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Old July 26, 2012, 02:01 PM   #1
Single Six
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Thought About This For Awhile..Your Thoughts?

As a full-time uniformed LEO, anytime I'm at work, I wear my ballistic vest. With the way things are lately, I'm seriously considering wearing my body armor while on my own time as well. As I type this, I'm an hour away from taking my kids to the movie theater, and with what happened in Colorado recently, you can see why this decision is on my mind. In a lot of ways, I think this would make great sense in any case. I'm never without my off-duty weapon, and if the possibility exists [God forbid] for me to potentially need that weapon, it follows that I could also need the vest as well. On the other hand, most folks would think it overly paranoid on my part to go so far as to wear a vest while on my own time. BUT, at one time, it was also considered paranoid for off-duty LEOs to carry guns, and these days, it's the norm. What do you guys think? All input is appreciated, especially so from any of my fellow badge wearers. Thanks, y'all.
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:04 PM   #2
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Never worn a "vest" but I understand they are uncomfortable. That would be my concern, being uncomfortable while "enjoying" myself at the movies or otherwise. If there is little or no discomfort, I'd wear one all the time.
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:18 PM   #3
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Remember 'Catch-22' ... When it is okay to not be okay, only then are you okay. So you come across as paranoid. Is it not okay for you to be not okay ? Then not only are you not protected, but also not okay.
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:20 PM   #4
Single Six
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Jmortimer, I can assure you that wearing one is decidedly not comfortable, though you do get used to it after a while. In hot, humid environments, they can be downright intolerable...but then again, being hot and sweaty beats assuming room temperature! Like Clint says about concealed guns, "It's not meant to be comfortable, it's meant to be comforting." I think the same logic applies here. Thanks for posting.
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:21 PM   #5
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Hook686: Okay.
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:56 PM   #6
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I'm not a LEO or have ever worn a vest. However in your specific situation, if you're already used to wearing it most of the day, and it's on hand already. I see no reason to not at least give it a test run. See if in your off duty time your activities make the vest more cumbersome than practical.

This general topic has come up a few times in the past on the board. I've come to think that in a self defense situation it hard to argue that a purely defensive item is a bad idea. To me, a vest would help mitigate some of the factors of which you have no control. Furthermore as a LEO, you may feel a higher moral and ethical duty to intervene in situations when off duty than the average CCW'er would. Possibly even having a legal obligation to do so.
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Old July 26, 2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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I have never seen a need to wear a vest. In spite of some tragic shootings the world as a whole is not really so dangerous as to become paranoid.
If I thought theaters were dangerous places then I would not go to theaters. The same goes for restaurants and other public places.

If you think you need a vest to take your kids to the theater why are you taking them to such a dangerous place?

Jerry
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Old July 26, 2012, 05:18 PM   #8
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im not a leo but i do have a kevlar vest. it sits next to my bed just in case somethin goes bump in the night. i have worn it and it is very uncomfortable, i wouldnt want to wear it all the time but since your used to it and if it gives you a sound mind then go for it! who knows it might save your life sometime or you could be hot and sweaty your whole life. i say whatever you prefer
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Old July 26, 2012, 05:20 PM   #9
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Single Six,

Pros:
Depending upon which class your vest is, it can increase your likelihood to survive hits by most common self-defense handgun bullets, most knife strikes and be able to respond in self-defense.
If well fitted not uncomfortable, except holds in body heat.

Cons:
Most vests (unless Class IV or better) are no help against hits from rifle bullets.
Hot
Might be seen as suspicious, hard to conceal under light clothing.

I stopped going to movies about 15 years ago. Between the price of ticket, sticky floors, inconsiderate patrons who talk and kick your seat, and my bad hearing; it is not worth it to me.

I rent it, watch on Blu-ray and have subtitles so I get all the dialog.
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Old July 26, 2012, 05:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
I have never seen a need to wear a vest. In spite of some tragic shootings the world as a whole is not really so dangerous as to become paranoid.
If I thought theaters were dangerous places then I would not go to theaters. The same goes for restaurants and other public places.

