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I have been fielding some inquiries from friends about purchasing guns of late and offering advice and guidance.   

One friend has asked about body armor.   Both soft armor as well as rifle plates.    He won’t be a hard user but plans to train some with them and I applaud his attempt to enhance his preparations.  He has a bit of a budget but isn’t looking for top of the line gear of prices.   


I am thinking a lower priced IIIA vest paired with a plat carrier using level III steel plates.  

any suggestions on models and source for a civilian purchaser.  

Original Post

There's been a lot of discussion on this forum from people in the know. The usual plate recommendation is for level III+ plates in the 5lb range that can stop common threats including M855.  Would strongly advise against steel. The weight and mobility penalty going from 5 to 9ish pound plates is noticeable, especially for civilians who likely do not have fitness conditioning as a job requirement. Not to mention, potential spall from fragmenting rounds. 

ETA I recently steered my brother to Hesco 3810s and bought a set of L210s for personal use. Bulletproofme dot com also has some III+ single curve III+s for a more manageable price poin . Finally, although RMA has some reputational problems, they have 8lb level IV stand alones for about $250 for a set of 2.

Last edited by Community Member

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