Question of the Day: Why Not Wear Body Armor Daily?

Dan’s recent post on body armor and the attendant comments got me thinking. Most of the commenters complained about how the armor was uncomfortable for daily wear and furthermore many people seemed to consider daily body armor use a level of paranoia that was beyond reasonable. What amused me is that many of the negative comments were similar to the excuses used when People of the Gun are asked why they don’t carry daily. Granted, many carry a firearm every day, but many others (including myself) don’t. Frankly, I have not found a solution that is comfortable and completely concealable in every situation therefore while I often carry concealed; it’s not a daily thing for me . . .

I can anticipate the responses – “How can you know if you are going to need it or not?” “Wouldn’t you rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it?” “Get over your laziness and figure out something that works then use it daily.”

I can’t argue against any of these points – they make good sense. Seems to me that all of the comments in the paragraph above could apply to daily body armor wear. If you feel the need for daily concealed (or open) carry, why aren’t you wearing body armor? Let’s face it, if you have to deploy your firearm in a gun fight, there is a really good chance that some rounds are going to be headed your way. Given that, wouldn’t it be a lot better to be wearing some protection?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that adding body armor to your daily carry kit certainly ramps up the paranoia factor. But let’s not kid ourselves. We carry guns against that terrible, (and for most of us) extremely unlikely event that we’ll need to use them. Since we plan for a gun fight, shouldn’t we go all the way and plan to protect our bodies? Why not invest in a good suit of soft body armor?

Today, options exist that offer relatively lightweight and concealable choices for a reasonable prices. The one pictured above is $460 – about the cost of a decent handgun and looks reasonably comfortable. Granted, the smartasses might suggest that if you’re going to go with armor, you should go with hard armor to protect against rifle rounds. The fact is though that the likelihood of facing assailants armed with rifles is so unlikely (unless you are police) as to make it not even worth considering. No, a good set of Level II or Level IIIa would do fine for most people.

In the final analysis, all of the good reasons people can offer to carry a gun daily arguably apply to daily body armor use. If you are expecting the gun fight, it pays to be fully prepared if it comes. So, my question is, if you carry daily, why not armor up?

comments

  1. avatar ADC USN/Ret says:

    Jim Barrett may just be an anti-gun fanatic who has written a tongue-in-cheek article about armor.

    If you do this, aren’t you just advertising and setting yourself up, for identification by the left? Just another way to hi lite yourself!

  2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    After wearing one for a couple of decades, sometimes being in harms way and not getting shot… I’m OK with not wearing one.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Me, too. Plus, they are hot, bulky, and uncomfortable. Ditto for flak jackets and military body armor. They also do not breathe in the slightest. In the heat, your undershirt will get soaked with sweat, and you’ll marinate in your own sweat for hours. It sucks. During the summer months I sometimes get a constant low-level heat rash. I use my days off to recover, wash the carrier, wash the vest panels, and allow them to dry.

      Wearing body armor is a miserable business. It’s an easy question to ask for someone who hasn’t had to wear it in the heat.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Ride around in an apc in hot weather with a bunch of other dudes wearing armor and steel pots. With little to no chance for proper hygiene. Smells worse than a high school boys locker room.

        One thing movies have failed to capture about war is the smell. If more moms, sweethearts and wannabe warriors were exposed to the real smell war would become obsolete.

        1. avatar Kyle says:

          I can kinda relate to that. When I went through Army OSUT, WHEW, the smell was terrible, and I was thinking to myself about how when you dream of becoming a soldier, you don’t consider things like lack of hygiene and such.

        2. avatar 2hotel9 says:

          That open sewage/barbeque chicken stench. Throw in some diesel and BO at close range and yea. Although, I got a fetish for kerosene turbo heaters. Close my eyes and get that 04:30 flight line rush. All rucked up and ready to go do that thang.

        3. avatar TheBear says:

          You gotta remember how bad the tents smell too since nobody washes regularly, the sleeping bags don’t get washed, and some guys still insist on masturbating regularly (which you pretend not to hear while trying to sleep).

