Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Safeguard Armor Stealth Body Armor Review

Safeguard Armor Stealth Body Armor Review

Most of us would like to believe that bad and evil will only attempt to do us harm when we are home with our AR15 slung over our shoulder with one in the chamber, the Eotech sight on, and two insane dobermans to prevent any surprises. As we have seen over and over, “it” happens anytime and anywhere and you need to be prepared and trained to save yourself and your loved ones. Part of that is the realization that the bad and evil shoot back or attack with edge weapons while you fight for your life and this is where Safeguard Armor Stealth makes perfect sense as a layer of protection for both ballistic and stabbing threats. For me, I wanted to know that I had an acceptable concealed armor option for home use even outside the home in a high risk situation.

Founded in 1986 SafeGuard ARMOR is a world-leading premium body armor designer with manufacturing operations in U.S. and Europe.  The company has have been selling body armor to thousands of individuals and companies across the world and has grown from a small operation selling bullet proof vests to local companies, to being one of the largest body armor companies in the world providing body armor to military, law enforcement and civilians worldwide..

Contrary to common belief, purchasing and owning ballistic and edged threat body armor is not illegal in all but a very few select states.  Check with your state and local state's attorney or police office and if they "claim" it is illegal have them provide the state or local statute that limits/outlaws it. Referencing a specific statute prevents the officer or paralegal from mis-stating the law. In my state there is no legislation limiting the possession or use of body armor, other than the Federal mandate that no felon own body armor. In the US, a non-felon in a free state can purchase hard or soft body armor, however only soft armor can be legally imported without working for law enforcement or military. If a US citizen attempts to import hard body armor, you will get into some hot water.

Not being a felon, I placed my order with SafeGuard without hesitation. Although Safeguard has operations all over the world including the US, my order was fulfilled via their UK headquarter location, cleared customs, and was delivered via FedEx to my doorstep.  I purchased the SafeGuard Stealth, a soft body armor vest with 360 degree Level II ballistic protection and Level 1 stab protection.

Following the fitment chart on the site I selected the appropriate size. When worn, I was very surprised how thin and undetectable the Stealth armor was under a jacket or secondary long cover shirt. If I was just wearing around a long sleeved dress shirt, you could guess I was not that bulky, however with one size up in the dress shirt the stealth was invisible.  The Stealth does make you look like you put on 10 lbs, but it does not stand out like the thick "overt armor" life preserver look the cops are wearing around.  The vest was also very lightweight compared to other vests I have worn and handled which just adds to the overall comfort of the vest.

Another feature is that this is a full 360 degree coverage vest and not just a front and back strike zone coverage. So if you were to get stabbed or shot in the side or ribcage covered by your vest, the vest would provide protection to that area.

The fit and finish of Safeguard is top notch and much higher than I generally see in the market. From a comfort perspective, the Stealth is extremely comfortable for all day extended wear. The integrated velcro adjustments allow a full range of adjustment within each size range to accommodate for any extra sub-layer you might want to wear. The Stealth arrives packaged in a very nice quality black zippered carry bag which not only protects the vest when not in use, but provides a discreet option for transportation.

Most body armor requires a Coolmax t-shirt under the vest to improve comfort both when temps heat up or cool down, however SafeGuard has already integrated that Coolmax comfort layer into the armor to reduce the added bulk for the wearer.  The SafeGuard Stealth was specifically designed for covert/concealed use and offer white or black options.  Thick and heavy is easy to do when it comes to body armor, however thin, comfortable and light is a tough mix to get right. SafeGuard hit the mix with the development of the Stealth delivering on all those goals to maximize comfort, protection and conceal-ability.

SafeGuard has a variety of body armor options available from the very light Ghost model to the heavy full groin, shoulder, and arm Military models. The Stealth is ideal for users who want to hide the fact they are wearing a piece of body armor, such as door supervisors and close protection officers.

SafeGuard's protection ratings conform to NIJ ballistic protection standards. The Stealth is offered in a variety of protection options including ballistic protection II - stopping handgun fired 9mm 124gr Remington and .357 158gr SJSP Remington rounds or Level IIIa - stopping  up to .44 Magnum rounds. You can find  more about each of the specific threat rating on their site. The Stealth armor is also offered in several Stab and Spike protection levels.

Source National Safety Council - 2009 Study
Note that Assault by firearm is not a shooter but refers to a threat with firearm 1 in 340
Firearm Discharge -1 in 7229  is actually a situation where a firearm was fired

Both the Virginia Department of Justice and Pennsylvania Medical Center studies of their respective state homicides found that roughly 80% of all firearm related homicides were from handguns. Of those homicides both of their data indicated that over 98% of handgun deaths would have been prevented by a NIJ Threat Level II protection stopping handgun fired 9mm 124gr Remington and .357 158gr SJSP Remington rounds.

With every extra layer of protection comes more weight and bulk, so I opted for the Level II ballistic protection and Level 1 stab protection which is designed to protect the user from the vast majority of ballistic and edged threats. The protection thickness to threat curve it non-linear which means that each extra level of protection provides an incrementally smaller increase in protection but a noticeably increasing thickness of the vest. There is always a compromise however based on the above statistical probability of being shot (1 in 7229) and pairing that with a my Stealth Level II armor can stop 90% typical threats, I feel well protected unless I suddenly found myself in a war zone.

Those that are uber paranoid may want to opt for and armored personnel carrier, just bump up to the next threat level rating, or pick up a supplemental hard armor plate to tuck into the vest.

For covert discreet and concealable armor the Safeguard Stealth is of the best and thinnest I have seen or worn. Generally I do not live, work, shop, or play in high risk homicide ridden areas, however bad things happen everywhere. There have been situations what I feel safer with an added layer of protection. I also love the ability to slip on the vest when investigating that random bump in the night. In my rural neighborhood we have a 40 min police response time and the ambulance is not much better… any extra chance I can give myself while defending myself during an encounter or surviving it after the fact is a great investment from my perspective for home defense all for only $476. Is your life worth $476?

NIJ Level II Ballistic Protection
NIJ Level I Edged Blade Protection
Delivered in 1-2 working days
Brand new cover worth $100
Weight: Approx. 5.5lbs
Made from DuPont Kevlar
MSRP $476 

Warranty Info
This product comes with a 5 Year Warranty. All SafeGuard ARMOR™ products are tested in full compliance with the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) 0101.03/04 standards. If any SafeGuard ARMOR™ products under warranty are deemed to be defective or faulty then SafeGuard ARMOR™ will replace or repair it free of charge. This is done at our own discretion.

Do not fully immerse the vest in water.
Do not dry in direct sunlight.
Store body armor flat at all times.
Do not put DuPont™ Kevlar® panel inserts through the wash (can be lightly sponged with warm, soapy water if necessary).
Inspect armor for damage or defects prior to every use - NEVER WEAR DAMAGED ARMOR.
Always ensure DuPont™ Kevlar® panels are inserted the correct way (instructions on the panels).



Unknown said...

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mahnoorshaikh said...

Armor levels Wow, cool post. I'd like to write like this too - taking time and real hard work to make a great article... but I put things off too much and never seem to get started. Thanks though.