Prepper Guns: Firearms, Ammo, Tools, and Techniques You Will Need to Survive the Coming Collapse (2016)

OTHER STUFF

Body Armor

For most body armor makers, your life is not important.

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Eric Reynolds in a BulletSafe Ballistic Vest.

Idon’t claim to be an expert on this topic, but I figured that anytime we are in danger of being shot, body armor makes sense. Right? The cops have it, the military has it, and it makes sense as civilians that we should protect ourselves too. That’s what freedom is all about, right?

After all, this is a defensive thing. It’s for protection and in no way can it hurt anybody else if a law-abiding citizen has body armor. So, I was shocked at how many people think we should be prevented from buying something that can save our lives.

I spent a good bit of my time at the 2015 SHOT Show researching body armor, or at least trying to research body armor. Almost without fail, the people manning the booths I approached were standoffish and condescending right out of the gate. I assume that’s because I had a press badge. As soon as I told them I was researching a book and wanted to talk about body armor options for civilians, their heads started spinning and they began to spew pea soup out of their mouths. You would have thought I told them I was selling Ebola samples and giving away memberships to ISIS.

Almost to a man (and a few women) they wanted nothing to do with civilians. Most would not even talk to me once I told them who I was and what I was doing. I suppose in their little minds they believed that selling to civilians would put their other contracts in jeopardy. Who knows, maybe it would. There is a very clear “them-against-us” mentality with a lot of law enforcement today and it was never more clear to me than at the SHOT Show.

One honest guy did talk with me off the record and told me I was right and that he agreed with me, but he added that his management did not and he would probably be fired for even suggesting that civilians should be able to buy body armor.

There is even a bill in Congress to ban body armor for civilians, H. R. 378. It wants to charge anyone with body armor with a felony and put them in prison for ten years. Seriously? For protecting yourself with a product that in no way hurts others?

I am not sure how much traction it’s getting or what the current status is with this, but it makes a clear statement about what the government thinks about the value of civilian lives. I suppose a more extreme view is that they don’t want civilians to be able to protect themselves from the government. Or maybe that’s not so extreme; what other explanation is there?

The lesson from all this is that as a prepper you probably very much do need body armor. If this many people don’t want you to have it, it’s sending a message.

I know that there are companies on the Internet that sell body armor and it’s not that hard to find. I know some of that is from third-party vendors who are selling it without the blessing or knowledge of the manufacturer, because I see it from at least two of the companies who told me their policy is no sales of their products to civilians. I think that maybe we need to think long and hard about the kind of people we are giving money to and support those who support us and American freedom.

After I got home I found a company that is very happy to sell to civilians and supports the concept that our lives are important, too. There may be others, but this one made it clear to me they want to help protect American citizens.

BulletSafe offers a vest with class IIIA protection. That means it protects up to a .44 Magnum and is the highest level available from soft armor. The vest has pockets front and back for plates that will protect against cartridges up to a 308-caliber rifle. Best of all, it’s affordable.

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Installing the Spartan Armor Systems AR500 ballistic plates in a BulletSafe vest.

It’s a very good idea to also include plates for protection against rifle fire. BulletSafe sells ceramic plates, which is the standard with the military and law enforcement. Also, there are a few companies selling plates made from AR500 steel that will stop a .308 rifle round. These steel plates are less expensive than ceramic. I have a lot of AR500 targets and have seen how they hold up to rifle bullet strikes and that gives me some confidence.

I tried repeatedly to contact one of the biggest names in supplying AR500 plates and they would not return calls or emails. I know some other writer friends with the same experience, so again it comes down to spending money with companies who appreciate their customers.

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Spartan Armor Systems AR500 ballistic plates.

I know that MGM targets is working on plates. I know the owners well and they are good people and strong supporters of the Second Amendment.

My plates were a Father’s Day gift from my daughter and son-in-law. They are from Spartan Armor Systems. I have spoken with the owner and they are strong supporters of a civilian’s right to buy body armor.

As I said, I am hardly an expert on this topic, but this is the gear I trust my life to. I am sure there are other good companies that make armor. I strongly suggest you find one that will work with you and that you buy some armor before the government decides you are not worth protecting.

It’s going to seem like a waste of money if nothing happens and in hindsight it probably will be. At least you’d better hope it turns out to be wasted money. Nothing good can come from needing body armor. But a lot of bad can come if you don’t have it and do need it.

Body armor is like truck insurance or fire extinguishers: When you need it, you will need it badly and by then it’s too late to go find some.