          Oh yeah, and can’t forget when dudes with diarrhea accidentally get some on themselves while using the slit trench on patrol… while the natives watch, laugh, point, and touch themselves.

          In college, I used realities of war like those above in my rebuttal paper against women serving in combat arms. Nobody in my class had ever even considered anything like it because they never show how miserable and uncomfortable war/being deployed is in movies.

        4. avatar 2hotel9 says:

          There is so much win in this comment I had to put on my sun shades to finish reading it!!!!!

      2. avatar Jim Buckley says:

        Been there done that, totally agree!

  3. avatar Another Robert says:

    I’m not necessarily armed against another pistol-wielding opponent; I’m also armed against the more likely threat of thugs, maybe in pairs or in packs, maybe with knives or clubs or knucks or just their youthfully superior physical conditions and their numbers, who might consider a smallish older-looking guy an easy mark. That and in case someone should try to break into my home, where there likely would not be time to armor up. I guess I’m looking at armor in general the way the author is looking at rifle-rated armor in specific. It’s all a matter of cutting the already-slim odds in your favor, and armor is past the point of diminishing returns for me in that regard.

    1. avatar Korvis says:

      I agree.

      Carrying a pistol (which is not a very uncomfortable exercise these days, for me, at least) is a relatively easy investment that improves my odds against a number of different kinds of threats.

      Wearing body armor is much more of a PITA that improves my odds against only one. Too much cost. Not enough benefit.

      1. avatar twency says:

        “Too much cost. Not enough benefit.”

        This right here.

  4. avatar tdiinva says:

    If I lived in the ghetto I might consider it but going around armored up is a bit much. Now I might consider ceramic armor for peak season weekend hunting.

  5. I could ride around in an MRAP also. The line has to be drawn somewhere and for me body armor is too much. Very uncomfortable and one chance in a zillion I’d ever need it.

    1. avatar Ben says:

      Absolutely. If you have a pistol and body armor, why stop at the pistol? Maybe a rifle would be better. And why stop at soft armor instead of plates? Gotta draw the line somewhere.

  6. avatar Nick says:

    Id consider the level 4 armor for peak hunting season maybe, in case of a poor marksman or an errant shot, but going around in soft armor daily would be overkill.

    First off, I carry daily when I’m not working (I could get fired for having just an empty casing), but adding armor would mean id be somewhat noticeably bulkier. This would definitely attract attention, which could lead to harassment by businesses, banks, and above all, the police. To me, it adds risk, as opposed to taking it away.

    The chances of being shot are extremely low, however if someone notices the armor, they would become worried about an “active shooter” scenario and possibly panic. The chances of that happened are infinitely higher than me being shot.

  7. avatar BB says:

    I LOVE YOU JAMES MAY

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      Yeah, good video. We even have one-a those guns that shoots whole cartridges outa the barrel!

      1. That’s 66% more bullet, per bullet!

    2. avatar C says:

      He is the only reason i subscribed to head squeeze

  8. avatar pwrserge says:

    I’m still waiting for that reactive smart fabric that people have been working on for years. If they make dress shirts out of that, I would totally buy a set.

  9. avatar PeterC says:

    Damn. No one makes a kevlar smoking jacket!

    1. avatar Jim R says:

      I’d hope not. I prefer my jackets to not smoke, TYVM.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Given the wide range of custom ballistic clothing I bet someone does.

  10. avatar MD Matt says:

    If I had to, sure. The catch is, I don’t frequent high crime areas—so my chance of getting into an armed confrontation is improbable if not completely impossible. More than 80% of handgun shootings are survivable (see the recent combat medic article for anecdotal evidence.) I’m an over weight guy (something I’m working on.) The armor in my price range makes it very clear that I’ve got a little extra under the hood. The result is that armor is uncomfortable, would point me out as a target to police and undesireables, over 80% of the time wouldn’t be required to save my life, and since I can’t carry in Maryland anyway, would likely cause me more hassle than good.
    80% isn’t 100%. Just because I’m not dead doesn’t mean I’m in good shape—I get that I’m sacrificing a certain amount of protection for comfort and public acceptance. That’s a traid I’m willing to make. Now, I fully intend to grab an easily dawnable plate carrier for my home defense set up—something I can throw over the shoulders and will protect vital areas. We concealed carry for a reason, or those of you who are legally allowed to anyway. To me, body armor is like open carrying. It’s legal, but has an entire host of associated problems—issues that make it far more likely that I’d leave the gun/armor at home. Last I checked, RF tried open carrying in RI, and ended up deciding to stop, even though it was completely legal. I appreciate the thought here, but the answer is still no.

