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Soft Body Armor Recommendations

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by jnc36rcpd, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. I'm tasked for researching a replacement for our currently issued soft body armor. It's been several years since I last researched armor. Any recommendations for soft body armor? Any brands or models to stay away from?

    I know everyone wants the lightest, coolest, most comfortable armor. I'm also looking at things like customer service andd the ability to provide concealed, exterior, and tactical carriers.

    Thanks and be safe.
  2. When I worked armored transport, I always bought PACA from Galls, Level 3A
    it's hotter than 2A but has better stopping power. Just my 2 cents. Customer service was rarely needed at the time.
    It came with exterior and wicked under garments and a carrying bag.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011

  3. Let's start with:

    What is your current armor make, model, threat level?

    What is your agency's current issued duty round? Caliber, manufacturer, bullet weight, etc. Remember, your armor needs to stop that round, it is present at every call.

    What are the threats that you are seeing on the street? What are the bad guys shoot at cops and each other?

    Is your current policy mandatory or optional wear? The DOJ is requiring agencies to have a mandatory wear policy if they are requesting BVP Grant funds for armor purchases.
  4. Current armor is primarily PT Armor CES-3 in Level II. Vests to replace those hitting the five year warranty are 06 compliant which would make them the CSC-2.

    Issue ammunition is .40 HST 165 grain, but some Hydra=Shokss in 165 grain remain in service.

    Most recovered bad guy weapons tend to reflect those recovered in most urban/suburban areas. Off hand, I'd guesstimate .40 and 9mm are most frequently recovered.
  5. GearGuru


    Nov 19, 2005
    Metro Atlanta GA
    That would put you in the realm of a .06 certified Level II armor, or IIIA. With the .06 standards, it cannot be helped, armor has become somewhat thicker, heavier and less flexible versus the older .03-.05 interim standards.

    All vests are going to be somewhat uncomfortable, that being said, I often recommend going with IIIA as the extra weight and discomfort are relative nill issues from a level II vest. Key is not only the pricing as agency will favor that, but as you said CS and fitting. Best vest in the world fitted by a moron with no experience will show quickly.

    That all being said, my preferences with experience would be US Armor Model XP vest in II or IIIA and secondly the ABA, (now all Safariland branded) .06 armor. Both are hybrids and the US Armor has aramid weaves in it. US Armor custom fits to 1/2" and last time I was fitted for ABA, I had to get the local dealer rep to get rid of the "sizing vest" and get out a tape measure. It fits fine now, but I wear that in a carrier and concealable I wear a US Armor XP IIIA.

    I don't know about ABA but US Armor will give you a 60 day window to insure fit is right or they fix it on their dime.
  6. Thanks, guys. I wore a US Armor vest several years ago and was pretty happy with it. Several months ago, I wrote our body armor policy and specified II as issue. Since our current supplier can't provide the armor they were supposed to provide, I may leap to IIIA in the new specifications.
  7. KappaAlphaASU


    Mar 20, 2009
    The one that I am issued is a PACA level II but I put some level III ceramic plates in mine in conjunction with the soft body armor. Mine weighs about 10 pounds with the plates in but I have protection from 7.62x51mm & anything less. Plus I have protection from sharp points. We lost two officers last year from rifle fire. My armor may be overkill but I'd rather have it & not need it than need it & not have it. To answer your question, my soft body armor is pretty light & pretty breathable.
  8. Check or contact body armor companies. They hold demo shoots and those are eye opening. I attended one with representatives from MSA/Paraclete in Indianapolis. We also had Point Blank in the area recently. They can answer your questions and provide products that you can compare to your existing vests.
  9. It is for that reason that we went to a level IIA vest at my agency. The level IIA under the .06 standard is comparable to the level II under the .05 interim.

    We used a live fire demo shoot that demonstrated the level IIA defeating what are known as "Special Threats" such as the Winchester Ranger 9mm in both 124g+P and 127g +P+, the FN 5.7x28 and a 1oz 12 ga slug.

    Our climate is very hot/humid 80% of the year, Florida's Central East Coast. Whatever brand/package you choose, ask for a report or demo of it being shot with YOUR duty round. That round is present at every call.
  10. OLY-M4gery


    Nov 7, 2001
    Southern WI
    PACA sell external vest carriers for their armor.

    JG Uniforms sews custom external vest carriers, their prices are about $110 per carrier.
  11. Look at the Point Blank Vision AII package, if money is an issue (it always is) look at the Point Blank Hi-Lite BII package, A bonus would be to upgrade the Hi-Lite armor with the Vision covers. The Vision series of armor is going to be lighter, thinner than the Hi-Lite. The Vision covers utilize Outlast (TM) Phase change material on the bodyside of the cover and helps to regulate body temp.

    We currently issue the Hi-Lite IIA package with Vision series covers.
  12. JohnnyReb

    JohnnyReb Lifetime Member

    Sep 20, 2004
    South of you, we use PACA vests, and vest carriers are optional. I don't use the external carrier, but I like the vest.