best body armor

People in high-risk professions, and prepared civilians alike, use the best body armor to safeguard themselves against threats.

In the unpredictable atmosphere we inhabit today, taking precautionary measures to be armed and prepared isn’t weird it’s logical. And when it comes to personal safety equipment, nothing quite compares to the best body armor out there.

This guide will walk you through the best body armor options available and everything from understanding the different types of body armor available—hard and soft—to materials used in their construction and even legal considerations surrounding them. We’ll also touch on exciting future developments that could redefine personal protection.

Just like you wouldn’t want a car without knowing its strengths and weaknesses, understanding this area of protection is crucial and can be confusing at times. So suit up! This ride might just be the lifesaver you need.



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Sneak Peak of the Best Body Armor

🔻Jump to all of our picks for the best body armor🔻

Understanding Body Armor

Army Illustration

You know, body armor is a lot like your skin. It’s designed to protect the vital stuff inside from harm. But unlike our largest organ, once a bullet or blade strikes body armor, that spot won’t fix itself, unfortunately. And skin doesn’t offer the armor level of protection we all wish it did.

The best body armor plates, as I’ve experienced first-hand during my time in both law enforcement and on the range, are no longer just for soldiers and cops. Civilians can acquire them for certain high-risk situations to stay safe and to be the prepared citizens they ought to be especially in these crazy times.

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The Purpose of Body Armor

The main purpose of any piece of body armor is simple: it needs to stop harmful projectiles dead in their tracks – literally. You don’t want an uninvited metal guest showing up at your internal organs party.

You don’t want to be in a shootout to begin with but you catch my drift.

The different levels of protection, types of armor, and materials can be a lot to handle so we’ll simplify it for you.

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Different Types of Body Armor

We got two big types here: hard armor plates and soft body armor vests. Hard armor plates work like knights’ old-school plate mail; they can be heavy but offer great protection against higher caliber rounds and sharp objects. 

Medieval Armor best body armor
No, we’re not referring to this armor… but imagine wearing that all day?

Soft body armor is lighter with more flexibility but has less stopping power against bullets or knives.

Finding Effective Armor

To figure out how effective a specific type might be? Well, it’s not rocket science. It depends on three factors:

  1. The type of threat you expect or what you want protection from (Bullets or edged weapons? Both? What caliber?) – yeah a lot of people need help with this one.
  2. Your physical abilities – trust me, lugging around heavy armor plates all day can feel like you’ve been through an Ironman challenge and always make your neck and traps incredibly sore the next day.
  3. The quality of the armor – not all body armor plates or vests are created equal. The best body armor is constructed with materials of superior performance, providing greater protection and resilience while remaining as lightweight as possible.
finding the best body armor
Photo brought to you by Recoilweb.com

You see, understanding the best body armor isn’t just about knowing what it is but also realizing how it functions in different scenarios. When the situation turns dire, having the best body armor that works will be a matter of life or death.

Let’s get right into the best body armor out there today. There are many options out there but this detailed list will serve as a great starting point.

 
Key Takeaway: 

Hard armor offers more protection but is heavier, while soft armor is lighter and more flexible but provides less protection. Therefore, it’s crucial to weigh your needs against these factors when choosing body armor for personal use.

Best Body Armor: Hard Armor Plates

best body armor
Photo by Premier Body Armor

When it comes to survival and preparedness, one crucial aspect that often gets overlooked is personal protection. In a tactical situation or in times of crisis, having the right body armor can be a game-changer.

I’m gonna shoot it to you straight guys (see what I did there?). When life gets tough, like “I need body armor right now ” tough, you’re gonna wish you were wearing the best body armor out there.

Not all body armor is created equal though, let’s face the facts.

In that case, it’s time to look at some of the best body armor plates on the market today so you can get suited up with armor that you can trust. 

RMA Defense Level IV Body Armor Plates

RMA Defense Level IV Body Armor Plates are an excellent choice for men (they’ve got female armor plates for your wives too boys😜) who want reliable protection without compromising mobility.

The RMA Defense 1155 Level IV Body Armor Plate is a best-seller and is designed to provide high-level ballistic resistance against various threats including .30-06 caliber armor-piercing rounds. There are single-curve and multi-curve designs with different sizes and cuts that fit most plate carriers available on the market.

Key Benefits

  • Durable construction: Made from Ceramic Alumina and Polyethylene materials, these plates offer sturdy defense against impacts.
  • Proven Protection: They meet NIJ level IV standards ensuring you’re protected against common firearm calibers. (Their certification has been revoked and is currently under investigation but the plates have been proven to perform again and again so I foresee this being resolved.)
  • Affordable: Compared to other models offering similar protection levels, these plates come at a more affordable price point.
  • Options: These plates come in different models that change the shape, preferred curve, and most importantly the weight.
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Pros & Cons

One of the major advantages of these plates is their balance between protection, affordability, and comfort. They provide level IV protection while still being affordable. They have a single-curve design which may not be as comfortable for all users as their multi-curve model (1155mc) which is what I prefer and currently run in my plate carrier.

The biggest downside is that they come in at 8 pounds per plate and that’s heavy. That is pretty standard for affordable armor at this price point though. 

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🛑But hold up! 

RMA has, not only one, but TWO answers for that and it’s the 1192 and 1165 Lightweight Level IV plates which come in at just under 6lbs (1192) and just under 7lbs (1165). Note that the price jumps significantly higher the lighter you go but this is huge for this level of protection.

The RMA Defense 1155 Level IV Body Armor Plates are an excellent choice for men seeking reliable, affordable, and high-level personal protection in tactical or critical situations if they don’t mind a little extra weight. Their sturdy construction and high performance make them a solid investment in your tactical preparedness journey.

The multi-curve plates (1155mc) are my current pick for the best body armor but there’s plenty more to look into!

popular
Lightweight Level 4 Plate Model 1165 front

RMA Armament Level IV Plates

Affordable, reliable and sets the standard for attainable body armor.

🛡️Multi Curve 1155 Plates
🛡️Lightweight Level IV 1165 Plates
🛡️Lightest Level IV 1192 Plates

*Price accurate at time of writing

Hesco 400, 600, and 800 Series Body Armor Plates

When it comes to body armor plates, Hesco is a name that stands out. The company’s commitment to providing high-quality protective gear has made them a trusted choice among law enforcement officers, military personnel, and civilians alike. In particular, the Hesco 400 series offers an impressive blend of protection and comfort for those in need.

hesco plates best body armor

HESCO Body Armor Plates

The HESCO body armor plates come in four main series – the 200, 400, 600, and the top-of-the-line 800 series. Each one is designed with specific needs in mind but all offer superior ballistic resistance combined with user-friendly ergonomics.

200 Series:

You can get the 200 series plates (or anything sitewide) for a discount if you use code “STRENGTH” at checkout. They are ideal for situations where concealment is important, providing both discreetness and special threat protection.

400 Series:

The 400 series plates offer affordable, life-saving protection for responders in volatile scenarios like active shooter situations.

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600 Series:

The 600 Series plates are perfect for tactical teams and fast operations. They’re lightweight, high-performance, and designed for comfort and mobility.

800 Series:

hesco 800 series best body armor
Hesco 800 Series Level IV Plates

Hesco’s 800 Series is built to excel in dynamic, unpredictable settings, offering exceptional defense and agility. This is where Hesco body armor shines and is probably the best body armor out there (if you have the dough).

Key Benefits:

  • Durability: Made from high-density ceramic materials these plates are built to withstand extreme conditions.
  • Versatility: With different levels of protection available you can choose what suits your tactical needs best.
  • Ergonomic design: These plates offer maximum coverage while maintaining ease of movement.
  • Elite Quality: With Hesco’s you are getting the top of the line in quality.

Pros & Cons

Pros :

  • High levels of certified ballistic resistance.
  • Top-of-the-line quality.
  • Comfortable fit allows for mobility.
  • Wide range of models tailored to individual requirements.

Cons :

  • High cost.
  • Weight can be a factor for some models.

In the world of tactical training and preparedness, investing in high-quality gear like HESCO body armor plates is crucial. While they may require a significant investment, their performance in providing superior protection makes them an invaluable asset for anyone serious about safety.

top of the line
hesco 800s

Hesco Body Armor

Some of the most elite armor plates you can get.

🛡️Hesco 400 Series Level IV Multi-Curve Plates
🛡️Hesco 600 Series Level IV Multi-Curve Plates
🛡️Hesco 4800 Series Level IV Plates

*Price accurate at time of writing

Premier Body Armor Stratis-Max Level IV Plates

When it comes to personal protection and preparedness, the Premier Body Armor Stratis-Max Level IV Plates stands out as an excellent choice. Designed with high-grade ceramic and composite materials, these plates offer maximum protection against most ballistic threats.

premier best body armor

Premier Body Armor Stratis-Max Rifle Plate

The Premier Body Armor Stratis-Max is level IV armor that provides the highest level of protection available in body armor technology today. It’s designed for those who need superior defense capabilities during tactical operations or extreme survival situations.

This ballistic protection offers defense against various threats, including NIJ Level IV (M2 AP), DEA federal standard rounds, and special rifle ammunition like M855 (Green Tip), M855A1, M193, 7N6, and 7.62 x 54R-b-32 API. It ensures multi-hit capability for enhanced safety in high-risk situations.