    1. avatar Fed Up says:

      How old is that ‘more than 80%’ number?
      I know that in the days of the .38 revolvers, 85% of the people shot by cops lived, but now that it’s common for people to take 4, 5, or even 15 hits from Winchester Ranger T or Federal HST in a LEO involved shooting, I’m guessing that the survival rate is a lot less than 85% now.

      Getting shot by a gang-banger with worse than LEO accuracy and cheap ammo will result in less threatening wounds, but medical response will be slower than in a LEO involved shooting, so it’s hard to imagine an 80% survival rate there too.

      1. avatar MD Matt says:

        Dunno.
        I cribbed the stat from articles by Masaad Ayoob and others in the shooting community—can’t remember from exactly where. As of now anyway, most shootings aren’t from police dumping a duty mag. If someone sprays me with 15 rounds of .40S&W, I’m going down regardless. It’s a question of priorities. I fully admit that if I could find a good fitting, truly concealed last chance vest, I’d be inclined to wear it. As with many things, it’s also a question of life style. I work at a bank 5 days a week. Find me something that I can wear under a polo in a conference room without smelling like a NFL team after the super bowl and we’ll talk. I really believe that keeping an emergency plate carrier around is a better and more convenient choice—especially if you live in a state like me where freedom is a dirty word in the halls of government.
        I’m not knocking those who choose to armor up, it’s just not a choice that’s compatible with my life considering probability of use vs drawbacks.

  11. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    I know a guy in Detroit that wears body armor and carries two full-sized FNs daily.

    1. avatar libtard says:

      Met a guy from Detroit a while back. He carried three. All compact or subcompact but three just the same. Must be something about the Motor City.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Detroit is a city that showcases the full expression of the dreams of American “progressives.”

  12. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    The way I look at it, I live in about as safe of an area as you’ll find. The odds of me ever needing a firearm are low, the odds that I’ll need one on a given day are astronomically low. However, there are murders here from time to time. About 6 years ago a guy walked into the convenience store where his girlfriend worked and shot and killed her and her workmate (in all fairness, he did tell the ‘bitch’ not to go to work that day). He then rode off on his bicycle, got stopped by the police, made the cop chase him around in circles until he managed to steal the squad car and later committed suicide. The perp that is, I’m guessing the cop considered suicide too. So crazy stuff can happen anywhere. What would I have done if I were standing in line waiting to pay for my breakfast pizza when that happened? I’d probably be dead, because Iowa was a may issue state then and my sheriff is a liberal douche bag.

    But now I have a permission slip from that same liberal douche bag sheriff saying that I’m OK to carry a firearm just about anywhere I want (except a school or post office). How cool is that? So I carry more out of a sense of celebrating the fact that I live in just about the freest place on earth, then out of a sense of need. If I only carry 80% of the time, my odds of being caught without a firearm when I need it are only 20% of the already low odds. Now if 80% of the population did the same, the violent crime rate would be dramatically reduced. I don’t think you could say the same thing about body armor. But there may come a day when the armor is cheap enough and light enough to be sewn right into our clothing, or at least into a jacket, and that would be pretty cool. I just don’t think it will ever carry the cool factor that carrying a firearm has.

  13. avatar Bernard says:

    Bibles have worked too for some people.

  14. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    I really would love to have a tank, but I can’t afford the gas. Honestly, if I were to put on any sort of body armor, I probably wouldn’t be able to walk, and I sure wouldn’t be able to bend over. What if I dropped my gun!!!!

    Silly people. 🙂

  15. avatar Chief Master says:

    [Watching video, reaches 1:15, *facepalm*]

    “A bit of physics: A bullet works by…” inexplicably flying out of a barrel with no propulsion? I need to brush up on Newton’s laws!

