Complete Body Armor Guide for Preppers

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Body Armor Guide

In this guide we are going to review everything preppers need to know about body armor.  Over the past months the gun-grabbers and progressive mules have decided to target our right to protect ourselves with body armor highlighted in H.R. 5344, making it illegal to purchase or own body armor.  Here at we don’t care what the law says, nothing trumps your God given right to protect yourselves.  In this guide are going to review everything you need to know about body armor in the off chance it does get outlawed, but honestly if they know what’s good for them they’ll back off or they’ll likely start something us Americans will finish..

What is Body Armor?

Body armor is a layer of protection typically focused around major body organs worn by civilians, law enforcement officials, and military personnel.  This layer of protection can keep bullets, knives, and shrapnel from entering the wearer’s major organs, and often prevent trauma and/or death.  Currently there is no body armor available that protects you from all calibers, but some can stop the most common calibers.

There are two types of body armor, hard and soft, both have their benefits and disadvantages.  Soft body armor is light, while keeping your mobility from being restricted and is commonly used by LEOs (law enforcement officials) to protect from small caliber rounds such as pistol rounds.  Hard body armor plates or ballistic plates are heavy, restrict your mobility a little bit, while protecting the wearer from higher caliber rifle rounds commonly used by military personnel.

Even though soft body armor is cheaper, lighter, and keeps you more agile, I still prefer and suggest people wear ballistic plates.  Sure, soft armor might be OK for LEOs who will encounter small arms fire more than rifle fire, but our readers are riflemen who generally read usCrow as part of a ‘grander design’ in mind requiring something with a bit more stopping power.

Body Armor Ratings

NIJ Body Armor Levels

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the standard for ballistic resistances of body armor.  According to NIJ Standards there are three primary types of body armor rated by their resistance to specific caliber rounds from the smallest to the largest…

  • Type IIA rated for 9mm FMJ or less (typically for lower quality soft armor)
  • Type IIIA rated for .357 SIG FMJ, 7.62mm FMJ or less (typically for soft armor and some hard armor plates)
  • Type IV hard armor plates are rated for complete ballistic protection (ballistic grade body armor plates)

Soft Body Armor

Don’t get me wrong, soft armor has its place in certain combat conditions, but as most guys will tell you when you get hit with a round while wearing soft body armor it hurts like a son of a bitch.  Not only does it hurt when you get hit, there’s still the possibility your soft armor won’t stop the round because no soft armor is ‘bullet proof’.  NIJ IIIA soft armor typically costs over a grand but if you’re lucky you can get it cheaper.  When considering purchasing soft armor remember…

  • all guns are deadly
  • there is no such thing as bulletproof
  • rifle rounds will get through
  • if it’s older than five years get rid of it
  • keep it clean but don’t get it wet
  • hang it up when storing

Where can you buy soft body armor? One of the places I like to order my armor from is The Target Man offering relatively affordable soft body armor inserts anywhere between a hundred to four-hundred dollars.

Can you make soft body armor?  Of course you can, and depending on how H.R. 5344 turns out making it might be your only option.  Luckily, you can download the Poor Man’s Bulletproof Vest, a guide to making your own soft body armor.

Hard Armor Ballistic Plates

As I said above ballistic plates are the way to go!  Ballistic Plates should be standard PPE (In accordance to MOPP Standards) for your team. The presence of hostile elements in all disasters (man-made or natural) is an eternal truth. Having access to these plates will make the difference between life and death. Ideally, you want standalone ballistic plates that can be used in conjunction with a plate carrier instead of a bulletproof vest. The most basic and user-friendly way to achieve this is with heavy steel or ceramic plates that have been improved.  When consider ballistic plates remember…

  • ballistic plates are heavy
  • they will inhibit your mobility
  • plates make you run hotter than normal
  • train with armor on or else you’ll be off
  • breathing will be slightly more more difficult
  • running for long periods will be a bitch

