Search Results for: level IV armor

Covert Level IV Armor Protection

Covert body armor is one of the greatest of modern marvels – it provides discreet protection in a number of scenarios and can be used by anyone – from professional security operatives, soldiers and cops to gun enthusiast and survivalists. It has saved thousands of people from death or serious wounds. But for the majority of American population covert level IV body armor remains something that only law enforcement officers are required to wear. With the exponential increase in threats in our daily lives, however, this is far from true.

As you may know body armor comes in different sizes and levels of protection that are defined by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The covert/overt style of the vest refers to the way it can be worn – over or under your clothes. Naturally, the higher levels of body armor provide more protection against fire and melee weapons and every succeeding level covers the threats of the previous. This means that the Level IV body armor protects against all calibers that level I, IIA, II, IIIA and III do.

Unlike lower standard vests (I and II), which are referred to as ‘soft’ – level III and IV body armor is considered ‘hard’. This is because of the materials used by manufactures and, more precisely, hard armor plates on top of the soft part of the vest. Essentially, this allows the body armor to remain soft and flexible without compromising its higher level of protection even against armor-piercing rifle rounds.

Level IV body armor protection specifics

These hard plates are designed to defeat Armor Piercing projectiles and are tested with a single impact of the test caliber, which is a 30.06 M2AP 166gr (armor piercing) that is travelling between a speed of 2850fps and 2900fps. In the USA this caliber specified in the N.I.J. standard represents a common threat to the Law Enforcement and Security community.

Since it covers the threats all previous levels have been tested for, this means that the Level IV body armor also offers protection against 9mm semiautomatic and 44magnum rounds travelling between a speed of 1400fps and 1450fps (a submachine gun velocity); 9mm and 357 magnum and .22 and .38 Special rounds.
Statistically speaking, it is important to understand that no body armor is 100% bulletproof but the increase in levels will decrease the likelihood of the wearer from suffering a serious or fatal trauma from gunfire.

Covert level IV body armor also provides protection against most slashing attacks, although it is not as effective against thrusting attacks with daggers or ice picks. Pointed and streamlined objects can penetrate the fibers when thrust with enough force. This is particularly true of covert ballistic-resistant body armor, so wearers should exercise caution in these situations.

Progression Of Body Armor

Body armor is, without a doubt, an integral part of keeping safe for people working in a number of sectors – law enforcement, military, maritime, security and media personnel all use it in their day-to-day operations. Lately, civilians, hunters and gun enthusiasts have also taken a keen interest in the advantages body armor can provide. But how did such a piece of highly specialized equipment come to be so mainstream?

Body armor has existed in one form or another for thousands of years, and certain iterations will likely be very familiar to most. Whilst there have been revolutionary advancements in the field, the ideas and even some of the techniques have remained largely the same.

The first versions of armor to protect against gunshots appeared in the 18th century, made of layers of cotton and sufficient enough to protect against rudimentary firearms. In the 1870s, Australian outlaw Ned Kelly famously crafted entire suits from steel for himself and his gang members for the final, ill-fated standoff with police that led to his capture. During the Korean War of the 1950s, U.S. forces used armor made of fiberglass, nylon and heat-treated aluminum. Today an array of protective gear is available including the soft ballistic vests favored by police and S.W.A.T. team members, often made out of Kevlar, a lightweight fiber five times stronger than steel. Hard armor plates, on the other hand, are made of thick ceramic or metal engineered to withstand high-powered assault weapons and are more often used in the military.

Body armor can be highly effective when worn properly; some analysts cite its use as standard equipment for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan as reasons why troop fatalities in those conflicts have remained at historically low levels (even as a larger proportion of soldiers return home injured or maimed by wounds that previously would have killed them). But the same evolution that has likely saved thousands of lives is now raising the question of whether tighter regulation would save even more. When laws vary so widely from place to place and the civilian purchase of body armor becomes more common, the lines get more difficult to draw.

