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While bulletproof vests receive NIJ laboratory-tested ballistic protection ratings and, therefore, don’t really need to be tested by your friendly neighborhood gun blog, I’m not one to pass on what’s basically guaranteed to be a fun time. So, we hit the range with a BulletSafe Level IIIA Bulletproof Vest and we shot it.

We shot it up close with .44 Magnum, +P+ 9mm, 7.5 FK, and 12-gauge 00 magnum buckshot. Then we dumped 20 rounds of 9mm into it from a machine gun. This wasn’t a fair test.

“Fair” for testing a bulletproof vest involves hitting it with up to five rounds from within the caliber range it’s certified to stop. The 7.5 FK, firing a little bullet at 2,000 FPS, is 600 FPS beyond that range. Firing nearly four dozen rounds into the vest is unreasonable and unfair.

Still, we kinda did it anyway. And, naturally, we got it all on video:

Click the “play” button to watch the Rumble-hosted video embedded above, or click HERE for the direct link to Rumble.

The BulletSafe soft armor stopped the full power .44 Magnum loads, it stopped the +P+ 9x19mm loads, and it even stopped a 95 grain 7.5 FK round doing 2,000 FPS. Then it stopped two shots of 12-gauge 00 magnum buck from just a few feet away.

After that I put 20 rounds of that same 115 grain +P+ 9mm JHP ammo into the vest, effectively right on top of the 2-inch buckshot pattern. Most of these rounds ended up fragmented within the vest — it was a mess of lead and copper embedded into the layers of kevlar. Ultimately I do think a couple of the final 9mm rounds snuck out the back side of the vest; I couldn’t account for all of the bullets and it visually appears as though a couple bullets made it all the way through.

The poor vest had simply taken too many hits in exactly the same spot. Still, it greatly exceeded my expectations. I anticipated the 7.5 FK making its way through, and the IIIA soft armor took far more rounds piled on top of each other than I expected before any made it out the back.

For the very competitive price of just $299 (the average IIIA soft armor market price is likely over $500), BulletSafe’s Level IIIA Bulletproof Vest represents a solid value for protection against the most likely ballistic threats encountered in robberies, home invasions, etc. And based on our redneck ballistic testing, it goes above and beyond.


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  1. I would be interested in what 7.62×25 ammo(Tok) would have done. I know they has been a lot sold over the last 15 years that are solid core and that might be too much for this vest(especially with 2 or 3 hits).

    • 7 62X25 wouldn’t have made it through either. I shoot a tt33 all the time and found the penetration is over hyped. It’s better then a 9mm.

      • I might be wrong on that. Just watched a video of it going through 3a, then other times not, must be brand of amor?. I haven’t shot amor with it.
        Bridge rail guards, car batters, cars, cement blocks, fence pipe, refrigerators, cooking stoves, a barn, trees,mud, just about anything, if the .44 wouldn’t make it through neither would the 7.62×25.
        Hollow points make a nice place to store sheet metal screws.

        • Also depends on what NIJ version of 3A. The .04 I had 10 years ago will stop a lot less than the .06 in production now just at the minimum standards. This is well before figuring out what manufactures produce more durable products and what material is in use. At this point I am a lot more up to speed on hard armor and that is a few years out of date now so at best I would be able to figure out where to start looking a bit faster next time.

        • 7.62×25 has a higher sectional density than most .44 magnum does though. It depends heavily on the 7.62×25. The velocity on it varies WILDLY depending on where you are getting it. Some commercial loads are only around 1400fps, a few push 1600fps. Some of the surplus stuff can scoot along at about 1700fps and if you check reloading manuals, Hornady has reloading data that’ll push 1750fps from a Cz52.

          A HOT 240 grain load out of a 44 magnum 8″ handgun is pushing close to 1500fps. Against armor it is as much velocity as anything that’ll push it through.

          So I don’t think it is just the armor in question, it is as much or more the ammunition in question also. There is a vast difference in armor penetration capability of a surplus round scooting at 1700fps compared to a watered down PPU barely scratching 1400fps (S&B will push a bit over 1600fps).

        • I would like to see more on the 7.5 FK if only to see if the 2000 fps stop was a fluke or more indicative of a V50 or above. If the latter tokarav may be irrelevant short of less than legal cores. With that said 1700 for a 7.62×25 would be a very undesirable encounter for most kevlar vests from the .04 revision standards.

  2. What about the lowly 556??/223?? That’s my go to home defense round in 62GR greentip…

    • former water walker,

      Inside of 200 yards, the lowly 5.56/.223 will zip right through that Level IIIA vest.

  3. I’ll keep bullet*safe in mine when I go shopping for a IIIA vest; I had a golden horde in my backyard for a weeks and they will be back next year.

    Disregard, no I won’t keep it in mind since TTAG wanted to stick an advertisement link right into my comment for saying the brand name.

  4. does anyone have stays on the number of times people with vest have been shot at and the number of times in those shootings the shots actually landed on the vests? it seems the vest cover a damn small.area and a lot of vital tissue is still at risk. are they worth it or just a false.snese of security?

