Body Armor is made from different materials and can be used to protect against anything from a .22 caliber round (level II) to a .30 caliber round (level IV). It is important to note that body armor is specifically tested to stop “different” calibers of rounds.
At Advanced Survivor we carry both forms of armor, hard and soft. Our current soft armor products are all Level II Kevlar, since this level is rated for commonly carried pistol cartages. Level II is also a light weight vest that offers protection along with maneuverability. The vest contains front, back and side protection panels and is held on securely by Velcro straps. The complete vest weighs a mere 3lb 14oz, roughly the weight of my Rocky Timberwolf boots.
Honestly, as many people, I was skeptical about body armor, soft armor in particular. That was until our distributor informed us of its benefits, comfort and protection ability. But, testing the armor before trusting it seemed only logical to me. Advanced Survivor only carries products that we test, trust and personally use.
What I used:
I utilized a 3D reactive filled target to simulate actual human reaction, after being hit by an impact. The fact that the reactive target actually moves back after being struck, gives a more realistic simulation of an actual hit by a live round. Locally, I have found the 9 mm most commonly carried, followed by the 45 ACP and then the 40 Smith & Wesson. Therefore, the calibers I chose for testing included the: 9 mm+P, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, and .357 mag. The ammunition was all hi-performance defense rounds with the exception of the 45 ACP, which was a 230 grain Federal FMJ. The Firearms used were a Glock 17, Glock 35, S&W TRR8 and an FN FNP 45 Tactical.
What I did:
A removed front panel, from an actual vest, was tightly attached to our reactive target. I chose a practical combat range of 10 feet. The test started with the 9mm+P round which sent our 70 pound target, with GoPro and test panel, on its back. The test was repeated with the 40 S&W, 45 ACP, and .357 mag., and all yielded similar results.
After each test, the vest was removed and checked for damage. Each round had been captured by the vest and at no point did ANY of the rounds penetrate the armor. Note that “multiple” rounds of various calibers had been fired at the same front panel, with no penetration. One panel captured numerous rounds, which is essential for real life scenarios.
What I thought:
In conclusion, I can simply say, “Very impressive!” Especially, when I unleashed the .357 mag. at 10 feet. If the level II panel was going to fail, this was its best opportunity. From the reaction of the 3D reactive filled target, I would not want shot at 10 feet with or without soft armor. But, if that unwanted scenario should arise, I have safetied myself by purchasing two of the level II vests. I keep one in my home and one in my vehicle. Although the risk of a blunt trauma injury (bruising and/or rib fracture) may still exist, penetration prevent at center of mass, is life sparing and my ultimate goal.
The protection that soft armor provides is cost effective and essential.
***The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is responsible for the guidelines associated with vests and who determines the meaning of the different levels.
NOTE: The standard NIJ test rounds, for level II armor, are listed below – tested vests stop many other comparable rounds, and lesser threats.
NIJ 0101.05 Standard:
9 mm FMJ, at ~1,175 fps
.357 JSP at ~ 1,400 fps
It is important to know that Level II-A, II and III-A all stop the overwhelming majority of pistol projectiles you are ever likely to encounter (plus 12 gauge, OO buckshot), but also know that NO armor is ever 100% ‘bulletproof’ under ALL conceivable circumstances.
Click here to view our soft armor
View our full level II body armor test video
What I plan next:
Next month I’m going to step it up a notch and test our Level IV hard body armor. This armor will take multiple rounds from rifle calibers, including Armor Piecing rounds. Stick with us and keep checking back!