If you think you need a vest to take your kids to the theater why are you taking them to such a dangerous place?

Jerry
i take it you dont conceal carry? if so only when you go to bad neighborhoods and are expecting a gun fight??
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Old July 26, 2012, 05:38 PM   #11
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JerryM: The theater, in and of itself, is not an inherently dangerous place...Colorado notwithstanding. However, danger can show up anywhere, at anytime. That's why most of the users on this forum [me included] carry firearms. I view my firearms as I do the spare tires that all of us have in our cars; you almost never need that spare tire, but when you do, you usually need it pretty bad. Since we never know when or if that tire will be needed, we always have it with us. That same logic could apply to vests as well.
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Old July 26, 2012, 05:55 PM   #12
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Allow me to elaborate a bit further on my previous post: I know that the majority of self defense situations don't call for deadly force. Many such situations can be solved verbally, by simply retreating, or, occasionally, non-lethal responses such as pepper spray. However, in situations such as finding yourself at the scene of an "active shooter", it makes sense to me to have the wherewithal to defend yourself, your family, or the public at large. Hence, concealed carry laws. No, being armed is no guarantee of safety, or of prevailing..but it's a fighting chance, which beats no chance at all. It also makes sense to have a vest in such a situation. Granted, the vest won't help much if your assailant has a centerfire rifle. However, seat belts don't always save lives in traffic crashes...but I still wear them.
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Old July 26, 2012, 07:06 PM   #13
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i take it you dont conceal carry? if so only when you go to bad neighborhoods and are expecting a gun fight?]

Nonsense. I have no reasons to go to bad neighborhoods. But I do carry concealed most of the time. That does not require that I wear a vest, carry several reloads, and a BU.
Let each do as he will. The OP asked what we thought, and I posted my thoughts.

I know a lot of LEOs, and none ever wear a vest off duty. Many of them do not carry off duty. I also know several retired LEOs, and none carry. Somehow they, plus many others of my acquaintance, have never needed a gun for SD. While there is a danger of attack most anywhere and anytime, the probabilities are extremely small if you avoid known dangerous areas, places, and situations. I am not going to build my life around such small probabilities.

It is so easy to get caught up in the "me too" mentality that there is a booger behind every bush. I don't let myself get caught up in that, and have lived a relatively long time without having to use a firearm in SD.

I wonder if the OP will ever permit his kids and wife to go to a theater without his presence? Or if he will buy each a vest so if there is a shooting they will be somewhat protected?

I often see conversations that the man will say he will not go to a mall, for instance, if he cannot carry. He is dedicated to protecting his family. So does he not permit his wife to go the same mall alone? Or anywhere that else if she does not carry?
If I thought a mall was so dangerous that I had to carry there I would always go with my wife when she went there. Isn't it just as dangerous with or without him?

Regards,
Jerry
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Old July 26, 2012, 07:18 PM   #14
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[Mod Hat On]
Let's NOT get into who's paranoid and who isn't and why. If you have a reasoned argument, make it. Leave the paranoia out of it.
[/Mod Hat Off]


I'm not a cop, never worn a vest, but I do know a few and my pastor is the county chaplan, so he has a vest too.

I don't know of any who wear off duty and I do know a few who carry regularly and they are very open about it, so I doubt they're hiding the vest.

I personally feel no need. I also feel no need for a backup gun or reloads. Since this is America and we still get to choose, I don't carry what I don't feel I need.

If you're more comfortable (mentally) with it than without it, wear it. If you try it for awhile and don't like it or decide its overboard, stop wearing it.

