Is it legal to own body armor in the U.S.?
It is widely legal to purchase and wear body armor.
If you are a U.S. citizen living in the country and a non-felon (some felonies disqualify), it may be legal to own body armor.
Do your own due-diligence conformance check to U.S. and Federal, State and Local Statutes, Codes, and Ordinances, and your local laws and regulations.
Residents of Connecticut are prohibited from buying body armor.
Who can buy body armor
Unless you live in Connecticut, it is generally the case that law-abiding citizens are legally allowed to purchase and wear body armor.
When purchasing body armor, a background or criminal history is NOT run on the individual buying the body armor.
That means that it’s your responsibility to be sure you’re legally allowed to purchase body armor.
If you are caught with body armor and have a felony criminal record (certain felonies prohibit ownership of body armor), you will be held responsible for owning the body armor and will have to accept the consequences. Just saying…
Types of body armor
Kevlar body armor
Kevlar provides exceptional protection to ballistic threats. Worn regularly by a diverse range of individuals, vests of this material can stop a variety of bullets- from shotgun, to .44 magnum rounds.
This provides additional protection by also being stab and spike resistant against improvised weapons such as knives, shanks, and stabbing attacks with things like tools or broken bottles, etc.
Ceramic, polyethylene, or steel body armor plates fitted in plate carrier vests can offer the highest protection including rifle rounds.
Not all Body Armor is the same
Not all body armor offers the same protection, and it is important to remember that nothing is entirely “bulletproof”. There will always be great danger in these types of situations.
Having said that, generally, a highly recommended level of armor protection is “Level IIIa” or even better — “Level III (hard body armor)”.
Level III body armor is designed to protect against rifle calibers up to 7.62×51 or .308 Winchester at a velocity of 2780 ft/s, as well as all lower level calibers.
Levels of body armor
All body armor products are categorized into one of six levels.
Protection begins at Level I which offers the least amount of protection and increases to Level IV which offers the most amount of protection.
(.22 LR; .380 ACP)
(9 mm; .40 S&W; .45 ACP)
(9 mm; .357 Magnum)
(.357 SIG; .44 Magnum)
(Rifles, e.g. 7.62×51mm NATO M80 ball)
(Armor Piercing Rifle, e.g. .30-06 M2 (AP) Springfield)
Who uses body armor?
Obviously anyone who chooses to protect themselves.
Store owners (e.g. jewelry stores, etc..)
Safety at gun ranges
Nice,concise info, Thanks Ken
Our family is outfitted with type IIIa vests. We also own Kevlar helmets. Having gone through many hurricanes and tornadoes, we wear them when there are bad storms in the area.
We also put the vest on when we go to a range to practice, as you never know what some goofball is going to do.
Good idea about having a vest at the range. Wish I had thought of that before, even if I don’t get the time for much range practice. Now I have another item on my list of must have items.
We have a range right on our own place, really just the back hill and some straw bales, but out here you don’t need much more. Anyway, a couple years ago my friend was teaching his wife to shoot her new revolver and as he was doing that, his dad and I were standing and talking about 40 yards behind them. After the third shot we heard a ricochet come back right over our heads up in the trees.His dad was a shooter in Korea, and said it must of hit a rock or a spent jacketed slug in the backstop.They never heard or knew anything had happened.
His dad nonchalantly said “when it’s your time,ITS YOUR TIME”.
Makes me take target practice much more seriously and would wear a vest if I had one.
Great idea to wear one even if you dont run into a nut like Chris Kyle did.
Oh,well, explains the attack on Us here in Ct. Easier targets and great practice. I am starting to see a little more clearer everyday about this shi^ h@le state.
I am a keen collector of tactical warfare equipment and was looking to upgrade my assortments with some real time body armors. BTW, can you suggest me some good websites where I can grab body armors that resemble the ones worn by the American soldiers during the Afghanistan war.
I do business with “armslist.com” .
The “Infidel Body Armor” guys are worth checking out:
Keeper up the great work Ken!
The right for one to defend one’s self is no different than wearing the armor. It’s like standing behind a brick wall in a gun battle. What’s next? Banning brick walls? If criminals use them, the authorities have to practice aiming for legs, arms, necks, buttocks, lower abdomen, or heads instead of hitting the broad side of a barn.
I don’t know how God fearing citizens can stay in a State like commie Connecticut. If you are a citizen of that state or others that have denied your constitutional rights please consider a move to a state that upholds constitutional rights (easier said than done, I know). That being said, I keep upgraded flak jackets (level II+) and helmets in each of my vehicles. When travelling to the city I like to know I have some protection if Ferguson type rioting breaks out. My wife also has my old police vest handy if I am not home and someone makes the mistake of choosing our house for a home invasion. A local army surplus store sells kevlar helmets for $35-60 each (Brit and American) and flak vests ($30-75). Easy investment
We’ve picked up “used” kevlar soft body armor to assist in kitting up our vehicles,(with the help of some talented friends), while not perfect, we’ve at least hardened them up just a bit. We also own and travel with our “new” personal body armor, especially in Communist-strongholds, when we are forced to travel in or to those states. Like the poster above, “…when it’s your time, it’s your time…”. Rather NOT have my/our “time” be contingent upon exigent circumstances, and thug demographics.
Is there any material inside body armor (or the covering) that breaks down with time and usage? If there anything I need to know to look for if shopping for used items? Thank you.
Kevlar does break down over time by perspiration and sunlight (and certainly if previously shot). However, in my own unofficial testing of numerous used police vests I have found that even the surplus ones held up quite well when shot with handgun rounds. Police agencies have agreements to turn in their vests for new ones every few years. However, in the military we used vests until they were physically falling apart. Keep in mind, to stop rifle rounds you need a higher level of protection that only comes with ceramic or AR500 steel plates.
Thank you, that helps!
To sum up, if you buy a used vest that appears in good condition, you should be fine. Store it in a closet or somewhere that it will not be subjected to constant UV rays or chemicals and it will maintain its integrity for decades.
Done, opposed! We will see how much spam I get
LEO departments almost always replace vests after 5 years. NIJ has conducted tests on vests 10 years or older and they have met performance standards. I would guess there is a different for a vest that is used daily verses one that sat on a shelf for 10 years. I know I have seen changes in mine as I have worn it mine. Always store it flat.
Everything is very well explained, must say good article!!
Where do you get the info that it is illegal to buy it in ct.? My research says its illegal if you are a convicted felon. I also saw that it is illegal to sell it to someone unless it is a face to face transaction.
Hmmmm… the post was awhile ago – I don’t recall the exact source of that information regarding CT vs. body armor. Maybe a web-search will reveal some sources…
Since no other MSB Patriots commented on my question, I guess I’ll ask you.
We have female Patriots, who can not support the weight of plates. We do not, and will not place Females on the front lines, of a real gun fight. BUT, These Female Patriots, stood shoulder to shoulder with us, on the public streets, to fend off BLM rioters.
Rioters, tends not to have weapons, just knives, broken bottles, rocks, skateboards, so defending against “rifle rounds”? with plates? Does “soft body armor” cover these threats?
I’ve done research, not much out there. So, do you have any info that could help this situation?
I didn’t respond, mainly because I’ve not worn soft armor for over 15 years, and there may have been improvements since. We were issued “Second Chance” vests. They would not stop centerfire rifle rounds. They did have pockets for ceramic plates which would, but then you have the weight issue again.
NIJ rated Level IIIa body armor will stop knife slashing and jabbing. So for her situation and threat exposure, this vest with no plates may be preferred. Just my opinion.