Mikeb302000: Why No Body Armor?

Mikeb302000 want to know why TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia isn’t a Bullet Resistant Intelligentsia. “Here’s my theory. Guys like Robert, and many of his approximately 6,000 daily readers, are living in a fantasy world. In that world there’s no room for the passive protection offered by a bullet-proof vest. Getting shot is not part of the deal. Their focus is on the more aggressive and active components of self-defense. They picture themselves pro-actively taking action.  It’s all about the guns, the bang, the power, the ability to be fearless . . .

On The Truth About Guns, I’ve seen every type of gun imaginable. I’ve read more about ammunition than I really need to know. But, unless I missed it, there’s scarcely a mention of body armor. What’s your opinion?  Is there a better explanation?  I’d love to hear it.

Speaking as editor—hang on. Dragons. OK, clear. Where was I? Oh yes, body armor. It’s something I’ve thought about using in conjunction with my night time home defense shotgun, which already has a pair of active headphones nearby. In fact, we have some coming for a test.

Would I have time to suit up when the alarm goes off? Maybe. But I can’t think of any other time where I’d need it. But if I could I would. Wear it that is. But if you gun totin’ guys and gals want more body armor coverage let me know.

Meanwhile, what’s your take on MikeB’s take on our collective aggression? I can’t believe he missed all the references to being scared shitless. But is it true? Are you more interested in active defense rather than passive? Whatever that means.

comments

  1. avatar Giao Nguyen says:

    There is an Internet rumor that body armor doesn’t do much for getting bludgeoned on the head and self-defensive carry isn’t all about other people shooting at you. Just what I heard!

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    Hey, mikey, this site isn’t called “The Truth About Body Armor.” It’s called “The Truth About Guns.” Got it?

    Hey, RF, is that guy for real?

    1. avatar Brad Kozak says:

      Rumor has it that MikeB is a figment of Magoo’s imagination.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Nah. Magoo has no imagination.

        1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

          Does that mean Mikey doesn’t actually exist?

  3. avatar Tam 212 says:

    laughable.

    Body Armor dies not protect against a baseball bat assault from multiple assailants (a relative was left unconscious in a pool of his own blood on his doorstep)…

    Body armor won’t keep your sibling/spouse/mother from getting sexually assaulted…

    Body armor won’t keep the home invader from breaking in, tying you and your family up and then having their way with you..

    Good guys sometimes get shot in the head or armpit or other unprotected areas. Unlike the movies….

    Lastly, I think civilian ownership of ballistic vests might be illega or otherwise regulatedl in some places.

    1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

      I had a long response written out and then saw that Tam hit the nail on the head. The only thing I would add is that is a lot easier to conceal a handgun than it is to conceal level III body armor.

      PS: Today’s self defense tip isn’t use my concealed S&W 500 (sorry Joe) to blow a basketball sized hole in whoever dares to challenge me, it was Run! I think we run the gamut on most every option when it comes to self defense whether passive or aggressive, but once again Mikey stereotypes us because he has nothing substantive to write about.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      In Massachusetts, land of the unfree and home of the gutless, body armor is legal. In the commission of a crime, however, the utilization of body armor is a separate felony with (as I recall) a five-year ticket. In most states, using body armor is legal, but the commission of a crime using body armor is an enhancement that can lead to extra time.

  4. avatar stateisevil says:

    Vests provide a degree of protection from a handgun bullet striking your chest. They are extremely uncomfortable and don’t protect against other weapons or other parts of your body.

    As far as being “aggressive”, that’s just nonsense. I’m for open carry because that way I have an even higher chance of not ever having to draw or use a firearm in self defense. If I conceal, I’ve given half of the battlefield to the enemy forces.

  5. avatar 2yellowdogs says:

    “It’s all about the guns, the bang, the power…”

    Oh, yesssss. It’s all so, so seminal. If you know what I mean. Yes Mike, that’s right. It’s all just a big, phallo-centric power trip. We’re obviously just compensating for other…inadequacies. Shortcomings, if you will.

    Damn, you’re good. You figured it all out, didn’t you? You’ve discovered the unified theory of this whole gun thing. Bravo.

    1. avatar mikeb302000 says:

      Dear silly 2yellowdogs, Please note you’re the only one who mentioned any of that stupid bullshit. In fact, in spite of my wise-ass fantasy explanation, the question of “why no body armor?” generated a decent discussion. You can be proud that you’re the only one to have mentioned “seminal” and “phallo-centric.”

      Even in my description of the fantasy world you guys live in, there was no mention of inadequacy.

      What’s your problem, man? Why don’t you tell us?

