No matter how we see it, guns will always be the most dangerous equipment ever made, especially in the hands of individuals with mal-intent. And to continue serving and protecting the general population, law enforcement puts their lives at risk to buffer the unwarranted violence against these weapons. Thus, body armor is then required to defend them during gunfights.
According to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), soft body armor alone has saved more than 3,000 police officers across the country over the past three decades.
The Spartan Armor Systems offer some of the best, high-quality body armor. If you’re looking to buy one for yourself, to gift to a beloved, or simply for a collection, make sure to understand the pros and cons of each kit to get the most out of the purchase.
What’s great about the Spartan Armor System products is that they are NIJ certified, meaning they follow and meet the requirements for torso-worn ballistic-resistant body armor accordingly.
The ballistic body armor manufacturer offers four levels of ballistic vests, including Levels IIIA, III, III+, and IV.
Spartan Armor Systems’ four levels of ballistic vests
“Flex Fused Core Soft Armor” Level IIIA
This soft, lightweight body offers a clandestine fit that can protect you from pistol-caliber situations, including a (.44) MAG SJHP and a (.357) SIG FMJ. Dubbed as the “Flex Fused Core Soft Armor,” it emphasizes comfort. It bolsters that you can be used stand-alone or paired with your other bulletproof vest or plate carrier available in Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) hard armor and soft armor.
“Elaphros” Level III
Spartan’s “Elaphros” kit offers Level III threat protection, slightly more robust than Level IIIA. This hard-plated carrier, available in UHMWPE composite and Omega AR500 Steel Core, has proven to stop rifle situations such as a (.308) or a (.233). However, it is crucial to remember that without the hard armor insert, a Level III rating will not stop a 7.62mm bullet.
“AR550 STEEL CORE” Level III+
Spartan has upgraded its Level III protection with an additional ten percent boost in ballistic core hardness, particularly in its AR550 line of armor—-available variants include the Spectra Ceramic, AR650 Armaply Steel Core, and AR550 Steel Core. This body armor can shield you from armor-piercing types of rounds like the M855 (5.6mm), rated by the NIJ for up to six shots from 50 feet.
“ARES” or “Hercules” Level IV
Lastly, Spartan’s Level IV features a ceramic body that can protect you against .30-06 M2 armor-piercing, weighing in at 6.9 lbs per plate. It has two high-quality variations, Ares and Hercules, where the former is superior in terms of the ceramic strike.
Here are three factors to consider before buying body armor.
Know your level of threat. Are you living in a rough neighborhood? How high is the crime rate in your area? Is it prone to house robbery? These are just some questions to consider before you purchase. With this, you will determine what type of armor and carrier plates you need and if you need supplementary gear to go with them. Next, look up recent news reports on the crimes in your area and identify the usual weapons offenders use—are they using a rifle or more on mele,e such as knives? Because if it’s the latter, you’ll have to prioritize durable plates, while soft armor can suffice for the latter.
Suppose you’re using it for military operations. In that case, you might need more heavy-duty plates that you can depend on, especially during long-duration missions, with additional pockets for your extensive gear.
Another factor to consider is whether you’ll use it for target practice or hunting.
Identify your type of operation. Are you using it for daily protection? You might need to keep this one low-profile to keep it out of sight from onlookers, perhaps under sizable clothes or a jacket—match it according to your style.
For larger-scale operations such as in-range or for-hire security, you can wear a thicker plate carrier over to make it conspicuous and let others know not to fool around with you and give yourself more ballistic protection. By wearing it over, you will also have easy access to all your equipment, such as magazines, flashlights, batteries, pocket knives, etc., which would be beneficial for a prolonged gunfight.
The duration of your operation is another factor to consider. You might require a lighter and more comfortable kit for short runs. Meanwhile, heavier and more capable equipment is needed for extensive missions where you anticipate intense gunfights.
Watch Rob Orgel, a tactical firearms trainer, explain further how to choose your body armor below.