    Of course, I suppose round did have a spring-loaded fist inside and explode on impact, which isn’t entirely accurate, either. Maybe the bullet was also meant to be a joke.

    1. avatar Richard In WA says:

      …and it flies out with the brass cartridge attached! Lovely.

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    Can I wear body armor while going commando? ‘Cause that would be cool.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      In the privacy of your own home. Dear God, for the love of mercy, in your own home. With the blinds and drapes closed. And duct taped.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Dear God, for the love of mercy, in your own home.

        I appreciate the respect, but why don’t you just call me Ralph.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Who knew God would have such an ordinary name? 🙂

      2. avatar Geoff PR says:

        jwm, you took the words right outta my mouth..

        On a Hot Summer Night…

    2. avatar Avid Reader says:

      Actually, I think it would be really itchy. . .

    3. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Got Groin Plate?

  17. avatar 0351 says:

    Depending on how used to it you are… There are some surprisingly light options, comparatively speaking. I wear armor at work 2/3 of the time and most people are none the wiser. Very concealable, and quite protective. What are you willing to pay for? As for plates, well they’re great for training at pull ups. My range bag, which is also my around town bag has a plate, adds a little more exercise. I can also use it for impromptu cover. Not that I consider such scenarios even remotely likely, but it’s easy to do. Just a thought – there was a time when no self respecting man of means would be caught travelling without his weapon and at least some basic armor. Winter makes it easier. I hate being hot. Anyway, if you get a proper concealed vest, wear loose clothing, and keep in reasonable shape, most people won’t even notice. And it’s really not that heavy or hot.

  18. avatar DangerousDave says:

    Because I don’t want to be a sweaty mess, drastically alter my wardrobe, and most of all don’t want to look like an autistic nerd. Silly article.

  19. avatar ropingdown says:

    Frankly, I have not found a solution that is comfortable and completely concealable in every situation therefore while I often carry concealed; it’s not a daily thing for me . . . Today, options exist that offer relatively lightweight and concealable choices for a reasonable prices.

    Concealing a small pistol is simple, in all seasons and for any lifestyle other than Naturist, though these last can always use off-body carry. A decent level II vest weights 4+ pounds. My G36 weights ca. 1.7 pounds loaded, and the G36 doesn’t smell like skunk after a months’ carry. If a G36 doesn’t suit you, buy a .380 Svelte Deluxe.

    There is, actually, no such thing as an effective but concealable SBA vest, though there are a few that merely whisper “shoot me in the face or groin.” Most vests say the same thing, but louder.

    Since we plan for a gun fight, shouldn’t we go all the way and plan to protect our bodies? Why not invest in a good suit of soft body armor?

    What do you mean “we”? Your argument is insincere, since you often don’t carry and don’t wear a vest. I don’t plan for a gun fight. I plan to either run or gun, and a vest slows down the “run” part. You never played rock-scissors-paper? A vest won’t stop a perp from shooting you in the groin, neck, or head. A small pistol, though, might stop him from shooting any of your body parts.

    In the final analysis, all of the good reasons people can offer to carry a gun daily arguably apply to daily body armor use.

    Even in the first analysis the arguments don’t apply. A vest won’t help you with those two pit bulls attached to your legs. A vest won’t let you shoot the creep with the shotgun before he turns your face into a Vegemite substitute. A vest is just one more thing the ER guys have to peel off you before they begin operating on your pelvis.

    1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      “A vest is just one more thing the ER guys have to peel off you before they begin operating on your pelvis.”

      Oop, there it is.

  20. avatar dave says:

    Get caught wearing body armor in a school zone in Louisiana without a shiny piece of tin, and you will spend some serious time as a guest of the state. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me…..but I am merely a ‘citizen’ and not entitled to such rights nor an explanation of why I shouldn’t.

    1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

      …because, because… the state might want to shoot you and then they’d have to work so much harder at it, and they’re not the greatest shots to start with… so there. And besides, because they said so! What more reason do you need. sigh

  21. avatar Scot says:

    “If you are expecting the gun fight, it pays to be fully prepared if it comes.”

