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Is it legal for civilians to purchase body armor?

Is it legal for civilians to purchase body armor?

Is it legal for civilians to purchase body armor?  

Body armor is a safety product. It is legal in most states in for law abiding civilians to purchase body armor. You have the right to protect yourself and your family from harm. As a citizen of the United States you have the legal right to purchase and wear body armor for personal or professional use. Currently the exception is New York state who has limited the rights of its citizens. We’ll talk about NY state and give you all the details below. 

Body Armor does not require any special paperwork or background checks. It is YOUR responsibility to determine if YOU are LEGALLY able to purchase and use body armor in your state.  

Who Cannot Buy Body Armor Legally? 

Convicted felons surrender their right to own body armor legally pursuant to (18 U.S.C. 931). However, felons can purchase bulletproof vests if their employer requires it and they get written permission to do so. It is the responsibility of the felon to refrain from buying body armor. They can be prosecuted if they make an illegal purchase. Retailers are not liable for what happens to body armor after it is sold.  

Different States have Different Rules for Buying Body Armor Legally 

Depending on where you live, different states have different regulations for civilians who want to buy body armor.  For example, it is legal for civilians in Connecticut to buy body armor, but it must to be done by a face-to-face transaction. There are exceptions to the Connecticut law for police departments, and other public officials. Please call one of our sales representatives for more information. In New York you must be employed in an approved profession and make a face to face transaction. Learn more details about the NEW YORK BODY ARMOR RESTRICTIONS HERE.

Other Rules for Civilians to Buy Body Armor Legally 

There are other rules to consider when civilians look to buy personal body armor protection.  You cannot ship or bring body armor outside the United States without Federal permission, for example.  In many states it is also illegal to wear body armor while committing a crime. Doing so will result in more and harsher legal charges.  

Below we’ve provided some helpful information about current state laws for civilians to purchase body armor legally.  This information provided is current to the best of our knowledge as of the publishing of this article. It can change at any time. This information should NOT be interpreted as legal advice. You should contact a licensed attorney in your state, local government or law enforcement agency for the most current regulations in your area for civilians to purchase body armor legally.  

Alabama 

Alabama does not have any additional laws for civilians to purchase body armor legally. In Alabama, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest legally, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person. 

Alaska 

In Alaska, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face by civilians legally. 

Arizona 

Like many states, Arizona has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. 

Arkansas 

In Arkansas, it is a Class A Misdemeanor to possess body armor if you have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, aggravated robbery, assault, or battery, and this law does not affect body armor retailers. 

In any other case, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

California 

In California, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Colorado 

In Colorado, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Connecticut 

Of all the states, Connecticut has the toughest law on body armor, prohibiting residents from buying or selling body armor except through a face-to-face sale. Online retailers cannot market and sell to Connecticut residents. 

In Connecticut, it is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, to sell or deliver body armor unless the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish the sale or delivery. 

The law exempts sales or deliveries to: 

  1. authorized officials or sworn members of local police departments, the State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Department of Correction, or the Board or Pardons or Parole; 
  2. authorized municipal or Department of Administrative Services’ officials who buy body armor for the above agencies; 
  3. authorized Judicial Branch officials who buy body armor for probation officers; 
  4. members of the National Guard or armed forces (CGS § 53-341b). 

Delaware 

Delaware has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. 

Florida 

Florida has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime, and, and this does not affect body armor retailers. 

In Florida, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Georgia 

Georgia has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a violent crime, or while trafficking drugs. This does not affect body armor retailers. 

In Georgia, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Hawaii 

In Hawaii, all civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Idaho 

In Idaho, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Illinois 

Illinois does not have any additional body armor laws pertaining to retailers. In Illinois, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

However, it is illegal to for individuals to wear body armor while in possession of a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm, during the commission or attempted commission of any offense. Unlawful use of body armor is a Class A misdemeanor. 

Indiana 

In Indiana, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person. 

A person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Class D felony (up until July 2014, when a new law takes effect). The new law states that a person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Level 6 felony. Again, this law effects criminals, not retailers. 

Iowa 

In Iowa, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Kansas 

In the city of Topeka, Kansas, it is illegal to possess, carry or wear a bulletproof vest during protests, parades, rallies, assemblies and demonstrations. This statute does not affect retailers. 

In Kansas, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person. 

Kentucky 

In Kentucky, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Louisiana 

Louisiana has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime or on school property. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Louisiana, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

It is illegal to wear body armor on the premises of a school 

Maine 

In Maine, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Maryland 

Maryland law mandates that all civilians with a prior conviction for a crime of violence, or a drug trafficking crime, are prohibited from using, possessing, or purchasing bulletproof body armor without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Maryland State Police. 

A civilian with a prior conviction for a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime may file, for good cause shown, a petition with the Secretary for a permit to use, possess, and purchase bulletproof body armor. 

Massachusetts 

Massachusetts has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. In Massachusetts, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Michigan 

In Michigan, any civilian of age can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that civilian has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

In Michigan, an individual who commits or attempts to commit a crime that involves a violent act or a threat of a violent act against another person while wearing body armor is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. This is not applying to state officers and security officers performing their duties while on or off a scheduled work shift. 

Minnesota 

In Minnesota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Mississippi 

In Mississippi, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Missouri 

In Missouri, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Montana 

In Montana, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Nebraska 

In Nebraska, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Nevada 

In Nevada, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

New Hampshire 

New Hampshire has laws in place that make committing a crime while wearing a bulletproof vest a felony, but does not have laws in place that prohibit sales of bulletproof vests by retailers. 

A person is guilty of a class B felony if he commits or attempts to commit any felony while using or wearing body armor. 

New Jersey 

In New Jersey, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Additionally, in New Jersey, a civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts. The practical effect is more jail time and fines. Separate penalties have a wide range depending on the seriousness of the underlying crime. 

New Mexico 

In New Mexico, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

New York 

Effective July 6, 2022, when not being engaged or employed in an eligible profession, the purchase, taking possession of, sale, exchange, giving or disposing of body armor is prohibited.  People engaged or employed in eligible professions include. New York gets it’s own article since it has become complicated. WHO CAN PURCHASE BODY ARMOR IN NEW YORK ARTICLE.

North Carolina 

North Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In North Carolina, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

North Dakota 

In North Dakota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Ohio 

Ohio does not have any additional body armor laws. In Ohio, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Oklahoma 

Oklahoma has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Oklahoma, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Oregon 

In Oregon, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania does not have any additional body armor laws. In Pennsylvania, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Rhode Island 

In Rhode Island, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor and bulletproof vests, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

In 2012, Rhode Island’s General Assembly passed a bill that forbids anyone convicted of a felony that is a crime of violence from buying or possessing body armor. This does not affect retailers of bullet proof vests. 

South Carolina 

South Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In South Carolina, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

South Dakota 

In South Dakota, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Tennessee 

Tennessee also has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. The unlawful wearing of a vest is a Class E felony. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Tennessee, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest legally, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Texas 

In Texas, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Utah 

In Utah, civilians can purchase body armor legally and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Vermont 

Vermont does not have any additional body armor laws. In Vermont, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Virginia 

Virginia has one additional body armor law, like many states: Any person who, while committing a crime of violence or a felony violation, has in his possession a firearm or knife and is wearing body armor designed to diminish the effect of the impact of a bullet or projectile, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. This law does not affect retailers. 

In Virginia, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Washington State 

In Washington, civilians can purchase body armor legally, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

West Virginia 

In West Virginia, it is illegal for a civilian to wear body armor while committing a felony, an element of which is force, the threat of force, physical harm to another or the use or presentment of a firearm or other deadly weapon. This does not affect body armor retailers. 

In West Virginia, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest legally, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Wisconsin 

In Wisconsin, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest legally, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

In Wisconsin, regulations also state donning a bulletproof vest during a felony or attempted felony can lead to an additional felony conviction, or added years to the final prison sentence. This law affects certain individuals who might purchase and wear bulletproof vests but does not affect retailers. 

Wyoming 

In Wyoming, any civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest legally, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be legally purchased both online or face-to-face.

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Who can purchase Body Armor in New York?

Body Armor Regulations in New York

On June 6, 2022, NY, Governor Hochul signed into law new restrictions on the purchase, sale, exchange, and transfer of bullet-proof vests (then defined as “body vests”).  Effective July 6, 2022, when not being engaged or employed in an eligible profession, the purchase, taking possession of, sale, exchange, giving or disposing of body armor is prohibited.

The New York law is presented as enacted to protect people from gun violence. This law actually takes away protections from the people that need it. After the shooting in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York took away the right of the grocery store clerk, grandmother, butcher, and other law abiding citizens to protect themselves with body armor. This is a short cited reaction that endangers the lives of the residents of New York.

Does this mean you can’t buy body armor if you live or work in the state of New York? Maybe. This tough legislation is the most restrictive in the nation. It makes providing the life saving personal protection items difficult to obtain. There are many professions that are still legally able to purchase body armor. The list is growing weekly.

Who Can Buy Body Armor in New York?

The law only allows certain individuals to purchase body armor in New York. As of the writing of this article (4/25/2024) These individuals include:

  • Police Officers
  • Federal Law Enforcement Officers
  • Peace Officers
  • Persons in military service in the state of New York or military or other service for the United States
  • Armored Car Guards
  • Security guards
  • Firefighters
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Paramedic
  • Ambulance Driver and Attendant
  • Firearms Dealer
  • Body Armor Retailer/Salesperson
  • Private Investigator
  • Building Safety Inspector
  • Code Enforcement Officer
  • Firearms Instructor
  • Professional Journalist
  • Newscaster
  • Nuclear Security Officer
  • Process Server
  • Animal Control Officer
  • Range Safety Officer
  • Forensic Science Technician, Ballistics Examiner
  • School Building Administrator and School District Administrator

The list is growing, currently even “Tattoo Artist” is on the list of professions being considered.

Who Can’t Buy Body Armor in New York?

The law prohibits all other individuals from purchasing body armor in New York. Check the list to see if your profession is listed: https://dos.ny.gov/body-armor#

My profession is on the list. What is the process to make a purchase?

You can make a purchase on our site, but we will contact you to start the process of proving elegibility and arranging for a face to face delivery of the armor.

  1. All individuals and entities must present proof of engagement in an eligible profession when purchasing or taking possession of body armor. After you have made your purchase on our website you will be asked to provide us with a copy of your proof of eligible profession. This is satisfied by submission of a professional license issued by a federal, state or local government; employment card or other credential issued by an employer, or in the absence of the foregoing, submission to the seller of a form approved by the Department of State that is notarized, verifying that the purchaser is engaged in an eligible profession.
    Individual form | https://dos.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2022/07/body_armor_individual.pdf
    Entity form | https://dos.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2022/07/body_armor_entity.pdf
  2. No sale or delivery of body armor shall be permitted unless the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish such sale or delivery, except for federal, state or local government agencies purchasing body armor to furnish them to employees in eligible professions. You will be asked to provide information for an FFL for transfer of the purchase. You will need to bring the identification you provided when making the online purchase.
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Stephanie Kwolek: Pioneering Safety on International Women’s Day with Kevlar in Body Armor

On International Women’s Day, Caliber Armor would like to recognize Stephanie Kwolek, who paved the way for safety with Kevlar in Body Armor

In the world of scientific innovation, there are unsung heroes whose contributions reshape entire industries, making the world a safer place. Stephanie Kwolek is one such trailblazer, whose invention of Kevlar has had a profound impact on the body armor industry. This remarkable woman not only defied gender stereotypes but also left an enduring legacy that continues to save countless lives today. Caliber Armor uses Kevlar materials in our IIIA/HG2 CaliberX Soft Body Armor. https://caliberarmor.com/product-category/soft-armor/

The Pioneer Behind Kevlar:

Stephanie Kwolek, born in 1923, was an American chemist with a passion for polymer chemistry. Her groundbreaking work at DuPont in the 1960s led to the creation of a revolutionary material known as Kevlar. Originally developed as a lightweight, durable alternative to steel in tire reinforcement, Kwolek’s discovery of this high-strength polymer surpassed all expectations.

Kevlar’s Remarkable Properties:

Kevlar is an aramid fiber with exceptional strength and heat resistance. What sets it apart is its remarkable combination of toughness and flexibility, making it an ideal material for various applications. This synthetic material is five times stronger than steel while being significantly lighter, making it a game-changer for industries ranging from aerospace to personal protection.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Chemical Heritage Foundation

Transforming the Body Armor Industry:

One of the most impactful applications of Kevlar has been in the field of personal protection, particularly body armor. Traditional body armor, often made of materials like steel or ceramics, was heavy, cumbersome, and limited in its ability to provide effective protection. Kwolek’s invention of Kevlar revolutionized this landscape by offering a lightweight and flexible alternative that provided superior ballistic resistance.

The introduction of Kevlar-based body armor marked a turning point in the safety and security of law enforcement officers, military personnel, and civilians alike. The material’s ability to absorb and disperse impact energy effectively has saved countless lives by reducing the severity of injuries sustained in high-risk situations.