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Old July 27, 2012, 12:41 AM   #15
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JerryM: Yes, the probability of needing a gun for SD is small if you avoid bad neighborhoods, etc. I myself make a point of staying out of problem areas, when on my own time...obviously, my job requires that I frequent such places when I'm on the clock. But, I again will defer to the spare tire analogy I used earlier. Also, just because the LEOs you know have never needed a gun for SD, that is absolutely no guarantee that one of them won't need one for that very purpose tomorrow. Yesterday is not necessarily a reliable indicator of how today will go. As has been so eloquently stated before, "Hope is not a strategy." Finally, yes, I do "permit" my family to go to the movies without me.
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Old July 27, 2012, 12:47 AM   #16
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Whether or not you wear your vest is up to you. The more important fact, in my opinion, is the fact that you have determined that you will protect your family and other innocent lives by carrying. Thank God for people like you (and non-LEOS who carry also). You make everyone safer every day.
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Old July 27, 2012, 01:47 AM   #17
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Churchmouse: I would add that the legally armed citizen is the LEO's friend. Any honest policeman will admit that we can't be everywhere at once, and most of the time, until we get to the scene of whatever emergency you might have, you're on your own...but, there have also been cases of armed citizens saving LE lives! We're on the same team, friend. By the way, your thanks are never necessary, but are always very much appreciated. Have a good weekend.
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Old July 27, 2012, 08:13 AM   #18
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Quote:
I would add that the legally armed citizen is the LEO's friend
Question - is this the (mostly unspoken) sentiment of most LEOs? It seems we hear (at least from the the Left) case after case of police chiefs who are against citizen carry.
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Old July 27, 2012, 11:04 AM   #19
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The patrol officers, deputies, and state troopers of my acquaintance have generally been pro-carry. I've asked.

The antis I've heard about are usually in more political offices within their departments.
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Old July 27, 2012, 11:18 AM   #20
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I can understand the OP's reasoning, and if were an LEO, I'd wear one all the time ... but if our country has reached the point where citizens have to wear body armor to feel safe, we are lost ...
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Old July 27, 2012, 01:42 PM   #21
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Try it out.

I agree with others in thinking that your best approach may be to try it out and see how it goes. Pay special attention to how it alters your daily activities or clothing choices. It may be something that you wear in certain situations rather than an all-day, every-day item.
If you'd like to trade, I'm in Afghanistan on my fourth tour. My IOTV with full load-out brushes 90 pounds! It's got some heft to it
In the end, do what you feel is right for you and your family. With things going the way have recently, no one can blame you for feeling the way you do.
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Old July 27, 2012, 02:10 PM   #22
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I think the two big deterants for regular citizens wearing body armor is the cost and comfort issues. If you, as an off-duty LEO have been accustomed to wearing it and have access to one for duty then I wouldn't think wearing one when you wanted that extra layer of peace of mind is out of touch at all.

Would I buy one? Nah.
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Old July 27, 2012, 02:13 PM   #23
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38splfan: When I'm on duty and in uniform, my body weight goes from it's normal 215 lbs., up to about 239 lbs. Ergo, I'd say you have me beat! Guys like you, doing the stuff you're doing in the places you're doing it, have it far harder than I ever will. You all have my profound gratitude and respect. Thanks for posting, and here's hoping you come home safe, and soon.
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Old July 27, 2012, 02:25 PM   #24
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Spacecoast: I can tell you this: In 23 years of full time LE, I have only ever met one uniformed officer that disagreed with "civilian gun ownership". This man was a die hard liberal who somehow ended up in uniform. Trying to reason with him was an exercise in futility, but I kept trying. Other than that, in my experience, most folks in my chosen profession [at least, here in my part of the country] are overwhelmingly pro-gun. Common sense tells us that criminals were carrying concealed guns already, CCW laws notwithstanding. In fact, I've yet to meet a street punk who would be deterred from carrying a concealed gun by any kind of laws. We LE folks know that the citizen who went through the red tape and hassle to get that CCW license is most likely no threat to us. From what I've seen, LEOs who see it differently are usually high-ranking brass, currently on patrol in an office from 8-5, Monday through Friday.
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Old July 27, 2012, 03:47 PM   #25
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There may be some lighter "off-duty" vests that you could look into, though they may be pretty pricey. Politicians have worn them over the years and the general public never knew.

If I was an LEO, I'd definitely consider it. Less b/c of the possibility of an active shooter, but more for the likelihood that I might run into someone I had arrested.
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