Where to buy ballistic plates?  Luckily over the past few years ballistic plates have become very inexpensive, much more inexpensive than soft armor. Companies like AR500 Armor have become a benchmark for civilian, LEO, and military ballistic plate inserts.  They’re Level IIIA ceramic ballistic plates are very affordable for around a hundred bucks. Additionally, they offer Level IV ballistic plates that are very reliable…

“AR500 Armor® Level IV Body Armor is specifically designed to stop the 30-06 APM2 (7.62x63mm 165gr) Armor Piercing Black Tip Round, and all lesser level III and III+ threats. Utilizing ceramic and composite construction, our Level IV body armor is stand alone does not require any additional backing or soft armor insert to meet its threat level. Level IV Body Armor is the highest threat level personnel body armor can be rated.”

Can you make ballistic plates?  Of course you can, and lucky for you we wrote an article on ‘How to Make Ballistic Plates’ a couple years ago that includes two very reliable methods for making Level IIIA ballistic plates.  Additionally, you can read the hundreds of comments from military personnel and LEOs highlighting other methods to make your own body armor.

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About Administrator Ryan

Administrator Ryan has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Emergency Administration and Management from the University of Kentucky, and has been the primary handler for since it's founding. Professional background includes over a decade's experience in survival and preparedness, graphic design, computer programming, website coding, and asset management. Personal background in mountaineering, climbing, rappelling, combat training, and big game hunting.

11 thoughts on “Complete Body Armor Guide for Preppers

  1. Nothing made me happier than to see this…”Here at we don’t care what the law says”

    Upstanding ladies and gentlemen disregard unjust law.

  2. Great article Ryan they better hope they don’t cross any more lines or their asses are grass.

  3. Educate me please! What is the total coast to outfit me with hard armor just the way you would do it for yourself. Please answer this and if I can afford it then will place an order immediately. If it helps calculate the cost, I am 6′ tall and weigh 220lbs. thanks for the help

      • Thanks Administrator Ryan: I’ve got about $500.00 in she money (she don’t know I got it). Thanks again, and consider me a marginal student because here comes two more not so smart questions. Keep in mind I have zilch experience with body armor. I am a veteran, but all we had back then were flack jackets. So here goes: I’m not good at breathing under water, so will a normal life jacket work to keep a person afloat with hard plates? Does water harm or decrease the effectiveness of hard plates? Keep up the good work. I love the site because it doesn’t swab iodine and shave hair, but goes straight to the nut cut’n. Again thanks.

        • I’ll try to help. For floating it would depend on the plates, steel weights a lot more than others and you will probably be carrying other equipment that will try to drag you down. Your weight + armor’s weight + other equipment = how much buoyancy you need. Some places sell “DSM Dyneema UHMWPE” plates that are lightweight lvl 3 and will float on their own but a single plate will cost ~$500. Ceramic plates have a coating that will help keep the water out but I think (don’t know) that as long as you store it dry and don’t swim the whole lake it will be alright.
          Never drop a ceramic plate, unless you are wearing it.

        • From 2003 to 2005, a large study of the environmental degradation of Zylon armor was undertaken by the US-NIJ. This concluded that water, long-term use, and temperature exposure significantly affect tensile strength and the ballistic performance of PBO or Zylon fiber. This NIJ study on vests returned from the field demonstrated that environmental effects on Zylon resulted in ballistic failures under standard test conditions. This is for the soft body armor. Steel plates should not be affected by the water, ceramic plates may have a loss of performance with prolonged water exposure. Look up they have good equipment. I have also used that is were I bought my plate carrier, ceramic plates front and back, and steel plates for the sides. Good luck.

          • This may be an older post, but I’m pretty sure they can’t tell you what kind of clothes to wear yet…

    • get the xl carrier and xl plates 325.00 plus shipping for for curved plates ,i have one im a big guy fits great even comes with a holster and a couple pouches for the quality and price you cant beat it.

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