  6. avatar Vigilantis says:

    I’m more concerned about wildlife in my area than I am about humans, and body armor won’t do a thing to prevent a mountain lion from tearing my throat out.

    Also, me wearing a vest doesn’t protect my nephew, my niece, my brother, my sisters, etc. I care about other people besides myself.

    And when exactly is this clown going to learn how to write a post without working the phrase “fantasy world” into it?

  7. avatar Mogg says:

    There are people for whom body armor has a lessened effect,
    like me.

    I’m a cardiac patient. My sternum is held together literaly with
    wire ties.

    Any substantial blow to the chest could kill me, even if no penetration takes place.
    While trauma plates might help, this would increase the cost, weight, and heat of
    the armor.

    I have stamina and breathing issues, as well, which would be compounded by
    wearing body armor, especially during a humid Alabama summer. The armor
    itself might kill me if worn during the heat of the day.

    As a result of those factors, I can’t mix it up anymore. At least not like I used to.
    Hand to hand combat is pretty much beyond me now, for more than a few
    seconds at a time, I suppose.

    On the upside, my defibulator means I’m a cyborg, so when the machines
    rise up to throw off their fleshy masters, I’ll be safe. It’s the rest of you that will
    be screaming for mercy while running from tosters and cellphones. 🙂

    As has been mentioned, armor is illegal in many places, and will only defend
    the wearer. As the armor only defends it’s wearer, and does nothing to
    draw the attention of the shooter away from others, would wearing armor
    while not carrying a weapon be the way of cowards ?

    Armor is also, in addition to being very hot, very expensive.
    I cannot afford it. Mabye Mike would buy some for me.
    I’ll give up my raven .25 for a set of my choice.

    Still, if I had some I might wear it occasionally, due to the fact that in a life or
    death situation, we will all grasp at the thinnest of advantages.

  8. avatar DevsAdvocate says:

    Body armor is hot, heavy, and expensive. It’s great if you’re under siege or you go to work in an APC, but not when you’re running errands.

    Same is true for body armor in our military… it has it’s roles, but if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking around, it’s a hindrance.

  9. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    You make a fine point Ryan, but I don’t carry my 500’s because their almost as big as I am. I use them for home defence and I don’t care what type of armor someone has because the 500’s will destroy any vest(even if the first shot doesn’t go thru, the massive impact will do you in). I met a guy at the range who kept bragging about how his “bullet proof vest” could stop anything. I told him that there’s no such thing as a “bullet proof vest” and that armor will only stop certain bullets. He told me to put my money where my mouth is, so I quickly pulled out one hundred dollars. I was about to make some easy money when our nosey range officer decided to step in and explain to this guy that I was about to turn his expensive “bullet proof vest” into swiss cheese. The guy backed off and then said “well, it will at least stop some bullets”. The guy in this photo wearing that flimsy looking vest wouldn’t stand a chance against one of my 45’s, never mind a 500 or any of the real nasty long guns(I don’t like to call them assault rifles because their not).

    1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

      Too bad the RO didn’t let you shoot it, that would’ve made for some good pics.

      BTW, please tell your .500’s I’m sorry if I hurt their feelings. God knows I don’t need them mad at me 🙂

  10. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

    Remind me again: what is the benefit is to letting a gun-grabbing troll waste our collective time with impunity?

    1. avatar mikeb302000 says:

      “With impunity”? Well, what did you have in mind as punishment? Are you a fantasy-free gun owner yourself? Is that why you get so offended.

      As I said to 2yellowdogs, a pretty good discussion took place here. Why don’t you participate.

  11. avatar -Hoff says:

    Hells bells. I’ll be the first to say that plates are rough. The armor in the picture above surely doesn’t carry plates, and maaay be an easier more comfortable wear, but the 30 some odd pounds of 7.62 stopping power the Army has deemed necessary for me to wear is most assuredly inconvenient. Go out to dinner and a movie in that? No thanks. I 100% agree that it’s better to go without and hope that you’ll never need to draw (in public) than it is to be hampered all the time, and risk fouling up when you draw due to body armor. Some reader’s approach on here is to “run”. Have any of the readers on here ever tried “running” while in armor? Try a nice jog, and try it for short distances. Unless I’m in the sandbox, count me out on the armor. But… that doesn’t mean it’s not a nice addition at home… Just saying.

  12. avatar NCGlockin says:

    There is some nice “bullet proof” armor out there that is comfortable, light weight, and stylish (also very expensive). Take a look at this site.

    http://www.miguelcaballero.com/

    After I pay off all my bills, pay off my car, and finish paying for my house, I just might buy some of his products.

    1. avatar Gerald says:

      I bought my vest at EnGarde USA as they give a 10 year warranty on the ballistic panels.