    If I were “expecting” a gun fight, I’d avoid the area if possible, and definitely wouldn’t just be carrying a handgun.

    1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

      Actually got to use that line one day in the grocery store. A lady saw my pistol (I OC) and she asked if I was expecting trouble.

      I grinned and said, “No ma’am. If I’d been expecting trouble I’d have brought one of my rifles.”

      She looked really confused and didn’t say anything more. Must have been somebody visiting. LOL

  22. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “We carry guns against that terrible, (and for most of us) extremely unlikely event that we’ll need to use them. Since we plan for a gun fight, shouldn’t we go all the way and plan to protect our bodies?”

    You assume two faulty “facts”, which I emphasized with boldface typing. As others have commented, we are armed to defend ourselves against all attackers, not just attackers with firearms.

    Second, attacks are actually fairly likely for many people. Consider areas where 1 in 100 people of the general population are victims of violent attacks annually. For any given year, your odds of being the victim of a violent attack are fairly low (1 out of 100). Live in that area for 30 years, however, and your odds of being the victim of a violent at some point in that 30 year time span is roughly 1 out of 3. That is an incredibly compelling statistic in favor of being armed. Even if you live in a “safe” area, your odds of being the victim of a violent crime over a 30 year span are still on the order of 1 out of 30.

    Finally, there is another factor at play. Consider the situation where an attacker has a firearm, the victim is also armed, the victim does NOT have a ballistic vest, and the victim moves while shooting to defend him/herself: the odds of the attacker scoring a critical hit on the victim are extremely low. Remember, something like 45% of attacker’s firearms are inoperable for a multitude of reasons. And even if the attacker’s firearm works, their odds of hitting a moving victim who is shooting back at them — much less landing a hit to a critical area, is very, very low.

    When you look at everything, wearing a ballistic vest everyday isn’t justifiable for many people.

  23. avatar JohnF says:

    A vest doesn’t protect you from a full range of threats. It doesn’t protect your head, your neck, your arms or legs, all places that have key arteries and/or CNS targets. It may not protect against stab wounds. It does not protect against blunt trauma or animal bites. Even if it does protect your torso against a bullet, you could still be incapacitated by the impact. However, it does not incapacitate your attacker at all. I can think of a lot better uses for my $460, like a lot of practice ammo, a back-up gun, SD insurance, more shooting classes, etc.

    Also, wearing a vest does not exercise my 2A rights, which is part of why I carry. It is a right of self-defense, not just self-protection. It is a right to bring the fight to anyone who would threaten my life or the lives of my loved ones, not just a right to take cover. If someone tries to put me in my grave, they have to risk being put in theirs. I want BGs actually being afraid of CC’ers, not just be worried they might have to resort to head shots.

    It is especially ironic that Brits take up these topics. The real answer for them is: Except for the Thatcher years, nothing has ever worked for us besides calling the Americans for help.

  24. avatar Hannibal says:

    Those arguments also stand for wearing a helmet when going about your daily business. You’d probably save more lives that way.

    If you guys wanna play undercover cop just do what normal people do and keep a pair of handcuffs on your bed post.

    1. avatar ropingdown says:

      I always suspected that was the kinky stuff undercover cops are into. Well, sounds like a good place for me to start….

    2. avatar pine forest dragon says:

      i have handcufs and no vest lol (im usuly the one wearing the cufs

  25. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “So, my question is, if you carry daily, why not armor up?”

    I live in central Florida.

    add to that…

    I’m outdoors a good part of the day.

    add to THAT…

    Heatstroke is real possibility.

  26. avatar Kyle says:

    I don’t think it is paranoia, but I wouldn’t wear uncomfortable armor that also makes me a target if people can detect it unless I absolutely had to. But I could see wearing armored clothing if it is as comfortable as regular clothing. For example, they have armored suits now that look on the outside the same as regular suits. They say President Obama wore one on the day of his inauguration in 2008. Executives for companies wear them too. I suppose it depends on the type of clothing.

