out there. I'd probably take the weight penalty and have a vision port, too (f there's enough threat for a shield, there's more threat than worth poking a head around to eyeball what's going on).
     
    Corpral_Agarn likes this.
  12. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Messages:
    24,508
    i'm a fan of it. not so much for defensive use, but more for 2A use. i own it because it was a requirement for some classes that involved shoot houses.
     
  13. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    4,801
    Helmets started to become standard issue in the US Military around WWI. Ironically there was a belief that wearing armor was somehow cowardly or a poor sport to war. Flack vest armor started to become introduced much later, around the Vietnam war. These days a vest is far more important than a helmet for your average soldier. Namely because that is typically where a service member carries their ammo, med supplies, sometimes water etc.

    That just reminded me of all the various exercises I used to do in full kit.
     
  14. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    Yeah, all that dumb stuff we used to stand in groups and do repetively had an actual purpose
    Who knew?
    [:)]

    Brits introduced the Brody in '15-16 or so. High Command almost stopped issuing them because head and neck injuries increased. But, after more than a little research, injuries were up because deaths were down. French & Germans adopted metal helmets about the same time. Austro-Hungarians/Turks waited until 1917 (IIRC, might be wrong on that date, but it was most of a year after everyone else). Commonwealth troops were hit or miss; the Canadians used Brodies; the ANZACs not so much (unless on Western Front) Can't remember if the Imperial Russians adopted helmets before the Revolution or not.
    US adopted the Brody as the Helmet, M-1917, based very much upon British experience.

    Kind of fascinating how so many military forces adopted the helmet at nearly the same time. Mind, barrage artillery came into its own about the same time.
     
  15. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    4,801
    Oh I knew all along there was a purpose. For the first couple hours doing flutter kicks and hello dollies with a helmet on, but not letting it rest on the floor, I figured "wow, this will really make wearing this helmet easier."

    Same thing happened to tanks. And roughly the same time period. Brits came out with it first. Then Germans. Then French and the US.
     
  16. Gridley

    Gridley Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2018
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Washington State
    Pretty sure it wasn't a coincidence - and I think you hit the nail on the head by pointing to artillery. Going off of memory, circa WWI was when time fuzes for artillery were becoming reliable, which combined with breachloaders meant lots of tiny slivers from above. Based on photos it does not seem that the helmets of WWI or WWII were generally up to stopping a direct hit from a rifle bullet, but hunkering down under your helmet covers a large portion of your body from airbursts (or grenade fragments, etc.).

    When I was looking at armor I was reminded that there is no such thing as "bullet proof"; there is only "proof against certain bullets."

    Adding it up I came to the conclusion that a helmet tough enough to be useful to a civilian wasn't something I wanted to wear. I have an AR500 plate carrier with a set of their hard plates and think it was a reasonable investment, but I won't buy a helmet with current material technology.

    Of course as materials tech is a rapidly changing field in a few years I'll probably take another look at the helmet market. :)
     
  17. Kabic

    Kabic Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Messages:
    83
    Helment development in WWI

     
  18. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    4,584
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    Fuses in general were improving from increased industrialization. Also, "cold" casting high explosive fillers made shell, rather than shot, the round of choice. Being able to use shell meant being able to fire from defillade, e.g. ballistically. And, more tubes were available, too.

    So, you could fire your guns from a protected position and use "area effect" on your enemy.

    High explosive shells generate terminal effect by over-pressure in the main. This kicks up debris well beyond the "splinter" range of the shell casing itself.

    The other thing to not discount was the availability of accurate timepieces. Which can be subtle. If you calculate that four tube ought have their fires all strike a target at M-Minute, you have some choices. You could run phone/telegraph wires to each tube. But, that's complicated. You could give a visual signal, but, clouds, rain, nighhtfall, gunsmoke, and the like make that less reliable. But, if each gun captain has a reliable watch, the Platoon leader need only tell the GCs that they are to fire at M-Minute of H-hour. Done.
     
    Dan Forrester and Gridley like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice