How Much Does A Bulletproof Vest Cost?
One of the questions I get asked the most while with friends and family is "How much does a bulletproof vest cost?" However, before I answer this question, I like to respectfully correct them on the language they are using.
NOTE: Links to all gear mentioned in this article can be found by scrolling to the bottom.
There is no "bulletproof" vest...at least that I know of. There are "bullet resistant" vests though. Big difference. Let me explain.
Bulletproof suggests that a bullet can never pass through the vest; completely impenetrable. Just like something that claims to be waterproof. When you say something is "waterproof" you are attesting that water will NEVER get inside.
The reality is, no vest manufacturer can ever truly claim that their product is 100% bulletproof. Eventually, with enough rounds, material will break down and a bullet can very well pass through.
So when shopping for a ballistic vest, know that you're truly looking at a bullet "resistant" vest. A product that will provide you with a certain degree of protection against certain caliber bullets up to a certain point.
Now that we have that cleared up, let's talk about how much one of these vests might cost you...
When it comes to body armor, you're really looking at two (2) options; soft body armor and hard body armor. Soft body armor is rated to stop bullets shot out of a handgun while hard body armor is rated to stop bullet shot out of a handgun and a rifle. That's a very elementary breakdown but I want to keep it super simple as many people reading this may have no clue about ballistics and body amor. If you're not one of those people, don't be offended. Just trying to keep things basic for those who are new to body armor and clueless about all this stuff.
Soft body armor, for the most part, costs less than hard body armor. Soft armor is typically available in full vests or stand alone panels. NOTE: Soft body armor in the stand alone state are referred to as panels while hard body armor is referred to as plates.
There are two (2) types of soft body armor vests; concealable and external. As you might have guessed, concealable soft body armor vests are meant to be worn beneath clothing while external vests are designed to be worn over your clothing.
Generally speaking, you'll pay a slight premium for external soft body armor vests simply because the vest carrier holding the soft armor will have more features (i.e. pockets, velcro, Molle).
How Much Does A Soft Body Armor Vest Cost?
Internal (concealed) - Expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $400
External (overt) - Expect to pay anywhere from $400-$600
NOTE: Internal concealable vests can be worn over your clothing. So if you don't need al the velcro and molle, just for the internal vest carrier and body armor. You'll surely save a few buck.
Hard body armor plates are typically housed/held in what's called a plate carrier. A plate carrier is simply a vest designed to hold hard body armor plates in the front and back.
When shopping for hard body armor plates, know that you will also have to purchase a plate carrier to hold these plates against your body. Many websites offer this all in one convenient package. However some websites just sell the hard armor plates. In that case, you'll have to shop elsewhere for the plate carrier itself. Just be sure that the plate carrier you purchase can accommodate the size plates you purchased. Not all plate carriers fit all size plates.
When it comes to hard armor plates, you'll have two options: steel plates and composite plates. Composite plates are often referred to as ceramic plates. (I have a separate blog and video that explains the differences between these plates)
Steel plates typically cost less than composite plates. There are pros and cons to both plates. I explain all of it in my other blog and video about body armor. So for now, I'm just gonna give you the pricing.
How Much Do Steel Body Armor Plates Cost?
Steel body armor plates typically cost anywhere from $100-$200 per plate
How Much Do Composite Body Armor Plates Cost?
Composite body armor plates typically cost anywhere from $200-$400 per plate
How Much Does A Plate Carrier Cost?
Plate carriers range in price from $100-$300. Comfort is key. So when shopping for plate carriers, spending a few extra bucks may pay off big time in the end. If you're in a situation that requires you to put on a plate carrier with body armor plates, things are probably going south. And that is not the time to be thinking about how uncomfortable your plate carrier is. Just a tip.
For those of you who asked for links to some of this stuff after my last blog on body armor and plate carriers, here you go.
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