DuPont® began experimenting with plastics in the 1960s in the form of Aramids, strong yet lightweight fibers. These fibers were used by DuPont® to create a fabric called Kevlar™, a name synonymous with modern body armor. Kevlar™ has an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio while remaining flexible and lightweight, offering great potential for use as body armor. It was quickly shown to be excellent at dispersing energy and coping with impacts, and was promptly adopted as body armor. Aramids and plastics were soon embraced by a number of companies who began to create similar products, and as a result body armor became more accessible than it had ever been, not to mention far lighter and stronger than ever before.

Body armour can be highly effective when worn properly; some analysts cite its use as standard equipment for military and police forces as reasons why fatalities have dropped to historically low levels Currently, today’s modern generation of Kevlar body armour can provide protection in a variety of levels designed to defeat most common low- and medium-energy handgun rounds. Additional hard or ceramic panels have been developed to supplement soft body armour to defeat rifle fire is of either semirigid or rigid construction.

Testing Body Armor

Bullet resistant body armor is one of the greatest modern marvels. It has saved thousands of lives and protected people from serious injuries. And while it is part of the standard work equipment for law enforcement officers, military operatives and security personnel, gun enthusiasts are also discovering its many benefits.

Gun enthusiasts are well aware of the deadly power of guns and proper safety starts with securing tactical armor to protect yourself in case a dangerous situation comes up. Plain and simple – wearing body armor can save your life. With modern advancements in production and design, bulky and heavy armor is no longer an issue and there are many levels and styles to find your optimal fit. Manufacturers offer a large selection of lighter and more effective body armor that can protect you from life-threatening shots.

Understanding the different levels available helps you determine which one is most suitable against certain pistol and melee weapons and choose accordingly.
The most commonly used is Level IIa. Rated for pistol rounds and light fragmentation, it is soft armor, and is good against 9mm, 40 SW and 45 ACP. However, many consider this level to be the bare minimum armor protection. Types I, II–A, II, and III–A armor are required to prevent penetration from the impact of six bullets per panel, for two complete samples (front and back panels) at specified velocities and locations for two types of ammunition. Two of the impacts in each six-shot sequence must be at a 30-degree angle. A total of 48 shots are completed on four samples. Furthermore, the deformation of the backing material (a measure of blunt trauma protection) must not exceed 44mm (1.73 in). Deformation readings are taken on each panel at shot location 1, then at either shot location 2 or 3, whichever one had the highest shot velocity. The armor must meet these requirements while wet.

When it comes to a decent array of pistol weapon threats, versatility and affordability – the best choice is Level IIIa. This armor is considered as standard armor for law enforcement at this time. If offers enhanced protection over level IIa up to a 44mag and it also stops 357 Sig, which is a high velocity round for a handgun. Type III armor requirements are identical to those for types I, II–A, II, and III , except that only one type of ammunition is specified, and all six test rounds are fired perpendicular to the surface of the armor. A total of 12 shots are completed (6 shots per sample).

Apart from levels, there are two types of tactical body armor styles – overt and covert (concealable). Gun enthusiasts generally find that the latter offers greatest advantages as t is usable in any scenario as opposed to hard armor which is impractical for daily use and high-risk situations. Covert body amor offers reduced chances of detection, which is particularly important as it won’t draw anyone’s eye.In some cases keeping your body armor out of sight may actually end up saving your life as attackers won’t specifically aim for those body parts left unprotected by your armor.

Another feature you need to consider is the inclusion of plates – most commonly paired with Level III, and Level IV for stopping armor piercing rounds. Level III offers a more than decent protection, as it will stop the majority of rifle rounds in circulation in the US today.

As a general rule tactical armor makes you feel like you are more capable of handling a situation, although it can make you overconfident in your abilities. The bottom line is that all guns are deadly and you can, at best, minimize your chances of getting seriously hurt or injured, which can be the difference between getting yourself killed. However, equipping yourself with tactical body armor is a process and should not be taken lightly based on word-of-mouth advice or trends. Sit down, do some research and make an informed decision based on your risk expectancy, physical attributes and skills.


This article was written by Emma Lown. Emma is one of Safeguard’s Leading ballistics experts. She spends her time updating partners on the developments within the industry and is instrumental in driving the company’s research and development.