Enhancing Safety for Law Enforcement and Military Personnel:

Law enforcement officers and military personnel face unpredictable and dangerous situations daily. The adoption of Kevlar in body armor has provided them with a crucial advantage – increased mobility without compromising safety. The lightweight and flexible nature of Kevlar allows for improved agility, enabling individuals to maneuver more effectively while still benefiting from robust protection against projectiles.

Kevlar’s Role in Civilian Protection:

Beyond the military and law enforcement sectors, Kevlar has found applications in civilian life, particularly in the manufacturing of bulletproof vests and other protective gear. This has become increasingly relevant as concerns about personal safety have grown. The availability of Kevlar-based protective products has empowered individuals in high-risk professions and regions, offering a level of security that was previously unattainable. Check out our Gray Man package that offers hybrid UHMWPE and Kevlar materials in a concealable, affordable lightweight package: https://caliberarmor.com/product/caliberx-iiia-gray-man-concealable-package/

Stephanie Kwolek’s invention of Kevlar has left an indelible mark on the body armor industry, transforming the way we approach personal protection. Her pioneering work not only defied conventional expectations but also paved the way for a safer and more secure world. Today, Kevlar remains a critical component in the development of advanced body armor, embodying the spirit of innovation and resilience that Stephanie Kwolek exemplified throughout her remarkable career.

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Finding the Perfect Body Armor: A Comprehensive Guide for Different Body Types

When it comes to personal protection, body armor plays a crucial role in safeguarding individuals in high-risk professions or dangerous situations. However, not all body armor is created equal, and finding the right fit for your body type is essential to ensure optimal comfort and protection. In this blog post, we will provide a detailed guide to help you make an informed decision when purchasing body armor, taking into consideration your unique body type.

  1. Understanding Body Armor Basics:

Different Levels of Protection: Learn about the various ballistic protection levels (such as NIJ levels) and their significance in determining the armor’s ability to withstand different threats.

Types of Body Armor: Explore the different types of body armor, including soft armor, hard armor plates, and specialized designs for specific purposes.

  1. Assessing Your Body Type:
Fitment Guide | Step by Step

Body Measurements: Understand the importance of accurate body measurements to ensure a proper fit. Learn how to measure your chest, waist, and torso length accurately.

Body Shape Considerations: Explore different body shapes (e.g., athletic, curvy, slim) and how they can impact the selection and fit of body armor.

  1. Choosing the Right Body Armor for Your Body Type:

Soft Armor vs. Hard Armor: Discover the pros and cons of each type and how they cater to different body types and activities.

Sizing and Adjustability: Learn about adjustable features in body armor, such as shoulder straps, cummerbunds, and side closures, that allow for a customized fit.

Body Armor Styles: Explore different designs, cuts, and shapes to find the one that suits your body type and provides optimal coverage and mobility. Caliber Armor offers two different style cuts, Shooters Cut and SAPI(Small Arms Protective Insert) Cut.

  1. Testing and Evaluating Body Armor:

Quality Assurance: Understand the importance of certifications and testing standards for body armor, such as NIJ compliance and independent lab testing. At Caliber Armor we take it to the next level for our customers, providing you with a Specification Sheet with your order explaining what rounds were used to test our product.

Fit and Mobility Assessment: Learn how to evaluate the range of motion and flexibility provided by the body armor to ensure it doesn’t hinder your movements.

  1. Additional Considerations:

Climate and Comfort: Consider the environmental conditions in which you’ll be wearing body armor and choose materials and designs that provide breathability and comfort.

Maintenance and Durability: Understand the maintenance requirements and expected lifespan of different body armor types and materials.

Selecting the right body armor is a crucial decision that should be based on careful consideration of your body type, lifestyle, and specific needs. By understanding the basics of body armor, assessing your body type accurately, and considering various factors, you can make an informed decision that ensures both comfort and optimal protection. Remember to consult with professionals or armor experts at Caliber Armor to get personalized recommendations based on your unique circumstances.

Stay safe and Be Prepared For Anything!

Need Help Finding the right armor? Contact Us

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Caliber Armor Launches New AV2 Stand-Alone Body Armor Plate

Introducing the Caliber Armor AV2 Ballistic Insert

Caliber Armor, who was the first company to bring an advanced steel body armor plate with a true multi-curve achieved with one press announces a new alloy plate that achieves the coveted NIJ-RF2 stopping power rating.

The Future NIJ 0101.07 RF2 Testing Requirements Met

For years, the industry has been anticipating the new NIJ 0101.07 standard that finally attempts to bridge the gap between 0101.06 Level 3 and Level 4. In the current standard level 3 rating the test is six shots of 7.62 x 51mm M80 FMJ at 2,780 ft/s. From there the next level is 4, which is 30-06 M2 AP at 2880 ft/s. What about everything in-between? The body armor industry has largely adopted the term Level 3+ or Level 3++, which is up to the manufacturers interpretation but generally means that it will stop higher velocity 5.56mm rounds and AK 7.62x39mm steel core projectiles.

Multi-Curve Body Armor with Advanced Spall Coating

The AV2 body armor plate comes standard with advanced PolyShield Anti-Spall coating. With a competitive price point, only half inch thin and weighing in at just 7.2 lbs, the AV2 armor plate is a superior option for your bulletproof vest that will last a lifetime. No more replacing your team’s armor set ups every five years or spending extra funds on x-ray requirements during turnover. The AV2 plate will stop everything that you throw at it. See full multi hit body armor product specs HERE.

How do we keep up?

Different compositions of body armor stop projectiles in diverse ways. For example, ceramic strike face body armor works by breaking the projectile down as it passes through the ceramic which absorbs a great deal of the kinetic energy by breaking apart with the remainder being captured by the backer. This has long been successful but has limitations with multiple hits. Ballistic plastic, UHMWPE, works by slowing bullets as they travel into the plate. Energy from the projectile is transferred through millions of individual high tensile, high modulus fibers that have been compressed into a solid plate. These lightweight plates, like our are amazingly effective at stopping lead core ammunition but fall short when facing hardened tip or core projectiles. The price can make it unattainable for most departments and security firms while leaving users vulnerable to threats like M855, green tip, a common AR15 round. Last year we launched our level 3 Maritime, it is a neutrally buoyant armor plate that passes all RF1 threats. Our Maritime UHMWPE plate is a fantastic option if you want protection with a reduction in weight. The limitations are price and that the plate does not pass the RF2 M855 at 3,115 fps test.

Why did we choose steel alloy for our AV2 body armor plate? 

High hardness steel has been used in body armor since the 14th century. It protects our military in barricade and armored vehicle applications as well as being a successful stand-alone body armor plate option. Used with an advanced anti-spall and fragmentation coating our AR550 steel plate has long been the material that hits the sweet spot for stopping high velocity rounds while having pressing capabilities. This military grade, high hardness abrasive resistant (AR) steel has been our highest selling product. Its limitations have been one threat on the draft NIJ 0101.07 threat testing.

We knew we still wanted to use steel alloy. Contrary to what is all over the internet about steel being an inferior option for body armor vs ceramic armor, we see calls for this thin, strong, ergonomic body armor plate consistently raising over our ceramic and UHMWPE options. For example the Federal Bureau of Investigation just secured $7,000,000 of body armor that specified that they wanted a STEEL Plate with Spall Protection.

NIJ RF1 and RF2 Specs

The speed of the 5.56mm M193 BT in the proposed RF1 is giving the steel body armor industry some headaches. Most steel options have no problems with the higher level RF2 spec of M855 BT at 3115 ft/s. Frankly, we have not been able to make that round move fast enough to defeat our AR550 steel. The new RF1 spec is that a plate must stop the M193 BT at 3250 ft/s. This is the military spec for muzzle velocity when fired from a 20-inch standard issue barrel. This is an extremely fast speed for this projectile and most commonly available ammo will not even achieve this speed.

Research Three Years in the Making

We have tried several different thicknesses, varied materials, and heat-treating processes to evaluate if we can make an alloy product that can achieve this speed so that we can certify to the new spec. After three years of testing, we have found our solution, Caliber Armor AV2. Our objectives were to exceed the ballistic requirements of the draft RF1 and RF2 and to reduce weight. We have pushed the speed on all the requirements. We have also tested other special threats like the M855 A1, and 7.62x54mmR. We shaved off a pound from our AR550 and kept the thinness that creates an extremely ergonomic option for our customers.

American Made Quality

The Caliber Armor AV2 ballistic body armor plate is changing the way we think of steel armor. American made in Louisville Kentucky, Caliber Armor is the trusted name in quality, affordability, and reliable customer service. Let us help you find the best armor system for your application. We are here to help, before, during and after your purchase.

