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Old September 22, 2011, 09:10 AM   #1
C0untZer0
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Protective vests and being honest

I've been thinking about the tactical importance of having and wearing a protective vest.


In a lot of situations, whatever factors or assumptions that predicate carrying a firearm would also add weight to the decision to also wear a protective vest - especially the light ones.

In states where carrying isn't allowed - like Illinois, the same things that would make me want to carry - being prepared for the possibility of encountering a life threatening situation - would seem to also makle me want to wear a protective vest.

I would venture to say that there are few situations where it doesn't make sense to wear one.. I'm not saying those situations don't exist, I can think of a bunch right off the top of my head, a day at the beach, any day in the summer in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and most of the South.

But for me in the midwest - especially in the winter, any decision that I would make to take a firearm with me - often logically also calls for wearing a vest, especially the light ones.

I've started to wonder why I never learned the ins & outs of wearing protective clothing, why I've never even researched it and I've come to the conclusion that I haven't done it because basically it is boring.

I love guns, I think they're neat, I love to shoot them because they're fun to shoot, and it's fun and satisfying to have firearms.

I think for me it's part of that addage - "when the only tool you have in your tool box is a hammer - every problem looks like a nail."

I see the possibility of being assaulted and since I love guns so much - a pistol automatically becomes my primary focus - really to the exclusion of other things.

When I start thinking of fixing my leaky sink with a few well placed shots from my Glock then I'll know I'm really too far gone.

I just think that the reason I haven't researched it and own a vest is because I'm more interested in firearms as recreation and the neato factor than I am about really needing one to save my life one day. When I'm faced with how to spend my money, a protective vest is a not-fun way to spend it when instead I could pick up some new pistol or a match barrel or some neat peice of optical equipment, or buy ammo and range time.
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Old September 22, 2011, 09:23 AM   #2
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When I was in Vietnam, we had the option of wearing flak vest. I chose not to. The were hot, they were a pain in the butt, and they were heavy (that was when infantry walked and we had enough crap to carry).

Fast forward to 1974. I got into LE, bought one, later was issued one. They were hot, and a pain in the butt. I only wore them after they became mandentory and I got caught without one. Things would die down and I'd quit wearing them until I got caught again.

I'm not saying they are a bad ideal for Soldiers and LE now, I just don't like them.

I sure as heck aint gonna wear one now.
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Old September 22, 2011, 09:29 AM   #3
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If you have some extra money laying around, they cant hurt. They have uses other than just bad guy protection too.

I have a couple and usually wear one for work during deer season in the shotgun zones. I also wear one on occasion at ranges where I dont normally shoot, and/or with people I dont normally shoot with. All those holes in the counters, walls, and ceilings arent real reassuring.

My buddy works in a local gun shop and he wears one all the time. He got tired of people pointing "empty" guns at him across the counter and figured the odds are likely to catch up to him at some point.
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Old September 22, 2011, 09:30 AM   #4
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Let's not forget the fact,,,

That in many places they are illegal for civilian use.

I do not have a list but I'm fairly certain from my time in California that they were illegal for civilian use.

I'm also reasonably sure that they are illegal in the District of Columbia.

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Old September 22, 2011, 10:02 AM   #5
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In my humble opinion, the cost/benefit analysis of a civilian wearing a vest doesn't quite pan out.

To ensure protection, you'll have to replace the vest every 5 years or so. $400-$500.

It's hot. It's uncomfortable. It's not entirely concealable (panels easily stick out). You can't breathe in it. Depending on the fiber, wearing the vest may degrade the material. There's a very low probability you'll ever use your firearm, hence, a very low probability you'll need a vest too. A properly concealed holster is already a pain in the ass to carry and conceal, add a vest to the equation and it gets even more uncomfortable.

If I were a police officer, I would wear one everyday no problem. That doubles if I'm over-seas dealing with sniper, rocket and IED threats.

In CONUS though the cost (expense, discomfort) outweighs the benefits (low probability of use). If you want to wear one, carry on, but a civilian concealable vest isn't too practical. OTOH, I can see some merit in a bedroom or trunk Outer Tactical Vest, but that's another story. And another chunk of change.
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Old September 22, 2011, 10:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
In my humble opinion, the cost/benefit analysis of a civilian wearing a vest doesn't quite pan out.
I am pretty sure my life is worth more than $500.....

