Model of Concealable Vest Should I Get?
- see our Vest Selection Page
PROTECTION LEVEL should I get?
about RIFLE protection?
COMFORTABLE are vests?
CONCEALABLE are vests?
on a budget, what is the least expensive, GOOD protection?
good is POLICE SURPLUS?
I TEST SHOOT my vest?
should I buy from BulletProofME?
is your GUARANTEE?
do I ORDER?
- How fast / How much?
it legal for CIVILIANS to buy Body Armor?
FLIGHTS with my Body Armor?
Ceramic Rifle Plates?
1. What level of protection should I get?
Do you need
protection from pistol threats or rifle threats? Soft
Aramid vests stop pistol and Fragmentation threats, but it takes a rigid
Rifle Plate to stop a rifle bullet.
For handgun protection
it is important to know that Level II-A, Level II and Level III-A all stop the overwhelming
majority of PISTOL projectiles you are ever likely to encounter (plus
12 gauge, OO buckshot), and also to know that NO
vest is ever 100% ‘bulletproof’ under ALL conceivable circumstances.
There is always
a tradeoff between more protection and wear-ability or concealability
- so the level of protection chosen is a personal choice. Better to
get a lower protection level that you will wear consistently, than the
highest protection that isn't worn! The best vest for you
is the one you are actually wearing when shot!
- Level II-A generally
~4 mm thick
- Level II generally
~5 mm thick
- Level III-A generally
~8 - 9 mm thick
The biggest difference
between Levels is the amount of blunt trauma impact protection. Ballistic
details at Ballistic Protection Levels...
- Level II-A
has become quite rare, but could actually be the best choice if thinness,
comfort and concealability are the most important factors over blunt
trauma protection. Most folks opt for the extra safety margin with a
Level II or Level III-A these days.
- Level II
is often worn by police officers. A great balance between blunt trauma
protection, versus cost, and thickness / concealability / comfort. What
we recommend most often if concealing under light clothing is a priority...
- Level III-A
is a little thicker, stiffer, heavier and more expensive, but will stop
more of the uncommon pistol threats, for example, it is tested for 9mm
sub-machine-gun and .44 Magnum. Plus it gives you more blunt trauma
impact protection possibly better to return fire in a gunfight.
vests are available, but we generally do not recommend the added
cost unless there is a significant knife threat. Why? Not that we don't
like to sell our more expensive vests but Stab-Resistance makes
the vest a little heavier and thicker and significantly stiffer, and
therefore less comfortable and concealable.
Secondly a regular ballistic vest does offer some knife
protection from slashing attacks.
2. What about protection from RIFLES ?
The much higher
velocity of rifle rounds requires HARD Body Armor Rifle Plates
Level III or Level IV Ballistic Steel, Ceramic or Polyethylene
- usually ~10" by 12" (~25 by 30 cm.) and generally from 4 to 9 lbs
(1.8 - 4.1 kg.) per plate to cover the Chest and / or Back (that's 8
to 18 lbs. Front & Back)
SOFT Body Armor
vests only offer pistol, Fragmentation, and shotgun protection (birdshot
and buckshot, but NOT shotgun slugs). Even doubling up TWO Level III-A
soft vests would NOT stop a rifle bullet!
Rifle Plate information...
3. How COMFORTABLE are vests?
- unless it gets hot! You usually don't notice an extra 4 - 5 lbs. of
weight all that much, and vests don't restrict freedom of movement very
much (if fitted properly), BUT...
Heat buildup is
always a problem in the summer. No vest on earth can honestly claim
to be comfortable when it is hot and / or you are exercising and sweating
hard. The thickness of the ballistic panel insulates you, and the waterproofing
of the ballistic panel simply prevents effective cooling through the
So, in a very hot
environment, you might want to leave a gap on the sides for extra ventilation
when we size
you, and accept only partial side protection.