    I could also see armoring your car up as long as it doesn’t infringe on the performance. Armored cars you cannot tell on the outside that they are armored. Again, this is more something wealthy people and statespeople do, but I mean if some of those people who got caught in the middle of the L.A. riots in 1992 had had an armored vehicle, it could have been very handy. But if you mean buy a civilian Humvee, armor it up, and then wear a vest and helmet, all for a drive to the supermarket or mall, no way.

    What about armoring up your home? Like armored safe room (they have armored doors that look like they are made out of wood), heavy doors for the entrances, heavy door stops to prevent someone from ramming open the doors, armored windows to prevent someone from throwing a rock through or smashing the glass, reinforced air conditioner (s) so no one can kick it/them in, etc…I could see this. Not armor the house to withstand an assault force, but to keep out criminals.

  27. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    A vest does provide another layer of prophylaxis, to be sure. In wearing one for daily use, however, maybe you’re orienting your defense strategy too heavily toward the actual encounter, to the detriment of awareness, avoidance and de-escalation.

    After all, they sell two-ply condoms, too. Dude, seriously, if you’re even thinking two-ply, then maybe you shouldn’t dip your foot in that pool.

  28. avatar Nagurski says:

    Would your kitchen be safer from fires if you replace your fire extinguisher with a foam sprinkler system? Absolutely. Will I do it? Nope.

    Carrying a gun gives me a much greater degree of safety at the expense of a little comfort. Wearing armor gives a little bit more safety but way way less comfort. If I’m kicking down doors, then I would wear armor, now that I’m a civilian, it doesn’t seem worth it to me.

  29. avatar 2hotel9 says:

    Why don’t I wear body armor every day? Because thanks to the f&&king government I can’t get cast ceramic carbon fiber armor, thats the f**k why. And neither can the US military.

  30. avatar jomo says:

    Same basic comments as the last article:
    1. It’s too hot/heavy/uncomfortable.
    2. What if someone sees me/it?
    3. It’s so silly to be so worried.
    4. The odds are in my favor.
    5. They’ll just aim for your head/they wouldn’t hit you anyway.
    6. I’d have to change my wardrobe.

    You guys sound like a bunch of antis and/or lightweights.

    I’ve owned/wore one for nearly twenty years with two of that being in central Florida. I’ve only been ‘made’ two or three times and one of those was because some guy decided to pat me on the back. The ghetto isn’t the only place we go where the risk of random violence is high. The country has frequently seen murders at the workplace. And guess what? Most workplaces don’t allow personal guns and many don’t even have armed guards. I’d honestly rather have armor which except for Lousyana is legal to wear even on school property than a gun that I often have to secure in my vehicle. That’s not paranoia. I’m resorting to the best defense available to me. Is it perfect? No. But it sure beats hiding under a desk and praying when I can’t be armed.

    1. avatar ropingdown says:

      Same basic comments as the last article: –What? Nine days later we should have changed our views? What is this, U.S. foreign policy?

      1. It’s too hot/heavy/uncomfortable. –Nine days later t’s still too hot, heavy, and uncomfortable….and without even covering the parts I value most.

      2. What if someone sees me/it? –If my friends saw me in a vest, they’d think some ex-client had a contract out on me, and they’d become too afraid to accept my dinner invitations.

      3. It’s so silly to be so worried. –My most realistic threats are from dogs and divorce lawyers. Will a vest help? I have a gun. I really thought that would be enough.

      4. The odds are in my favor. Well, they are. The secret is to wear a sign on your chest saying “the guy next to me has more money.”

      5. They’ll just aim for your head/they wouldn’t hit you anyway. –I don’t know what old FBI training film you’ve been watching, but contemporary fast-mover doctrine (well, I’ll be moving fast, moving the other way) is….three shots across the hip/pelvis line, three shots across the shoulder/neck line…because the perp may have vest on. With a shotgun-with-buckshot it’s one-and-one. Does that make you feel better?

      6. I’d have to change my wardrobe. Well, I have to anyway. It’s actually my wife’s idea. She thinks my new suits and fashionable underwear indicate I’m chasing younger women again. Where do women get this idea?