I wear mine time to time, mostly when I go to the range because of idiots.

It's legal to wear in most states, check your laws.

I met a guy, he wore a DRAGON SKIN vest when he was overseas, took a bullet from a 7.62x54R and lived. Said it knocked the wind out of him and he fell down. It was about center mass. If he was using the stuff the Army issued he said he would have been dead, he spent about $11k or something on it.
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Old September 22, 2011, 10:56 AM   #7
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One option that might work, especially if you often carry a backpack, messenger bag, briefcase etc-

http://backpacksheild.com/

http://www.bulletblocker.com/

etc.
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Old September 22, 2011, 11:24 AM   #8
Don H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarondhgraham
Let's not forget the fact,,,

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That in many places they are illegal for civilian use.

I do not have a list but I'm fairly certain from my time in California that they were illegal for civilian use.

I'm also reasonably sure that they are illegal in the District of Columbia.

Aarond
I'm not aware of any states that prohibit a law-abiding citizen from possessing and wearing body armor. A number of states prohibit felons or persons who have committed certain violent crimes from possessing body armor and several states have made it a crime to wear body armor while committing a crime.

Just took a look and found this link to a FAQ on a site that sells body armor: http://www.bulletproofme.com/Quick_Answers.shtml#13

California Penal Code Section 12370 prohibits persons who have been convicted of certain violent felonies from purchasing, owning or possessing body armor (with certain exceptions). I was unable to find any code section that prohibited law-abiding citizens from having and wearing body armor.
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Old September 22, 2011, 11:31 AM   #9
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Are you planning to wear a helmet too? Maybe the BG likes to shoot people in the head.

Have you seen what happens when a person is shot at close range while wearing a vest (I'm not talking about movies)? Do you think you'll still be in the fight?
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Old September 22, 2011, 11:31 AM   #10
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A bullet-proof coat seems like it would be something easy to throw on and they offer Level III protection.

I know for myself - field strippping and cleaning my pistols is fun. Getting stains off a bulllet proof coat - not so fun.

Spending $500 sending a pistol to Robar to have them NP3+ it = fun.

Spending $500 on a bullet proof coat = not so much
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Old September 22, 2011, 11:43 AM   #11
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Considering the odds of an attack,and the discomfort of the vest I think it is a waste of money.
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Old September 22, 2011, 11:48 AM   #12
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Considering the odds of an attack,and the discomfort of the vest I think it is a waste of money.

Indeed. Plus if you are ever in a real-life situation, the lawyers are going to paint you as a total paranoid loon.
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Old September 22, 2011, 12:08 PM   #13
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Have you seen what happens when a person is shot at close range while wearing a vest (I'm not talking about movies)? Do you think you'll still be in the fight?
Rick Davis, the creator of Second Chance vests, has been shooting himself in one of his vests, point blank, for years. He has a great video out thats about 8 hours long covering it, and all sorts of stuff, including a number of cops that were saved due to wearing his vests, even his dad shooting him with a .308 at point blank range.

Its called "Second Chance vs the cop killers". I first saw it back in the early 90's, and while trying to find a copy a few years back, called Second Chance to see if they still had it available. They sent me a copy for free. You may want to check it out, its well worth the watch.

Quote:
A bullet-proof coat seems like it would be something easy to throw on and they offer Level III protection.
Hopefully, you remember to button it up.

Like most things "gimmicky", I have to wonder just how effective something like a the coat would really work. A good vest that "fits" on the other hand, already has a good track record, and no "gaps" in a critical location. Besides, what happens when you have to take the coat off?

Quote:
Considering the odds of an attack,and the discomfort of the vest I think it is a waste of money.
Only you can determine what the "odds" are. One person may go about their daily life never hearing a cross word, where someone else has to deal with nastiness on a daily basis.

Comfort/discomfort, whos to say what either are. Everyone seems to have different ideas. Theres no doubt a vest is hot in warm weather, but outdoors in colder weather, its a nice plus for the same reason. The couple I have, fit properly and are actually quite comfortable, and concealable, even with an active lifestyle.

