Just In Case: ELSA Ballistic Vest

ShootingtheBull410 writes:

It’s not a vest in a case. It’s a vest that is a case. A simple unzip, throw it over your head, fix a couple of buckles (practice!) and you’re protected in a hurry. It’s ELSA (Emergency Life Saving Armor). [ED: Born Free. Geddit?] When I saw it, the clever rig was loaded with DKX Level IIIA armor plates. It can also fit any industry-standard sized plates. In briefcase configuration, it’s completely nondescript. A paramedic, security guard or SHTF-type carrying ELSA could be completely incognito. Without armor or spare mags the vest case scenario weighs two pounds; the recommended DKX plates weigh just a pound each. MSRP is $449.


  1. avatar Paladin says:

    Colour me interested, though it does seem a bit expensive…

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      $449 is a bargain if you were in a situation where body armor could save your life. I know paramedics in Saginaw, Michigan that respond to a lot of gang shootings that would love these, because sometimes the bangers come back and try to finish the “job”.

      1. avatar Diesel Dan says:

        IF the unit came with both ballistic plates rated at least for IIIA then it would be worth it, except it doesn’t, it’s just cordura with a few strips of MOLLE. You’ll have to spend $800 for the unit with basic IIIA plates.

      2. avatar Paladin says:

        Like Diesel Dan said, I could get a cheap concealable carrier and NIJ IIIA armor for less than the price of this carrier alone, and I wouldn’t have to worry about having to put it on when I need it. Heck, I could get a carrier and a set of AR500 NIJ III rifle plates for cheaper. It’s an innovative idea for sure, especially for maintaining a low profile, but $450 is just too expensive.

        1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

          I didn’t realize the vest was without plates when first posting, but I stand by my statement that there are many first responders would like some additional protection.

        2. avatar Paladin says:

          I don’t disagree that there are plenty of people who want better ballistic protection. My point is that they can get it cheaper and better elsewhere. If conceal-ability is a concern there are low-profile rigs capable of carrying up to NIJ III plates that can be worn under a jacket, and if you’ll forgive the turn of phrase, a set of armor your wearing when you need it is worth two that you’ll have to put on after the lead starts flying. Otherwise putting a standard PC in the trunk of your car would be about as effective and come at half the cost.

          Armor good. Overpaying bad.

      3. avatar Salty Bear says:

        But .. Police militarization!

  2. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    Am I crazy or not? Just watching the Denver /Pats game. At the end Manning is walking in the scrum of reporters and players. He lifts his shirt and I see black Molle straps on what looks like soft body armor. Any football guys out there can tell me is this regular gear for him or is it armor I assume for security?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      It’s regular gear, so that the QB doesn’t get his ribs cracked when he’s hit.

  3. avatar Don says:

    That’ll go well with my 2001 early model Dell Inspiron that folds into a gas mask.

    1. avatar Renegade Dave says:

      I lol’d.

  4. avatar Rab says:

    Don’t see much of a difference between that and a vest with mags attached except the “case” is slower. Am I missing something?

    1. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      Just the novelty, as far as I can tell. If you need body armor you should probably just wear it. If you need to hide your body armor while not wearing it, I would think you could just put it into a duffel bag with all the other stuff you would want to have while realizing you need to put on your body armor.

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        Like a rifle?

        1. avatar Hasdrubal says:

          Excellent choice.

        2. avatar Diesel Dan says:

          How about the MP5k “Operational Briefcase”? Or the ARES FMG?

  5. avatar Michael C says:

    Coverage seems a little less than optimal, though I guess it covers the absolute vital areas decently from the front and rear. The lack of side and lower torso coverage is definitely a negative for me. If I thought I was going to be in need of body armor I would get something with more coverage and put it on before entering the potentially dangerous area.

    1. avatar Ardent says:

      I’m with you on this. . . concealment armor is one thing, it needs to be cut to, well conceal. If I’m going to stow armor off body and put it on visibly over the top of my clothes and only on occasion in which it’s highly likely to be needed I’d go with lots of armor. I have, in my own way, already done this; A Safariland IIIA concealment vest and a plate carrier with Level IV-A plates. One is lacking in coverage and good only for pistols but wears well under a shirt, the other screams armor even with a heavy coat over it but pretty well covers everything from collar bones to groin.
      I don’t get a seldom used vest that doesn’t have great coverage since weight and mobility aren’t much of a factor if you only wear it a couple of hours a year.

  6. avatar Hannibal says:

    From the website it appears the price of the CARRIER is $449. It has NO ARMOR for that price. Only when you pay $785 do you start getting into basic ballistic protection for pistol rounds. $1275 for rifle rounds. And since it’s not soft armor it’s not gonna provide any protection for the sides.

    The briefcase configuration is a neat novelty, but that’s about it. If you need a vest enough that you’re willing to spend above $700 dollars and have with you, I think you need one enough to either wear one or just figure out a different storage method.

    In short: it’s tacticool, but the advantages it appears to offer can be matched or exceeded by other options.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Yep, the majic word “tacticool.” This is for the Paul Blarts.

    2. avatar Diesel Dan says:

      Well put and very true. It’s nearly $500 for 2 pieces of Cordura. For comparison, look at everything you get for less than half the cost: http://www.evike.com/products/30756/

  7. avatar JLR84 says:

    I’m mostly unimpressed. It’s not like you’re going to be carrying the briefcase in-hand at all times, so it’s most likely going to be stowed in a vehicle. It’s not really any harder to keep a traditional vest in your vehicle, so I’m not seeing the use-case here.

    As for those suggesting that they would lug around the thing at all times, why? At that point you might as well just get into the habit of wearing concealable armor at all times.

  8. avatar 0351 says:

    True, it’s pricey, but I haven’t seen too many vests with rifle plates that are truly concealable without super baggy clothing. Especially with mags attached. As to the price, ar500 is cheaper by far for the armor at least. It may be a nice thing to have at your desk in the office or slung on the shoulder though. The price really is a bit excessive though. Half and I’d be on it for the novelty.

  9. avatar Salty Bear says:

    I’d love to see more reviews of armor and web gear.

  10. avatar Justa Guy says:

    Great product!!!!

    If some of you knew of the specific operations where this “Specific-Type” body armor is necessary and deployed you’d understand the reasoning, concepts and applications.

    Carry on, (go back to reading your sticky monthly SOF magazine).

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