Body Armor For Every Day Carry

Body Armor is no longer something reserved for the military and law enforcement agents. It’s a piece of versatile equipment that can give you the upper hand in a variety of situations. This is especially valuable today given the rising number of shooting incidents, terrorist attacks, random assaults and crime all over the US. But while most people are quick to arm themselves and stock on ammunition, few stop to consider the other side of staying safe – namely, equipping themselves with adequate protection.

Benefits of Everyday Carry

Even if you’re not expecting, under most circumstances, an imminent threat to your well-being or life, it is still common sense to be well prepared to protect yourself, your family and friends. Off-duty cops are among the largest user group of body armor in their everyday life given their knowledge of threats and the likelihood of coming in harm’s way.

Concealable body armor is therefore becoming more popular with those people who are regularly under a higher threat-risk, because they live and work in high-crime areas or are concerned with a specific threat from another individual or group of people. Having just a firearm alone in these cases will not be enough to ensure your safety, and quality soft body armor will enhance your safety level. Interestingly, Rich Davis, the founder of the original Second Chance Body Armor Company, invented concealable soft body armor it after being shot while delivering pizza. His intention in creating the armor was to provide protection for individuals who work in high-threat areas. So you can see how anyone can benefit from this type of equipment.

How to Choose Body Armor for Everyday Use

There are a number of things to consider when selecting body armor. There are many varieties and brands of armor on the market, as well as a wide range of price ranges. Finding the most ideal body armor for yourself can be a difficult task.

Threat levels and ballistic ratings are determined by the National Institute of Justice, which provides test-verified levels of protection so any purchaser (law enforcement or civilian) can make an appropriate choice based on their needs and context. As such, concealable soft body armor is only rated to stop various pistol or shotgun rounds. It can’t stop rifle fire from cartridges that will exceed pistol ballistics and penetrating power.

Level II is a popular choice for everyday carry as it has proven to be the best compromise between comfort, conceal-ability, and ballistic protection. This is particularly important for civilians who don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they are wearing armor. If you are a civilian under threat, you don’t want to advertise that you are protected as all exposed areas of your body will become a primary target.

If you want to make body armor a part of your personal defence plan, it is a good idea to actually purchase several. Buy them in different colors and styles to be able to discreetly match them with your wardrobe as well as rotate for washing. You can even consider getting one in overt style to be able to quickly slip it on top of your clothes if need be. Whatever you choose, be sure it fits you well depending on your physical build as this is crucial to your safety.


This post was written by Benjamin Atkinson, Communications Executive at Safeguard LLC. Ben is one of SafeGuard’s leading ballistics experts, and focuses on working with industry partners to provide updates on new research and developments in ballistic protection.

Everyday Benefits of Body Armor

Body armor has a surprising number of benefits for everyday situations, and is not necessarily the specialized product that many see it as. Of course complete tactical options are not particularly well-suited to anyone other than SWAT teams and the Military. Nevertheless, a wide range of products are available that can provide simple, accessible, and comfortable protection to anybody and everybody. Many tout the usefulness of weapons for defence, and any potential attackers may look to arm themselves. A bullet is incredibly deadly, and no matter how well-armed you may be, it will only take one errant shot to kill you. This is why you need body armor.

Bullet proof vests are easily accessible to nearly everyone, and are an easy way to protect yourself against a wide variety of threats. Part of the benefit of wearing body armor is the protection it can give you against bullets, certainly. However, many do not realize that bullet proof vests can help mitigate the impact of all sorts of injuries, thereby keeping you safe in all manner of situations. For example, DuPont, the makers of Kevlar, annually hold a ceremony commemorating Law Enforcement Officers whose lives were saved through body armor. Every year a significant proportion of these Officers were involved in otherwise fatal car crashes.

Of course, the main threat a bullet proof vest will protect you against is bullets. Even so, bullet proof vests can be purchased at a range of protection levels according to the ammunition it can protect you against. These protection levels are standardized by the National Institute of Justice, the world leader in ballistics testing. The NIJ Levels that are then attributed to body armor to show you at a glance just how strong your armor is. It is important you ensure your vest is compliant with the testing standards set by the NIJ, and is appropriate for the threats you will be facing.

It is just as important to consider the style of vest you will be wearing. There are a number of styles available to wear, each with their own advantages and disadvantages according to the situation and environment that armor will be worn in. The most common examples are Tactical armor, which as mentioned is usually reserved for SWAT teams and the military, and traditional covert armor that is worn underneath clothing. Of course, there is still variety within covert vests; some of these will be more appropriate for the situations you find yourself in. Nonetheless, most covert vests are lightweight, flexible, and breathable, and so can be worn comfortably.

A covert bulletproof vest has the benefit of keeping your protection discreet, meaning you can wear your vest in day-to-day life. On the other hand, an overt vest may be far more appropriate for your situation. An overt vest is designed to be worn over the clothing, and is still lightweight and flexible, but will usually have a durable and possibly weather-resistant cover. These vests have the benefit of being augmentable with high-visibility covers, pouches for equipment, and quick-release systems. Nevertheless, a covert vest is far more suitable for everyday use as it helps you avoid any unwanted attention while remaining protected.

The main benefit of the covert vest is how comfortable it is to wear, even for extended periods. Of course this will depend on the vest itself, yet most are thin and lightweight enough to be worn comfortably for extended periods. This means that you can almost forget that you are wearing a vest, and you will remain protected against a wide variety of threats. As already mentioned, it is not only bullets that a bullet proof vest can protect you against, as the Kevlar will help absorb the impact of any attack. Even falling debris or traffic accidents can be mitigated to some extent by a Kevlar vest.

Covert body armor will not be necessary for everyone, as some people are fortunate enough not to face threats on a day-to-day basis. However, it is not hard to see examples of innocent people being killed, whether intentionally or accidentally. Many of these tragic accidents could have been avoided with the use of a vest, and when they are so accessible and easy to wear, there are few reasons not to invest in a covert bullet proof vest.


This article was written by Thomas Bowman for SafeGuard Armor. Tom works closely with the manufacturing side of the business, using his knowledge of the body armor industry to suggest adjustments and designs that will help improve the vests for customers.

The StealthPRO from SafeGuard Armor

SafeGuard Armor’s StealthPRO combines the discreet and ergonomic design of the Stealth with the high level protection afforded by a Tactical vest to make the most discreet and protective vest available.

The StealthPRO provides a high grade alternative to the Stealth as part of SafeGuard’s range of covert vests. The StealthPRO was designed for a number of professions, from Private Security to Federal Officers, who need a discreet an ergonomic bullet proof vest with the option of high caliber protection.

This unique covert vest uses the discreet and breathable design of the Stealth with a 100% CoolMax lining to aid breathability and temperature-regulation. The flexible and adjustable cover draws moisture away from the skin, keeping the wearer cool and comfortable. In addition to the complete front, back, and side protection of the flexible and lightweight Kevlar panels, the StealthPRO features front and back pockets to house SAPI plates.

The StealthPRO can provide protection against even armor-piercing ammunition thanks to its compatibility with rigid plates of ceramic and/or polyethylene. SafeGuard’s SAPI plates are thinner and lighter than ever thanks to a dedication to the research and development of materials, meaning that you can stay discreet, protected, and comfortable with the StealthPRO.

The StealthPRO is available now from the link below, and comes in a range of colors, sizes, and levels of protection.

http://www.safeguardarmor.com/bullet-proof-vests/stealthpro/

Rock Island Armory Ultra FS at USPSA

It’s time to get busy. After a layoff of nearly two years, Sunday I headed out to Sioux Falls Practical Shooters to shoot a club level USPSA match. As it turns out, this was the best attended match that club has ever had, with 55 shooters, some driving up from as far as Sioux City … Continue reading “Rock Island Armory Ultra FS at USPSA”

Springfield Armory Range Officer 9mm 1911 Review

It’s finally here, our final review of the Springfield Armory Range Officer 9mm 1911. Let’s first start off with the scoring system, which to refresh your memory starts all guns with a maximum score of 100 points, then deducts points as various things go wrong. The Range Officer had 7 failures that were counted against the gun, lowering the score to 93. It also failed the 10-8 Performance function test, dropping the score to 83. Finally, it had one armorer level repair issue, namely that the rear sight pin would walk out of the rear sight under sustained rapid fire. That gives us a final score of 78/100, making this a solid C+ gun.