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Best Steel for Body Armor

All Steel is Not Created Equally

Steel Armor is typically hot rolled into sheets from a steel billet. The rolling allows for a homogenizing and aligning of the crystalline structure of the steel. The plates are heated and rapidly cooled by oil or water quenching. This process is called Austenitizing and results in a through hardened product. The armor is then tempered to decrease brittleness and increase the steel’s ability to be formed, or ductility.

Not all high hardness steel should be armor. You can often find high hardness steel at your local metal supply outlet, AR450 or AR500, but this is not the same as the armor steel that is used for our body armor. The AR stands for abrasion resistant, and the numerical portion of the name indicates how hard the steel is on the Brinell hardness scale. 500 Brinell equals 51-52 on the Rockwell C hardness scale. We use AR550 steel that is 10% harder and is produced at very tight tolerances. Our AR550 steel is used in several U.S. military projects and requires guaranteed physical properties.  While the steel sold at your local supplier may have some of the hardness of our steel armor, it will not have the same characteristics necessary to be good armor and hardness only paints part of the picture. The cheaper steel while being relatively hard does not have the same ability to be formed or the toughness required to consistently stop higher velocity threats. That steel is designed for service use on heavy equipment, such as loaders or mining equipment and is not manufactured with the tolerances and characteristics required to make high performance armor. 

The AR550 steel that we use for our body armor is the best steel that we can currently find. It forms well without cracking and retains required hardness without being brittle. We have tested samples of armor steel from all the major domestic and European manufacturers and have found that we are currently using the best steel available. Our AR550 steel at Oregon Ballistics, an independent NIJ certified lab, tested better than all other AR550 armor steel we tested and even outperformed an AR600 armor offered by another steel supplier. In fact, our AR550 had 5% better ballistic capability on hard to stop projectiles like the M193 than the supposedly better AR600.

There are many options for body armor out there, but you can rest assured that when you purchase steel armor from Caliber Armor you are receiving the best steel that we can possibly use. It may cost us more, but our customers lives are worth it. 

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Three things to do if you encounter an active shooter.

Three things to do if you encounter an active shooter

 

Protect Yourself from Active Shooters Part 2

We wrote previously about five things that can help you protect yourself from school shootings. This is the situation that none of us want to think about at school, but what if it does? What should you do if you encounter an active shooter or a mass shooting scenario?

1. Run

The top priority is to get away from the shooter or shooters. If you have an armor panel in your backpack grab that put it on your back and run. If not, leave your things behind and evacuate. Warn others nearby when you get away. When you are safe, call 911. Do your best to describe the shooter, their location and weapons that they were using.

2. Hide

Find a place to hide if you cannot get away safely. Stay very quiet and get out of the shooter’s view. If your backpack has armor, keep it close, crouch behind it and use it to shield your vital organs. Make sure your electronic devices are on silent and that they won’t vibrate. Turn off all the lights, lock and block the doors with heavy furniture and close blinds. Hide separately along walls to make it more difficult for the shooter. Avoid hiding in groups. Silently communicate with the police through text messages or by putting a sign in a window. Wait until law enforcement gives notice that all immediate danger is removed before exiting your hiding place.
3. Fight
Defending yourself is the last resort when you are in immediate danger. Act aggressively and commit to your actions to stop the shooter. Look for makeshift weapons like chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors and books to ambush the shooter with to distract or disarm the shooter.

Although mass shootings and gun violence have become a more frequent occurrence. It is within your right to protect yourself the best that you can and prepare for unforeseen threats. Caliber Armor is committed to helping people protect themselves.  We work and consult directly with security and local law enforcement whenever we can.  If you are interested in personal protection, please check out our lightweight, Soft Body Armor products that are rated for many calibers of handguns and sharp objects. If you encounter an active shooter, our signature, CaliberX Soft Body Armor Panel is perfect to insert as Backpack Body Armor. We also offer rifle rated Hard Body Armor that can be worn over clothing.  If you have any questions or would like help choosing the best Body Armor for you, please give us a call.

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Top 5 Ways to Protect Yourself from School Shootings

Top 5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Gun Shootings Header Image

Protect Yourself from Active Shooters Part 1

The places we go to feel safe, our schools and colleges where we discover who we are, learn and grow, face threats that are an unfortunate part of reality. Here are the top 5 ways to protect yourself from school shootings.

