When it comes to buying gear lots of people are always concerned with offensive gear and not the defensive gear one should have in their arsenal. I don’t blame them as I did the same for a long time. We all want the most reliable handguns, most accurate rifles and sharpest blades we can afford for our bug out kits or to use in the line of duty. But even the most trained gunfighter should have a way to protect themselves in a battle, or the cop walking the beat, or just the regular Joe who wants some piece of mind in this crazy world we live in.
I think plate carriers and armor are always a good idea to have as piece of your kit, but that’s not always practical for everyday use. That’s where concealable body armor comes into play. The folks over at Safe Life Defense have a vest that doesn’t break the bank that we got to try out.
The Safe Life Defense Multi-Threat NIJ level iiia vests retails for $399. While not the cheapest option on the market it’s not outrageously expensive either, especially for the options you get. The Safe Life Defense iiia vest is bullet, strike and slash resistant and defends against all common handgun rounds. Everything from 9mm to .357 and .44 magnums and even 00 buckshot and 12 ga slugs are no match for it. The Safe Life Defense vest has a claimed 15% more protection surface area compared to other vests on the market via their wrap around side protection.
The NIJ rated vest are made out of Dupont Kevlar and also have a cooling mesh liner to keep the user cool, because let’s face it any type of body armor is going to increase your body temperature. The vest is 10 point adjustable and uses 4 Velcro straps to hold itself in place. It also has 2 hidden pockets in case you want to upgrade to level IV hard plates, a pretty nice feature. So how did it fair in everyday use?
I used the vest over a few months on and off under my street clothes. One of the first things to note is how easy it is to get on and off and to adjust. The adjustable shoulder straps and 4 side straps make adjusting it and keeping it snug very easy. It takes a few tries but after you get the hang of it you can put the vest on very quickly.
Sizing is spot on, Safe Life Defense includes a useful sizing chart to help make sure you get the right size fit (don’t base it on your shirt size!). If you happen to get the wrong size Safe Life Defense has a fit guarantee and they’ll exchange your vest for you.
With any type of body armor there is going to be some affect on your range of motion, the Safe Life Defense vest doesn’t seem to restrict you too much however. It doesn’t ride up too much when you raise your arms or bend over but you will still know it’s there.
For being a level iiia vest it’s still very concealable. It’s not too noticeable under looser fitting button up shirts and jackets, under a tighter shirt others will know you’re wearing it. The obvious downside of a concealable vest is the extra weight, while not too bad for a normal man you’ll still feel it after wearing it for a long time. The other downside is the excess heat, while the vest does have a cooling mesh liner you still have a kevlar vest strapped to your body. In the winter it’s not a big deal at all but in the summer months you’ll definitely feel the heat. But it’s a price to pay for the protection. Those minor inconveniences are a fair trade for something that can save your life.
- The obvious, it may save your life! It stops handguns and 00 buckshot and slugs
- Very adjustable
- Fit very well
- Incident Guarantee, if the vest is used to save your life Safe Life will replace it free.
- While concealable, you are adding weight and bulk
- More heat and sweat in warmer weather
Body armor and concealable vest are often overlooked unless your law enforcement or in the military, but I think it’s something everyone should consider. While they’re not cheap they’re usually cheaper than the cost of a new handgun that might not leave the safe often. And the cost is nothing compared to the alternative of not wearing one. Instead of another safe queen consider some body armor as your next investment. While they make you sweat in the summer they do work.
For more info on the Multi-Threat NIJ level iiia vests check out SafeLifeDefense.com.