Key Benefits

  • Durability: The plates are made from durable ceramics and composites ensuring long-lasting performance even under harsh conditions.
  • Superior Protection: As unique Level IV plates, they can withstand multiple hits from .30-06 as well as armor-piercing rounds as well common in modern rifles.
  • Multicurve Design: These plates feature a multi-curve design that conforms to your body shape providing comfort along with safety.
  • NIJ Certified: This product has been certified by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), assuring its quality and effectiveness at stopping bullets.


Pros & Cons

  • + High-Level Protection: Able to stop .30 caliber armor-piercing rounds.
  • + Durability: Constructed with durable ceramics and composites.
  • + Comfortable Design: The multi-curve design provides a comfortable fit.
  • – Weight: Comes in at 7lbs which isn’t the lightest out there but still manageable.

In preparing for any eventuality, investing in top-notch gear like Premier Body Armor Stratis-Max Level IV Plates is crucial. Remember that strength isn’t only about physical prowess—it’s also about being ready to protect yourself when needed most.

Don’t forget to check out their bulletproof backpack armor plates which they are known for!

High level and affordable

Premier Body Armor Stratis-Max Level IV Plates

Complete protection at an affordable price point while keeping the weight manageable.

🛡️Stratis-Max Plates for a discount w/ code “STRENGTH”

*Price accurate at time of writing

RMA Defense Special Rifle Threat (SRT) Body Armor Plates

We’re back to RMA Defense because they offer some of the best in class with their Special Rifle Threat Body Armor Plates.

best body armor rma srt

SRT and ESRT Hard Armor Plates

RMA Armament proudly offers the finest Special Rifle Threat body armor, providing top-notch protection against rifles. Weighing a mere 2.5 pounds per plate, their SRT Level IIIa+ body armor effectively stops multiple rounds from XM193, 7.62×39, and .308 rifles. 

Taking it a step further, the ESRT plate (Enhanced Special Rifle Threat) is multi-hit rated to defeat M855A1 and 7.62×39 API BZ rounds, all while maintaining an incredibly lightweight and slim design. You can trust RMA Armament for superior rifle-rated body armor that won’t weigh you down.

Key Benefits

  • Durability: Made from durable materials that can withstand harsh conditions and heavy use.
  • Premium Protection: Provides excellent defense against special rifle threats, ensuring your safety in critical situations.
  • 5-Year Warranty and Incident Replacement: If you “use” your body armor to save a life then RMA will replace your body armor for free.
  • User Comfort: Despite offering robust protection, these armor plates are designed to be comfortable enough for prolonged wear during tactical operations or training sessions.
  • USA Made: Made right here in the U.S. in Iowa.

Pros & Cons

In terms of pros, RMA Defense’s special rifle threat body plates are some of the best body armor around. They are top-notch in terms of protection, durability, and comfort. They have a proven track record and are a perfect balance of price, weight, and protection.

I don’t have any downsides with these plates since they truly offer some of the best body armor benefits. Except maybe they are not always in stock.

Lightweight protection

RMA Defense SRT and ESRT Armor Plates

Some of the most affordable lightweight armor that covers all the most common calibers out there.

*Price accurate at time of writing

Armored Republic (AR500) Body Armor

One brand that stands out is Armored Republic AR500 Body Armor. They design the best body armor for civilians who prioritize safety and tactical preparedness while representing the Christian which is a plus in our book✝️.

They’ve got a particularly innovative armor plate design that I want to hone in on and it stands out. Armored Republic also has got you covered with plenty of tried and true armor plate options.

Armored Republic C3 Ceramic Body Armor

In the world of preparedness and tactical training, having reliable body armor can be a game-changer. The Armored Republic C3 Ceramic Body Armor stands out as an exemplary choice for men who value strength, resilience, and protection.

Designed to meet the rigorous demands of those preparing for unforeseen circumstances or engaging in high-intensity tactical training, this body armor combines advanced technology with user-focused features.

Designed for combat, the C3 armor features a ceramic/polyethylene laminate capable of halting several M2 AP rounds. Its 3D multi-curve design distributes weight evenly across the wearer’s body, enhancing comfort by effectively making it feel lighter. Wrapped in Cordura to reduce weight while maintaining integrity, this armor offers robust protection against severe threats in any warzone.

Key Benefits
  • High-Level Ballistic Protection: Certified to NIJ standards, offering protection against various rifle rounds.
  • Multicurve Design: Ensures a comfortable fit that contours to the body, enhancing mobility without sacrificing safety.
  • Durable Construction: Made with tough ceramic composite materials that withstand harsh conditions while providing long-lasting use.
  • Weighs Less: Compared to traditional steel plates, these ceramic plates offer significant weight savings for better maneuverability and less fatigue during extended wear.
Pros & Cons
  • + High-level ballistic resistance offers peace of mind under threat scenarios.
  • + Lightweight design enhances operational efficiency without compromising protective capabilities.
  • – Higher cost compared with some entry-level alternatives might deter budget-conscious buyers.
  • – Limited color selections could restrict customization preferences among users seeking aesthetic coordination with existing gear.
NEW
best body armor

C3 Multi-Curve, Multi-Hit – Ceramic Body Armor Wrapped

Made for the warzone, this plate will stand up to it all and at a great price.