I keep my level III where I put my pants (my gun is with my pants) at night. If it should be needed, its right there, and only takes a second to put on. These days, some companys are starting to cater to just that more or less, one use type thing. Providing a vest/carrier that carries gun/reloads/etc in one package. Makes sense if you think about it.

Quote:
Plus if you are ever in a real-life situation, the lawyers are going to paint you as a total paranoid loon.
Better to have to deal with the lawyers, than to deal with doctors and undertakers.

It does amaze me that people will put there life at risk over some perceived aftermath thing, that may never come to fruition anyway. If youre worrying about whats going to happen afterwards while the game is on, you likely wont have anything to worry about.
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Old September 22, 2011, 01:43 PM   #14
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I'm not always right, which may surprise some people, but it seems most gunshot wounds in a firefight are in the hands and arms. Mind you the most important part of your body will remain uncovered, and the only thing protected is the part of your body that, contrary to popular belief, you are most naturally protected from trauma. I'm not saying you're more likely to survive a shot to the chest or stomach, but I think you're less likely to survive if you can't fight back and are bleeding too much to find proper cover. In such a case, if it's the usual close range pistol fight you may have less of a chance to get to cover.

Just a thought.
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Old September 22, 2011, 02:33 PM   #15
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I am willing to bet most people that think a vest for every day wear is a great idea has never worn body armor for any amount of time.
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Old September 22, 2011, 02:42 PM   #16
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I am willing to bet most people that think a vest for every day wear is a great idea has never worn body armor for any amount of time.
Agreed.

Then again, if its part of your lifestyle, it is what it is. If youre lucky, its just a pick and choose thing.
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Old September 22, 2011, 03:15 PM   #17
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Rick Davis, the creator of Second Chance vests, has been shooting himself in one of his vests, point blank, for years.
Just because Rick Davis can do it doesn't mean the OP can do it. That's why I asked the OP the question and not Rick Davis.

Then, of course, there's the fact that Davis' company was sued into oblivion when two of his vests failed (the court's determination, not mine) and two cops were killed. It's a tangled web.
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Old September 22, 2011, 03:21 PM   #18
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If youre worrying about whats going to happen afterwards while the game is on, you likely wont have anything to worry about.

That's good logic if you expect to go through life w/o consequences.

Keeping some body armor in the house or by the bed isn't a bad idea, but walking around in it as a civilian without a high-risk occupation (or an active threat) is getting pretty close to black-helicopter thinking.
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Old September 22, 2011, 04:03 PM   #19
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I have a class III jacket as well as a vest. I would use the jacket at night making sure jobsites were secure as there were always people on the job trying to find ways to steal stuff.

Most of the time now it sits in a closet coming out when something goes bump in the night.

I look at it analogous to an insurance policy, fire extinguisher or firearm... 99% of the time you don't need it, but if/when you do, having it may save your butt.
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Old September 22, 2011, 04:18 PM   #20
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Just because Rick Davis can do it doesn't mean the OP can do it. That's why I asked the OP the question and not Rick Davis.
Rick Davis and countless cops and military personnel have proven that you can take contact shots from large caliber handguns, shotguns, and even rifles, survive, and immediately return fire without being incapacitated.

You asked....
"Have you seen what happens when a person is shot at close range while wearing a vest (I'm not talking about movies)? Do you think you'll still be in the fight?"

Ill ask you the same question. Ive seen enough videos of that very thing to know that it is possible, and done on a regular basis. What are you basing your statement on?

Davis's legal issues a are just the part of doing business in any business. His "saves" and the advances in body armor that he helped put forth, far outweigh the few failures. Hes done more good than he has bad.


Quote:
That's good logic if you expect to go through life w/o consequences.
We all have to make choices. I put my life ahead of your rules, or fear of somebody elses rules, scary thoughts or ideas, real or imaginary.

No matter what, there will be consequences. You just have to live to get to see if youre "really" going to have to deal with all those scary things that are going to happen to you in court that you hear about on the internet. Which would you prefer, take an unprotected shot COM and go right there, or live, hopefully finish it, and deal with the aftermath later?