1. Awareness
Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers. Know who is around you. Even if you’re not great friends with everyone, be conscious of how your peers are doing emotionally. If you feel the sense that someone might seriously be a threat to themselves or others, say something. Alert your professors, your advisor, your dorm RA, or a campus authority of anything that looks out of place. They should have access to training and materials to help them evaluate and help prevent things from getting worse.

2. Communicate
If it seems like someone is having a hard time, reach out and offer comfort or guide them to find professional help. This act of communication can literally be the difference between life and death. For your safety and the safety of others, know where and how to access your campus mental health services. Violence that can lead to a school shooting, whether toward the self or others, often stems from feelings of isolation and hopelessness. Helping foster a stronger sense of community can help mitigate those feelings.

3. Drill Yourself
Ask and get familiar about active shooter plans at your school, workplace and place of worship. Run though worst-case scenarios in your head in all confined spaces or populated areas. Take note of the two closest exits in any facility you visit. You can even do some practice scenarios at home so that you know what to do. Save emergency phone numbers on quick dial in your phone. Find out if your city participates in text-to-911.

4. Learn First Aid
Sign up for active shooter drill, first aid and tourniquet training. There are free active shooter programs that can also help you prepare for and protect yourself from school shootings.

5. Use Personal Protection Equipment
You can purchase backpack body armor panels that can easily fit inside any existing backpack that you have. Caliber Armor panels only weigh one pound or less and can be moved from one backpack to another when you change the style or when it is worn out. These panels protect against the most common threats that you will encounter. They can stop shots from handguns up to a .44 magnum. These IIIA/HG2 soft armor panels will not protect you from rifles. Rifle rated panels also protect you from school shootings but are heavier and more difficult to conceal.

Caliber Armor is committed to helping people protect themselves. If you’re interested in more ways to protect yourself from school shootings, please subscribe below or read more articles like these posted to our site regularly.

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What are Trauma Pads and why are they important?

What are Trauma Pads?

What are Trauma Pads and why are they important? 

When rigid rifle plates or soft handgun body armor panels, are struck by a projectile, they transmit energy to the person wearing the armor, even after stopping the projectile. Trauma pads are designed to absorb impact energy and protect the wearer from back face deformation injuries. 

This energy transmission is the result of the back face of the armor deforming during impact. According to the National Institute of Justice, NIJ, for body armor to pass a test for a particular round it must stop or capture the projectile, but also have a back-face deformation that is less than 44mm (approximately 1.7 inches). Imagine something protruding 1.7 inches into your body, you would survive, but exposed to quite a bit of blunt force injury. The purpose of the trauma pad is to reduce the amount of energy transmitted to the body and reduce the injury. The Trauma Pad does this in two ways, by absorbing some of the deformation and dispersing the energy over a larger area.  Caliber Armor Next-Generation Trauma Pads 

Our Trauma Pads are created by using a very high tech Non-Newtonian foam, called XDR® from the Rodgers Corporation. This is the same material used in the popular G-Form® pads that are sold for athletes to protect them from trauma. We chose to use this foam because, according to tests, it can repeatedly absorb up to 90% of intense impact energy by forming a protective shell. When subjected to an intense impact, it has the opposite characteristic as expected, it absorbs the impact, but instead of deforming completely, it becomes more rigid and this disperses the energy over a larger area. The more intense the impact is the more rigid it becomes. This unique property is what reduces blunt force trauma, something no ordinary foam can achieve! 

Place a Caliber Armor Trauma Pad behind any of our CaliberX or Hard Body Armor panels to give you added protection against blunt force trauma. They are light as a feather and also add comfort during extended wear of your armor.  

Stay in the fight with blunt force injury reducing Trauma Pads! 

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The Best Steel Armor for your Bulletproof Vest

The Best Steel Armor for your Bulletproof Vest

If you have been looking for the best option for a bulletproof vest, you probably have come across the affordable option of AR500 or AR550 Steel Core Armor plates.  

Some of the nice things about steel core body armor is that it can withstand multiple hits in the same area of the plate. It is not as bulky being anywhere from .25” to .5” as traditional ceramic body armor, which typically is 1” thick. It also is in a price point that enables the modern prepared citizen, security firm or police department to outfit themselves or their employees at a fraction of the cost of other armor options.

Types of Steel Armor Plates
If you are new to the game, let’s decode some of the types of steel armor. The AR stands for Abrasion Resistant and the 500 or 550 refers to Brinell hardness of the steel. These steel products are through hardened, meaning that this plate is as hard in the center as it is on the surface. This is important as a surface hardened product would not provide the needed ballistic protection. 

