Body Armor FAQ
- "How do I know if my concealable body armor fits correctly?"
Concealable body armor should cover your center mass vitals, and achieve anywhere from a 2 inch gap on each side (most mobility) to overlapping of the ballistic panels on the sides where the front and back panels meet (most protection). A correctly sized vest will cover you from 1-1.5 inches below the top of your breastbone, to 1-2 inches above your navel (belly button) in length. The width, as mentioned earlier, should achieve anywhere from a 2 inch gap to 1" of overlapping where the front and rear panels meet. It is a personal preference on comfort/mobility/ concealability and protection. Your front panel should always law over your rear panel, threats typically come from in front of you, and this ensures the layer of opening on the side of our vest is rear facing. A vest that is too small for the user will lack the needed coverage to ensure proper protection with large gaps of coverage, as well as being too tight and constricting. Whereas a vest that is too large will shift while its being worn, it will bunch and crumple causing pinch points and poor protection. So it is a crucial step when buying body armor to ensure it fits properly so it performs at its peak level. If you have any questions about armor sizing, don't hesitate to call us. Our Highly trained staff will assist you in getting the best fit for you.
- "What about Rifle Threats?"
If protecting yourself from weapon threats like .223, .556, 7.62X39, .308, 30-06, and other rifles, you will want to look into level III or IV hard armor plates. While these products are heavier and thicker than soft body armor, they stop vastly more powerful threats. The technology advances to make these vital products lighter, stronger, and more user friendly for the person who needs to protect themselves from high-powered rifles.
- "Level IIA, Level II and Level IIIA, What's the difference and which level do I need?"
This is all dependent on what level of pistol threats you expect to encounter. The general rule of thumb is to cover what you are carrying. IIA will be good to cover low end pistol threats like standard ball ammo from weapons like a 9mm or a .40cal. Level II will cover higher speed 9mm's (1245fps), .357 mag, .45acp, whereas IIIA will cover you for rounds such as a .44mag 240 SJHP and the .357 sig. If you feel like you will encounter higher level pistol threats, we recommend the IIIA level vests.
For more information on Point Blank Levels, Grades, and Models, please click here.
- "What additional threats will my vest stop if I used add on trauma packs?"
Again, this is dependent on the product you are using. Soft trauma packs are the most common supplementary armor insert, and they DO NOT increase the actual ballistic rating of your vest. The same is true for steel and titanium trauma plates; if the trauma insert does not list any ballistic information on the back, chances are it is not rated for any additional stopping power and just helps to diffuse the energy transfer and back-face deformation. This has the effect of reducing the impact the wearer feels.
However, there are add-on items you can use in a concealable vest to increase your ballistic protection level. Almost all armor manufacturers make some sort of "IIIA+" plate, more commonly referred to as a "Special Threat Plate". These are excellent add-on items because they not only bring your center mass ballistic protection above and beyond Level IIIA, but also help protect against blunt force and stab threats. Refer to the specifications for each plate for more details.
- "How do I clean my armor?"
As we just mentioned, getting your armor wet is not good. So the next question that always comes up is how to clean armor. Your concealable carrier will be machine washable, and most have wash instructions on them. The ballistic panels on the other hand, you will want to take them out of the carrier, lay them down on a flat surface and wipe them down with a cloth SLIGHTLY dampened in a mild solution of dish soap and warm water. Dry immediately, repeat the process 2-3 times and ensure your panels are quite dry before re-applying your carrier. Body armor is one of those things that are easy to forget to clean, but if you let it go, it will get quite pungent in its odor, regularly scheduled maintenance is a crucial part of maintaining any gear or equipment and your armor is no exception.
- "I am not a police officer; can I still buy body armor?"
Yes, provided you are over the age of 18, and are not a convicted felon, it is legal for a civilian to own body armor. There are numerous civilian applications for armor, such as bouncers at nightclubs, armored car drivers, repo-men, private security, and high value delivery people. However it should be noted that if you commit crimes while wearing armor, the sentence is almost always upgraded to a class 4 felony.
- "If I am wearing armor, can I still be killed by a bullet?"
Sad to say, but yes. Within the industry it is more commonly referred to as a "ballistic resistant" vest, unfortunately nothing is 100% bullet proof. That being said, if your armor is equal to the task of the threat you are dealing with you should be fine, provided the round strikes the protected area of the vest. As we mentioned before, different levels of armor are rated for different threats. Wear armor appropriate to the situation you are going into. If you expect to deal with rifle threats, you should be donning rifle plates. If you are going to a pistols only shooting range and are only concerned with poor range practices and ricochets, a concealable vest will be fine.
- "Is it legal for me to buy OC or Pepper Spray in my state?"
As of 2016, pepper spray can be legally purchased and carried in some form by anyone over 18 in all 50 states. However, other states do not have requirements about age. Currently, state laws prohibit us from shipping some pepper spray products to AK, or NJ, and all pepper spray products to Massachusetts, New York, and Hawaii.
- New Hampshire: NH has no restrictions of any kind on age, licensing, or shipping on any OC defense spray products.
- Massachusetts: It is illegal to ship OC spray within the state and you'll need to be at least 18 years old. In addition, local town ordinances may have further restrictions on OC defense spray products so be sure to check with them. Note: it used to be required to have a valid state FID card to posses OC spray in the state, but that law was repealed and as of July 1st, 2015, it is once again legal.
See more state-by-state laws on OC defense spray products. >>