I’ve been wanting to purchase body armor for a long time now. But, to be honest, I don’t know a darn thing about it and I’ve always felt like it was way too expensive for somebody like me to buy it… boy was I wrong! Anyway, I spent some time reading the info about body armor here and learned quite a bit.
Over the past few days I’ve had the opportunity to review this SafeGuard Stealth Concealable Body Armor (ballistic level 2, stab level 1) from SafeGuard Armor. My first impression–being a complete newb–was that I was surprised at how lightweight and thin the vest really was. For something that’s supposed to protect my vitals from a bullet, I expected… well, more girth and weight. Not only is it relatively lightweight–I measured about 4.2 pounds on my trusty bathroom scale though they say up to 5.5 pounds depending on size–it’s surprisingly thin; I didn’t try to measure the vest but if it’s much more than a 1/2 inch in thickness I would be surprised.
In fact, not one person I knew or ran into during the entire time I wore the vest said anything to me about “what I was wearing” until I choose to say something or, in my wife’s case, she touched me and immediately wondered what I was wearing. I can say that even looking in the mirror I couldn’t tell that I was wearing a vest–though I was looking a bit more buff if I do say so myself. The only “thing” I noticed was that as I walked around I felt like I could hear my clothes rubbing on the vest but I was probably just being paranoid. 😉
I Forgot I Was Wearing It… Most of the Time
By and large I forgot I even had the vest on most of the time I was wearing it. From sitting down to walking around and even running around coaching a bunch of kids during a flag football game on Saturday (yes, I even wore it then), it didn’t bother me much at all. About the only concern I had was that the vest wanted to ride up–particularly when sitting down–and not fit as snug as I would have preferred over my mid-section but I suspect that’s normal with any vest.
Anyway, the vest is easy as can be to put on and remove. After draping it over my head it’s just a matter of securing two large Velcro straps at the front and… voila… you’re done.
Choosing Your Protection Level
There are basically two common ballistic levels of protection (though there are others and you can learn more about the differences here): Level 2 (for lower velocity rounds handgun rounds) and Level 3A (for higher velocity handgun rounds). Likewise, there are different levels of stab protection (level 1 or 2) and even spike protection as well. FYI: these guidelines are set by the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and all vests sold by SafeGuard Armor comply with them. As I eluded to at the start, I ended up with a vest that conformed to a ballistic level 2 and stab level 1 protection.
Sizing Your Vest
As you might suspect, it’s NOT a one size fits most purchase. You need to measure your chest and place your order appropriately. In addition, they suggest that if you’re shorter than average (which I am) then you should purchase a “short” vest whereas if you’re taller than average then purchase a “long” vest. The goal is to have the bottom of the vest reach your navel (belly button). Upon receiving the vest (and I didn’t realize it at the time) that’s precisely how it fit, which was concerning to me.
Apparently the vest only needs to go down to your navel in order to protect your vital organs. Eventually, I got used to the fit but a small part of me is quite attached to my intestines and if I had ordered again I would strongly consider purchasing a “normal” vest so that my entire torso were covered. Of course, the folks at SafeGuard Armor know better than I do how to size a vest so it’s probably best to order a vest as they recommend. To size your own vest use this link: http://www.safeguardarmor.com/
Oh, and lest I forget… you can order a vest in either white or black. I choose white as I figured that can be “hidden” better but I honestly didn’t think about it too much.
Overall I’m quite pleased with this vest and SafeGuard Armor as a supplier. The vest fits well, didn’t break my back or the bank, and seems to do what I expected it to do: provide a truly concealable option to protect my life.