Quote:
Keeping some body armor in the house or by the bed isn't a bad idea, but walking around in it as a civilian without a high-risk occupation (or an active threat) is getting pretty close to black-helicopter thinking.
Hey, black helicopters are real! Ive seen them! Really.

Whats a "high risk" occupation, or reason for that matter?

As a "hiker" myself, and one who gets paid and has to do so, even when most hard core hikers stay away, I know what its like to be in the woods when others are hunting and Im just trying to do my job. Having a vest is comforting when stuff starts flying and you have no control over it, and "have" to be there.

Having had enough guns pointed at me at a few ranges, and seeing the level of competence of some of the shooters there, evidenced by all the errant holes in things other than the targets, Im glad I have one to put on.

Having also worked in places many people wont go without an escort they can give a level of comfort.

Just because you dont feel theres a need, doesnt mean others dont have a valid reason, not that it really matters, its there right to do so if they chose, no matter what you think about it.
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Old September 22, 2011, 05:08 PM   #21
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Ballistic Clothing

I have thought about getting one of the vest that are integrated into another garment such as a Carhart style coat or a leather jacket. My thinking was not so much as street wear but a grab and go for home defense. Spare ammo, cell phone, flash light in the pockets. At three AM when I go out to investigate noises coming from the barn (is it a thief or a critter) I have everything I need plus more protection than just a bath robe and rubber boots. I may do it if I have some extra cash to spend. In the mean time it's bath robe, rubber boots and Mossberg 590.
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Old September 22, 2011, 05:44 PM   #22
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...walking around in it as a civilian without a high-risk occupation (or an active threat) is getting pretty close to black-helicopter thinking.
I think that's what anti-gunners think of us, or anyone who would arm themselves and carry on a daily basis.

I've never needed to defend myself with a firearm. I could make an argument that it's 100% unnecesary to carry, and anectdotaly - I have a pretty good case to back that up, over four decades of never being attacked or having to deploy a firearm.

Most people on this forum don't buy that argument, it's all been debated out before to the satisfaction of most people on this board and most people here beleive that in most cases (not all) it's prudent to carry.

I'm making two points:

1) Barring heat or a situation that would make wearing a vest extremely uncomfortable, or impossible (day at the beach) - logically, all the reasons for carrying would also seem to indicate wearing body armor. Put on body armor for the same reasons you take a gun with you.

2) I think the main reason it doesn't get more attention in some people's tactical thinking is that like me, they like guns, their imagination is captured by guns, they can envision a situation where a gun might save their life. But body armor is boring.
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Old September 22, 2011, 05:54 PM   #23
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I'm not a cop. I'm not in Iraq. I'm not in Afghanistan. I don't even live in the ghetto. If things were so bad I were afraid of getting shot every day, I'd move somewhere else.

Also, the weather in my state is hot. Even if I were so concerned as to wear a vest, I'd probably have to skip it between the end of May and the end of October.

For the most part, armor seems like some paranoid gecko45 thing. Chances are, if someone is that concerned with saving their life, they would be better off backing off the bacon cheeseburgers and spending the armor money for a gym membership or defensive driving classes instead of buying expensive armor every couple years.

You are 60X more likely to die of heart disease or cancer than by being shot.

You are 13X more like to die of a stroke than by being shot.

You are 7X more likely to die from diabetes than by being shot.

You are 4X more likely to die in a car accident than by being shot.
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Old September 22, 2011, 05:55 PM   #24
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I am not that paranoid. I think a vest is a bit over the top. Why not also carry a few grenades. they would be very helpful with a flash mob or at least a few flash bangs
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Old September 22, 2011, 06:09 PM   #25
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Chances are, if someone is that concerned with saving their life, they would be better off backing off the bacon cheeseburgers and spending the armor money for a gym membership or defensive driving classes instead of buying expensive armor every couple years.

You are 60X more likely to die of heart disease or cancer than by being shot.

You are 13X more like to die of a stroke than by being shot.

You are 7X more likely to die from diabetes than by being shot.

You are 4X more likely to die in a car accident than by being shot.
This is the same old chestnut used to argue against purchasing and carrying a gun.

And OBTW - body armor increases your chances of surviving a car crash
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