Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/29/2005 4:28:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 6:00:45 PM EDT by i_hate_shrapnel]
I'm a photojournalist who is embedding with a US military unit in Iraq in December. It is my first trip into a war zone, so the last week I've been trying to crash course read about body armor.

I've read enough to know that I need at least NIJ level IV plates. But the variety of vests is confusing. Some are just plate carriers for a couple hundred dollars, while others are whole body armor systems for $1000, not even including plates.

Could I get some recommendations? Obviously it would be best if the vest came in a non-combatant color (blue?) and had a way for me to put a "PRESS" id flap on it.

Thank you for any suggestions you can provide. Your expertise is greatly appreciated...

Link Posted: 9/29/2005 5:37:04 PM EDT
Found this with a quick google search: www.militaryreporters.org/crawleyspacklist.html It doesn't really get into body armor, but I thought I'd throw the link out anyway.

As for body armor, it all depends on what you want to spend, and how comfortable you want to be. If I were going, price wouldn't be an issue at all, I'd want the best, lightest, "coolest" armor I could find. I'd add Level III or IV plates front and rear as well. Maybe even side rifle plates! The problem will be wearing/hauling all this stuff around.

Just looking at PACA's website (for example) I would probably go for the following setup (if I wanted to avoid a military carrier, otherwise I would be using an Eagle CIRAS.)
Hard Armor: PACA P-4 IV 8"x10" 4.76 lbs each (9.5 lbs total.)
Soft Armor: PACA RTH series Level IIIA (.19" thick by .89 PSF.) Average size vest of this stuff is probably 4 lbs.
Carrier: PACA SV2 in Navy with the optional groin, shoulder and bicep protection. This carrier can also take the two armor plates. Figure the carrier weighs 5 lbs with the extra protection (swag?)
Optional:
Side plates. These look pretty good Armored Warrior Torso Side Plates Add 4 lbs to the system weight
PACA Armor Ice - supposed to help with keeping cool. Who knows.
Estimated total system weight: 24 lbs. That may be on the high side.

That carrier looks a little "military" because of the webbing, but by using Navy it will minimize that a little. I'd put big "PRESS" placards front and rear, but that probably isn't going to stop haji from shooting at you anyway....
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 5:39:22 PM EDT
I'd drop an email to Michael Yon; as a former SF and current freelance writer in Iraq he'd know what to recommend.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 6:20:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 6:29:55 PM EDT by G_MAN]
multi hit IV stand alone plates 10X12
IIIA KEVLAR vest, neck, shoulder/bicept protector and groin protector
if you don't plan on getting neck,groin and groin and just want a armor carrier for IIIA armor and plates then get this
http://www.beezcustomservice.50megs.com/about.html
i'm not sure about color because if i were you i'd wear it under a gig baggy button down shirt or jacket in Dec, everything under your armor will be soaked, cotton t-shirt under it. synthetic fabrics are a bit of a no-no as IADS threatens to melt it onto your skin. this is 2nd hand knowledge, never been there.

also get a good helmet, MICH if you can find one, stay away from a PASGT(have worn this for prolonged periods of time and can guarentee it's f*cking heavy and uncomfortable) protective eyewear, Oakley.

helmet
http://www.diamondbacktactical.com/Gentex-TBH-Tactical-Ballistic-Helmet--P63C80.aspx

buy good stuff. you can sell it very, very easily when you return. the better the stuff, the faster it will sell. put it on the EE here.

oh sh*t i just noticed you asked for advice from Experts
edited to add: I'm not an expert
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 7:29:59 PM EDT
i copied this from USMC0311 jeff guy over at another board thought it would be usefull for you.


U.S. Armor.....Never used Zylon and their Eagle Enforcer vest has had some of the best results in testing (made of Kevlar 129)


Here is some info supplied to me by another LEO in the know:

Here are the rules for armor:

Spectra and other laminates (anything that has the word Flex in it) is a UHMWPE (ultra-high molecular-weight polyethylene. Much the same as found in coffee can lids and trash bags, but a different UHMW molecular structure imparting greater tensile strength at low temperatures, but about the same melting point.
After 180 F, the Spectra becomes damaged and loses strength, at 300f it is worthless snot. It does not recover when it cools.
The 127 +P+ bullets can impart enough energy to actually fuze the material on the periphery of the entry. Muzzle blast from contact hits is also very very bad for Spectra.

Zylon is a PBO fiber that breaks down with exposure to visible light, heat and water vapor(a sweaty cop...ya think)

The ONLY safe armor fabrics are Kevlar (in all it's iterations...Kevlar 129, Kevlar Protera, etc) and Twaron. NOTHING ELSE.

The most reputable company is U.S. Armor...bar none. They are the first company to refuse to make zylon armor way back when nobody else was listening to us. Los Angeles(CA) Sheriff's Department is a major customer (hint, hint)

There are three basic categories:

1. p-aramid (Kevlar, Kevlar Protera(a softer weave), and Twaron) This is the good stuff, the only bullet resistant fabric to be trusted.

2. UHMWPE (Spectra, Dyneema, and various "laminates") These are high-tech coffee can lids. Store them in a hot trunk, or spill a scalding cup of coffee (or leave them lying on the back of a vehicle in sandbox sun) and they are toast. They do not recover after they cool down; zip, zero nada. NOT to be used.

3. PBO (Zylon) Loses strength over time, upon exposure to visible light, ot exposure to heat and humidity. NOT to be used.

U.S. Armor produces Mil type garments in all aramid...check their website. If it is not exactly what you want, they are usually willing to mod it. The interior fabric is most important, once you have that, anyone can spiffy up a HSLD carrier that meets your needs.

Kevlar, Kevlar 129, Kevlar Protera, and Twaron are all 100% aramid.



Dr. Gary Roberts and several others who do private testing and testing for their own states recommend the U.S. Armor Eagle Enforcer Kevlar 129 vest Level IIIA. All of the testing that was done was started when the mess with Zylon first arose a few years back.

The Level IIIA U.S. Armor Eagle Enforce is priced at $400

If you don't go with US Armor, ensure that the vest you get is 100% Kevlar. Kevlar, Kevlar 129, Kevlar Protera, and Twaron are the only materials that should be trusted, all have a long proven track record.

be safe
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 7:51:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By G_MAN:

If you don't go with US Armor, ensure that the vest you get is 100% Kevlar. Kevlar, Kevlar 129, Kevlar Protera, and Twaron are the only materials that should be trusted, all have a long proven track record.

be safe



Good to know. My Safariland IIIA is 100% Twaron. It is a little thicker and heavier than the latest generation. But, I didn't know about the "-flex" stuff being somewhat less durable. I do now!

$400 is a great price for a new vest!

Link Posted: 9/29/2005 9:44:18 PM EDT
I'd email Michael Yon, as another guy said. I know he also wears fire retardent stuff under his other gear.


Obviously it would be best if the vest came in a non-combatant color


lol.

No such thing in the bad parts of the world.
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 7:12:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Spade:
I'd email Michael Yon, as another guy said. I know he also wears fire retardent stuff under his other gear.


Obviously it would be best if the vest came in a non-combatant color


lol.

No such thing in the bad parts of the world.


True dat. I don't think Daniel Pearl was classified as a combatant.
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 7:16:24 AM EDT
You realize shrapnel is specific type of artillery munition and what most people refer to as "Shrapnel" is fragmentation.
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 1:46:17 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 1:51:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By STLRN:
You realize shrapnel is specific type of artillery munition and what most people refer to as "Shrapnel" is fragmentation.



Oh, I did not know that. Cool.

Actually, I'm anti- any unauthorized metal entering my body-- including (but not limited to) bullets, shrapnel, fragmentation, knives, shivs, forks, and machetes.


Link Posted: 10/1/2005 1:54:27 PM EDT
I want to thank all of you for the helpful information. I did not know the problems with certain types of bulletproofing material before I came here.

I actually live in Los Angeles, where US Armor is based so I'm going to try to arrange to visit their offices to be fitted for a vest there. I hope to return safely to thank you again after...

Link Posted: 10/1/2005 9:07:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By i_hate_shrapnel:

Originally Posted By STLRN:
You realize shrapnel is specific type of artillery munition and what most people refer to as "Shrapnel" is fragmentation.



Oh, I did not know that. Cool.

Actually, I'm anti- any unauthorized metal entering my body-- including (but not limited to) bullets, shrapnel, fragmentation, knives, shivs, forks, and machetes.





We need a term for that. Alloyaphobic? Bullethole-aphobic?
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 6:22:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/2/2005 7:16:28 PM EDT by jollyroger]
When do you leave? Nevermind, re-read your original post.
Link Posted: 10/2/2005 9:12:35 PM EDT
What about the rest of your kit? Have you planned that out?

Something to carry water, extra glasses if you wear them, shooting glasses or similar (there's a reason soldiers and shooters wear eye protection, and it'll go for you too), gloves, etc.?
Link Posted: 10/3/2005 7:52:43 AM EDT
Hey, I am also in the market for some body armor, and from what I've read, the U.S. Armor Concealable Enforcer XLT seems like a good buy.

I'm a civilian, not a police officer. Does anyone know where I can buy this armor? The one distributor I saw doesn't seem to sell to civilians... thx!
Link Posted: 10/3/2005 9:14:53 AM EDT
How much protection is necessary?

Your threat model for balistic protection is at least high velocity rifle rounds of two sorts:

A. Hostile fire. (7.62x39)

B. Friendly fire. (5.56x45)

Only level IV protection will defeat high velocity projectiles like this.

Level IIIa will protect against the more powerful handgun rounds but you will need to augment that protection with level IV "trauma plates" over vital areas in order to really be safe in the field. Look for a solution that has Level IIIa with Level IV plate inserts.

I am constantly amused by people who walk into areas with high powered rifle threat levels (New Orleans for example) with Level II vests (Sean Penn) over their outerwear.
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 1:31:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Spade:
What about the rest of your kit? Have you planned that out?

Something to carry water, extra glasses if you wear them, shooting glasses or similar (there's a reason soldiers and shooters wear eye protection, and it'll go for you too), gloves, etc.?




i'm working on it slowly. i wanted to start with the body armor so i could practice jogging with the 20 extra pounds...
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 9:24:41 AM EDT
Interceptor Body Armor is what you need. Check auction sites or even point blank themselves might sell one to a journalist (they dont normally sell them to civies...)
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 9:30:36 AM EDT
Austrian pointed something out that bears repeating. If you get a stand alon plate carrier you will only have protection over your chest and back. You need soft body armor in addition. You can also get plates and extra armor to protect the neck legs shoulders etc. But at minimum get soft armor vest and a pair of plates.
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 11:09:11 AM EDT
Be sure to take some kind of hydration pack. CAMELBACK is the best available and on sale at a good price at www.elitetacticalsources.com/

Good eyepro. Oakley

Get familiar as you can with any gear you take before you get there to work out any issues.
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 1:12:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Scollins:

Originally Posted By G_MAN:

If you don't go with US Armor, ensure that the vest you get is 100% Kevlar. Kevlar, Kevlar 129, Kevlar Protera, and Twaron are the only materials that should be trusted, all have a long proven track record.

be safe



Good to know. My Safariland IIIA is 100% Twaron. It is a little thicker and heavier than the latest generation. But, I didn't know about the "-flex" stuff being somewhat less durable. I do now!

$400 is a great price for a new vest!




Also, research has shown that laminates do not hold up well against contact shots. muzzle blast literally melts the material and the bullet goes through. Kevlar on the other hand is flash rated to 800 degrees.

I'm an EMT with a fire department, so obviously i use a 100% kevlar 129 vest. If i have to through on bunker gear for a fire, i don't have to worry about heat issues and the kevlar is actually a little extra heat protection for my torso in a worst case scenario (not nomex but still).
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 5:23:53 PM EDT
If money is not an object..(how much is your life worth)

Pinnacle armor has some good stuff..Their lvl.II is rated to stop most lvl III rounds including .44 mag.

They also have lvl.IV flexible armor..(our dept. was thinking of going with this for entry teams..) weighs about 18lbs. but offers lvl IV protection without other vest. front and back to cover most (18% more according to the rep.) of the chest..more coverage than 10X12 plates.Cost is $2100.

Total coverage for use in a carrier like our CIRAS...is $4000. takes multiple hits..

Just another option..
Link Posted: 10/6/2005 3:08:04 PM EDT
Does anyone know about the "Flex 35" material that RBR Tactical uses in their vests?

They have a navy blue journalist kit, but I'm not sure if the Flex 35 is in the kevlar family...
Link Posted: 10/7/2005 9:39:41 AM EDT
Top Top