We strongly recommend
at least one of our 'Sweat-Wicking
Undershirts to keep you drier and cooler. It accomplishes this by
wicking sweat away literally 3 times faster than a cotton shirt. When
the sweat has been "wicked" to the edge of the vest it can
As a last resort,
wear your vest on the outside. This makes ventilating under the vest
with outside air MUCH easier. You do sacrifice the concealment of the
vest, thus letting the bad guys know to aim where you don't have armor
coverage - but it's preferable to not wearing a vest at all. Make
sure the color of your vest matches the color of your uniform or clothing
to help it blend in.
4. How CONCEALABLE are vests?
It really depends
on your body type, your clothing and that the vest fits you properly.
That's why we take the time to fit you properly, and have a Satisfaction
Level II vests are
only ~ 0.25" thick (5 to 6mm) so just a shirt can cover it up nicely
if the shirt is loose, and not too thin. A thin dress shirt may need
a T-shirt over the vest to conceal well. A sweater, or suit-jacket makes
Level III-A vests
are 0.33" thick (8 to 9 mm) and are concealable, but tougher to
stop them from "printing" under light clothing.
Level III-A GoldFlex
ProMAX Concealable vests are similar to Level II thickness at 5.5mm.
More expensive, but perfect if you want the protection of a Level III-A
with the conceal-ability of a Level II
Rifle Plates are
generally an extra 0.25" to 1.0" thick (6 - 25 mm) and thus
require a jacket, sweater, Battle Dress Uniform, etc., etc. to conceal.
The short answer
is that the color of a concealable vest usually doesn't matter at all.
If your shirt is so thin that the color shows through, then the vest
will be printing through the light fabric anyway.
If you have open
buttons at the collar, you might want a White vest - so if it does peek
out, it looks like an undershirt. On the other hand, if you might have
to throw a vest on after dark, on top of clothes, then a darker color
5. I'm on a budget, what is the least expensive, GOOD protection?
Level II-A is adequate (and may be the best choice if concealment,
light weight and/or comfort is the first priority over more blunt trauma
protection). We usually recommend our Police Surplus in Level II as the best value
for those on a budget, ~$200 and up.
We also offer our
6. How good is Police Surplus?
In ballistic tests
used armor tests as good
as new according to National Institute of Justice research. Aramid
is good for many, many years as the NIJ research, and our tests, show.
You will have to
replace the elastic in the outershell carrier somewhat sooner, and you
might wear out the carrier quicker.
7. Can I TEST SHOOT my vest?
Not a good idea
as you would weaken your vest so it will not work as well in a real
life shooting, and could fail for shots close together.
To feel better about
your protection, read up on the ballistic
testing that is done on vests, see the photos of some of our tests
of Police Surplus and then read about some folks
who got shot wearing our armor....
If you'd like to
test-shoot an old vest to see just how good old armor is, one one of
our heavily used / beat-up panels is roughly $20, if available. It has
always stopped 9mm FMJ, and .357 Magnum JSP for us.
NOT SOLD FOR THE PROTECTION OF LIFE OR PROPERTY.
8. Why should I buy from BulletProofME?
Glad you asked
we have a whole page to list all
Briefly, we offer
quality protection at a very competitive price without expensive
flash or gimmicks. What sets us even further apart is responsive service.
treat our customers as we would like to be treated.
We care that
you end up satisfied.
We back it all up
with our ‘Bulletproof’ GUARANTEE of Satisfaction below... Check out
our extremely high customer satisfaction ratings at PublicEye.com...
or hear what a few of our customers say...
9. What is your GUARANTEE?
we want you to be happy.
If you are not completely
satisfied with your retail purchase we will CHEERFULLY do our best to make
We will exchange to your
satisfaction, OR We will send you a 100% refund, less shipping charges.
reserve the right to charge a restocking fee of 5%, to cover costs, such as
credit card fees, when an order is canceled on customer's request.
Rifle Plates are NOT returnable
as they are vulnerable to damage if abused or improperly shipped.
We require two things
1) contact us by
phone or email within 14 days of delivery, to tell us what corrective action
is needed, and get a Return Authorization emailed to you with shipping instructions.
We need to understand how and why the product didn't work for you, and exactly
what corrective action is needed, AND
2) We receive the
product back in re-salable condition, within 21 days of delivery (pack rigid
items with a LOT of cushioning, and ship INSURED).
