View Full Version : Concealable body armor.........

08-27-2012, 19:00
Any suggestions on some descent concealable vests? Looking to purchase one, but a great deal of the companies out there all claim to be the best.

With that being said, I am looking for maximum protection with minimal print.


08-27-2012, 19:22
PM sent

10-15-2012, 07:44
I am currently having trouble with this myself. I've been tasked with ordering some of these for my range staff and I (LE). They don't have to be concealable, just functional. Any suggestions on a relatively low cost yet effective vest? I've searched here, GSA and google, but there are too many sites/contractors and not enough time! Any help is greatly appreciated as I am on a truncated timeline for procurement.

The Reaper
10-15-2012, 20:16
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

A vest that will stop a .38 Special is light, concealable, and relatively comfortable.

7.62x51 AP, not so much.

Figure out your NIJ threat level you have to defeat, and find the lightest, most comfortable vests in your price range.

I understand that very senior USG personnel get suits that are rated made by a guy in Colombia, but they are very expensive.

Best of luck.


10-16-2012, 05:18

Thank you for the reply. I get what your saying, I just wanted to know what brand is better as far as mobility/range of motion, durability, etc. My f-up, I should have stated that first. I DO know however that I don't need IOTV's :D

Chaplain Scott
01-27-2013, 20:03
OK, I have been studying up on concealable body armor. It seems like some of the lighter, newer materials (like Goldflex), do NOT stop contact shots--the fibers melt and give way--this would fall into the category of really, really bad. :eek:

It also seems that the FBI has come up with some different tests and standards.

So, having said all that, any recommendations for level IIIA vests, that have met the FBIs standards?? The vest would be used for concealment on long patrol shifts in a large county in Montana (I've tried to find the FBI test results and recommendations, but can't find anything).


01-27-2013, 21:40
CS - The smartest COA for you is to contact your State Police. Find out what they're using. I'll bet their patrol profile is at least as bad as yours. I'll also bet they have a statewide threat analysis (probably not pistols and contact shots in the middle of south central MT) and a recommended/approved list of suitable vests. Armed with their list you can then go shopping. They may also be able to point you to a program that will provide (or assist with providing) a vest. Grants, group buys, state or LEO fraternal organization "good deals", etc. will all help your dollars stretch farther.

Lawyers and federal standards actually work in your favor to make sure that anything approved will meet minimum standards for designated threats. What's important is the NIJ rating - what is it warranted to stop? The things you will need to care about is: are the panels adequate for the expected threat, have they been properly sized to your frame, and is the carrier durable/comfortable enough. Finally - remember, everything is a compromise. Kevlar is cheapest but bulky and heavy, Dynema is expensive but lighter and more flexible for the same level of protection (might mean more back face deformation and blunt trauma if you do get shot though!), Twaron and others (e.g. the Goldflex you mentioned) falls in the middle.

If you save enough money by leveraging programs, I suggest getting a plate carrier with at least LVL III plates and hanging some magazines, an IFAK, comms, and water on it for those lonely shifts in the wide outdoors. It's relatively easy to size for wear over your concealable and quickly donned when dismounting the vehicle. NTM - dodging rifle rounds in concealable armor isn't conducive to drawing a secure retirement.

01-28-2013, 08:01
All vests are not created equal. The DOJ rating is not all it's made out to be as it only has to pass once during a test to qualify for the rating. Most of the vests are also made of the same material. The lighter the vest, the less sheets used to stop the round, or the less coverage of material.

Some companies boast about being able to roll there vest up into a ball with their hands to demonstrate the flexibility of the vest. This means is has minimal sheets to pass the DOJ level certification. If you are actually shot in one of these, the blunt body trauma will be quite bad.

The "breathable" vest is another gimmick. There is no such thing. You may find a breathable carrier at best, but from what I've found is it doesn't really work.

The trauma plate is another issue. They used to mainly be all hard plates; however, the trend has shifted to soft (which I believe is better against gun fire).

My recommendation is Safariland. If you want to be as light and concealable as possible, a level IIA would be the way to go. A level II will give you better resistance with just a little more bulk.

***...and of course after posting, I see how old this thread is.

Utah Bob
01-28-2013, 08:47
In my experience, Second Chance, Safariland and Point Blank were all wearable for extended periods and offered good protection. But you didn't state exactly what threat. 9mm is one thing, 7.62 quite another.

Chaplain Scott
01-28-2013, 23:34
Guys: Thanks for the info. I see the primary threat as handgun at close to contact range. There is obvioulsy a potential for long gun threat as well, but I still have to be able to move out smartly--so that's why I'm thinking about the concealable IIIA vest.

I have already planned on ALSO getting a tactical vest (been looking at First Spear--Strandhogg) with front and back ceramic plates, and putting a few 30 round mag carriers, etc on it.

Our Sheriff was talking to the other new Reserve Deputy and did mention about a Federal program for assisting in buying vests, so I will be looking into that.......

01-28-2013, 23:47
I work in an environment that requires us to have dual vests, they are rated for Threat Type IIIA/Spike Level 3. This is my 3rd model of multi threat vest I have had and is currently a Second Chance Prism® Series Multi-Threat. I have worn an earlier version of this armor as well as one made by First Choice. This is by far the most comfortable and breathable of all 3 models. I have also worn the III and IIIA version of this vest and each has the same comfort but obviously you lose a little weigh as the threat level decreases.

The vest has a combination of armor fiber material including Twaron Microflex, Gold Shield, Twaron Microlaminate, and Curv. The ability to utilize additional soft or hard armor trauma plates is based on the carrier purchased, which also can change the breathability of the vest depending on the construction and spacer/mesh fabric tilized in the construction of the carrier. I can tell you that based on personal experience and inter-departmental reports the vest has been extremely successful in protecting against stabbing and reports indicate it is up to all applicable standards for NIJ Ballistic Standards as well. We also use the same soft armor model in our IOTV, which I know you are not specifically looking for, but this vest panel can be used down the road, for that purpose, if required.
Not sure if this helps you in all of the areas you need, just my personal experience and preference. More info on this model can be found here: http://www.secondchance.com/EcommerceProduct.aspx?ProductID=47&ProductCategoryID=1

PS: There are so many models available, aside from rated ballistics/threat level which will directly influence weight and thickness, getting properly fitted is probably the next most important factor that I have found in attaining optimum comfort.

Hope this helps.


01-30-2013, 12:43

Just adding extra food for thought, but if you're looking for something to quickly don over your soft armor you're already going to be wearing, try the S&S Precision Plate Frame. Has attachment points for mags and such they sell and it's meant to be quickly thrown over soft armor.



Gold Eagle
07-10-2016, 06:40
After the Dallas fiasco, body armor sure to be on the list. Time to do some shopping. Anything new to add to the list would be appreciated.