The Essential Guide to Body Armor [Buyer’s Guide + Review]

Should things get bad, as in a major disaster strikes and chaos envelopes the streets, you will have to be faced with the strong possibility that you and your family are at great risk of being attacked by other people who want the supplies in your home.

This is one reason why it’s imperative to have a home defense plan in place and to consider modifying your home to make it easier to defend (such as improving the entry points like your doors and windows).

It’s also why you should consider making a big investment into body armor to offer some level of physical protection against bullets. While you may believe that body armor is either expensive or only available to law enforcement and the military, this is simply not true at all.

The result is that body armor is very affordable at around a couple hundred dollars, and it’s also more available and practical than it really ever has before.

Body armor is also available in a number of different styles, shapes, and protection levels. If you’re interested in owning body armor but don’t know anything about it, this article will be a great place to start your research.

We’ll talk about the features you need to have in body armor, the basic types of body armor there is on the market, and the top four best makes and models of body armor on the market.


Body Armor – What It Is and Why You Need It 

Body armor is hardly a recent invention. On the contrary, it has existed for thousands of years!

As long as humans have been at war at one another with lethal weapons, some level of armor or protection to keep the body shielded from physical attack has existed. Whether that included chain mail, metal armor, leather cowhides, and so on, body armor has always served as a primary armament of armies, peace keeping forces, and ordinary civilians.

Today, body armor has further evolved into bulletproof vests or ballistic vests to protect the body from being shot. In an SHTF or disaster scenario where your home is attacked by multiple attackers who want the supplies they believe you have, having body armor for each member of your family just commonsense as a level of protection against the bullets that could come smashing through your doors and windows.

If you would agree that owning body armor is worth the investment for situations such as these, then let’s move onto the next section where we’ll talk about the basic types of body armor.


Basic Types of Body Armor

Body armor exists today in a few different forms. One form is concealed vests, which is commonly worn by police officers. Concealed vests offer protection against pistol calibers, shards of glass, and knives, but little to no protection against rifle rounds. Since cops are more concerned about criminals with pistols and knives than rifles, and since they value keeping their vests concealed, it’s why they choose to wear them.

Military members, on the other hand, will opt for another type of body armor called ‘external combat plates.’ These combat plates are clearly worn on the outside of the uniform of the soldier, and offer much improved protection against rifle rounds than concealed vests do.

Furthermore, there are different types of external combat plates as well: there are either stand alone plates (or just the plates themselves, sometimes with padding for added comfort), and multi-piece plates, or plates that are combined with other features such as pistol holsters or magazine holders or gear pouches and so on. Between these two, the multi-piece system is favored by the military.

So what do you need, a concealed vest or an exterior plate? Honestly, for an SHTF disaster scenario, the exterior plate would probably be smarter, because even though it’s not concealable it still offers you superior protection.

And what about between a stand alone plate or a multi-piece product? Either is fine, but a multi-piece product is undoubtedly more versatile because it allows you to attach added gear, such as a med kit, spare magazines, a sidearm, and so on.


Features You Need In Body Armor

There are several features that will be highly desirable if not necessary for body armor. These include:

Protection

This is the whole reason to owning body armor in the first place, right? If your body armor cannot protect you from most bullets or knife attacks, then there’s really no reason to even owning it and wearing it to begin with. Carefully research the protection levels of any makes and models of body armor you are considering.

Comfort

Your body armor needs to be comfortable for one very simple reason: if it’s not comfortable for you to wear, then you won’t wear it!

This is why at the very minimum, your body armor needs to have some level of padding and be fully adjustable to fit your body type wear. Avoid body armor without padding or with few or no adjustment levels.

Mobility

Not only must your body armor be comfortable, it needs to be mobile as well. While the first and biggest concern for body armor is for it to protect you from bullets, knives, and other weapons, you also can’t be significantly slowed down by it either.

You need to be able to move with your body armor and move fast. Mobility is key to staying alive in any defensive situation.


The Top 4 Best Makes and Models of Body Armor Carrier On The Market

Here are four of the best makes and models of body armor carriers on the market, presented in alphabetical order:

1. AR500 Armor Sentry Plate Carrier Package

The Sentry Plate Carrier Package from AR500 Armor provides you with the following components:

  • Level III Body Armor
  • Plate Carrier
  • Universal Pistol Holster (mounted with MOLLE webbing)
  • Double Magazine Pouch For the AR-15
  • Double Magazine Pouch For Your Sidearm

The plate carrier is constructed out of a 600D nylon material, which is intended to be the perfect combination between protection and lightweight. The shoulders are both padded for comfort and the carrier is fully adjustable to accommodate most body types. It also come equipped with a drag handle and quick release buckles on the side.

2. Blackhawk Strike Carrier

Blackhawk offers two separate versions of their Strike tactical armor carrier: non-cutaway and cutaway.

The difference between these two is that the cutaway model can be quickly removed from your body by simple pulling a pad on the test. The non-cutaway model, however, lacks this feature.

This amor carrier will accommodate all Level III body armor from BlackHawk, as well as any armor plates of any kind so long as they measure ten and a half by thirteen and a quarter inches.

The carrier is fully adjustable around the waist and shoulders to accommodate any body type, with MOLLE webbing to add extra gear and accessories as you see fit.

3. Eagle Industries CIACS (Combat Integrated Armor Carrier System)

The Eagle Industries Combat Integrated Armor Carrier System is a fire retardant and fully modular armor carrier.

Constructed out of one thousand denier nylon, it utilizes a single pull cable that is patented by Eagle Industries.

You can order this armor carrier either as a standalone vest with ballistic protection or without it, in addition to armor for your shoulders and collar. The carrier is fully adjustable for both width and height, in order to accommodate most body types.

As the finishing touch, this armor comes installed with MOLLE webbing that allows you to add mag pouches, holsters, and other accessories.

4. Point Blank APC (Advanced Plate Carrier)

The Advanced Plate Carrier from Point Blank stands out because it combines the protection of a plate carrier with the convenience of a tactical vest.

Designed to accommodate Level III and Level IV armor plates and ballistic panels, this carrier system comes with a cutaway handle, a single point release system, and a wire management system.

Comfort was a priority for Point Blank when they designed the APC, and as a result, they installed an internal belly band that makes the carrier fully adjustable while also ensuring that it is fully stable. This carrier is available in a wide variety of colors, including digital ACU, green, coyote, and black.


Conclusion

All in all, body armor is definitely something you should consider investing in to keep yourself protected in any disaster or SHTF scenario. Too often, body armor is overlooked by preppers and anyone else devising a home defense plan for the worst of scenarios.

Protection, comfort, and mobility are the top three features you need to have in your body armor, and any one of the carriers we have gone over offer each of those features to you.

Alex Joseph is an avid bow hunter and father of two boys. Originally from Tacoma, Washington. Alex now resides in California.

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