*Price accurate at time of writing

A3 Alloy Composite Body Armor (Currently Unavailable… For Now)

The Armored Republic A3 Alloy Composite is a revolutionary solution that combines the best features of polyethylene and steel, eliminating the need to compromise when choosing armor. Traditionally, these two materials have been seen as opposites, but the A3 plate brings them together in a unique way. 

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In summary, the A3 armor plate provides an innovative solution by combining both polyethylene’s lightweight multi-hit capabilities with steel’s strength against penetration and backface deformation issues. This breakthrough design ensures optimal protection while offering enhanced mobility for those who require reliable body armor in demanding situations

Key Benefits

  • Durability: Made from advanced alloy composites that can withstand harsh conditions and impacts.
  • Safety: Provides Level III+ protection and officially Level III according to National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standards which means it can stop rifle rounds up to 7.62mm NATO bullets.
  • Fitness-friendly design: Its ergonomic design ensures ease of movement while wearing without compromising your physical agility or comfort levels.
  • Versatility: This piece is not just for preppers but also ideal for law enforcement officers, military personnel, security guards, or anyone needing an extra layer of ballistic protection during potential threat situations.

best body armor
Armored Republic’s full line

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Provides excellent ballistic resistance against specific threats as per NIJ Level III rating.
  • The ergonomic design ensures comfort and mobility during use.
  • Affordable compared to other similar products on the market.
  • Innovative design at only 4.6lbs and 0.7″ thick.

Cons:

  • It is technically a steel armor plate which can be a no-go for some users.

For those interested in the myths of body armor check out this read.

They offer many different armor plate designs made from different materials so check out their other options.

Currently Unavailable

Armored Republic A3 Alloy Level III+ Plates

Innovative design that provides reliable protection while keeping the weight and price low.

🛡️See All Armor Options

⚠️Currently unavailable

MIRA Tactical Level IV Body Armor Plate

MIRA Safety doesn’t only do gas masks and PPE equipment. They also dipped into the body armor arena and produce a fine option.

When it comes to the best body armor for men who value preparedness and survival, the MIRA Tactical Level IV Body Armor Plate stands out. This high-quality piece of tactical gear is designed to provide maximum protection against ballistic threats, making it a crucial addition to any serious prepper’s arsenal.

These are a hybrid design of both ceramic and polyethylene so you get the benefits of both materials. Designed with durability in mind, these plates are capable of stopping .30 caliber armor-piercing rounds which makes them an excellent choice for dangerous situations.

chuck Liddell with mira best body armor
Chuck Liddell testing MIRA Tactical Armor Plates

Key Benefits

  • Durability: These plates are made from alumina ceramic and composite to withstand rugged use.
  • Ballistic Protection: The level IV rating means they can stop .30 caliber armor-piercing bullets – one of the highest levels of protection available.
  • User Comfort: Despite their strength, these plates have been crafted with the wearer’s comfort in mind. They’re ergonomically designed and relatively lightweight (5.9 lbs) considering their protective capabilities.
  • Versatility: Compatible with most plate carriers on the market today ensuring you can easily integrate them into your existing gear setup.
  • Hybrid Design: You get the benefits of both Alumina ceramics and polyethylene (UHWMPE).
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Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • High level of protection (Level IV).
  • Durable and sturdy construction.
  • User-friendly design for comfort and ease of use.
  • Lightweight for an affordable Level IV plate.

Cons:

  • Not as well known.
Iceman Approved
level 4 body armor

MIRA Tactical Level IV Armor Plates

Composite armor plates that get the job done, are lighter than most plates and don’t break the bank.

*Price accurate at time of writing

Related: Check my review of the most popular MIRA Safety Gas Mask.

Ace Link Body Armor Plates

For the modern man who values preparedness and strength, the Ace Link Level 4 SA Multi-curve Armor Plate is a vital piece of tactical gear. This body armor plate offers unparalleled protection in high-risk situations, ensuring that you’re ready for whatever comes your way.

Level 4 SA Multi-curve Armor Plates

The product at hand is the Ace Link Level 4 SA Multi-Curve Armor Plate. This standalone armor plate provides level IV ballistic protection against rifle rounds – one of the highest levels available on today’s market. 

The multi-curved design ensures optimal comfort while wearing it, allowing for better mobility and range of motion during intense physical activity or combat scenarios especially since it’s only 6.1lbs.

It is constructed of a hybrid design and uses ceramics and polyethylene.

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Key Benefits

  • Level IV Protection: Offers maximum defense against .30 caliber armor-piercing bullets.
  • Multicurved Design: Conforms to your body shape for enhanced comfort and mobility.
  • Durable Construction: Made from polyethylene/ceramic materials with an anti-spall polyurea coating which makes it highly resistant to damage even under extreme conditions.

