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In my search for body armor I gathered a lot of information and I wanted to have a couple options. So I ordered some basic IIIA soft plates for my plate carrier and a custom made Point Blank Vision concealable vest. Because the Point Blank vest is custom made, it took about a month to arrive. For each vest, measurements for the intended wearer are taken, and then they are built to those specifications. But I’ll get more about that later . . .

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Features

After my research, I landed on the Point blank vest because I liked the basic features and had heard good things about them from friends of mine in law enforcement. Also, I found a great sale going on from Body Armor OutletI sent BAO an e-mail and got a call back from a salesman who talked me through everything about the vest and the promotion. 

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The Vision carrier comes with a lot of features and a couple optional itmes. The optional features are ThorShield (Electroshock weapon protection) and shirt tails. Other than that, everything else was included.

  • Self Suspending Ballistic SystemTM (SSBS) provides optimal protective coverage
  • Outlast® Adaptive Comfort® Technology body side fabric to help keep you stay cool and comfortable
  • ThorshieldTM electroshock weapon protection
  • AegisTM antimicrobial protective properties resists growth of bacteria, mold and mildew
  • Durable Water Repellent (DWR) micro-fiber outershell
  • Removable 2″ waist straps provide 8-point adjustability – optional 4″ straps available
  • Removable 4″ internal cummerbund stabilizes rear ballistic panel and helps prevent riding up when sitting
  • Trauma insert pockets in the front and back accommodate 5″ x 8″ or 8″ x 10″ SPEED or Blade Plates
  • Split shirt tail construction or optional no tail
  • Additional protection – 5″ x 8″ Soft Trauma Insert
  • VISION® concealable ballistic panels fit into Crossover Carriers (Maverick, Gresham, Endeavor, TAC and R20-D)

As you can see this carrier is fully loaded. Since most of the features are pretty self explanatory, I’m not going to go into too much detail, but one thing that I did want to go over is ThorShield. It’s something I didn’t know too much about when I started this off, but have done some reading, and it is interesting.

thorshield_diagram
ThorShield is basically a highly conductive layer added to the carrier. This causes the electricity from an electroshock weapon to be dissipated into the material rather than into you.

The carriers are also available in four colors, black, navy, tan and white. Depending on how you will use the vest, different colors may work better for you. For example, if you work undercover or “plain clothes” and need to wear a vest, the white may be a good option because it will help blend in with a white undershirt.

Ordering & Measurements

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Here are links to the sizing and ordering paperwork for Men and Women.

The basic measurements are as follows:

  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Front Length
  • Back Length
  • Front Length – Sitting
All sizes should be rounded to the nearest inch.

The best way to take these measurements is with a flexible sewing tape measure, if you don’t have one, you can use a piece of string and a regular tape measure. You shouldn’t use a normal, semi-rigid tape measure to take the measurements because it will bend and is not very accurate for measuring around shapes and you want to make sure your numbers are accurate.

If your numbers are too far off, the vest won’t fit well and can impede your ability to wear it effectively. You obviously don’t want a large unprotected area or to get choked when you sit down. Remember that the weight and size of the vest will vary depending on your body size. Everything is custom made based on your particular measurements.

Armor Removal

What I found to work the best was to unzip the removal flap fully, remove the shoulder straps, then to bend the vest in the middle into an arch, then pull in one side enough to slip out of the bottom of the carrier. This required pushing and pulling the carrier around the armor pretty forcefully. Once one side was out, I was able to repeat the process for the other side.Because I ordered the armor with a one-inch side overlap, the armor is difficult to remove the carrier. Once the armor is more broken in and a little less rigid that process should be easier. But to get the armor removed for a couple photos, it took some muscle. I would imagine the vests with a two-inch side overlap are even more difficult.

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Once each of the side overlap areas were out of the carrier, the rest slid right out without any issue.

Just remember you want to try to “fold” the armor as little as possible, you don’t want to create any creases. But you have to muscle it around a bit to get it out of the carrier until it’s broken in.

To get the armor back in, I just followed the same process in reverse. It’s just as difficult to get back into the carrier as it is to remove it. But once you get where you need to bend and push down, it’s not too bad. Just give your self some extra time to go through the process as needed.

Storage

As with lots of products, improper storage can cause premature wear or damage. To properly store your vest, you should lay it flat and keep it under normal environmental conditions. You should not store it someplace with excessive heat, cold or moisture, but a standard closet or in a locker should suffice.

If storing the vest flat is not an option, hanging it from a hanger is the next best option. You should never leave the vest sitting on an edge. This can cause curling at the edges and permanent creases in your armor. These things could cause a failure in the vest.

Care & Maintenance

Because the armor is removable from the outer shell (carrier), before doing any cleaning, the armor should be removed. You should also remove any VELCRO attachments. Then the carrier should be dry cleaned, or if that is not an option, you can wash them using the “durable press” cycle at medium water temperature (about 120°F). You should also use low bubble detergent. Once washed, you should air dry or dry using low temperature settings.

The armor should be wiped down with a damp sponge or cloth. DO NOT IMMERSE IN LIQUID. Then allow to air dry before returning them to the carrier.

 

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Final Thoughts

Overall the vest is very comfortable. In fact, I ended up sitting in front of the computer working with it on for about 45 minutes and pretty much completely forgot I had it on. All of the size dimensions that were taken seem to be spot on for me. I’m able to sit, bend and move without getting choked by the top of the vest, and it doesn’t get in the way or inhibit my mobility at all.

The vest has an internal cummerbund that connects to the back of the vest and wraps around you. This keeps the back of the vest from riding up when sitting. It very securely holds the vest down and around your body. It does make wearing the vest a little warmer, though, as the cummerbund is made of elastic.

I’ve worn the vest in some varying temperature scenarios ranging between 65°F and 80°F. The vest seems to breathe quite well, as far as a vest can anyway. And I didn’t feel excessively hot. But as it goes, wearing a vest and moving around, you are going to get warm, that’s just part of the deal. It’s another layer you’re wearing that traps heat.

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One thing I did find is that with the vest on, I’m not able to carry inside the waistband (IWB) with my Glock 36 and Theis Holster. The bottom of the vest constantly hit the back of the gun and got caught. This is to be expected though. An IWB holster that sits a little further off of your body would probably work. Or a simple flat-style outside the waistband or side holster is probably the way to go. Long story short, if you plan to carry IWB with any ballistic vest, you may need to give it a try before laying down any money.

Other than that, the vest is extremely comfortable, easy to wear, and doesn’t ride up. So far, it’s comfortable and only going and more so as it breaks in, and it’s not too heavy. I’m very happy with the purchase, and I feel that it was a good buy. Though, I would only recommend spending the kind of money these vests costs to someone that actually needs it or has money to burn. It’s very pricey, but if it’s something that you need for your job and/or safety, the Point Blank Vision is a great vest and well worth the money.

Specifications

Specification Detail
Chest Size 43 in (1092.2 mm)
Waist Size 32 in (812.8 mm)
Standing Length 13 in (330.2 mm)
Sitting Length 12 in (304.8 mm)
Back 17 in (431.8 mm)
Side Overlap 1 in (25.4 mm)
Protection Level NIJ .06 – IIIA
Armor Thickness 0.383 in (9.72 mm)
Total Thickness* 0.438 in (11.14 mm)
Total Weight 4 lb 8 oz (4.5 lbs, 2.04 kg)
Carrier Weight** 1 lb 1 oz (0.48 kg)
* – Measured as the general thickness of the vest, not on the VELCRO that adds some thickness around the midsection.
** – Weight includes the carrier, VELCRO straps, and cummerbund.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Build Quality: * * * * *
Point Blank vests are custom fitted and very nicely made. They are put together well and designed to last.

Comfort: * * * * *
As far as body armor I’ve worn, this vest is one of the lightest and most comfortable. It also breaths quite well.

Price: * * *
These types of concealable vests are quite expensive – close to $1000. But you pay for the features, certifications and warranties associated with the product. These are definitely not something for your average person. If your job requires you to wear a vest, though, this is a good choice. If you’re looking for general “armor” I would look at lower priced options.

Overall: * * * *
If your job requires that you wear body armor on a regular basis, the Point Blank Vision is worth your consideration. But if you are just looking for something to keep in the “bunker” just in case, you should probably look elsewhere and save yourself some money.

22 Responses to Gear Review: Point Blank Vision Body Armor

  1. Are there many instances of Tasers being used against law enforcement or people lawfully wearing vests?

  2. I wear one at work every day, the only real downsides are the cummerbund gets uncomfortable after about 10 hours and I found it hotter than the SAPI plates I wore in the army other than that it’s great and the vest itself is comfortable

  3. I don’t have or recall the stats, but I did read earlier this year that some number of officers’ lives saved by wearing these vests result not from gunshots, but from vehicle accidents. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that this equipment would offer protection against that type of trauma. Insofar as it may, it’s another potential benefit of this equipment and another counterpoint for people who claim you’re paranoid for wearing one in your daily life.

    • I bet most of those cases involved a lack of seatbelt.

      A helmet would offer even better protection if you really care…

  4. Glad they’re wrapping those in thorshield.
    That material works great!
    I wore point blank for a good many years. Very comfortable.

  5. I hate those shirttails, never figured out how they’re supposed to work but they never did anything useful for me. Maybe if you clip them to shirt stays they’ll keep the vest from riding up, but otherwise it’ll just pull them up with it.

    • OK, that made me snort coffee out my nose…

      Just received the Galls LX Level II armor which is manufactured by Point Blank. I teach, I’m at public ranges, and I don’t want to get too perforated in the process so I finally knuckled down and purchased it. It’s off-the-shelf fitting as opposed to the custom fit (custom is always a better choice I think) and I’ll post a review after I wear it for a while.

      I ride a motorcycle and have also heard that it will provide some level of trauma protection along with my riding gear. And having to ride in some of the more “challenged” neighborhoods, on a bike, with no sheet metal, wheels, nor engine block to protect me – I’m glad to have a little more torso insurance.

      I like the fact that when I’m on the rifle range I can drop in front/back plates for increased protection.

      Thanks for such a good review of the Vision!

  6. How long does a vest like this last with proper care? Also, I always wondered what kind of expense does,one incur if the vest takes a round? Does the entire vest need to be replaced or just the panel that took the round and what about the shell, does the entire shell need to be replaced or can it be repaired?

    • Stored properly and never worn it last a very long time, decades. If you wear it constantly (say 40+ hours a week) in a humid environment look for a new one every 3-5 years. If it gets submerged in liquid replace immediately. If it takes a hit that panel needs replacing immediately. The other panel is fine and the carrier is likely fine if you don’t mind the little hole(s) in it. Of course you could just sew them up too.

      All that said, I’d rather have someone’s cast off often worn 10 year old vest that has taken two hits per panel than none at all. There is ‘still works’ and there is will work so well you can trust your life to it.

    • The armor is only “guaranteed” for 5 years. e.g. a department or agency will only let you use them for 5 years. Then they have to be replaced. In actuality, they will last a lot longer than that if they are taken care of, but the mfg only gives them 5 years.

  7. Holds your gut in and gives you big ol’ pecs too! I hate to disappoint the badge bunnies, but most of us lose several points once that uniform comes off…

  8. I use a thorshield external carrier. I’m on the coast w 90% humidity & it was 88 yesterday I actually bought 2 sets of galls in regular external carrier after 5 years ran out. I now can swap them out to clean & dry between days on.

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  10. I purchased a level IIIA vest from bulletsafe.com for 299.00 and it is very comfortable to wear and not that heavy. Wear it at the public ranges, as ya never know who may be there. Great product, they have some tests on youtube as well.

    • Are you serious? Those are some of the stiffest vest I have ever encountered in my life! I have personally owned well over 100 different vest, constructed of everything from woven aramid to UHMWPE, and only maybe 1 or 2 of them were as stiff or stiffer than the “Bulletsafe” brand. With that said, I suppose if you personally find it comfortable then keep wearing it and stay safe!

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  12. This was an interesting read, I didn’t know about this form of body armor. Well, I knew that SOFT body armor existed, but I didn’t know that it came in this form. Honestly it worried me a little bit due to the fact that it looked so this and compressed to the body. I normally look at thicker and flexible body armor from websites like http://www.thebestbodyarmor.com. Are there any other forms of body armor that are currently like this?

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