Wednesday, October 19, 2011

US Palm Defender Body Armor Review

US Palm Defender Body Armor Review
Body Armor for the Masses

There is a odd sound in the middle of the night that wakes you up from a deep sleep.  You lay there with you eyes open listening, hoping, and praying it was not what you thought.  Maybe you can wish it away... maybe it was just the wind. Then you hear it again.. the sound of someone trying doors or the inevitable breaking of glass that sends shivers down your spine.  The adrenaline spike that follows throws you from the bed with gun and tac light in hand.  Tonight is the night you may have to defend and protect your family.
We all pray to God an occupied break in will never happen, however violent crimes and forced home entry are not going away any time soon with the state of the economy and this is where arming yourself and considering simple body armor such as the US Pal Defender may save your life.


Unfortunately this was the exact scenario several years ago when some criminal attempted to break into the Villa de Pandemic and my wife and I had to go exploring.  As the deviant attempting entering through a door and had my stainless 357 pressed to his forehead he rightly ran for his freaking life to freedom.  Good day for the idiot and less paperwork for me, however one statement did cross my lips twice as the wife and I cleared rooms and floors... I wish I had body armor because they could have a gun too.

Unfortunately depending on the police and atypical response times to come to your rescue and defend you is a fools belief. I think the world of my friends in blue however, police typically can only report on what happened and generally never have the chance to intervene.  Noting that typical 20 minute response times where I live is about how long it takes for the average rape or bleed to death.  Most violent crimes only occur in under 10 minutes.  Believe me, I would love to have a couple heavily armored and armed cops between me and the bad dudes, but the reality is in all but the most rare situations you are on your own.  Sometimes this means clearing room by room to gather family into one safe defensible location until police can arrive.

You may have trained with your gun or even attended special training such as the Mako Defense training to prepare you mentally, tactically, and physically.  You may a three gun champion shooter and even be extraordinarily equipped from a firearms perspective, however one lucky asshole's bullet could still cost you critical moments to save a loved one or could cost you your life. US Palm Defender body armor could change those odds drastically for you as a professional or home owner.


AFFORDABLE BODY ARMOR
Fortunately for the non-professional, body armor has come down in price under $1000 for most full-coverage duty level professional grade vests and is legal for civilian purchase in most "free" US States. As most people are just warming up to the idea of owning a gun for protection, they are not going to take the next step and drop $1000 on body armor.  US Palm saw this gap and has made owning .44 magnum stopping power  IIIA rated personal defense body armor affordable for almost anyone with a new line of $200 retail body armor called "The Defender".

FIT, FEEL, FEATURES, & FUNCTIONS
FIT & FEEL
This is not a full coverage vest like you see police or military wearing, but rather a tactical feature loaded carrier for the included 10”x13” soft body armor plate designed to provide vital organ or more commonly called “kill zone” coverage.  This is not a new idea or size at all and 10”x12.5” soft plates are a standard body armor plate size. US Palm Defender is compatible with any of those other aftermarket plates as well.  Vitals coverage body armor goes on the idea that anything shots you take outside that 10"x13" coverage aside from a head shot, you will likely survive.  It would be nice to answer an intruder's entry will full on Army of 2 level battle armor complete with the cool looking mask, however that heavy armor does also have its limitations and the US Palm Defender Body Armor keeps things light, simple, maneuverable and inexpensive.  I call it common sense body armor for the masses all packed into a usable package.  

The US Palm Defender body armor goes on quick and easy and it made from high quality mil-spec materials that are both comfortable and durable.  With all the pockets on the US Palm Defender you can pack on and carry some significant weight in the form of ammo and other accessories so US Palm has assured the shoulder straps are nicely padded to counteract the weight and complete adjustable for excellent long-term comfort to the user. The US Pal Defender can fit from the smaller to the largest frames via simple velcro adjustments in the front, rear, and on the shoulders.  Once the initial fitting is complete, removing one velcro strap provides a simple and quick methods to slip the US Palm Defender on and off as the need may arise.

FEATURES
The Defender version I purchased was US Palm's new Defender in .308 pouched format for review which features a replaceable standard 10”x12.5” flexible body armor plate certified to IIIA protection which can be placed in the either the front or rear plate pouches on the vest.  The US Palm Defender is also available with an optional $100 rear plate for full front/back coverage, however the single plated $200 package is perfect for forward facing home defense use.

Although priced and marketed to the home and the professional user who typically are not issued body armor, the US Palm Defender is priced affordability at $200 for the large 10”x12.5” plated version and $250 for the XL 11”x13.5” plated version.  At $250 and $200 the US Palm Defender is a great option for any professional security detail personnel's budget.  As noted you can slip in an optional rear body US Palm Defender armor plate as well or even add any aftermarket 10x13 standard hard ceramic 7.62 rated impact plates if you are one of those working professionally free-lance types... It's truly a versatile rig.

Of course US Palm knows that when you rocket out of bed pumped with adrenaline it would be easier take a 1/2 second to slip on a body armor vest that has your gun, ammo and accessories such as tac light all in on attack rack package.  Whether you are male or female, a home owner or professional in harms way, slip on the US Palm Defender and you are ready to address a situation well protected.

The US Palm Defender is available in two sizes and several front pocketed formats including handgun, AK magazine format and from my perspective the extremely versatile .308 and handgun magazine pocketed version.  The .308 Defender has three large front main rifle magazine pockets which can hold one .308 magazine each, two 5.56/7.62 magazines each, or as pictured a wide variety of large and small handguns such as my Glock 19 shown.  There are also three secondary pockets for three handgun magazines, mace, or your tactical light, so technically this rig could hold around 230 rounds (30x6 + 17x3) of rifle and handgun ammo at the ready conveniently on your body armor.  On the back there are more pockets big enough for more magazines, hydration systems for other supplies.  Think of the US Palm Defender as a mini armored attack rack. Other features include a velro ID patch area, seams being bar tacked to handle extra abuse and the pockets are all grommeted for draining. 



FUNCTION
I found the US Palm Defender very quick to slip on and off and convenient for the occasional “what was that noise?” exercise in the middle of the night. Magazines and accessories were easily and securely accessible.  After checking with US Palm they do not have a free replacement program for the plates so I did not test the company’s claims of bullet stopping power even though Mrs Pandemic was pretty insistent on shooting me. US Palm has published plenty of documented testing on their site and via other television features and is a very reputable defense contractor so I will trust their certification.  In case you didn’t know US Palm is one of the very highly regarded companies who have been upgrading and outfitting our troops and private security firms AK-47 rifles with new and updated features and providing a variety of products such as their larger full featured attack racks.

Body armour works by dissipating the bullet’s energy over a wider area and reducing the shock by slowing the bullet quickly enough that penetration does not happen but slow enough that energy is dispersed over a longer period of time.  Body armor is not a steel plate.  If it was, the rest of your head and body would be fragged with shrapnel each time your body armor “deflected” a bullet. Instead modern body armor captures the bullet to prevent fragging.  Only the highest rated and heaviest military body armor will drastically decrease felt impact.  If you are shot with body armor on it will hurt like a mother f**ker and bruise like you have been beat with a baseball bat but it is unlikely you will die. Body armor is reated in a number protection levels and IIIA is a 44 Magnum rating.  Higher rating body armor can provide stopping power for up to typicla rifle rounds.

FINAL THOUGHTS
A number of years ago, a company developed a lighter rated body armor package that was deployed from a belt bag, this is definitely a big step up from that option into professional grade body armor. There are a variety of reasons to own body armor outside of defensive use and one big reason is training.  If you train in a shoot house or if you are training on steel targets at relatively close range it would be a good idea to wear body armor not to mention the Defender is a handy ammo carrier.  I was actually shot twice in the chest buy a fellow shooters double tap ricochet at an indoor range and although neither bullet penetrated, I ended up with a fracture and two really serious 12” bruises that required months of treatment... the US Palm Defender body armor would have been welcomed and paid for itself immediately.  

US Palm offer s number of great flexible configurations and two different sizes will fit up to 60 inch waists and of course all the way down to the most petite female frame.  I sincerely hope I never have another attempted break in or home intruder, however where things are headed I doubt that will be the case.  In any case I know that owning a gun is not enough, you should invest in training, and regular practice all to assure the safety of your home, family and your life whether you are just a homeowner, a professional, or trainer.  The US Palm Defender gives you the extra protection and the next step in defense beyond just owning a gun.  Should the unthinkable occur the Defender provides the advantage of minimizing harm to you and others.  For $200 the US Palm Defender Body Armor  is great insurance that you only need to pay for once.  You can bet with your life, but having lived through one incident I am not taking any chances and will be wearing my US Palm Defender body armor each and every time I go investigate odd noises.

MANUFACTURER SPECS

Material (carrier)500d Cordura Nylon
Plate SizeLarge or XL SAPI
ColorsBlack, Coyote, Multicam, Ranger Green
SizesLarge (10" x 12.5" panel, Max. waist 56")
XL (11" x 13.5" panel, Max. waist 60").
Not all size/color combinations available.
Configuration3 .308 Magazines / 3 Pistol Magazines
Threat Level ProtectionIIIA
MSRP$199.99 for Large with 1 panel
$249.99 for XL with 1 panel


Additional soft armor panel available for $99.99 (L) or $124.99 (XL)
Bar tacked seams
Adjustable waist belt and shoulder straps
Front and rear armor pockets
Bottom grommets for draining
Flat admin pocket
Velcro ID patch
ARMOR CAN NOT BE RETURNED




SOURCES
US Palm
http://www.uspalm.com/
https://www.uspalm.com/component/magebridge/us-palm-defender-308.html?Itemid=102

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