Pros & Cons

  • Pros:
    • Provides top-level ballistic protection.
    • Multicurve design enhances comfort and mobility.
    • Durable construction ensures long-lasting use.
  • Cons:
    • The higher price point may not be suitable for all budgets. However, the quality of this armor plate justifies its cost, making it a worthwhile investment for those serious about their personal safety and preparedness efforts.

In essence, the Ace Link Level 4 SA Multi-curve Armor Plate is an excellent piece of tactical gear that offers superior protection in high-risk situations. Its durable construction and advanced features make it a worthy addition to any man’s preparedness kit. Also, look at their other plate options.

unique multi-curve design
ace link level 4

Ace Link Level IV SA Multi-Curve Plate

Affordable, reliable and sets the standard for a compact 9mm handgun.

*Price accurate at time of writing

Battle Steel Body Armor

The Battle Steel TenCate Level III+ Body Armor is one of the best body armor options available for those who want value and protection. This top-tier product offers superior quality combined with advanced technology, making it an excellent choice for any man looking to strengthen his personal defense arsenal.

Battle Steel is not steel body armor but is well known for some of the most affordable body armor in existence so it makes it into a guide of the best body armor.

TenCate Level III+ Body Armor

The Battle Steel TenCate Level III+ Body Armor stands out in the market due to its exceptional design that meets stringent military standards. It provides comprehensive coverage while maintaining comfort and mobility, ensuring you’re well-protected without compromising your ability to respond swiftly in high-stress situations.

Key Benefits

  • Durable Construction: Made from ceramic/polyethylene composite material, this armor plate can withstand multiple hits from high-caliber rounds.
  • Safety Standards: Meets NIJ 0101.06 standards which ensure reliable ballistic resistance against various threats.
  • Mobility & Comfort: Despite its robust construction, this body armor is lightweight (just over 5 lbs.) allowing easy movement during tactical operations or survival scenarios.
  • Versatility: This body armor fits most standard carrier vests adding flexibility to your gear setup.
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Pros & Cons

  • Pros:
    • Durable and reliable.
    • Meets high safety standards.
    • Maintains mobility and comfort despite robust construction.
  • Cons:
    • Pricier than some other options they have.

Be sure to check out other Battle Steel armor plate options if your budget isn’t very large.

Affordable Armor Brand

Battle Steel TenCate Level III+ Armor

Affordable, reliable and sets the standard for a compact 9mm handgun.

🛡️Battle Steel Level IV Plates from $99

*Price accurate at time of writing

Best Body Armor: Soft Armor Vests and Panels

You might think of the best body armor as something rigid and heavy, but the truth is soft body armor offers impressive protection with less bulk. That’s why they are commonplace in the law enforcement community.

The main benefit is a lighter and more maneuverable design that is also easy to conceal. It is all relative to your needs. The best body armor for one person may not be the best body armor for you.

Let’s talk about some of the top soft armor options out there.

Ace Link Comp-28 Bulletproof Vest Level IIIA Standard

The COMP-28 Bulletproof Vest Level IIIA Standard combines functionality with comfort to provide an optimal solution for your protective needs. The Comp-28 is a tactical bulletproof vest with weight bearing MOLLE loops for adding additional gear.

There are many other soft body armor options for concealing, duty use and even uniform mimicking options.

comp-28 best body armor soft armor

Key Benefits

  • Durability: This vest offers high durability, thanks to its robust construction materials. It’s designed to withstand harsh conditions and prolonged use.
  • Protection: As a Level IIIA bulletproof vest, it provides protection against .357 SIG FMJ Flat Nose bullets at a velocity of 1470 ft/s ± 30 ft/s and .44 Magnum Semi Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP) bullets at a velocity of 1430 ft/s ± 30ft/s.
  • User Comfort: Despite its heavy-duty nature, this vest ensures user comfort with adjustable straps for personalized fit and breathable fabric lining for improved ventilation.
  • Versatility: The COMP-28 Bulletproof Vest comes in various sizes ranging from small to XXL making it suitable for different body types.

Pros & Cons

This bulletproof vest certainly has many advantages – top-notch protection level, comfortable wear experience, excellent durability – these are some key highlights. However, it may be a bit expensive for some users due to its protective materials. Also, while the vest is adjustable, finding the perfect fit might take a little time and effort.

Overall though, if you’re looking for reliable body armor that offers robust protection without compromising on comfort or durability, the COMP-28 Bulletproof Vest Level IIIA Standard is definitely worth considering.

Tactical soft armor
comp 28 tactical bulletproof vest 6.jpg

Ace Link Comp-28 Bulletproof Vest

Tactical bulletproof vest system.

