Nearly all who served in the military, or law enforcement, have worn a “flak jacket” at some point. These protective vests may have ranged from soft body armor, to carriers with hard plates. However, it is not as common as a civilian to own body armor.
Contrary to some rumors, citizens can buy and own body armor. Those will felonies are not usually allowed to, but there are exceptions. For example, some states allow those with criminal backgrounds to wear such items in performance of their duties at work, with special paperwork from the employees.
Companies like Round Stopper allow law abiding citizens to order hard armor plates, to be shipped to their homes. Simply go to their website, and select your desired style. Make sure to avoid less reputable companies, and ensure your armor is certified by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Their ratings will tell you what threat the various levels are designed to defeat.
Level III armor is a hard plate, while Level IIIA is a soft plate. Hard plates are meant to defeat rifle threats, and soft armor is geared towards pistol. Ammo type, and distance also are factors in the ratings. Learn the difference before you buy. Specifics about NIJ compliance can be found here.
You can also decide between steel plates, ceramic plates, and many other options and accessories. Each have their own pros, and cons. I prefer the L210 series. Mostly for being rated to stop armor piercing 7.62x39mm. Additionally, it is lightweight, affordable and low profile for less obvious wear. Although, it’s all shooter’s preference. Unlike the military, the choice is yours.
Body Armor Legality
Connecticut is the only state that does not permit online purchase, but you can purchase body armor face to face. Generally, wearing body armor during any crime is an additional charge the perpetrator will face. So don’t commit crimes, and don’t wear any to commit crimes.
As with all thing, we highly encourage you to look into the specifics of your area. For example, “it is illegal to possess, carry or wear a bulletproof vest during protests, parades, rallies, assemblies and demonstrations,” in the city of Topeka, Kansas.
You have every right to protect the life of yourself, and of your family. However, do not rely on a plate to save your life. Make sure you are making good choices, and not ruining it for the rest of us by doing something you’ll end up on the news for. I hate to have to say that, but we all know someone we wouldn’t trust to butter toast. Let alone handle firearms and armor. Most of it is common sense, but criminals don’t seem to have a lot of that these days.
Be smart, be safe and buy as much armor as you can afford! Stay tuned to American Grit for more news, stories, and events.