Today, if you’re in law enforcement, military or even private security, body armor is an absolute must-have piece of kit, if you ask me. We are no longer in Kansas, Toto. It’s a dangerous world out there, and you don’t want to have a target on your chest, especially in law enforcement. Used to be, if you wore body armor under your uniform shirt, many other police officers made fun of you, and said you were paranoid. Gone are those days. Most major police departments now issue and mandate that their officers wear soft body armor. These days, many departments have their officers wear their body armor over their uniform shirt, instead of under it – much more comfortable.
Back in 1982, I was working for a big detective agency back in Chicago, Illinois – and to pick up some extra income, I also worked as a plainclothes store detective in a grocery store – it was a huge chain and it still exists today. I only worked Friday night, Saturday during the day, and Sunday. On average I made about 10 arrests in a weekend – so needless to say, it was a “fun” time – always busy. This store was in a changing neighborhood, and I elected to wear soft body armor under my shirt. Back then, many law enforcement supply houses wouldn’t sell body armor to civilians, so it took a flash of my badge, to prove I was in security work to purchase the armor. Back then, and this is a lot of years ago, this armor cost me $250 – in today’s world, that would probably be triple that cost, or more. And, even today, some locales and states restrict the purchase and use of body armor to law enforcement or security personnel.
I’ve tested several types of soft body armor over the past several years, for our readers, and all of them came through with flying colors – they did as advertised – they stopped bullets. However, today we’re looking at a fairly new soft body armor, and it is one of the thinnest out there, and that makes it highly concealable. Still, the world hasn’t gotten “that” bad, that I strap-on body armor when I am here at my homestead. But I think that time is coming – faster than many folks think it is.
I’ve purchased VISM soft body armor from J&G Sales for most of my family. Note that most “VISM” brand products are made in mainland China.
Our youngest daughter believes that the world is a safe place, and is sick and tired of reading and hearing about how this world is going down the toilet. She didn’t want any armor – although she wore it in the US Army. Still, I purchased one for her and keep it at our digs – should she ever come home when things hit the fan. The VISM soft armor I purchased even comes with a carrier – many armor providers don’t provide this – and a separate carrier can set you back $50 to $200 depending on the type you purchase – and this is the plate carrier only – it doesn’t include the armor plates.
There are no photos with this article of the armor I actually tested, however, it is safe to say, it stopped the handgun ammo that my helpers and I fired into it – numerous times. For my tests, a tree downrange “wore” the armor. This is considered destructive testing. Once a piece of body armor takes a hit, then it should be replaced.
I always have more than enough volunteers when firearms and ammo are supplied at no charge. I purchased one of the VISM body armor set-ups, some years ago, and tested it before I decided to purchase any more of that type for my family. But after my tests, I recommend it to other family and friends. You can read all about the various handgun rounds this armor claims to stop – and it did – even up to .44 Mag and the lowly .22 LR – which can easily penetrate some soft armor – it slips and slides through the layered material – in this case it didn’t penetrate this armor.
I don’t know how many rounds of handgun ammo was fired into the two test panels I had, but it’s safe to say, these panels took a couple of dozen hits – and at some point, some of the ammo started penetrating the armor. No commercial body armor is designed to withstand hits that land near or on top of one another. If you get into a situation where you’re taking hundreds of hits to your body armor – do two things, first pray and secondly, change positions because you’re not going to survive for long if you don’t move. Both armor panels were shredded from so many hits – however they proved their worth.
J&G Sales also sells hard body armor. Some of those plates are rated as IIIA just like the soft panel are. Why offer this same stopping power in the hard body armor as the soft? Logical question. The soft body is very thin, and you just know its going to hurt when you get hit with a round – any round. Doctors call that blunt trauma. This is a lot like receiving a baton strike. No fun, and it will leave a big bruise. Whereas, the hard armor plates will afford you more protection from the blunt trauma pain of getting shot. And, the hard armor isn’t all that much more expensive. But you have to keep in mind, that a hard plate isn’t nearly as comfortable to wear!
J&G Sales usually has two sizes of the soft armor in stock. I bought both the “regular” size as well as the larger size. The latter it fits me better – more comfortable. And, there isn’t a big difference in cost between the two sizes. Prices tend to change as supply and demand forces them. The regular size is usually about $149.99 – and keep in mind that, this also includes the carrier. The larger size can run about $20 to $30 more. Again, depends on what they have in stock and the supply and demand. Still, this is a good deal – one of the best around – on soft body armor with a carrier.
Let’s take a close look at what you get for your money, the plate carrier is smooth front and read, and this helps conceal the armor if you are wearing it under a shirt. There are Velcro shoulder straps that allows easy removal of the plate carrier and it can be adjusted on how high or low you wear the vest on your body. There is an adjustable cummerbund that can be extended out to 57-inches.
The body armor itself is made out of BSC1114 ballistic soft panels, and this is light-weight Ultra High Molecular Polyethylene (UHMWPE) – this is super light-weight material and very thin. Make no mistake, if you get hit with a round on the vest, it is going to hurt – no way to say it any other way – but it is better than a hole in your body. This material is capable of stopping handgun rounds such as 9mm, .40 S&W .45 ACP and .44 Mag rounds up to 1,400-feet per second.
The standard vest fits bodies from medium to 2XL – and if you need bigger, then order the larger vest. Keep in mind that the vest should fit snuggly. These panels are what is called the “shooter’s cut” and allows greater movement, especially in the arm area.
J&G Sales says that they can ship this armor to all adults without criminal records and to all states except Connecticut. Of course, they aren’t going to request a letter from your local LEO stating you have a clean background.
You should also keep in mind that many states and locales are trying to get legislation passed prohibiting the sale or wear of body armor except by law enforcement. Already there are areas that won’t allow you to put a laser on your firearms, and some are calling for the ban on “sniper” rifles with scopes – and that will mean any regular ol’ hunting rifle – they will never be satisfied until we are totally disarmed.
Now is the time to purchase some body armor. I’ve owned hard armor, that will stop high-powered rifle rounds, but it weighs too much to wear all day long – I’m not ashamed to say, by the time this article appears in print, I’ll be into my 70th year of this earth, and I don’t have the endurance to body strength to wear heavy body armor all day long.
I recommend this VISM soft body armor, especially considering the price and how light-weight and thin it is – you can shop around and find it for more but my research shows that J&G has the best price around. And, there are other soft body armor set-ups out there, but most are a lot thicker than the VISM set-up is. Still, now is the time to make that purchase, don’t put it off any longer – dig that credit card out of your wallet and make the purchase