The Mission Of Body Armor
What Is The Overall Mission Of Your Body Armor?
Obviously, body armor is designed to stop a ballistic threat. The level of ballistic protection you need is often dictated by your mission. This is information we already know, and if you don't, to gain the knowledge refer to the Spartan Armor Systems Body Armor 101 series. However, we need to keep in mind it's not just ballistic needs but also the ammo needs and overall size and weight that must be taken into consideration.
Per the Spartan Armor series, it is important to know the ballistic capabilities of your small arms protective inserts (SAPI) plate. Understanding what it can stop is only a portion of your SAPI plate selection. Another large consideration is weight. From the perspective of a minimalist, I am willing to pay the extra money to have the extremely lightweight SAPI plates. This gives me huge weight savings allowing me to move faster on my feet as well as get into and out of different shooting positions. With all the weight saved, I can now carry more ammo if needed.
Overall Size Of Your Kit
How much molle space our kit has is important as part of our selection process. If your mission entails longevity and lots of equipment you may require the molle real estate of something like the Leonidas Legend Plate Carrier. However, if you are doing shorter missions or protective work that may require lower-profile equipment for higher mobility. You may want to consider the Tactical Response Kit. Use of molle, just because you have the molle space doesn’t need to mean you need to find a pouch to fill it. Again, I’m a minimalist so I believe less is more.
How Much Ammo/How Many Magazines
Being an advocate of less is more, you can already guess that I don’t need the military load out of six magazines as the minimum. It is my theory that as an individual defending my home if there are six magazines worth of bad guys I am unlikely to get through my first magazine. I'll be happy to put my foot in my mouth when waves of zombies are approaching my home. Until that time, I believe a full magazine in the weapon and two additional ones on my kit will cover all of my defensive needs. Now that we have removed a magazine pouch or two we might want to consider using that space different pouches.
Let’s Talk Pouches
For rifle magazines, I’m a big advocate of HSGI Taco pouches. These high-speed gear pouches allow us to use AR-15, AK-47, AR-10, even SCAR 17 mags without needing to set up a second rig or change out our pouches. This allows me to have one plate carrier system regardless of my primary weapon for any mission.
For pistol magazine pouches I’m a fan of the HSGI pistol Taco pouches. Usually, when I place pistol magazine pouches on my plate carrier it's not actually for pistol magazines. Like the rifle magazine pouches, I like the versatility the pouch offers. Instead of a pistol magazine, I usually have a flashlight, Leatherman multitool, or similar type equipment that can aid me in my mission.
Another good item for the vest is a general-purpose pouch or what I like to call an administrative pouch. This pouch can fill multiple roles much like the HSGI pouches. It could be something as mandatory as a tourniquet or as rewarding as beef jerky. It’s good to have a space that is not so specifically designed for any one tool allowing me to use the space for whatever is necessary for the specific mission.
Where Is My Kit Kept?
From a military perspective, we pretty much live in our kits in high threat environments which means when we are not wearing our kit it is usually one arm's distance from us. This is probably an unrealistic standard for our day-to-day lives. However, keeping a kit close by may be a great alternative.
Consider where most of our time is spent. A majority of our time is spent at home. The next larger portion of our day is often spent at work followed by a period of time before or after work at a minimum in our vehicle. Now let’s ask the question of where could I have my kit nearby? We can definitely have our kit close by at home or centrally located in our home to include having it close by tucked under the bed during the evening. We can definitely throw it in the back seat for our commute to and from work and other vehicle operations. However, unless you have a low-profile kit that is unbeknownst to your peers such as the Ghost Concealment Shirt you probably won’t be able to keep your body armor close by at work. In addition to accessibility to your kit, consider the duration of time to dawn your kit. Very common in the military would we do reaction drills. Often this is referring to reaction to enemy contact. We would, on contact immediately dawn our equipment as quickly as possible. We would put it to a timer and search for improvement. This is most certainly a drill we can take home with us. At a convenient time during the day, we can lay in bed and simulate a middle-of-the-night emergency. Use your smartphone to record our actions to review them and seek improvement. Look for the friction points of this deployment, much like how we rehearse clearing our home. As we improve this individually it’s a great idea to rake in the team. This way the whole family knows what is taking place in our emergency. Figuring out what to do in an emergency during the emergency is a recipe for lots of mistakes.
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.