  13. avatar GAKoenig says:

    Frankly, he is close to having a point.

    Here is a question; Why aren’t more self-defense minded folks into fitness?

    At the gun store the other day, buying an HK45C, when this gentleman asks why not a Glock 19? Given I already own a gaggle of G19s, he proceeded to tell me that the G19 is the better gun because it carries more ammunition, to deal with the fact that bad guys travel in packs.

    Can’t really disagree with him, but he was 300+ pounds of lardass… with a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket to boot. What kind of a dumbass worries about fending of multiple attackers when the very real arterial disease that is likely coursing through his veins has a 3000% far higher likelihood of causing him harm than Alan Rickman and his band of euro-terrorists?

    1. avatar NCG says:

      Careful. I took a fair amount of abuse for making more or less this same point. Not that I’m any sort of physical specimen. Mediocre, at best.

      As for body armor, I guess there is a line in the preparation/inconvenience continuum that cannot be crossed.

    2. avatar Buuurr says:

      GAKoenig says:
      April 4, 2011 at 11:59 PM
      “Frankly, he is close to having a point.”

      He usually is, unfortunately he rarely has any backing to any points.

      “Here is a question; Why aren’t more self-defense minded folks into fitness?”

      Here is a question; Why do you think they aren’t and do you have any facts to back that thinking up? I’ve studied self defense for eight years. I’ve also volunteered for a class to help women defend themselves for those eight years (awareness, behavior awareness, physical defense and last but not least the fine art of running away). I also did wrestling in high school, ran track, and did some archery. I currently run 20-30 minutes a day and do strength training every other. I bike, I walk the park with my kid. From where I stand and the friends I stand with (who are also ‘gun guys’), we (at least in my neck of the woods) are fairly fit.

      “At the gun store the other day, buying an HK45C, when this gentleman asks why not a Glock 19? Given I already own a gaggle of G19s, he proceeded to tell me that the G19 is the better gun because it carries more ammunition, to deal with the fact that bad guys travel in packs.”

      Can’t really disagree with him, but he was 300+ pounds of lardass… with a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket to boot. What kind of a dumbass worries about fending of multiple attackers when the very real arterial disease that is likely coursing through his veins has a 3000% far higher likelihood of causing him harm than Alan Rickman and his band of euro-terrorists?”

      The kind of dumbass that has all the same right to do so as you do.

      As for the armor; I can not have it because it is an expense thing.

    3. avatar mikeb302000 says:

      GAKoenig, The question “why don’t more gun owners stay fit,” is a bit different than “why don’t more gun owners wear body armor.” But, the reasons why might be the same.

      My idea is that since you guys are paranoid enough to carry guns when you don’t need them and take bizarre precautions to protect your homes, why not wear a vest at all times. The same logic applies. One bullet in the stomach or chest and you’re probably out of action and useless to protect yourself or your loved ones. As rare as that possibility is, the downside is so great, you need to do it. But you don’t. The reason is the fantasy. It just doesn’t include anything like taking a bullet in the vest and surviving to respond. It’s not a part of that Hollywood-inspired fantasy you all dwell in.

      Staying fit is hard work and time consuming. Everyone knows he should do it, but few do. It’s laziness and maybe a type of false optimism that the heart attack and the clogged arteries won’t happen to me. But, above all, what enables so many gun owners to let themselves go so badly, the stereotype exists for a reason, is the fantasy. It’s the same fantasy in which running for your life or even running after a bad guy who’s getting away is not part of the scene you guys have in your heads.

      Drawing the gun real fast, that’s part of it. Shooting and moving and shooting at another target and reloading to shoot some more, that’s all part of it. It’s the bang, man. Shooting those “bone cracker” .500s, that’s part of it, and automatic weapons, too. If you live up near Joe Huffman, it’s blowing shit up. But, staying fit doesn’t matter.

      For you guys the fantasy is king.

      1. avatar Buuurr says:

        mikeb302000 says:
        April 5, 2011 at 4:30 PM
        “GAKoenig, The question “why don’t more gun owners stay fit,” is a bit different than “why don’t more gun owners wear body armor.” But, the reasons why might be the same.”

        If there were any data to back what is about to proceed I would love to see it.

        “My idea is that since you guys are paranoid enough to carry guns when you don’t need them and take bizarre precautions to protect your homes, why not wear a vest at all times.”

        I’m not paranoid. There are three convicted rapists living two doors up from me. 19 sexual offenders (all of them molesters and pedophiles) within half a mile. I am simply prepared. I would wear a vest at all times. I don’t have the cash right now. I will soon though. Then you can think I am even more crazy, MikeWarhammer40K.