What’s interesting about the tests is that while the Springfield did out-perform the Taurus, it didn’t do it by nearly the margin I thought it would. The RO costs as near as makes no difference 250 dollars more at retail than the Taurus, but I honestly didn’t see $250 worth of performance increase. Yes, the RO was more reliable, and yes it was more accurate to shoot groups with, but the RO brand new is a $750-$800 gun, and the Taurus is a $500 gun. If the RO had finished in the mid to high 80s, which is where I expected it to finish, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because $750 is a perfectly reasonable price for a B+ gun.

I did change the stocks out on the Range Officer during the test; obviously if you follow this blog or my Instagram you saw the issues with had with the factory stocks and the foolishness of the previous owner. I actually really like the Magpul 1911 grips, they’re grippy without being too aggressive, and they have a huge thumb relief cut to make accessing the magazine release easier. Plus, they’re affordable. $15 is a pretty good price.

One thing I did love about the Range Officer was how accurate it is. This gun shoots.

Springfield RO 25 yard timed fire group

That’s a timed fire group (5 shots in 20 seconds) from the Range Officer, shot at 25 yards a B-8 target. The “black” of a B-8 is 5.5 inches, and with the exception of that one little flier in the 9, all of those are 10s in the much smaller circle. This gun shoots well. The only real criticism I have of it is the tendency towards light primer strikes with hard-primered ammo like Tula or Fiocchi, both of which I had issues with. The easiest way to solve that of course is not use that ammo with this gun, which is exactly what I’ll do moving forward. With some minor tweaks to the recoil system, and the addition of a magazine well, this would make a pretty solid choice for USPSA Single Stack, and might even be decent if I pressed into service as a Bianchi Cup gun.

As it stands now, the Springfield Armory RO sits at a distance second place behind Tim’s Wilson Combat 9mm 1911, which scored a perfect 100/100 on our test. Up next is either the Armscor 1911 or the Dan Wesson, and to be honest I’m having trouble picking which one.

Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911 9mm: Halfway there

Last night I ran the Springfield Armory RO through another 350 rounds of ammo, bringing the running total to an even 1,000. As usual, I shot Dot Torture at 5 yards to open up, and because I was feeling speedy I tried to shoot it fast; ended up dropping 3 shots for a 47/50. What I’ve established with Dot Torture is that when I take my time and shoot it for max accuracy with this gun I can clean it on command. When I speed up and try to shoot it quick…things start to fall apart. It’s always in the same place, on the strings with transitions.

In order to work on my transitions, I spent the end of my practice time working on the iHack. This drill is hard, you’re shooting at tiny-ass little targets with a relatively tight par time. Even when you delete the timer and just try to self-pace yourself for a balance of speed and accuracy, it’s easy to mess this drill up. As you can see in the video, on three consecutive runs from the Safariland 1911 ALS I’m using I went 6/9, 8/9, and ohmygodwhy/9 on the final run. The best way to work up through this drill is to start aimed in on the targets, and if you can hit the par time from there, go to whatever ready position you use, and if you can hit the par time from there, go to the holster. Right now my skill level is in between low-ready and holster; I can pass the drill routinely from the low ready, and I’m about 50-60% from the holster. My issue is I’m slow on the first shot, so I then tend to rush the transitions to make up for lost time, and things kind of fall apart when you do that.

The gun itself had another malfunction on round 800something. This was a failure to return to battery during a SHO string of fire I was doing. Ammo was PMC 115 grain 9mm, corrective action was to spank the magwell like it was naughty. One of the things I’ve noticed about the RO is that it’s very sensitive to running without adequate amounts of lubrication, and for whatever reason this gun likes to have a lot of lubrication on it. Everything about this gun is, for lack of a better phrase, tight. It seems like this gun is the kind of 1911 that I’ll need to establish a regular lubrication cycle for. No points off for that, but -1 one point for the failure to RTB. Currently the gun’s at 85/100 with 1000 rounds left to go.

