Concealment Body Armor: Important Things To Consider
We have to consider several things when purchasing and wearing concealment body armor. With all the options on the market, we must look first at overall applicable to our lives and what is the likelihood it will help.
Let’s start with what clandestine body armor can do for me? Low-profile body armor is usually IIIA rated. This means it will handle almost all pistol threats to include 44 magnum. More often than not we're likely to encounter 9mm pistols and this body armor is well rated to handle that type of threat. As we understand the ammo shortages we can make sense of a lot of information that’s being handed to us. What’s not available is obviously some of the most common types of ammunition. This shows us that 9mm is by far the most common ammunition in pistol ammo, therefore, is the most likely threat.
Just like our everyday carry firearms, we have to scrutinize its ability versus its versatility. When we put our Glock 19 in our holster and then place our shirt over it, we check in the mirror to make sure it doesn’t obviously print as we walk through the workplace as well as when we tie our shoes or grab groceries from the top shelf. We need to have the same considerations for our body armor. Low-profile body armor is usually the soft type. A great option is the Spartan Armor Concealable Wrap Around Vest. Unlike most low-profile kits where you add a soft body armor insert, this kit wraps entirely around you and maintains a low profile.
Another option is the Ghost Concealment Shirt which is designed to hold front, back and side IIIA armor panels. The Ghost Shirt is a lighter and easier to move in compared to traditional wraparound vests, it also retains less body heat which is good for extended use.
Soft body armor allows me normal mobility and a low-profile presentation. This doesn’t mean that I can’t slide a steel plate like the Spartan Armor Omega AR500 Body Armor Shooters Cut inside a low-profile carrier such as the Spartan DL carrier. This can dramatically increase the level of ballistic protection I have, should the mission require it. In trade, it might reduce my mobility and potentially draw attention to my lack of mobility even though the body armor was not spotted.
Where Should I Keep My Low-Profile Body Armor?
I like keeping my low-profile body armor in a bag that does not scream, “Tactical!” A bag that does not draw attention allows me to toss it in the back of my car without people wondering what’s in it. This also allows me to bring the unassuming bag into the workplace without anyone becoming curious. Now if I need my body armor I can access it very quickly as it’s kept close by. Of course, the best option is to be wearing my low-profile armor frequently. But I don’t always have that option.
Depending upon where in the country you live you might be able to wear low profile body armor more often than not. Living in Arizona would usually suggest warmer weather. This makes concealing body armor a little bit more difficult. During our winters when it’s common for people to wear a coat or at least a windbreaker, having body armor underneath is much more unnoticeable. Just like carrying a full-size pistol during the winter versus a subcompact pistol during the summer, we need to be aware of what’s common in our area as to appropriately blend in. During those hotter months when the low-profile kit is kept in a backpack, I am afforded the opportunity to add a few more tools to the back. Some items I like to keep close by my body armor are a flashlight, extra magazine, tourniquet, and many more left to your imagination. One particular item I like is to keep in my bag with my body armor is the HSGI LEG RIG V1. This kit allows me to strap it onto my leg rapidly and covers most of my emergency needs like a reload, tourniquet, additional flashlight. Lastly and maybe my favorite part is it keeps all of my most important items in one place within my bag.
Even though we’ve already touched on mobility, let’s talk a little bit more specifically about day-to-day operations. Not only do I need to be aware of the printing and the overtness of my kit but I also need to have in mind the operation. In addition to the day-to-day, I like to consider emergency operations. In my emergency I may need to draw my firearm and/or I may need to be able to run away. Even though these are not day-to-day things we need to be proficient in doing them with our kit on. Making sure your kit does not prevent you from smoothly drawing your firearm or making rapid egress from a bad situation is paramount. It’s important to get in our reps at the range and around the track with our chosen kit. This can help us be ready for any situation.
About the Author:
Rob joined the USMC in 2004 with a military occupational specialty of 0311 (Infantry Rifleman). Assigned to 3rd Bn 1st Marines, Rob participated in a deployment to Iraq (OIF-3) as a point man followed by an assignment as Team Leader for the 13th MEU Special Operations Capable to Iraq (OIF-6). In 2007, he joined 1st Marine Regiment and reenlisted to deploy to Afghanistan. InJanuary 2010, Rob was promoted to the rank of Sergeant & continued to serve 1st Marine Regiment for a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. On return from Afghanistan, Rob was assigned to School Of Infantry West to work as a Combat Instructor (CI) for the USMC where he trained thousands of Marines to gain the skills necessary to survive. Rob exited the USMC in 2014 & was immediately picked up by Securing our Country (SOC). As a private military contractor, Rob was responsible for training the specialty teams of operators at the American Embassy in Iraq. Shortly after leaving Contract in 2018, Rob became the Chief Instructor of GPS Defense Sniper School. Rob now gives 100% of his attention to Emergency Response Tactical training all levels over 320 days a year as his passion & full-time job.
You can read his full bio here.