        “The same logic applies.”

        It does.

        “One bullet in the stomach or chest and you’re probably out of action and useless to protect yourself or your loved ones.”

        This is fact and I am sure happens all the time.

        “As rare as that possibility is, the downside is so great, you need to do it. But you don’t.”

        It isn’t so rare. As I stated I would wear if cash dictated it. These things are very expensive. Maybe when I get one I can send you a pic and you and your buddies can poo poo about it.

        “The reason is the fantasy.”

        No fantasy here. As stated, 3 convicted rapists live two doors up in an apartment complex. 19 sexual predators within half a mile. If we go up to 1 mile I have 388 sexual deviants in my area. I am afraid fantasy is a lot less vivid and scary then the reality of my local area.

        “It just doesn’t include anything like taking a bullet in the vest and surviving to respond. It’s not a part of that Hollywood-inspired fantasy you all dwell in.”

        Neither is coming home and having pedophiles and rapists in my home but that doesn’t mean I am not ready for it. It isn’t exactly what people want in a movie, MikeWarhammer40K.

        “Staying fit is hard work and time consuming.”

        Sure is! But I do it everyday and I am more then ready to kick ass.

        “Everyone knows he should do it, but few do.”

        Speak for yourself.

        “It’s laziness and maybe a type of false optimism that the heart attack and the clogged arteries won’t happen to me.”

        This is true for many but I am working to prevent it. How about you?

        “But, above all, what enables so many gun owners to let themselves go so badly, the stereotype exists for a reason, is the fantasy.”

        Hemmm… any information to state or backup that gun owners are fatter then any other group of people? It seems odd because it is a recent upbringing from a couple of people on here that have seen a fat guy with a gun. When I think hunting I don’t think fat guy in the woods. Matter of fact I have never been hunting or even seen a fat guy hunt before. I don’t think all the walking and stalking is up their alley. I guess this is kinda where some guy spotted being fat in a store becomes Joe Everygunguy because one of you clowns said so.

        “It’s the same fantasy in which running for your life or even running after a bad guy who’s getting away is not part of the scene you guys have in your heads.”

        This is odd. You are not describing my fantasy, MikeWarhammer40K. My bad guy isn’t able to leave my home on his own power let alone have me run after him.

        “Drawing the gun real fast, that’s part of it.”

        No. My main defense is a shotty. There is no drawing it fast. I swing it and wait at the stairs or swing it and walk.

        “Shooting and moving and shooting at another target and reloading to shoot some more, that’s all part of it. It’s the bang, man.”

        Nope, wrong again. I load self defense plate and buck alternating with magnum buck. There is no shooting and moving. There is bang and I need a whole lot of towels.

        “Shooting those “bone cracker” .500s, that’s part of it, and automatic weapons, too.”

        Nah, not for me. I like the spread and catch of a shotgun.

        “If you live up near Joe Huffman, it’s blowing shit up. But, staying fit doesn’t matter.”

        Sounds fun (whoever Joe Huffman is). Staying fit does matter, I’ve said it multiple times now…

        “For you guys the fantasy is king.”

        I could say the same about folks with nothing but bleeding hearts to back their cries of anguish. Fire me an email on those fat guy gun stats would yah?

  14. avatar CUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    I have 3 vests-one raid vest, 1 from ”deputy” days and 1 from government contractor days. I never wear the damned hot things anymore. I have a box of condoms from my single days. I don’t wear those damned things anymore either.

  15. avatar Javier E says:

    Having worn various types of body armor before I know that it doesn’t do much for ones agility. It is not light and most of them are stiff and inflexible. Even if you are in good shape it limits your movement and as was pointed out on previous posts does nothing for those not waring it. A gun in open carry deters criminals by its mere presence. It’s not so with body armor. I’m willing to take a bullet for my family but I’ld prefer to shoot the bulletS at those who would try to do them harm.

  16. avatar A Critic says:

    In that world there’s no room for the passive protection offered by a bullet-proof vest.

    Body armor isn’t used for “passive protection” except in rare cases where it is used on high profile alleged criminals or other potential assassination targets. Almost always it is used as an accessory to violent actions, such as being a police officer and stopping people in their car to try to take their drugs guns cash etc, or being a soldier invading a foreign land, or being a gang banger or bank robber. Body armor also doesn’t stop all types of bullets nor is it effective against any bullet that hits where the armor isn’t. It is only a partial defense against some gunshots and it provides no real defense against a determined armed attacker. Most bullet resistant armor is also not effective against a knife, and even if it is, it won’t cover all of the vulnerable areas. It will not stop a rapist or a murderer. It is also heavy, cumbersome, and expensive. Using armor as a means of defense makes no sense for most citizens as the benefits are outweighed by the costs.

