Three Letters Re: Prepper Armor

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Hugh,

In response to K.W.’s concern, posted December 18, 2014, about M193 5.56 ball ammunition vs. Level III plates: It should be noted that two things defeat body armor– velocity and mass of the bullet. The NIJ 0101.06 (the most current) standards rate a Level III hard plate to stop a 7.62mm 147 grain steel jacketed bullet at 2780 feet per second. Considering the M193 travels right around 3000 fps (close to the NIJ standards) and the mass is significantly less, that should put you on the safe side. Incidentally, it seems some companies understand this concern and make sure some of these cartridges that don’t quite fit into the NIJ standards still won’t defeat their armor. AR500, for one, states on their website: “Third party testing has been performed with calibers up to 5.56 XM193, 7.62x54R, 30.06, 6.5 Creedmore, and .338 Lapua Magnum. Results with higher calibers may vary as they are typically over the threshold of Level III rated armor.” Hope that helps – E.W.

o o o

Hugh,

There is a difference between police armor and military armor, and it has nothing to do with the NIJ rating.

What the Major is talking about are things like IBA and IOTV vests. Yes, these weigh a ton. My army issue IOTV with everything on it is for a full apocalypse situation and actual combat. My issue MP vest, however, is a different matter. It is a police SWAT-style vest that has IIIA armor and can accept plates. Without the plates, it is very light. I can wear it all day without discomfort and fit in any civilian vehicle. It does not have batwings or a groin protector; those are for combat. Still, it protects my torso quite nicely and allows freedom of movement.

I highly recommend a Level IIIA external vest for just about everyone, and I have worn body armor for years. Say “no” to military issue IBA and IOTV; it is way too heavy. – APC 1LT, MP

o o o

HJL,

I just returned home from a deployment in Afghanistan. My demographics are the high side of 50 years old. My squadron had to wear our IBA to/from work every day for 71 days, and I walked to my duty station– a mere half mile from my quarters. While the protection against “what-if” was reassuring, I am now home and looking at physical therapy for l. ankle and r. knee tendon injuries that have not healed of their own accord in five months. If you are wearing body armor, typical gov’t Interceptor or the new IOTV vests, they weigh 35 pounds, and the helmet makes it 37.5 lbs; with a rifle and ammo, whether it’s on your head or clipped to your vest, your joints are still carrying the load. Then there is the 10 plus pounds of rifle and ammo I carried. I’m no couch potato; I run/ran 15-20 miles per week prior to deployment. Deployed locations don’t have sidewalks; it’s crushed stone and broken crap that serve as your walkways, generally. Once the ankle went, I transitioned from nimble on my feet to a liability to my own well being. Clearing my work area after an alarm went off was a joke. I couldn’t sneak around, and I couldn’t run to shelter, as the ankle simply couldn’t do the work. Then the knee went trying to carry the ankle’s load. While I may have been able to take a round to the torso, but any leg wound would have made me immobile and too heavy for a fellow Airman to drag to safety quickly with their own armor burden. So, while the armor is nice to have, it is not any guarantee, and if the SHTF and you lose mobility due to a similar injury, there will be no “post-deployment” therapy sessions to look forward to. It’s something to think about to prioritize. – T.G.

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