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  1. PFD’s will save your life under certain circumstances (the main one being ‘when you fall in the water’) but unless you live or work on the water there are valid reasons not to wear one 24/7. The same goes for body armor, and cops wear it because they work ‘on the water’ as it were.

    Body armor costs a lot, isn’t terribly comfortable, limits your clothing choices, and needs to be replaced after a certain number of years. These are pretty substantial disincentives to constant wear, unless you’re a cop or a 7-11 clerk.

    Another substantial drawback is that body armor is fairly obvious unless it’s covered up by moderately heavy clothing. Notice how flattened and puffed-out cops’ torsos are? Notice how stiffly they walk or sit down? That bulked-up, stiff appearance is a dead giveaway to cops and perps alike that you’re dressed for Armageddon.

    I’d still love to have some, even though the only time I’d put it on would be when I head to the shooting quarry. A dumbass group of teenagers shooting at the quarry is the closest thing to a ballistically hazardous environment that I’m likely to ever encounter.

  2. I wear soft armor any time I shoot or am around firearms. I still need to purchase some rifle plates at some point. Soft armor won’t do diddly to protect from rifle rounds.

    I don’t wear it on a daily basis in my everyday life. I examine the odds and make my decisions from there.

  3. I’m not sure a civilian can get body armor. I remember Sams Club selling vests back int he day, but after that shooting spree in California, manufacturers started withholding their gear from the public.

    • Anyone can buy body armor. Some companies will only sell to LE/mil/security, etc. Some states have laws providing penalties if wearing body armor during commission of a crime. Florida:
      775.0846 Possession of bulletproof vest while committing certain offenses.—
      (1) As used in this section, the term “bulletproof vest” means a bullet-resistant soft body armor providing, as a minimum standard, the level of protection known as “threat level I,” which shall mean at least seven layers of bullet-resistant material providing protection from three shots of 158-grain lead ammunition fired from a .38 caliber handgun at a velocity of 850 feet per second.

      (2) No person may possess a bulletproof vest while, acting alone or with one or more other persons, he or she commits or attempts to commit any murder, sexual battery, robbery, burglary, arson, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, kidnapping, escape, breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, criminal gang-related offense under chapter 874, controlled substance offense under chapter 893, or aircraft piracy and such possession is in the course of and in furtherance of any such crime.

      (3) Any person who violates this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    • Residents of Connecticut are prohibited from buying Body Armor unless
      the sale is face to face.

      Level III and IV armor falls under the jurisdiction of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and is subject to the export control laws of the U.S. Government.

      Export or retransfer of Rifle Plates by any means to any foreign end user, or for any other end use, whether in the U.S. or abroad, without the written approval of the U.S. Department of State, is prohibited.
      There is a possible exemption for a U.S. person taking their personal protection with them in their luggage, and returning the armor to the US, for the requirements

      Kevlar Helmets, Shields, Riot Shields, Faceshields and other sensitive items generally require an export license from the BIS.

  4. What’s a fashion-forward shooter to do? I can’t find any armor that goes with my many ensembles, so I don’t wear any. Plus, if one walks around wearing body armor, one (i) gets braced by curious LEOs who are anxious to compare fashion notes, and/or (ii) scares the living sh!t out of the sheeples.

    I would, however, consider wearing the armor for a role-playing game called “brave hostage rescue guy and oh-so grateful rescued kidnapped lady,” but for the moment I can’t find a willing, attractive, female partner with brilliant acting skills. But I’m working on it.

  5. Because wearing it would officially cause me to “jump the shark” regarding personal safety paranoia.

    • Joe, I like the idea of the S&W500, sounds like a fun revolver for the aficionado of pain, but…
      S&W500 700 gr. – Muzzle velocity = 1,200 fps, muzzle energy = 2,240 ft.lbs.
      .338 Lapua 300 gr. – Muzzle velocity = 2,750 fps, muzzle energy = 5,020 ft.lbs.

      All told, don’t shoot me with either.


      • Also, the half-inch diameter bullet that weighs more and is traveling slower will be easier for the plate to stop, given it’s larger surface area, and slower speed…

  6. I wear mine every time I go to the range, and when I’m working in my gun shop. Wearing at the range should be self-explanatory. I wear in the shop because I never know who may walk in the door.

  7. Because, unlike carrying a weapon, having body armor doesn’t really increase your options in a violent confrontation. It just offers some measure of protection against one possible outcome. It isn’t as efficient of a tradeoff of cost/efficiency, and therefore falls a little into the paranoid range.

  8. It never occurred to me that I would want to bother.

    Thinking about it, my wife would freak. She thinks I am going overboard by carrying a gun everywhere I go.

    Then for the same reason I don’t open carry, I don’t need the extra attention.

  9. I wear a steel plate underneath my poncho at cowboy action matches. I made it myself in an abandoned gold mine. Or was that clint eastwood?

  10. Having carried body armor in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would never, never, never choose to willingly wear body armor. I would much rather have mobility. With front and rear SAPI plates and now side SAPI plates, we have returned to the days when the elite soldiers of France were slaughtered at Agincourt.

    That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.

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