Courtesy of ITS Tactical

Many people find themselves mulling over the idea of purchasing body armor and I’d like to discuss some information that will hopefully help your purchasing decisions. You know, just in case you’re up late at night staring at the computer screen and wondering if you should just bite the bullet.

I’ll be discussing the trade off in wearing protective armor vs. the mobility you’ll gain without it. In certain settings, a high level of armor definitely makes sense when protection is paramount, but many times the greater mobility offered without it makes more sense.

Grab your popcorn, open your mind and let’s get down to ‘bidness.

Weight vs. Rate

Taking the Hit: Is Body Armor Really Worth the Weight and Expense for Civilians?

Some obvious negatives with body armor are first the high cost of owning a quality set, as well as the additional weight you’ll be carrying around. Good armor costs good money, but like most things, more expensive armor offers some benefits over cheaper options. One big advantage of more expensive ceramic plates is the lower risk of spalling (fragmentation of the round impacting the plate) that some users have experienced when using steel plates.

The second advantage of ceramic plates comes from their lighter weight. When it comes to weight, certain situations make carrying the armor “worth it” and some don’t. Let’s start by examining a few occasions when it’s good to have armor with you.

Good Times

Taking the Hit: Is Body Armor Really Worth the Weight and Expense for Civilians?

Some military situations where it would be advantageous to wear ballistic protection would be things like sentry details, vehicle checkpoints, MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain), Close Quarters Battle and Quick Reaction Force missions. A common theme in most of these situations is that you’re mostly an overt target.

It makes a lot of sense to want the most protection available when your squad/fire team/buddy is rushing toward an objective with live rounds whizzing past you from people you met the day before. However, as a civilian, you’re hopefully not faced with these situations during a normal day.

I’d estimate 99% of your rifle plate usage would be in training and very little would come in real world situations you encounter. The application for most of us would be a “bump in the night,” or disaster-type scenario.

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Photos courtesy of ITS Tactical