      1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

        This discussion always goes the same way for me, really. If the situation requires me, John Q Citizen, to wear body armor then I will also be humping my RPK, fully loaded chest rig and grenades cause I been dropped in the middle of a war zone. Would not turn my nose up at some arty and a couple loiterers for CAS, either.

        As for wardrobe modification, I’m happy with the clothes I wear now. The old hippy dude cover has worked for a long time, think I’ll stick to it. Besides, I love the expressions on people’s faces when they realize I am the one ROing the line they just signed up to fire on. Priceless.

  31. avatar Dan says:

    Taking the position that in addition to carrying a concealed weapon one should logically wear body armor is a statement from someone who almost certainly has NOT worn such body armor for any length of time…if at all.
    It’s truly not hard to conceal a pistol, even one of average or larger size. It’s VERY difficult to wear typical body armor for a full day in normal weather without someone being able to tell you are doing so. There are some VERY high priced options in terms of custom clothing that are available…if you have the money but standard vests that will stop more than .22 cal, .32 cal, .380 etc. are simply too bulky to be comfortable or concealable.
    Now outdoors in cold weather? A little more doable but for most people simply not practical in their day to day lives. As has been pointed out the effort required is enormous versus the benefit gained when considering the risks involved.

  32. avatar PT Clay says:

    “In the final analysis, all of the good reasons people can offer to carry a gun daily arguably apply to daily body armor use. If you are expecting the gun fight, it pays to be fully prepared if it comes. So, my question is, if you carry daily, why not armor up?”

    If I were expecting a gun fight, I’d have a lot more than just a 9mm/.45 ACP pistol for self-defense. I carry a pistol because, not knowing when or where I could be attacked, it happens to be the most convenient (and legal) means of self-defense I can reasonably have on my person.

    Secondly, the presence of body armor on your person could change the nature of any incident investigation by the police/prosecutor considerably depending on their individual opinions and views. It’s enough of a legal risk just carrying the gun despite the advent of CCLs and laws favoring armed self-defense–adding body armor to the equation only increases the potential to be viewed as “taking the law into our own hands”. In my state, CCL holders are required to retreat from criminals if it is at all practical or possible, which would make the presence of body armor on one’s body at the scene of a self-defense incident an extremely bright “red flag” for those tasked with investigating it. It’s not a risk I’m willing to take.

    Thirdly, body armor is quite a bit larger in size than your average sidearm and requires more effort to conceal and hide under clothing. The vest alluded to in the post (ostensibly the one visible in the embedded video at the time of this blog posting)? I’m not sure what “reasonably comfortable” is supposed to be, but based on my own observations it looks as though it might better serve a law enforcement officer in uniform than the likes of me.

    Fourthly, I am not in a position or job profession in which I could come into contact with the criminal element of society on a daily basis, nor do I live in or travel through areas known to have high occurrences of criminal activity. This doesn’t mean that bad things will NEVER happen to me–it just means the chances are far lower. Even given that, it makes little sense to ME, to possess both body armor and a firearm for that small chance that I might be attacked by a gun. The firearm can be used in defense of self against a great many threats–the body armor is useful only if the threat that day happens to be a thug with a gun. The LEO who routinely comes into contact with the dredges of society on a daily basis has a far greater need for the armor given his/her job profession.

  33. avatar Mark Gerrard says:

    Like they say about carrying daily ” carrying a gun is not supposed to be comfortable its supposed to be for comfort” Hell or something like that ! I hope I got the jist across.

  34. avatar Jeremy B. says:

    90+% of defensive gun use doesnt involve shots being fired. So wearing body armor is to protect you from a small percentage of already unlikely event.

    It’s probably more realistic and responsible to make sure your car has a first aid kit and fire extinguisher and you always have a flashlight on you (majority of self defense shoots are low light scenarios), etc etc.

    There may be many potential employment situations where it makes sense (private investigator, convenince store clerk, etc) but for most people its probably over the top.

    1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      Convenience store clerks/24 hour gas station/truck stop/ALL liquor store employees!!!! These are all people who should be wearing state-of-the-art, maximum coverage body armor. Just think of the savings on R&D by running your products through real world-real time testing all over the country. Win? Meet Win!