  17. avatar RuffRidr says:

    I’m curious Mike, what was the concession of your reader(s) when you asked this question on your site?

  18. avatar Sean says:

    I’d personally like to see more on body armor.

    The cheaper low end stuff IS thick, inflexible, and made to be worn on the outside of clothing a la armored truck guards.

    The higher end stuff when fitted right is fairly light, flexible and comfortable in Level II. Level IIIa is a bit thicker and heavier.

    Personally, I recommend to people that seek my advice on firearms to purchase a properly fitted high quality (light & comfortable) ballistic vest in IIIa with some type of IIIa trauma plate (polyethylene, Impac) AFTER getting a handgun, good quality holster, training for handgun, then long gun, training for long gun.

    It takes less than 6 seconds to slip on armor placed on a high shelf (albeit loosely on the sides), and 8-12 seconds to slip it on and adjust it properly.

    If there is any early notice of a threat, the 20 seconds taken to strap on armor, a belt with holster/gun/mags attached, eye/ear protection is negligible.

    If you don’t have it, you don’t have it. For the times when you do… it’s worth it.

    I wear my armor under regular clothing most days shooting and always during training classes where there are multiple shooters, sometimes moving and shooting a bit too quickly.

    IMHO, better to have 2 handguns, long gun, vest OVER a collection of 30+ guns and no vest. Personal opinion.

  19. avatar K-Romulus says:

    If someone is trying to kill you, what do you think they are going to do when they see that your torso is protected by armor? I dunno, gee, maybe attack another vulnerable body region that is even more critical to your life??? And what are YOU going to do about it? So much for “passive protection” as a defense strategy.

    1. avatar Buuurr says:

      “K-Romulus says:
      April 5, 2011 at 11:20 AM
      If someone is trying to kill you, what do you think they are going to do when they see that your torso is protected by armor? I don’t know, gee, maybe attack another vulnerable body region that is even more critical to your life??? And what are YOU going to do about it? So much for “passive protection” as a defense strategy.”

      For me it’s a no brainer. Armor works. You cover vital areas of your chest and back. No not all gets covered and things get through but I will still take it over nothing. Yes, they can aim to the head and legs to get ‘easier’ shots but I really don’t think that is realistic. Its hard enough to hit a moving opponent in the head with an arcing fist in a fight. I would say headshots are just as hard to do effectively with a handgun. The legs are there and fairly easy but I don’t think that is an area that is going to stop me effectively, not from shooting back on the floor anyway. Personally I would consider it another layer of planning and protection but nothing relating to passive. Unfortunately I don’t have the cash for it at the moment and there are other more important things that most people should invest in.

  20. Why No Body Armor?

    “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

  21. avatar Ben Eli says:

    When speaking about legality, most states do allow people to own and wear soft body armor. However plates or any armor graded Type III and above may cause complications. Haven’t seen much about it in legal codes but I wouldn’t be surprised. Another issue is law enforcement doesn’t take too kindly to civilians decked out in body armor for self preservation purposes. It may be legal, but it is suspicious.
    I read an account of a guy who was taken into wrongfully taken into custody. He was involved in an automobile accident and the person at fault flipped out and approached him in a threatening manner. He may have been physically confronted as well, but he diffused the situation with a burst of defensive spray as police were enroute. The police arrive on seen to see the a man holding his face and screaming bloody murder and another man holding spray. Upon inspection they find out this man is carrying two weapons, chemical spray, and soft body armor. The body armor and additional weapon spooked the police and they decided to take him in to better diffuse the situation. In the end he was in his full rights and a NRA lawyer helped him reclaim his confiscated arms.
    The point is, body armor is helpful and one can be on the right side of the law when wearing armor. There are pros to wearing armor, but in my eyes, the cons are too great.

  22. avatar The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit says:

    I’d want to know mike’s credentials before offering any analysis or reply. Has he worn body armor, day in and out for long periods of time? Ever shot while wearing it? Repeatedly? Ever shot outside of it – i.e. in the head, or thigh? Stabbed?

    I know that Ayoob talked at one point about having a “ready vest” by the bedside – that might work well with a “layered” defense, but are you realistically going to gear up every time you go out to see why the dog wuffled at 2AM? If you can be diligent about it, great. Otherwise, like any other part of the home defense strategy, as sure as Murphy has laws it will be money spent that’s not there when you need it (cf. the guys who carry concealed “only when they feel threatened” and go without on other days).

  23. avatar Peter says:

    Nice article about how to choose the right armor.

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