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Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by singularity35, Apr 27, 2013.
Can you guys recommend a reasonably priced lvl 2 vest that's concealable? Thanks.
Premium Kevlar Level II (0.23"thick) is $450.
Police Surplus from $200 to $250.
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I would avoid the police surplus, body armor has an expiration date, and the surplus stuff is usually close to expired, or already there.
Why a level II? With the advent of IIIa concealable why even bother?
I wondered about that. Does that mean it's no longer effectuve?
Aren't lvl 2's thinner(more comfortable)? A bit cooler helps since we have 28-31 centigrade temps.
Some of the Kevlar alternatives do expire, but Kevlar doesn't expire. They put a 5 year expiration date on them because it helps them sell more vests. As long as it is in good condition and made out of Kevlar that date means nothing.
Level II verses Level IIIa. No real difference in penetration protection. Main difference is blunt trama protection which like the expiration date has never been proven to be real for Kevlar vests.
Basically somebody took a block of modelling clay and put it behind a vest. They then shot the vest with different calibers of ammo and measured how big a dent each made in the modelling clay. Level IIIa vests have more layers than level II vest and are stiffer so you get a smaller dent in the clay all things being equal.
Problem is nobody has ever examined this scientifically to see if modelling clay is a reasonable analog for a human being, nor has anyone ever linked the size of the dent in the modelling clay to any difference in outcomes for the person wearing the vest. It is intuitive to think a IIIa vest should be better than a II vest, but there is no real world evidence to back this opinion up. Basically as long as it is not fired from a rifle and the bullet hits the vest, the bullet is stopped and the person lives. Miss the vest or is fired from a rifle, bullet penetrates and does whatever it does.
If you look at the test results, level II vests are not penetrated by handgun or shotgun ammo any more than level IIIa vests are. A rifle goes right through either of them without the slightest difficulty.
Level IIIa vests are heavier and stiffer than level II vests so they are harder to conceal, are hotter and are much less comfortable to wear long term.
A level II vest that you will actually wear is infinitely better than a IIIa vest sitting in the trunk of your car. Personally I think a better option is a level II vest for general wear and a Level III or IV plate carrier for when you know you are likely to get shot at.
Thanks! That information is really what I need. I don't really expect to get shot at but me and my friends have got it into our heads to get vests and if I'm to get one, at least I have reasonable expectations on pricing and capabilities(of the vest).
As someone who's worn armor professionally, for vast periods of time, I don't find there to be a large difference in the wearability of the two.
However, I do find the additional protection of the IIIa, over II to be significant. Especially considering the popularity of those specific rounds its stops, that II is not certified to stop.
Thanks! Althoug special ammo is hard to find here(even us gun guys have a hard time getting them), additional protection is always a good thing if there's not a big price to be paid in wearability.
No difference. No vest moves air through it no matter the level. A 2 may be more comfortable because it is lighter and more flexible but that is as far as it goes.
Good to know that, thanks!
No difference between the two in terms of comfort really because it is like wrapping yourself in saranwrap. At work people not wearing body armor wonder how I can get away with short sleeves or no jacket when they are cold. I remind them that I have 1/4 inch of Kevlar wrapped around my torso.
Yup.....I love going outside in summer with basically the insulation a winter coat offers.
Did you wear them concealed or over your clothes? You are correct if you are wearing it like a jacket. The difference in thickness and stiffness is significant however when you are trying to conceal the vest. I have both a level II and a IIIa vest and the level II vest is less uncomfortable to wear. Even the Level II vest is not a lot of fun to wear in the summer.
What rounds are you referring to that the level IIIa vest stops that a Level II vest won't stop? I got a Level II sample panel from bulletproofme and I was unable to penetrate it with my .44 magnum (hard cast 240g from an 8-3/8" barrel). This sample was over 10 years old too. I am sure it would hurt like hell to get shot with any vest on, but as long as it doesn't penetrate, the odds are I am going to live through the experience.
When you guys are talking about concealable Level IIIa are you talking about a Kevlar vest or one of the alternatives (GoldFlex, etc)? GoldFlex is a lot thinner (a GoldFlex Level IIIa is the same thickness as a Kevlar II), but I am not convinced these are as reliable.
I personally am only willing to trust Kevlar bullet resistant vests. Kevlar has been proven to hold up to high temperatures and high humidity and to not lose effectiveness over time.
There are plenty of factory loads a II will not stop, specifically a 9mm load over 1100fps.
And yet it will stop a 240g, .44 magnum at 1500 PFS. I think there is something wrong with your data. The "failure" from 9mm at 1100 FPS relates to the size of the dent in the clay behind the vest, not that the round penetrated it. There are some pistol rounds that can penetrate a level II vest (some 5.7x28 and 7.62x25), but these are very uncommon (the 5.7 ammo that will do this is going for $10 a round and it will penetrate a level IIIa vest as well).
If you define a vest failure by the size of the dent in a lump of clay behind the vest then I guess you can say a level II vest failed, however I know of only one death attributed to blunt trauma that didn't penetrate the vest. People die from hard impacts to the chest (Commotio cordis killed 188 between 1996 to 2007) so this is not impossible. However in the overwhelming majority of cases, if the bullet doesn't penetrate or miss the vest then the person lives.
That is not to say being shot while wearing a vest is no big deal. Anybody shot wearing a ballistic vest needs medical attention.
There haven't been many studies of this subject. Here a report from one of them.
If you are interested in the choice of modelling clay for testing ballistic vests here is a link to the research behind it.
Modelling clay was chosen solely because it was cheap and easy to use and gave easily measured results (ballistic gel required high speed cameras to measure temporary deformity and that was too hard). The researchers never established that dent depth in modeling clay had any correlation to severity of wounds.
In addition they never had a single blunt trauma induced death in any of the animal tests they performed. Despite this they picked 44 mm because it was the average dent depth they measured with the load and vest they happened to be testing. How they were able to make the claim that 44 mm was the 95% survival limit when 100% of the test subjects survived is beyond me.
Talk about scientific rigor! if I was grading this research I would give it a D at best.