  35. avatar Filip says:

    Surprised nobody has brought this up. Wearing a vest with a IWB holster would make it much harder to draw the gun as the vest sticks out and would interfere with the gun. That’s why cops wear duty belts.

  36. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Has anyone got followup experience with these?

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/12/foghorn/gear-review-ar500-armor-carbon-nanotube-soft-armor-iiia/

    I could easily see stashing one in my backpack, in the water/laptop space:
    http://www.amazon.com/Camelbak-Urban-Assault-Classic-Charcoal/dp/B004LT4NF4

  37. avatar John Cheek says:

    If I could afford something from Second Chance, I would wear it all the time. Standard, everyday body armor, I would not be able wear all the time.

  38. avatar J Star says:

    The only people I ever feel a need to wear a vest around are other “people of the gun.” Why? Because while damn near eveyone online espouses safe gun handling, but in reality 75% of the people I see at the range scare the crap out of me with their “safe gun handling.”

    1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      Do you ever explain to those people that what they are doing is unsafe? If not you, also, are part of the problem.

  39. avatar nemsis says:

    This is an easy answer for me

    It’s illegal to wear body armor in Chicago for our safety.

  40. avatar Roy says:

    This question always takes me back to the first time I was asked it. I was in Indiana, and an acquaintance started telling me I should wear bullet-proof gear for work.

    I stared at him a moment before bursting out laughing, since he plainly had forgotten what my job was: I was a lifeguard, and my work “uniform” a Speedo.

  41. avatar robert says:

    Concerning Body Armor. I chose the CoolMax 3A Soft Armor Vest with some level of Level 2 STAB/EDGE protection which I bought from safeguardclothing.com. They offer a variety of protection levels. My personal belief is I want protection from what I am carrying. not that I anticipate someone taking my gun but it provides reassurance that I don’t have too “less” protection. I am 5’6″ too and so I am a small person. Here is what I do to make it concealable.

    Step 1- I use a light undershirt
    Step 2- I put the vest on
    Step 3- I put a loose shirt on top
    Step 4- I use a 511 Tactical CCW Outergarment shirt (which doubles for carrying my wallet, keys and conceals the handgun

    I bought the vest for $425 which includes the Vest with 3A Soft Armor, Level 2 Stab and Level 2 Edge protection.
    Overkill?
    I don’t think so. I think it makes great sense to wear body armor. I am a very small person. Though I do have an ACE up my sleeve.
    I was ran over by a truck years ago and so I have Titanium Pins in my T-11 and Ankle. So I can easily say its my back brace which it does loo like a brace. Even if someone saw it in broad day light I have an excuse, but even then no one really notices. not even people who are gun people notice it at all. And the Vest is White too. People are not as attentive as many people tend to think. I wear this in the city or rural areas. No one seems to even notice. I do have to admit it can get hot with it on in the Summer. So I might get a 2A vest for that separately.
    I have Soft Armor with knife protection should I need it.

    Here are some other key things to think about. When involved in a car crash Soft Armor can absorb some of the impact along with the Air Bag which in some cases the Air Bag had caused injury. The vest also absorbs other types of impact weapons as well. The 3A vest is multi purpose in this way. It offers Ballistic Protection, Knife Protection and Enhance Protection when involved in a vehicle accident.

  42. avatar Dustin Jones says:

    This is a really good point on talking about why or why not to wear body armor daily. When you think about it, those in the army constantly have to wear their armor to protect their lives. However, civilians are not constantly in the way of harm correct? Body armor should be a thing to use when you know there is going to be some type of danger. I read from an article before that if you constantly expose your body armor to UV and water (could be humidity?) it can damage the body armor and make it weaker over time. I imagine that army grade body armor (which I THINK I’m not sure, please correct me if I’m wrong) cannot be sold to normal civilians. Anyways, I wanted to source some information that I got (In relation to Sunlight (UV Rays) and water ruining your body armor): http://www.thebestbodyarmor.com/
    Thanks for the good read!

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