*Price accurate at time of writing

RMA Defense Contego Concealable Soft Body Armor Vest

As a man of strength, being prepared for any situation is crucial. One essential piece of gear that can significantly enhance your safety and survivability in dangerous situations is the RMA Defense Contego Concealable Soft Body Armor Vest. This high-quality body armor vest offers an excellent balance between protection, comfort, and concealability.

Key Benefits

  • National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Certified: The RMA Defense Contego meets or exceeds all NIJ standards for soft body armor, ensuring reliable ballistic protection.
  • Concealable Design: It’s designed to be worn under clothing without drawing attention, making it perfect for covert operations or everyday carry.
  • Durable Construction: The vest features durable Cordura nylon outer carriers resistant to abrasion and tearing.
  • Versatile Protection: This versatile protective gear provides front, back, and side coverage against various threats such as bullets and knife attacks.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Solid ballistic protection certified by NIJ.
  • Easily concealable design allows discreet wear.
  • Durable materials ensure longevity even with frequent use.
  • Ability to add a SRT hard armor plate for more protection.

Cons:

  • Pricing may be prohibitive for some.
  • Does not offer the same level of protection as hard armor plates.

In a world that is becoming increasingly uncertain, having reliable body armor like the RMA Defense Contego can provide peace of mind and tangible protection. It’s an investment in your safety and survival – two things you cannot put a price on.

Concealable soft Armor

RMA Level IIIA Contego Armor

Level IIIa soft armor vest capable of defeating all common handgun rounds

*Price accurate at time of writing

Premier Body Armor Concealable Armor Vest – Level IIIA

When it comes to personal safety and preparedness, the Premier Body Armor Concealable Armor Vest is a top-tier choice. This high-quality body armor vest provides an excellent balance between protection and comfort, making it perfect for those who prioritize both. As its name suggests, this vest offers concealability which allows you to wear it under your clothing without drawing attention.

premier concealable armor vest best body armor

Key Benefits

  • Level IIIA Protection: The vest offers Level IIIA protection that can stop bullets from most handguns, including .357 SIG and .44 Magnum rounds.
  • NIJ Certified: It meets the National Institute of Justice’s rigorous standards for body armor.
  • Versatility: Its design allows you to wear it concealed or over your clothes depending on your needs.
  • Durability: The outer shell is water-resistant and easy to clean ensuring longevity of use.

Pros & Cons

  • Pros:
    • Certified by National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
    • Affords maximum mobility without compromising safety.
    • Comfortably fits underneath clothing.
  • Cons:
    • More expensive than other brands.
    • Does not offer protection against rifle rounds.

In essence, the Premier Body Armor Concealable Armor Vest – Level IIIA is an excellent investment for those who value safety and preparedness. Its superior features justify its price tag, making it a worthwhile addition to your tactical gear collection.

top-tier soft armor
Vests Concealable Black Front

Premier Body Armor Concealable Armor Vest

The most versatile ballistic vest to hit the market in years.

*Price accurate at time of writing

Remember: picking your best fit isn’t only about performance specs; make sure you get what fits right too if you can help it because comfortable gear gets worn more often.

We’re not saying these are all equal contenders – each has its own strengths which may align better depending on individual needs and preferences.

With options like these at hand, choosing the best body armor isn’t just about protection—it’s also about comfort, flexibility, and even style. The choice is yours: whether for everyday wear or specific situations; make a selection that fits your lifestyle.

One last piece of advice: be sure to stay updated on body armor laws in your area. Before making an investment, be sure to research the body armor laws in your area.

Materials Used In The Best Body Armor

Body armor is made from tough materials working together to keep you safe. Here are some of the most common materials:

kevlar aramid fibers for the best body armor
Kevlar is a type of aramid fiber commonly used in body armor.

Kevlar: This is the name that jumps into mind when we think of body armor. Kevlar, with its high-tensile strength-to-weight ratio (five times stronger than steel), can stop bullets dead in their tracks without weighing you down like a lead balloon.

Ceramics: Think ceramics are just for fancy dinnerware? Wrong. When used in body armor, ceramic plates provide an extra layer of protection by fracturing upon impact, helping absorb and dissipate the energy from incoming rounds.

best body armor after failure
The guts of a ceramic armor plate. Photo by Pew Pew Tactical

Polyethylene (UHMWPE): It sounds complicated but really this lightweight material is super handy at stopping bullets because they hit it and start spinning out of control.

AR500 Steel: Hardened steel is a traditional material for body armor that is known for taking multiple heavy hits with ease. It can cause fragmentation like we mentioned but that has been dealt with by most manufacturers with special coatings.

The Magic Mix: Composite Armor

If one strong material is good then combining them has got to be better right? 

That’s where composite armors come into play – taking the best parts from Kevlar, ceramics, polyethylene or, steel (like the A3 plate by Armored Republic) to give more bang for your buck…or rather less ‘bang’ if all goes well.

