Last updated on March 21st, 2019
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