Hard Armor and Assault Rifles; A Look at the Most Popular and Famous Automatic Weapons

A bullet proof vest, or bullet resistant vest, cannot completely guarantee your protection. In a hostile situation, preparation and awareness are far more important than body armor. Having said that, a vest will dramatically increase your chances of survival, and it is important to ensure you are wearing the correct protection. Many are not aware of the various levels of protection available and even more do not realize that Kevlar cannot protect you against everything. For protection against the more powerful weapons, like automatic assault rifles, you need hard armor.

FN SCAR
The FN SCAR is one of the most popular weapons available thanks to its adoption by the US Military. Constructed to be extremely modular, it is available in two common variants; the SCAR-L for ‘light’ ammo (5.56x45mm NATO) and the SCAR-H for ‘heavy’ ammo (7.62x51mm NATO). The first rifles were issued to a battalion of the US 75 th Ranger Regiment in April 2009, but the SCAR-L would later be dropped by US Special Ops Command in favour of the SCAR-H. This was quickly followed by plans to adopt conversion kits for the MK17 SCAR-H to enable their use of 5.56mm ammo. As of early 2015 the FN SCAR in various types was used by special ops/police in over 20 countries. The FN SCAR-L requires a Level III bullet proof vest, though only a Level IV vest can protect against the SCAR-H.

HK416
The HK415 was designed as an improvement on the M4 and is based on the AR-15 platform. Named for the makers (Heckler & Koch), the HK416 was designed for the US Army, and became famous as an automatic for being used by the Navy Seals to kill Osama Bin Laden. The HK416 was adopted as the standard rifle of the Norwegian Armed Forces and is in official use by countries all over the world. This famous weapon uses a gas system which reduces malfunction and increases the longevity of its parts. A Level III bullet proof vest is necessary to protect against this weapon.

AK-47
The AK-47 is perhaps the most famous weapon in the world, and has the credentials to back up its popularity. Designed in 1945, finished in 1946, and adopted by the Soviet Army in 1948, the AK-47 is well known for its reliability and accessibility. This automatic is so popular that it makes up approximately 15% of all firearms in the world, thanks in part to its low production costs. Protection against an AK-47 requires the highest level of protection at Level IV.

M16
The M16 is perhaps just as well-known as the AK-47, and was originally designed as a direct US competitor to the AK-47. Originally created as an adaptation of the AR-15 by the US Military, the M16 has been used in a variety of famous conflicts throughout its service history. In 1969 the M16A1 became the US Military’s standard service rifle, replacing the M14. 14 years later the USMC adopted it as their official weapon, and three years later the US army did the same. The M16 is the most produced firearm of its 5.56mm caliber, and total worldwide production of the rifle is approximately 8 million. Protecting against this famous weapon will require a vest at Level III.

IMI Tavor TAR-21
The IMI Tavor TAR-21 is usually abbreviated to either the TAR-21 or simply the Tavor. As its name suggests, it was developed by Israel Military Industries (now Israel Weapon Industries) who wished to develop a rifle that would outperform the dated M4A1 while staying suited to close quarters and mechanized infantry. By adhering to these specifications the IMI hoped to create a weapon that the Israel Defence Forces would adopt as its official weapon. In 2006 it was adopted by the IDF, with the changeover expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The Tavor is purported to be incredibly reliable and durable, as well as easy to maintain. In 2014 the National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman awarded the Golden Bullseye Award as its rifle of the year. To protect against this weapon you would need Level III hard armor.

FAMAS
The FAMAS is a French-made bullpup rifle, as its name explains ; FAMAS stands for ‘Fusil d’Assaut de la Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne’, which translates as ‘Assault Rifle from the Saint-Étienne Weapon Factory’. The first prototype for the FAMAS was designed in the 1950s, but it was not manufactured in any form until 1971. At that time the French Military was looking for a new service weapon, and while there were several German-made options available, the idea of using a German-made weapon could not be reconciled so soon after the end of World War II. Therefore, the FAMAS was created and quickly became the official weapon of the Armed Forces. Protection against this weapon would require a vest at Level III.