    • A person can sustain myriad catastrophic injuries that are not on the vest. You just have a better chance if help arrives quickley.

    • It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘vital’ is.

      Common ballistic vests only cover the areas that comprise the organs keeping the body alive, those contained within the thoracic cavity, the bits called ‘centre mass.’ As most gunshots are directed even by unskilled people at ‘centre mass,’ as it’s easier to hit, this makes sense. More often than not, a person can survive if shot in an arm, or the leg, the abdomen, or pelvis if no major arteries or veins are punctured, and medical care is fairly quickly available. Wearing a ballistic ‘vest’ for the head, face, and neck isn’t really practical, and vests that also cover the abdomen are heavier, more cumbersome, and restrict body mobility a great deal more than does a ‘centre mass’ vest. Therefore, the trade-off between expense, weight, discomfort, mobility, and body-area coverage says that a ‘centre-mas’ vest is adequate in almost every instance.

      Yes, there are numerous instances where people wearing common ‘centre-mass’ vests were shot elsewhere than in those areas covered by the vest, and many have died; You take your chances.

    • Yeah there are lots of police studies showing you’re at least 3x more likely to survive a shooting if you’re wearing a vest.

      NIJ says over 3,200 officers’ lives have been saved by bulletproof vests in the last 30 years. They were part of a report presented to Congress in 2016 that showed that an officer shot while wearing a vest is over three times more likely to survive the attack than an officer without a vest. That said, the same report pointed out that 29% of offers who were wearing vests and were shot were killed. All of those except for one were due to what you said: the officer being shot in part of their body not covered by the vest. Basically the takeaway was 29% chance of dying with a vest instead of 100% chance of dying without a vest. Not unlike how wearing a seatbelt won’t save your life in every possible car crash, but your chances of survival are still vastly higher with than without.

        • Quick clot for those pesky arterial wounds too high for tourniquets was a great development as well especially when it came in the gauze.

    • Jeremy covered the police end and for the military the most lethal common small arms wounds suffered went from chest to extremities and currently head as we adopted the interceptor body armor (iotv and other currently) and later CAT tourniquets around two decades ago. They work but bad luck is bad luck.

    • Great source to check and I recommend starting there to see if the company has ANY products on the list but sometimes does not reflect current changes (good and bad). Hesco has had a few plates that did not pass cert and were dropped and later through recalls and upgrades regained cert but took a year or so to get back on the list. With that said it is often a crapshoot on figuring out who is certified vs compliant vs tested and what exactly works as advertised and I am happy I do not have to deal with that anymore.

  5. I like every video Jeremy puts up, hes cool.
    $300 ain’t bad at all.
    Will I get one? No.
    Car needs new tires. Safety where it matters most.

    Oh and I dont think you’ll ever be able to buy body armor like the cops have anyway. They just ain’t going to let ” us” have that stuff.

      • That’s why I got a vehicle with smaller tires, lol. Went from $1200 to $500. I do miss my truck though, but I am “downsizing”.

    • Incorrect.
      I buy our EMS vests at the same supplier as our state police.

      In fact I’d be willing to bet a lot of civies have better vests than the police as a lot of police departments are strapped for cash and usually only spring for the bare minimum.
      You would be surprised to see what some state officers are given for gear.

      • There are a few companies that only sell to .gov/.mil but they are increasingly less superior to their civilian available alternative competition as time goes on. Also budgets determine equipment and condor is not the worst I have seen issued.

  6. Why though when you can get lvl 4 ceramic/uhmwpe armor from la police gear that will stop 338 lapua that weighs very little, for almost a third the price on sale, like 115 bucks.

    • There is a video online of Jerry Miculek shooting a Level iV UHMWPE plate at fairly close range with a .50 BMG.

      It DID NOT penetrate! But I would be willing to bet someone wearing that in a vest would still have been killed by the blunt force trauma.

      • Even a .338 Lapua magnum has enough energy to kill someone with body armor at 100 meters. The armor might stop the bullet but the heart is going for a ride.

        No contest on the .50BMG. That must be an impressive vest to stop 50BMG because the last time I saw a video of one being stopped, it took two sapi plates.

        • I didn’t say the back face deformation wouldn’t kill you, all I said is it stopped it lol

        • What is interesting is there were 50bmg rated plates in use back in the 90’s for Northern Ireland (ceradine I think) they were heavy but bfd was well within acceptable levels. Can only imagine what may be in production now as I think the old ones were somewhere around 20 pounds per.

      • I think that the reason there were 50 BMG rated plates in Ireland is because in at least one instance the IRA shot a soldier with a Barret .50 BMG at relatively close range. He did not survive the encounter.

  7. Won’t stop a .22 to the dome, but it’ll look great while you larp.

    Jk, pretty solid and concealable.

    • Reminds me I should get reacquainted with what is available/possible for the soft armor segment as it appears UHMWPE has matured a bit in application. Probably will still not do much against steel cored ammo but that is illegal and in theory unavailable for much of the US. And anything on the ultra high speed hardened just under AP definition solid copper side of ammo is going to be a problem anyway.



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