Metal vs Non-Metal Body Armor

steel armor shot up, best body armor

Metal might seem like old-school thinking compared to more modern synthetic fibers but don’t write off steel plates just yet. They’re heavy-duty and have been protecting people long before anyone had ever heard of Kevlar. Not to mention they offer solid protection against numerous hits.

On the flip side, non-metal armors offer a lighter-weight solution that still provides high levels of protection. Although not as resilient, ceramic/PE/hybrid armors provide the advantage of being more comfortable and easier to maneuver in, which can be essential for survival. 

Remember folks: staying mobile can sometimes mean staying alive.

 
Key Takeaway: 

Body armor is a fusion of science and tough materials like Kevlar, ceramics, polyethylene, or metals. Each offers unique benefits – Kevlar’s high-tensile strength stops bullets without adding weight; ceramics fracture on impact to absorb energy; polyethylene causes bullets to spin out uncontrollably. Composite armors mix these for enhanced protection.

Standards and Testing for The Best Body Armor

Have you ever questioned why testing the best body armor is so important? 

But think about it like this: would you buy a parachute without knowing if it had been tested? 

Of course not. The same goes for body armor.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sets the gold standard when it comes to testing methods and standards for body armor. It’s their responsibility to set the standards for all body armor to meet if it is to be NIJ certified.

National Institute of Justice Standards

NIJ best body armor

So, what are these NIJ standards all about? Well, they set specific performance criteria that body armor must meet. They’ve got different levels ranging from II-A up to IV, each designed to stop more powerful rounds than the last.

Body armor types comes in various levels of protection to suit different needs. Let’s take a closer look at the most common levels and what they offer. 

Level II:

This type of armor is designed to protect against common handgun rounds like 9mm and .40 S&W. It provides adequate protection for everyday situations where there is a concern about handgun violence. However, it does not offer protection against rifle rounds or fire that can penetrate armor.

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Level IIIA:

This level defends against powerful handguns such as .357 SIG and .44 Magnum, as well as some shotgun rounds. It is commonly used by police officers, security personnel, and individuals who require dependable defense against various handgun threats. 

Level III:

This level offers defense against rifle rounds including intermediate and high-powered cartridges like 5.56x45mm NATO and 7.62x39mm commonly found in rifles. To withstand the higher velocities and penetrating power of rifle ammunition, specialized ballistic panels made from materials like ceramic, steel plates or composite armor are used in constructing this level of body armor. 

Level IV: 

Provides the highest level of civilian protection available. Designed to resist armor-piercing rifle rounds such as .30-06 M2 AP and 7.62x63mm AP, it offers enhanced defense against high-powered rifle calibers often encountered in high-threat environments.

armor protection levels of the best body armor
Photo from RMA Defense

It’s important to consider that higher-level armor tends to be heavier and bulkier than lower-level ones when selecting body armor for specific purposes. Find out what you need armor protection for and then buy the most appropriate level of protection.

For example, Level IIIA vests are typically used by law enforcement officers because they’re light but still offer protection against most handgun threats.

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Finding Compliant Armor

If you’re going out looking for compliant armor, remember to ask for the NIJ Compliance Certificate. This is your guarantee that what you’re buying meets all these rigorous standards.

Almost everything we suggested meets NIJ requirements where applicable so you know why we don’t mess around with subpar gear. Because when it comes to safety, there’s no room for compromise.

However it is good to know that companies have created armor that doesn’t fit into the NIJ standards. The Level IIIA+ protection body armor category is a good example of this. Most reputable retailers have their armor tested by NIJ-certified labs though even if it isn’t officially certified.

 
Key Takeaway: 

Never underestimate the importance of testing when it comes to body armor. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) ensures your gear won’t fail in tough situations by setting rigorous standards and levels for performance. Some levels of protection aren’t official NIJ-recognized levels yet but that doesn’t make them any less effective so long as they are from a reputable brand.

Fitting and Sizing Your Soft Body Armor

Fitting your body armor correctly is a must. It’s like wearing a tailored suit – it should feel snug, but not too tight. An ill-fitted vest can restrict movement, make you uncomfortable, and potentially compromise protection.

For soft body armor, you may need to get fitted. Use these measurements when purchasing armor:

Measure the circumference of your chest and waist, then from collarbone to above belly button for a tailored fit. Then measure from your collarbone to just above your belly button. 

How to Wear The Best Body Armor Correctly

In the world of preparedness and tactical training, knowing how to wear body armor correctly is crucial. It’s not just about slapping on some protective gear; it involves understanding your equipment and ensuring it fits properly for maximum protection.

best body armor
This not how you wear it…

Hard Armor and Plate Carriers

To wear your body armor protection correctly, you must first ensure that your plate carrier fits snugly against your torso. The top edge should rest at about one and a half to two inches below your collarbone, covering vital organs like the heart and lungs.

how to wear the best body armor plates
A good visual representation of where you want your body armor plates to sit. Image from Ferro Concepts.

