Body Armor In Suburbia
At a time in this country when rioters and looters are receiving more support from politicians and new media than Police Officers, it’s easy to understand why Americans are turning to self-defense products such as body armor and firearms. Just a few years ago the idea of angry Marxists violently storming city streets calling for anarchy would be more of a dystopian TV show plot. Obviously there’s always room for peaceful protests, I’ve yet to speak to anyone who wasn’t disgusted by the murder of George Floyd. Fast forward to a month later where purple-haired, foaming-mouth fascists are rioting in cities across the country. Americans have watched in horror as mobs continue to leave a wake of destruction and the annex public property by force. For most people, the idea of anarchists storming a suburban neighborhood seemed far-fetched. However, then we saw the case of Mark and Patricia McCloskey in St. Louis who had to defend their property (and likely their lives) from just such a mob. We’re going to take a closer look at how body armor is becoming more relevant for middle-class Americans living in suburban neighborhoods, along with tactics and gear that can help keep you safe.
Reduced Police Presence Coming to a City Near You
Just when you think that 2020 can’t get any more bizarre (and stressful) we now have a movement in this country to defund Police Departments. Any person above a third-grade understanding of the world can see how this will end badly. Unfortunately, it’s going to be law-abiding Americans that will suffer the most. Even worse, this movement is beginning to pick up momentum in major cities. New York City alone removed $1 billon from their Police budget. Career criminals and gang members couldn’t ask for a better opportunity than this. As the common saying goes, “when seconds count, the Police are minutes away”. Murders have already spiked by 40% in New York this year. It’s a logical deduction to expect a rise in home invasions.
So the question then becomes, what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones? First off, reduce the element of surprise. Home security cameras are very inexpensive these days and can easily pair to your smartphone. Having an early warning system provides the time necessary to throw on body armor and access any other self-defense tools. Personally, I use the Ring camera system which also gives me access to see suspicious activity in my neighborhood inside a smartphone app. What I like about this system is that I can see actual video footage of the suspicious behavior or crimes caught on camera, and in many cases, you can see the faces of those people involved. Having an alert trigger on your phone can give you the valuable seconds you need to mount a defense. You’d be surprised how quick it can be to throw on a plate carrier in an emergency, especially those configured for active shooter scenarios with buckles on the sides (such as our Tactical Response Kit shown below). If you’ve spent the few minutes necessary to setup your plate carrier in advance, then it should only take 5-10 seconds max to throw on your plate carrier in an emergency. Grab your stopwatch (often time a smartphone app these days) and time how long it takes you to put on your plate carrier. Try this drill in the dark as well. It’s also a good time to get to know your neighbors if you haven’t done so already. Having alliances with people in your neighborhood can alert you to threats you might not otherwise have been aware of. Lastly, installing secondary locks on doors and windows will make it more difficult for criminals to quietly gain entry. In order for a home invader break in, it should be a very noisy process that alerts you and hopefully an intimidating family dog that might give the intruder second thoughts.
It was 2 years ago when a high-speed chase ended in my suburban neighborhood. In my case, an armed felon ditched his car a few blocks from my home and fled from the Police on foot. My whole neighborhood was cordoned off by Police as the SWAT Team searched for the criminal who had just robbed a store clerk at gunpoint. My wife was at home alone while I was stuck outside of the neighborhood on the other side of a Police barricade, powerless to do anything. Thankfully my wife knows how to put on a plate carrier and handle a firearm, so that put me a little more at ease. As a side note, we always recommend swimmers cut plate carriers for women as the shape of this armor fits the body profile of most women better than shooters cut armor (swimmers cut body armor is also a few pounds lighter than shooters cut). After a 4-hour standoff, the police were finally able to take the criminal into custody without any shooting. As resisting arrest becomes more and more popular, we’re bound to see more situations like this case arise. Unfortunately, this will also lead to a higher potential for collateral damage. So what can you do? It’s very important to have a solid plan that you and your family can follow in the event of such a situation. Your body armor should be in a reasonably accessible area of your home and you should have a fallback location such as a panic room or a part of the house that is easy to block off access to anyone attempting to break in. You should also avoid “fatal funnels” where there’s no means of taking cover such as a hallways.
Plate Carrier Accessories
There’s a lot of good gear that can prepare you for the worst situations. In the case of civil unrest, there’s a lot of tools you’d want to have with you. However, in the event of a home evacuation things can get more complicated by the necessity to prioritize what tools you can grab at a seconds notice. Having a good plate carrier with plenty of space for attaching pouches and other gear is worth the investment. For example, you can attach an Advanced First Aid Kit (AFAK) to your plate carrier using the molle webbing present on almost all plate carriers. The AFAK comes with life saving equipment such as a tourniquet, gauze, chest seal and other items designed to field treat traumatic bleeding. We also carry a number of other plate carrier accessories such as flashlight pouches and radio pouches in addition to a selection of magazine pouches. These different options also may allow you to add gear beyond intended use. For example, I have a multi-tool that fits nice and snug inside an HSGI Pistol Taco mag pouch. I’ve also used a similar setup for a flashlight on my plate carrier. With the wide variety of pouches available, there’s very few limitations on what tools you can’t attach to your plate carrier. The Condor Rip-Away EMT pouch and Condor Side Kick Pouch are very popular products that make it easy to add additional storage.
Hopefully the emotional climate of this country will calm down and cooler heads will prevail. Unfortunately, it seems like one way or another there is an element of lawlessness that is spreading rapidly in the United States. I say this not as a means of fear mongering, I just call the situation as I see it. There’s a lot of tactical gear that can mean the difference between life or death in cases of civil unrest or home invasions. Not everyone is in a position to move out of cities where resolutions to defund Police Departments are being passed. Being prepared with a good body armor and the right gear can give a great deal of peace of mind during these strange times. We understand that there can be some learning curve when buying body armor or tactical gear. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us so we can help get you and your loved ones setup with the gear that you need.
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