I have recently purchased two 2 German Flecktarn Vests from Cheaper than Dirt for about $50 each. From what I have read each vest is level IIA ballistic protection level. My hope is to combine the kevlar from the two vests to get something close to Level IIIA protection. My first question, does anybody have any expeience with these vests? Second, I am not well versed in camo apart from the basic principal. Would standard US military woodland camo (pre-digital) BDUs compliment the Flecktarn camo of the vest or would there be too much of a disparity between the different camo paterns that it instead draws the eye? The same with other gear and load bearing equipment. Would web gear be better in woodland camo, a flat OD green, or would I need to find a set that is Flecktarn as well?
They sell Flecktarn web gear also. Flecktarn is not the same color as woodland so its obviously not going to "match" 100%. From the Flecktarn I have had I doubt it would stick out too much, and who really cares.
As for the fragmentation vests CTD sells they are not "IIA". Just like what is said about PASGT vests some of the vests might stop pistol rounds/buckshot pellets but its kind of dumb to use one for ballistic protection if you can buy something made for that purpose. Both types of fragmentation vests use ~13 layers IIRC of Kevlar 49. From what I have seen from PASGT vests being shot the "level of protection" varies by condition and how the panels were stitched together. A lot of those German flak vest "ballistic tests" online have dubious results due to how they were "tested".
You could buy a actual IIIA concealable vest that would be lighter, thinner and more protective than the flak vest for ~$250-$300 from Galls. Wear it under your BDU jacket and you won't have to worry about the color. Some with from pockets can also hold a polyethylene Impac-ST(forgot the other similar inserts name) insert. Its a pretty neat little plate for its very light weight.
To be honest, I got the Flecktarn vests to double up the kevlar to have something "now". Longer term I would like to get a IIIa concealable vest (2 actually so my wife would have one) but it would have to pass the "appropriations committee" aka my wife. The tests I have seen online seem to only reliably stop .40 and .45 and sometimes stop 9mm with the single layer of kevlar. "Sometimes" does not comfort me hence why I will double it up. I will admit it is a neat novelty item. The one plus is that I can throw it on quite literally 3 seconds (this may be possible with concealable vests too but I dont know) and the most likely use I will have out of the vest (short of the SHTF where it would be less than ideal but better than nothing) will be to toss it on and grab my gun if something goes "bump in the night". That would be a sight to behold as a home invader, me in a camo vest and little else holding my glock or AR.
As a side note, if anyone could point me in the direction of some of the "ballistic tests" done with these vests I would be much appreciative. Im interested in reading more even if the tests were of dubious nature. Prefacing any links with "this link shows a guy testing the vest and he is full of BS" or "this guy has it mostly right... but" would be great.
Here 2 of the 'tests' I have seen posted on the net. But using a bucket/tub is not the best idea...
Here is the German PDF file about your vest("Schutzweste, Standard") if you wanted to see it. Might want to run it through a translater.
Ive got one of those, bought it cause it was only $50
CTD says that it is a Level II vest... this next part is debatable, but I point out that they are referring to the actual grade/condition of the vest on their own scale, not NIJ rating, but it is convenient that the two kind of appear the same and are plausible for something such as this.
That said, it would be better than nothing, mine is actually pretty soft and comfortable, I have taken naps in it and run around with it with little to no restriction of mobility, scratchiness, or being weighed down.
Buying another one for the kevlar and doubling up one of them probably would improve things, as was noted in one of the links above.
Again, better than nothing. This may not stop direct pistol shots, WILL NOT stop direct rifle shots, but theres more out there, depending on the situation. If you are getting shot at, there's probably (not speaking from experience) going to be ricochets, fragments and tumbling rounds coming thru walls, bits and pieces that bullets smash and send flying, etc, that this thing probably has a pretty decent shot at stopping, and I think theres some value there.
Edit: Plus, I like flecktarn...
Thanks for the input and links guys. I had seen the savvy survivor review before, but it was good to see the other one. I spent some time recently visiting my folks who own a rural farm and spent some time doing field work (clearing brush, mending fences, etc.). Even doubled up the vest is comfortable as far as weight and fit are concerned. It is hot as hell however, and thats with outside temps of mid to high 70's in the sun. That being said, I would expect to sweat with any kevlar.
I have 2 doubled up to wear under a plate carrier for SHTF. "Should " stop a 9mm from a pistol. Not bad for $100. IMO, multicam blends better with it than woodland, OD or ACU especially if your fleck is faded.