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Durkin Tactical Franklin Armory
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Posted: 6/26/2020 2:53:04 PM EDT
I am looking to get a ballistic vest and plate carrier, no idea what I should be looking for or at, any suggestions are much appreciated.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 2:58:03 PM EDT
[#1]
Step 1: Identify what bullets you want to stop

Step 2: Identify what plates stop those bullets

Step 3: Identify your budget


That said there is going to be a tradeoff on price and weight.  I think the Hesco L210s are a good place to start to look at that are fairly light, stop most threats that normal people will face, and don't break the bank.  I'm no armor professional though so I'm sure someone will be along shortly to chime in with better information.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 2:58:26 PM EDT
[#2]
What's your budget?

JPC 2.0 and Hesco 3810's are a good combo.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 3:00:58 PM EDT
[#3]
Crye and Hesco seem to be the go to from what I've seen. I have no hands on experience.

Just bought my first carrier a few days ago. https://www.optactical.com/crprlvpr.html
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 3:01:53 PM EDT
[#4]
Crye JPC or SPC

Then the best plates you can get your hands on in your budget.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 3:17:12 PM EDT
[#5]
Quoted:
I am looking to get a ballistic vest and plate carrier, no idea what I should be looking for or at, any suggestions are much appreciated.
View Quote
Check out my YouTube channel I made a ton of armor test videos, if you have no idea what you're looking at they'll be eye opening. It's called The Machine Gun Channel but it used to be called The Wound Channel.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 4:22:41 PM EDT
[#6]
The SKD PIG is pretty darn comfortable for a plate carrier, and well made.  

Just my opinion.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 4:27:16 PM EDT
[#7]
I will say one more thing to consider is will you be mobile or defending the Alamo.

My armor choices currently reflect that.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 4:42:14 PM EDT
[#8]
Come visit the Tactical Gear section of the Armory! (It's an Ar15.com subsection). There are lots of discussions about plates, carriers, and example threads.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:04:12 PM EDT
[#9]
MY advice is to buy 6 months ago. the panic is real.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:05:32 PM EDT
[#10]
Yup I missed the boat too, so I am rocking steel until things calm down and I can upgrade to some hesco ceramics.

Cati and a few others have steel  lll+ armor on short lead times.

Otherwise is quite a wait from everyone on lvl4 ceramics right now.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:09:27 PM EDT
[#11]
You're opening a gigantic can of worms.

This is the equivalent to saying "I need advice on a gun", and then giving no insight into budget or whether you plan on shooting deer, ccw or home defense.

Lots and lots of variables at play.

The most economical, lightweight, comfortable and concealable solution could be a vest like cops wear, for example, which can be had for as little as $200. But that won't stop rifle rounds.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:11:38 PM EDT
[#12]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Yup I missed the boat too, so I am rocking steel until things calm down and I can upgrade to some hesco ceramics.

Cati and a few others have steel  lll+ armor on short lead times.

Otherwise is quite a wait from everyone on lvl4 ceramics right now.
View Quote

I continue to see some good options pop up on the EE. IIRC, there's a few candidates on there now that are below list.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:13:20 PM EDT
[#13]
Step 1 should be doing a search for the other body armor threads that are posted here daily.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:15:38 PM EDT
[#14]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
JPC 2.0
View Quote


I love my 2.0

It’s light and breathes better than any other carrier I’ve worn.

I sold my other carriers after wearing the Crye.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:16:21 PM EDT
[#15]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:

I continue to see some good options pop up on the EE. IIRC, there's a few candidates on there now that are below list.
View Quote



I've looked and can not find the correct forum. Any help?
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:22:07 PM EDT
[#16]
At the rate 2020 is headed I'd put on the whole armor of God.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:24:38 PM EDT
[#17]
https://www.bodyarmoroutlet.com/products/bao-4401sh-sc-l-hard-armor-plate-iv-sa-10x12-shooters-cut-single-curve

HESCO 4401 for 120 a pop. These are what I have. Expect LONG ship times.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:27:44 PM EDT
[#18]
I suggest you get a move on a body armor purchase. You might wanna get it while you can.....




Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:32:26 PM EDT
[#19]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I suggest you get a move on a body armor purchase. You might wanna get it while you can.....




View Quote


That is NO lie! Body armor and - if you can afford it - night vision. Those two things are drying up like a desert in a drought.

Kota Outfitters is a good go-to place with outstanding prices but you had better be on top of things. When they get inventory, it's gone in a few hours.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:33:29 PM EDT
[#20]
Crye cage...lvl 4 triple curve plates...
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:34:14 PM EDT
[#21]
Thanks everyone, I had to step away for a bit, I’ll look at the suggestions.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:34:27 PM EDT
[#22]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Yup I missed the boat too, so I am rocking steel until things calm down and I can upgrade to some hesco ceramics.

Cati and a few others have steel  lll+ armor on short lead times.

Otherwise is quite a wait from everyone on lvl4 ceramics right now.
View Quote


Shellback has a few carrier/plate combo in stock
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:39:53 PM EDT
[#23]
OP - you'll get hits from US Patriot Tactical when looking for plate carriers. Don't buy from them.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:41:18 PM EDT
[#24]
https://www.ar15.com/forums/armory/Tactical-Gear/10/

Lots of good info in there. The problem you're going to run into is that there has been a run on carriers and plates due to current conditions, so you'll likely have a pretty hard time finding things in stock.

For what it's worth it, my advice - choose your plates first based on perceived threat and then buy a carrier that works for those plates. Don't let the tail wag the dog.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:45:22 PM EDT
[#25]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
OP - you'll get hits from US Patriot Tactical when looking for plate carriers. Don't buy from them.
View Quote


Jesus, truer words have not been spoken. I've been trying to get in touch with their customer service for a week. I might as well be trying to capture a purple fucking unicorn.

On the other end of the customer service spectrum, I have gotten absolutely fantastic service from Mike at AT Armor. If they have the plates you want, I suggest working with them
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 5:48:23 PM EDT
[#26]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


That is NO lie! Body armor and - if you can afford it - night vision. Those two things are drying up like a desert in a drought.

Kota Outfitters is a good go-to place with outstanding prices but you had better be on top of things. When they get inventory, it's gone in a few hours.
View Quote

I check it everyday.

You can buy used police soft armor here, less than 300.
Or buy heavy as shit steel plates.
Get both?
http://www.bulletproofme.com/Bullet_proof_Vests_Catalog.shtml
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 7:56:24 PM EDT
[#28]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


Jesus, truer words have not been spoken. I've been trying to get in touch with their customer service for a week. I might as well be trying to capture a purple fucking unicorn.

On the other end of the customer service spectrum, I have gotten absolutely fantastic service from Mike at AT Armor. If they have the plates you want, I suggest working with them
View Quote


@scuba_steve

I read somewhere that they may be out of business but are still taking orders (and money) on their website.

You might consider disputing the charge with your CC provider and finding whatever you wanted from them elsewhere.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 8:35:46 PM EDT
[#29]
Attachment Attached File


Esstac Daeodon
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 8:45:47 PM EDT
[#30]
Quoted:
I am looking to get a ballistic vest and plate carrier, no idea what I should be looking for or at, any suggestions are much appreciated.
View Quote


I agree with the first reply that said to identify your needs and then what covers that need. Folks also covered weight/cost.

I'll just point out that if you don't NEED a bulky heavy duty carrier that can hold a ton of pouches and is covered in molle and such, check out the Slickster. You can get clips to put a front panel on if you want. You can use it with a belt. You can tuck mags, med kit and radio into the elastic pockets on the sides... But you can also wear it slick and slim. It's not a rough duty, beat on it day in and day out, kinda rig. It's a quality made lightweight minimalist setup for folks who want to wear armor but aren't treating it as their storage system too. I love mine. My only complaint is really not fair since they do make the solution. The shoulder straps tend to rub my neck/shoulder if I'm being active and don't have a proper layer in place there. My solution is use a scarf kind of setup that also keeps brass from going where it's not wanted. It's not a shemagh but fulfills many of the roles. I don't want to put the shoulder pads on because it reduces the small footprint. But if I was gonna wear it a lot and not be as interested in discrete wear, I'd put some comfy wraps on the shoulder straps.