The sides of the hard plates should wrap around enough to protect your kidneys without hindering mobility. Adjusting straps both horizontally and vertically will help achieve an optimal fit – remember, loose-fitting armor can shift during movement reducing its coverage and effectiveness.

Check out our round up of the best plate carriers to hold your armor plates where they need to be

Soft Body Armor

best body armor

Like with hard armor material, these vests need to be worn close-fitted against the chest area but they also extend downwards providing additional coverage over the stomach region too.

A good rule of thumb when fitting soft body armor is that they should end approximately at the navel level – any longer could impede bending or sitting actions while shorter may expose important areas unnecessarily!

Adding Extra Protection

Beyond basic plates, there are additional elements that can give more protection. You might consider adding trauma pads under hard plates for extra shock absorption.

You could also use additional add-ons such as neck or groin protectors. Remember though, each addition adds weight and may reduce mobility so choose wisely based on need versus comfort balance.

Maintaining Your Gear

Care for your gear matters as much as selecting it. Regular maintenance helps keep its effectiveness intact over time.

Grayscale Photography of Woman in Laundry Shop

Wipe down hard armor with warm water and mild soap after use; let air dry completely before storage to avoid moisture damage.

Legal Considerations for The Best Body Armor

Before you decide to get body armor, it’s essential that you understand the legal ramifications. Laws vary wildly from state to state. It’s like navigating a maze with no map – but I’m here to give you that map.

In most of the US, civilians can buy and wear body armor without restrictions. But there are exceptions; convicted felons don’t have this right in any state due to federal law 18 U.S.C. 931. This is not unlike being denied a driver’s license after multiple DUIs.

Certain states also add their own rules on top of federal laws: Connecticut doesn’t allow online sales of body armor (CGS § 53-341b). 

On top of that NY banned shipping of body armor to civilians and CA has it in the running to be outlawed someday. 

Do your own research for your state’s specific laws as they are changing rapidly.

Traveling With Body Armor

If you plan on traveling with your gear across states or even internationally, be prepared for some hurdles. The TSA permits travelers to take body armor in their checked bags and carry on luggage which is cool but somehow feels wrong, I don’t know why. 

Grayscale Photography of People Walking on Concrete Pavement Hallway

Yet other countries might have different regulations – think about driving on the left side when going from America to Britain.

The Future of the Best Body Armor

Body armor, like any tech, isn’t static. It evolves. The goal? To make sure you’re not just protected but also comfy and agile.

New materials are in the works to boost this evolution even more. For instance, shear-thickening fluid (STF), which hardens upon impact, is a game-changer. Imagine wearing a lightweight vest that stiffens up only when it needs to stop a bullet.

future of body armor
The future of body armor ???

Nano Tech to the Rescue?

Talk about sci-fi turning real. Nanotechnology could be our next big leap forward in body armor design.

Take Graphene. This super-strong nano-material has shown potential for outstanding shock absorption while staying light as air. Who knew atomic-level stuff could help stop bullets?

Suits with Built-in Healing Powers

Imagine your suit patching you up right after taking a hit – wild idea, huh? But scientists aren’t laughing; they’re actually working on self-healing suits using advanced polymers.

The early stages of this technology are showing promise for potential applications in the future. ACS Nano’s research demonstrates how these healing properties might work under intense conditions – like those experienced during combat situations or extreme training exercises.

FAQs About The Best Body Armor

What is the highest rated body armor?

The NIJ Level IV body armor ranks as the highest rated body armor, offering protection against .30 caliber steel core armor-piercing bullets.

What body armor do Navy Seals use?

Navy SEALs have their own way of setting up their gear. Their mission will dictate what’s added, what’s carried–and how it’s carried. SEALs you will use different armor plates for different missions and environments or possibly even none at all.

What is level 7 body armor?

“Level 7” doesn’t exist in standard ratings. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) rates up to Level IV for hard plate resistances.

What is the highest tier body armor?

Highest tier refers to NIJ Level IV. This grade withstands large-caliber rounds such as .30 cal AP ammo at close range.

Best Body Armor Conclusion

Choosing the best body armor is no small task. But now, you’re equipped with knowledge about hard and soft armor, their materials, standards, and testing.

You’ve got a list of some of the best body armor on the market to civilians.

You’ve got a grasp on how to customize your gear for comfort and efficiency. You know legal considerations are crucial in choosing armor too.

The future of body armor? It’s bright with advancements that could revolutionize personal protection. And guess what?

You’re prepared! So go ahead, make informed choices because you understand the ins and outs of this lifesaving equipment.

This isn’t just about buying a product; it’s about investing in safety – your or someone else’s life might depend on it!

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