This Guarantee does NOT
apply to discounted quantity orders, or Custom, Special Order, or Made-to-Order
items not normally stocked. If this applies to your order we will always let
you know BEFORE you approve your order via email. Of course the applicable
Manufacturer Warranty still applies. This Guarantee is part of our Legal
Terms of Sale.
10. Printed CATALOG?
don't publish a printed CATALOG (specifications, products and prices change
website is our CATALOG. For information on how to print
out our online Catalog on your computer.
11. How do I Order?
Shipping - How fast / How much?
13. Is it legal for civilians to buy Body Armor?
In general, yes
- for law-abiding folks. A felony conviction makes possession of Body
Armor illegal under federal law
and in many states.
We have had civilian
clients with many different civilian
needs for Body Armor so we understand the need for vests for
civilians. Our policy is to only sell to law-abiding
adults who have a lawful purpose for Body Armor. (A parent or guardian
may buy for a minor with a legitimate need.)
Connecticut are prohibited
from buying Body Armor unless the sale is face to face (or unless
the buyer is a police officer, Police Department, or military). We can't
ship to Connecticut, or even accept credit cards billed there...
cannot ship to residents of Connecticut
who are not police or military.
Some states are
considering new legislation to prohibit or restrict sales of Body Armor
to civilians, e.g., New
York. If you are in a state that passes such a law, you would
be well advised to make your Body Armor purchase now before it becomes
much more expensive and inconvenient, if not prohibited altogether.
14. Discount for Quantity Orders?
us for quantity pricing on 10 or more units of an armor item.
15. Exports / Imports ?
Level IV Rifle Plates outside the US requires a export
permit which can take 3 weeks to 2 months. Please plan your lead times for
We are often able to export
Level II-A, Level II and Level III-A soft Body Armor with an export license
on the country, we may be able to export helmets or Level III
Rifle Plates with an export license exemption - contact
us for details.
We are careful to comply with U.S. export regulations.
You, the customer are responsible for complying with your country's import
regulations, and paying all import duties and taxes and fees. Please be
sure to check regulations and taxes in your jurisdiction before ordering.
to put our best price up-front on the website for small quantities.
We do offer 5% to 10% discounts for 10 or more units in one order for
many of our products. Call or email
for quotes on large quantities.
17. Flying with Armor?
At the US Transportation
Security Administration, Body Armor is NOT on the list of prohibited
items. But they also say:
and permitted items list is not intended to be all-inclusive and
is updated as necessary. To ensure everyone's security the screener
may determine that an item not on this chart is prohibited."
So you can carry
your armor onto the plane to ensure that you have it when you arrive
- but with possible extra questioning from security if the vest is
...do you want to put your armor in your checked luggage, and avoid
possible security hassles, but at a higher risk of lost bags, damage
or theft in transit, etc., etc.
If you want to
carry-on we suggest:
your professional credentials as the TSA is generally not used to
seeing travelers with Body Armor
to the screening checkpoint with plenty of time to spare, in case
of extra security procedures
the appropriate materials to pad and protect your Rifle Plates,
just in case they request that you check your armor in baggage.
18. How Do I Pack Ceramic Rifle Plates?
Outside of bleach,
ultraviolet light, and high heat or chemical abuse, it is quite
difficult to hurt SOFT Body Armor. On the other hand, Ceramic
Rifle Plates, while they are designed to take sharp impacts from
the front, are potentially vulnerable to fractures from sharp impacts
to the sides or corners.
be careful to:
pack in a sturdy container
plate should be individually bubble wrapped - wrapping inside
your vest "burrito style" is also a good idea.
items must be securely cushioned at least 2" from box edges, or
4" from suitcase edges, so if the container takes a nasty
hit the plates have some cushioning
a potential problem is that your careful packaging may be disturbed
by an airline or TSA security inspector who opens your suitcase
and does not repack it properly. When checking plates on a flight,
be sure that your Ceramic Rifle Plates are in a protective container
that can be easily accessed to verify the safety of the item for
security purposes, and also easily repackaged to prevent damage
after repacking. A "FRAGILE" sticker or notation might