If you DO want a full service carrier, definitely look at the kind with the swappable front panels. That's the present and future.
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 9:10:36 PM EDT
[#31]
ESSTAC
Link Posted: 6/26/2020 9:22:47 PM EDT
[#32]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


@scuba_steve

I read somewhere that they may be out of business but are still taking orders (and money) on their website.

You might consider disputing the charge with your CC provider and finding whatever you wanted from them elsewhere.
View Quote



Good info.  Thanks much.  


Link Posted: 6/26/2020 9:25:22 PM EDT
[#33]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
ESSTAC
View Quote


They are so buried, they won't even take backorders for OOS items right now...and a lot is OOS.  Too bad, because they are a very solid choice.

Crye is taking orders for August or September shipment, depending on style and color.
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 1:17:19 AM EDT
[#34]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
https://www.bodyarmoroutlet.com/products/bao-4401sh-sc-l-hard-armor-plate-iv-sa-10x12-shooters-cut-single-curve

HESCO 4401 for 120 a pop. These are what I have. Expect LONG ship times.
View Quote
same weight as steel.
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 2:00:52 AM EDT
[#35]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
https://www.bodyarmoroutlet.com/products/bao-4401sh-sc-l-hard-armor-plate-iv-sa-10x12-shooters-cut-single-curve

HESCO 4401 for 120 a pop. These are what I have. Expect LONG ship times.
View Quote

I got 4401’s and a BFG carrier for >$300 six months ago.
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 2:04:06 AM EDT
[#36]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
same weight as steel.
View Quote

NIJ rated. Made in USA. Same price too. Why would you buy steel? Steel is for targets.
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 2:26:54 AM EDT
[#37]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
+1 the time to buy was 6 months ago.  Huge demand right now and production is still fucked.  Last year it took me 3+ months to get everything in.  I don't know what the backlog is looking like this year.  I screwed up.  I wanted to put a second together for a gift, but did not order it in January.  End of May and hardly nothing is available.

Esstac is made in house in the US.  His Facebook page mentioned employees taking a corona vacation.  My wild ass guess is he is using his reduced production capacity on stuff that he can get out the door quicker - the accessories that were the core of his business.  I wanted to get a second Daeodon, but settled for something else till they become available again.  (fwiw last year I pestered him with an email to get one, but if you read his website and Facebook pages he begs people not to email him - time spent on email is time spent not producing product).
---
Did a lot of research last week.  One thing that stuck to me was this.  What is the standards.  Tier 1 products are tested and certified to meet the standards.  I think this testing might be require ongoing quality control testing as well.  Tier 2 products are tested by other independent labs to be able to meet the standards - but not certified.  Since they are not actually certified, why bother with ongoing quality control testing.  Then there is tier 3 - the manufacturer says the product meets the standards.  Tier 3 is generally made of Chinaesium.  It may or may not have every been tested and may or may not meet the testing standards.  Do you really want to trust your life to Chinaesium armor.  On the other hand, you do pay a premium for US made and tested products, and an even higher premium for products that are certified.  What can you afford...  What can't you afford.
---
The Hesco I ordered this weeks is probably at least 12 weeks out (mid September).  The slickster (or at least the parts of it that I could order) will be here Monday.  I had a spare cummerbund so that helped (as cummerbund's are also out of stock).  Esstac still had some placards in stock, so picked up one of those.  Esstac was out of hydro carriers, so I went with a Source - will see how that works (but Esstac's use the source bladder - so I am crossing my fingers).  It will be a Frankenstein system, but it should all work together.
---
while I was at it, I put together a couple of IFAK's.  Got one of Esstac's med pouches inbound - but he is really low on the stock of those, so hoping to get a better match for the slickster before the plates arrive.
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 2:44:39 AM EDT
[#38]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
same weight as steel.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:
https://www.bodyarmoroutlet.com/products/bao-4401sh-sc-l-hard-armor-plate-iv-sa-10x12-shooters-cut-single-curve

HESCO 4401 for 120 a pop. These are what I have. Expect LONG ship times.
same weight as steel.


But for that same weight, they're NIJ IV rated. And they'll stop M193 up close.
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 2:47:08 AM EDT
[#39]
Following
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 2:52:22 AM EDT
[#40]
Dare I ask?

III+ or IV?
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 3:59:25 AM EDT
[#41]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
+1 the time to buy was 6 months ago.  Huge demand right now and production is still fucked.  Last year it took me 3+ months to get everything in.  I don't know what the backlog is looking like this year.  I screwed up.  I wanted to put a second together for a gift, but did not order it in January.  End of May and hardly nothing is available.

Esstac is made in house in the US.  His Facebook page mentioned employees taking a corona vacation.  My wild ass guess is he is using his reduced production capacity on stuff that he can get out the door quicker - the accessories that were the core of his business.  I wanted to get a second Daeodon, but settled for something else till they become available again.  (fwiw last year I pestered him with an email to get one, but if you read his website and Facebook pages he begs people not to email him - time spent on email is time spent not producing product).
---
Did a lot of research last week.  One thing that stuck to me was this.  What is the standards.  Tier 1 products are tested and certified to meet the standards.  I think this testing might be require ongoing quality control testing as well.  Tier 2 products are tested by other independent labs to be able to meet the standards - but not certified.  Since they are not actually certified, why bother with ongoing quality control testing.  Then there is tier 3 - the manufacturer says the product meets the standards.  Tier 3 is generally made of Chinaesium.  It may or may not have every been tested and may or may not meet the testing standards.  Do you really want to trust your life to Chinaesium armor.  On the other hand, you do pay a premium for US made and tested products, and an even higher premium for products that are certified.  What can you afford...  What can't you afford.
---
The Hesco I ordered this weeks is probably at least 12 weeks out (mid September).  The slickster (or at least the parts of it that I could order) will be here Monday.  I had a spare cummerbund so that helped (as cummerbund's are also out of stock).  Esstac still had some placards in stock, so picked up one of those.  Esstac was out of hydro carriers, so I went with a Source - will see how that works (but Esstac's use the source bladder - so I am crossing my fingers).  It will be a Frankenstein system, but it should all work together.
---
while I was at it, I put together a couple of IFAK's.  Got one of Esstac's med pouches inbound - but he is really low on the stock of those, so hoping to get a better match for the slickster before the plates arrive.
View Quote


Our staff level now is double day one of our lockdown.  Order volume of just kywi pouches is also quite a bit higher

We had to nuke allot of items from the site to keep the flow going out the door and our lead time at days not months.  Keeping kywi pouches the main focus helped as new employee's get trained.

The longer lead time items are starting to return to the site but as instock and not made to order free for all like before.  First batch of plate carriers is happening now in limited colors and should start reappearing on the site next week.


Most especially newer panic buyers have no idea the volume increases the firearms and accessories industry has experienced this year.  Epic and mind boggling at the same time!
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 7:08:44 AM EDT
[#42]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
same weight as steel.
View Quote
Still more protection than steel.  I'll take the ceramic plate every time.
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 7:11:22 AM EDT
[#43]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Dare I ask?

III+ or IV?
View Quote
Depends on the particular III+ and the weight penalty.

I want a plate that stops M855A1 at a minimum. Quite a few III+ plates fail that test.
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 7:21:46 AM EDT
[#44]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


Our staff level now is double day one of our lockdown.  Order volume of just kywi pouches is also quite a bit higher

We had to nuke allot of items from the site to keep the flow going out the door and our lead time at days not months.  Keeping kywi pouches the main focus helped as new employee's get trained.

The longer lead time items are starting to return to the site but as instock and not made to order free for all like before.  First batch of plate carriers is happening now in limited colors and should start reappearing on the site next week.


Most especially newer panic buyers have no idea the volume increases the firearms and accessories industry has experienced this year.  Epic and mind boggling at the same time!
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:
+1 the time to buy was 6 months ago.  Huge demand right now and production is still fucked.  Last year it took me 3+ months to get everything in.  I don't know what the backlog is looking like this year.  I screwed up.  I wanted to put a second together for a gift, but did not order it in January.  End of May and hardly nothing is available.

Esstac is made in house in the US.  His Facebook page mentioned employees taking a corona vacation.  My wild ass guess is he is using his reduced production capacity on stuff that he can get out the door quicker - the accessories that were the core of his business.  I wanted to get a second Daeodon, but settled for something else till they become available again.  (fwiw last year I pestered him with an email to get one, but if you read his website and Facebook pages he begs people not to email him - time spent on email is time spent not producing product).
---
Did a lot of research last week.  One thing that stuck to me was this.  What is the standards.  Tier 1 products are tested and certified to meet the standards.  I think this testing might be require ongoing quality control testing as well.  Tier 2 products are tested by other independent labs to be able to meet the standards - but not certified.  Since they are not actually certified, why bother with ongoing quality control testing.  Then there is tier 3 - the manufacturer says the product meets the standards.  Tier 3 is generally made of Chinaesium.  It may or may not have every been tested and may or may not meet the testing standards.  Do you really want to trust your life to Chinaesium armor.  On the other hand, you do pay a premium for US made and tested products, and an even higher premium for products that are certified.  What can you afford...  What can't you afford.
---
The Hesco I ordered this weeks is probably at least 12 weeks out (mid September).  The slickster (or at least the parts of it that I could order) will be here Monday.  I had a spare cummerbund so that helped (as cummerbund's are also out of stock).  Esstac still had some placards in stock, so picked up one of those.  Esstac was out of hydro carriers, so I went with a Source - will see how that works (but Esstac's use the source bladder - so I am crossing my fingers).  It will be a Frankenstein system, but it should all work together.
---
while I was at it, I put together a couple of IFAK's.  Got one of Esstac's med pouches inbound - but he is really low on the stock of those, so hoping to get a better match for the slickster before the plates arrive.


Our staff level now is double day one of our lockdown.  Order volume of just kywi pouches is also quite a bit higher

We had to nuke allot of items from the site to keep the flow going out the door and our lead time at days not months.  Keeping kywi pouches the main focus helped as new employee's get trained.

The longer lead time items are starting to return to the site but as instock and not made to order free for all like before.  First batch of plate carriers is happening now in limited colors and should start reappearing on the site next week.


Most especially newer panic buyers have no idea the volume increases the firearms and accessories industry has experienced this year.  Epic and mind boggling at the same time!




Holy shit I didn’t know you guys were on the site.

I’ve been using your pouches on duty for years. Love em!
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 9:03:17 AM EDT
[#45]
Plate Selection Hierarchy

Step 1a - plate size.  Two sets of choices really, SAPI (XS, S, M, L, XL) or 'other' like a generic 10x12. You need a correct size plate for you, to cover vitals but not impede movement. [Hint: SAPI sizes are standardized, so carrier compatibility is a little easier]

Step 1b - plate cut and curve.  Cut is either SAPI or shooter/swimmer, curve is either single or multi. [Hint: multicurve is more comfortable]  SAPI is standard, while the others have more removed in the shoulder cut.

Step 2 - Budget.  This matters, because prices can vary between ~$100 - $1200 per plate.  So decide how much you are willing to spend, it is the most impacting to technology and weight.

Step 3 - Planned use.  Are these for daily use going into harms way, or only for SHTF.

Step 4 - Threat / protection level.  What caliber and types of rounds are you wanting protection from.  Level 3, 3A, III, III+, IV, ST; standalone or ICW? [Hint: research required to know what these mean]

Step 5 - Weight.  Do you care if the plates are 8lb each?  Or would you prefer something around 4lb per plate? The old adage of ounces are pounds, exists for a reason...

Step 6 - Carrier.  Two types of choices, covert (hidden, low profile) or overt (all decked out with comms, IFAK, spare mags, breaching pen, hydration bladder, etc)  Your selected plate above will dictate what carrier is compatible (size, cut, thickness).  Also note cummerbund related options are part of the selection.

Now, all that being said; steel is heavy and splatters, UHWMPE is light but won't stop M855.  Seems most folks settle around standalone multicurve ceramic SAPI plates at their desired protection level in the carrier of their choice.

More data in the Armory: https://www.ar15.com/forums/Armory/Tactical-Gear/10/
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 9:24:02 AM EDT
[#46]
Thanks for the update.  I might get greedy and vulture your site next week.  

Sorry about making guesses about your situation.  You make a good product.  My condolences on needing to train new staff, but hopefully that investment will start to pay off soon.
Link Posted: 6/27/2020 9:47:41 AM EDT
[#47]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Plate Selection Hierarchy

Step 1a - plate size.  Two sets of choices really, SAPI (XS, S, M, L, XL) or 'other' like a generic 10x12. You need a correct size plate for you, to cover vitals but not impede movement. [Hint: SAPI sizes are standardized, so carrier compatibility is a little easier]

Step 1b - plate cut and curve.  Cut is either SAPI or shooter/swimmer, curve is either single or multi. [Hint: multicurve is more comfortable]  SAPI is standard, while the others have more removed in the shoulder cut.

Step 2 - Budget.  This matters, because prices can vary between ~$100 - $1200 per plate.  So decide how much you are willing to spend, it is the most impacting to technology and weight.

Step 3 - Planned use.  Are these for daily use going into harms way, or only for SHTF.

Step 4 - Threat / protection level.  What caliber and types of rounds are you wanting protection from.  Level 3, 3A, III, III+, IV, ST; standalone or ICW? [Hint: research required to know what these mean]

Step 5 - Weight.  Do you care if the plates are 8lb each?  Or would you prefer something around 4lb per plate? The old adage of ounces are pounds, exists for a reason...

Step 6 - Carrier.  Two types of choices, covert (hidden, low profile) or overt (all decked out with comms, IFAK, spare mags, breaching pen, hydration bladder, etc)  Your selected plate above will dictate what carrier is compatible (size, cut, thickness).  Also note cummerbund related options are part of the selection.

Now, all that being said; steel is heavy and splatters, UHWMPE is light but won't stop M855.  Seems most folks settle around standalone multicurve ceramic SAPI plates at their desired protection level in the carrier of their choice.

More data in the Armory: https://www.ar15.com/forums/Armory/Tactical-Gear/10/
View Quote


Really nice summary.  

OP -

Like a camera lens or rifle optic, plates are not the place to skimp.  Sure, you can get inexpensive heavy plates with a supposedly high protection level, but they are not a bargain if they are uncomfortable, too heavy to wear for any length of time, or don't provide the advertised protection.

Frankly, something that protects against pistol calibers would probably satisfy the vast majority of current civilian use cases, but I get the impression many folks here are gearing up for something a couple notches higher than we are seeing on the streets now... and that's probably prudent.

I'm not far in front of you, having considered the purchase for many years but only recently jumping in. For what it's worth, I went with Hesco U210 special threat plates. They aren't the ultimate in protection level and they aren't inexpensive, but they are multi curve, thin, and fairly light... at 3.5 lbs per plate in my size (small). Yeah, I'm only a beast by deed and reputation.  

Good luck...and keep an eye on the esstac website and be ready to jump if that's what you want, because everyone else will be watching it too.

Link Posted: 6/27/2020 10:31:02 AM EDT
[#48]
I went with spartan armor systems and got steel ar550 set with side plates and all upgrades coatings. Going to be heavy but i'm not mobile. I will be at home. Lead time was 10-12 weeks. I don't know what the lead time on ceramic are but... I got steel because my research says up to 2 inch boarder is not  rated as the same as the center of the plates. Steel is edge to edge protection. But (If I understand this right ) a 10x10 inch plate could be = to a 6x6 at level IV at the center and the 2 inch boarder on the plate is not as strong.

I could be totally wrong but it's what I did. I can always get ceramic plates later. I was also told I would not need side plates but I got them anyway(Probably wont use them ).


Edit to add This could be BS I don't know.


What is a Cheat Ring?
"Do you see the black ring around the edges of this plate? That's a nonballistic area called a "cheat ring." Sketchy manufacturers like Botach use these to save weight and to make their plates seem more competitive. The NIJ unfortunately permits cheat rings up to 2-3" wide, but quality plates from manufacturers like Hesco and LTC do not have these nonballistic edges. You want to avoid plates that have these, since they significantly reduce coverage."
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