Should You Have Body Armor?
Should civilians have body armor? It's a question that many of us have asked and come away more confused. There are pros and cons of body armor for personal protection, but is it better to have and not use it, or not have it and need it? I sat down with Tim Weaver of AR500.com to discuss the options available to civilians and why you may want to open your mind to civilian-use body armor.
As the first responder for my family, it is my responsibility to think of every possible dangerous scenario. Body armor, (or if you want to spell it ‘body armour’ – that’s on you), is something that I considered, but never had the money to purchase. Well, AR500.com puts me in an advantageous position to buy. The well-crafted, durable line of AR500 body armor, AR500 plate carriers, etc. - make it possible for average Joes like me to acquire the right gear to outfit myself and my family for when the proverbial crap hits the fan.
I’ve tossed around every scenario. Owning body armor and body armor plates, is next-level tactical. Here are some thoughts from Tim and the questions that come to mind when thinking about purchasing armor.
Who is AR500?
When looking for body armor, it's essential to know who you're going to purchase from.
AR500 Armor began in 2012 with the idea of manufacturing high-quality, reliable armor products to our customers. At the time, places that would sell body armor to civilians usually had a considerable number of hurdles for the customers to jump through.
AR500 wants to offer products to legal residents of the United States that represented excellent value and didn't penalize customers for not being current or retired law enforcement or military.
AR500’s core concept is that body armor is as much a tool of liberty as firearms. AR500 only half-jokingly says that the 2A represents arms and armor because if you're in a position to need one, you're likely to wish you had the other.
Why Choose AR500?
When AR500 Armor looks at developing a new product, they seem to see that there's a need for it. Whether it's our updated AR Concealment Carrier for soft armor panels or the AR Freeman armor package, AR500 wants products to represent what they believe is a market need, performs to the levels products say they will, and represent excellent value for the customer.
Like firearms, body armor is a tool. No body armor is truly bulletproof, but having it can help you survive to stay in the fight. But body armor only works if you have it when you need it. There's no doubt that body armor can be cumbersome, hot, and bulky. That's why AR500 recommends that whatever armor you get, train with it so you can see how it affects your performance on the range. The time to find these things out isn’t during the middle of a firefight, but at the range where you can adapt to your armor.
Why Civilians Need Body Armor
- Protection of self
- Protection of loved ones (you can’t protect them if you are dead)
- Because it’s your natural right to be able to own the tools of liberty needed to help keep our society free
What Plate Carrier Do You Need?
Everyone’s needs will be different, and there are two factors to consider: the armor itself and the carrier. We will address the carrier first.
- Novice – For someone new to body armor and carriers, a good place to begin would be our Veritas general issue packages, which holds our 10"x12" armor plates. The Veritas is a good basic set up, can accommodate a couple of rifle and/or pistol magazine pouches or a first aid kit. It's relatively minimalist and is easy to put on and take off since it doesn't come with a cummerbund (one is available for those who want the extra real estate for pouches).
- Intermediate – For someone who has some experience with body armor and tactical gear, we suggest our flagship carrier, the Testudo 2.0 general issue package. This holds 10”x12” or 11”x14” plates and comes with an integral cumberbund (which is removable if you want to run it lighter). The general issue package comes with plates, and the carrier features padding and 3D mesh for comfort.
- Experienced – The experienced user will know what they need and why. Whether it’s for running a heavier loadout with the Testudo 2.0 full-loaded package (which includes rifle and pistol mag pouches and a holster) or going with our Invictus for a lower-profile carrier.
What Body Armor Do You Buy?
As for the armor, AR500 advises to get the highest-rated armor you can afford that is capable of stopping the most likely threat you’ll encounter. Another thing to consider is whether or not to add the AR500 frag and spall mitigating buildup coating, which significantly reduces or eliminates bullet fragmentation. The downside is it can add about 10% to the weight of each plate.
That's a bunch to ingest. Here are my thoughts on the matter. I 100% believe it is our right to own body armor. My issue comes to training with the body armor. Officers and military folks do this on a weekly, if not daily basis. I never imagine a scenario where I'd have time to run to my vehicle, "kit" up and whisk away to save the day. If the situation calls for it, I am dialing 911 as fast as my fingers can go and letting the professionals take it from there.
However, I am no law enforcement or military personnel, but I would much rather have it and not need it. AR500 makes it easy to buy body armor that fits your needs. With AR500, there are plenty of affordable options to get me started.
Final Body Armor Thought
Here's one more thought I will leave you with: if you consider buying one for yourself, why don't you consider purchasing something for the other folks in your home? I, for one, did not find this because I always thought that my "gunfight" would be just myself. As we've seen countless times, our "gunfights" rarely play out as they do in our minds.
If you must evade the junk and gunfight, I'd much rather give my body armor away to my wife and kids than use it for myself, but that is what we always do, right? We light up any scenario possible and plan for the worst-case scenario. Well, now that I've talked myself into circles looks like I am buying more. ~ KJ
Thank you to AR500 Armor and Tim Weaver for providing more insight into the world of Body Armor. If you wish to find out more, visit AR500.com. Enter GT10 at the time of checkout to claim 10-percent off non-promo items.
Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter and often finds himself in a bass boat. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, Jarnagin always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind.