I’ve worn body armor every police workday I’ve had for the past 30 years. The four years I worked before that, armor wasn’t readily available—nor did it fit in with my undercover working assignments.
Kevlar-based concealable soft body armor is designed only to stop bullets fired from handguns. It is not designed to stop—nor is it capable of stopping—bullets fired from centerfire rifles (or, for that matter, edged weapons).
Kevlar soft body armor has, very understandably, been worn more and more by civilian permit holders who find themselves regularly operating in high threat environments—and I don’t blame them. If I were a business owner, not only would I have a permit and a handgun on my person at all times, I would be wearing soft armor every day.
But what if you operate in extreme environments—places where there is a distinct possibility that the firearms threat you encounter will be from centerfire rifles? The only answer is hard armor plates and carriers such as those available from the AR500 Armor company.
Hard armor plates are a whole different level of protection, and are generally not for constant wear. They are much heavier than the heaviest Kevlar IIIA pistol armor. With that being said, armor plates not only provide protection against rifle fire, but also against any edged weapon, blunt force, or empty hand threats—something that soft armor can’t do.
Until AR500 came along, hard plates and carriers were prohibitively expensive, and were strictly for the military or SWAT realms. Now, you can purchase a complete AR500 armor plate system for as low as $175 with front and back plates.
AR500 Armor plates are NIJ (National Institute of Justice) certified as Level III protection, which means that they will defeat rifle threats up to 7.62×51 M80 NATO Ball (.308 Winchester) at velocities up to 2,780 feet per second and all pistol calibers. Further, AR500 steel core armor plates are coated with PAXCON (a division of Line-X) spall and fragmentation protective coating, which protects the user from flying metal shards resulting from impacts. All AR500 armor plates are multi-hit capable.
AR500 sent me a sample of their complete Operator II Plate Carrier Combo with side plates and pouches. The front and rear armor plates are curved, while the optional side plates are flat. This setup is $330 complete. AR500 carriers are all MOLLE capable. Included in the pouch set are a universal pistol holster, double pistol mag pouch, and double AR-15 pouch.
The Operator II can be worn with or without the sideplates, or one can order the Sentry Combo without sideplate capability. Make no mistake, hard armor is heavy. WITHOUT the sideplates, my test armor weighs in at 20 lbs. Sideplates weigh 2.5 lbs each.
If I was a land owner living along our southern “border,” I would have an AR500 Operator system setup complete with pistol and spare magazines—without sideplates—giving quicker donning for dealing with nighttime threats. I might even have a second setup in Coyote for patrolling the property during the day. In schools where it is permissible to have armed teachers or administrators, I would have one available to respond to active shooter incidents. Needless to say, AR500 (which also makes Level IIIA soft armor packages) would be an important part of any survival, off-duty, or bugout kit. Plenty of options and packages are available to meet any need. Learn more at www.ar500armor.com.