AR500 steel core armor plates are readily available from many manufacturers and they provide Level III protection. We have chosen not to carry this option because for just a very small increase in price AR550 Steel Armor provides you with Level III+ protection and will protect the user from numerous .556 projectiles that the AR500 fails to stop. There are AR600 and AR650 steel options, but the additional hardness makes it prone to cracking due to the inherent stress levels found in these steels after forming. The AR550 is at the perfect hardness level to provide exceptional ballistic coverage while allowing us to apply an ergonomic single press multi curve bend to the steel.

What are the differences between the levels of protection?  

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) classifies body armor into 5 different threat levels: Level IIA, Level II, Level IIIA, Level III and Level IV based on their ability to stop specified rounds at specified velocities. The NIJ’s current standard is 0101.06 with a pending update to 0101.07 slated to be finalized in 2020. 

Caliber Armor Offers Level IIIA Armor Protection & Above  

NIJ Level IIIA is designed to stop .357 Sig FMG FN bullets traveling at a velocity of ~1470 ft/s and .44 Magnum SJHP rounds at a velocity of ~1430 ft/s. The updates for 0101.07 HG2 include testing requirements for 9mm FMJ with a velocity of ~1470 ft/s and changed the .44 MAG test to a JHP (jacketed hollow point) with the same velocity requirements. Our CaliberX Soft Armor panels have been tested to meet both the .06 IIIA and .07 HG2 requirements. 

NIJ Level III rifle plates are designed to stop six spaced hits of 7.62x51mm NATO FMJ M80 at a velocity of ~2780 ft/s. Level III+ is a designation that the industry has adopted to show the capabilities of armor beyond the NIJ Level III testing. This indicates that the plate can withstand higher velocity rounds plus additional threats such as M855 and M193. The NIJ intends to address this in establishing the RF2 category of the 0101.07 standard.  

NIJ Level IV are the highest rated armor plates under the NIJ standards. They are designed to take one hit from an Armor Piercing 30.06 traveling at a velocity of 2880 ft/s. This test will remain the same for the 01010.07 standard.  

Backface Deformation of Steel Body Armor 

Steel body armor provides almost no backface deformation. Backface deformation is the protuberance on the backside of the armor plate that happens from a bullet striking the armor. Even if the bullet does not penetrate the plate it still causes some protrusion, and this is what is measured and is important to pay attention to. The NIJ allows a maximum of 44 mm to pass the Level III hard armor testing requirements. The most that happens with the steel armor is half of that amount. Still, it is always recommended to pair your AR550 steel core body armor with either a soft body armor backer or a trauma pad. This allows you to also be protected from any kinetic energy that is transferred to the plate/vest and then into the user’s body.  

How Much Does Steel Armor Weigh? 

You may be thinking that the AR550 steel armor plates are heavier than some other level III+ armor that is available, but it weighs only slightly more than the cheapest, but more expensive composite counterparts. It’s surprising to most that the thinness of this plate gives the wearer more freedom to move during high stress situations. These plates can easily be kept in the trunk of a car, without fear of temperature related ballistic degradation, for a quick response to an active shooter, or high-risk calls. Unlike ceramic/composite plates, AR550 steel cannot be damaged as easily. They have a much longer shelf life. 

The Best Steel Armor with Spall Fragmentation Coating 

Now onto another very important factor when thinking about purchasing steel body armor. Our AR550 steel armor is strong and when the bullet does not penetrate the armor the projectile fragments generated can ricochet off the face of the armor at a zero to 20-degree angle. You will want to make sure that the armor plates have a spall/fragmentation solution to protect you against this possibility.  

 What is spall? It is the fragmentation that occurs from a bullet on impact. It can cause life-threating injuries to your body. Not all steel plates are created equally. Caliber Armor offers an Anti-Spall coating for steel body armor that encapsulates the fragments. They become trapped between the steel plate and the coating. You can purchase the plates with a standard coating that will keep the plate from rust and corrosion, but it is HIGHLY recommended that you upgrade to a coating that mitigates fragmentation and spall. This is an important feature when choosing steel body armor from us or from any other armor manufacturer.  

Lastly, no body armor plate is bulletproof, only bullet resistant. It’s important to narrow your search and think about what threats you are likely to encounter. You do not want to under prepare and not have the set up that fits your situation.