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Lightweight Body Armor Options

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Lightweight body armor is a practical solution for many people, not just hardcore Operators or SWAT members. In fact, there are several options for lightweight body armor that span across several threat levels of protection ranging from IIIA (handgun rated) up to IV (.30-06 armor piercing rated). To clarify, when we say “lightweight”, we are talking about body armor that is under the typical 8lb plate seen with many steel core and ceramic body armor plates. The practical use of lightweight body armor includes several factors such as ease of concealment, strength and loadout weight. We’re going to take a close look at how some of our lightweight body armor products can provide practical benefit in a number of situations.

Concealment Body Armor for Personal Threat Protection

The issue of concealment is especially relevant nowadays as more concerned citizens have begun incorporating body armor into their personal threat protection toolbox. To qualify as concealable body armor, we are only including armor that is .5” thick or less into this conversation. Based on current technology, all options that fall in this category are level IIIA rated. Level IIIA body armor plates are specifically designed to stop handgun rounds up to .44 Magnum SJHP and SIG .357 FMJ. As we discussed in a previous article, there are 22x more homicides committed with handguns than rifles (click here to read our article about ballistic levels). Based on this info, we’d argue that concealable level IIIA body armor is one of the most important safety devices you can own. Below are products that fit the niche of concealable lightweight body armor.

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Strength and Loadout Weight

Realistically, strength and/or physical fitness is an important consideration for many people and we’re not just talking about people who have hit the McDonald’s drive-thru too many times. A plate carrier loaded with two armor plates can easily weight upwards of 20 lbs (before any additional equipment is even added to the carrier). This can be a problem for many people including the elderly, women, children or those with disabilities. In the event of an emergency, getting out of harm’s way quickly can mean the difference between life or death. With civil unrest becoming a bigger factor these days, mobility can be a critical factor for many of us. Even if you are in peak physical fitness, carrying 7lbs less in body armor will improve speed, agility and endurance. In other cases, carrying 7lbs less in body armor can offset the weight of adding equipment to your carrier such as magazines, medical kits and tools. For example, Elaphros Level III Lightweight Body Armor only weights 3.5 pounds per plate. This makes an Elaphros plate less than half the weight of traditional armor made of AR500 steel or ceramic. All the lightweight body armor options below are great for rifle rated threat protection. Note that the Tactical IIIA Certified Wraparound Vest is perfect for people who want a lightweight vest with IIIA inserts, but want the option of easily dropping in additional body armor plates (sold separately) for more protection.

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Often, we get asked what type of body armor is “the best”. The better question to ask is, “Which type of body armor is best for you?” The easiest way to answer this question is to take stock of your personal needs and physical abilities. Do you need something that you can conceal easily? Would you only be wearing your body armor in an emergency? Would you need to wear your body armor for an extended period time? How important is mobility? Whether you’re buying body armor to wear on a daily basis or just SHTF scenarios, we have body armor options that can accommodate just about anyone. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need additional product details or help finding the best body armor for you!

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