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A Closer Look at Body Armor Lead Times

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At 221B Tactical and Spartan Armor Systems we pride ourselves on keeping lower lead times than our competitors. However, when you're living in an Amazon Prime world, it can seem a little surprising that lead times for body armor can be weeks or even months. So why does it take so long to ship some body armor products? There are many factors, but it mostly boils down to current demand and the production process. When we calculate our body armor lead times, we also have to factor average fulfillment timeframes across a large number of products. More often than not, we beat our lead time projections and customers receive their products faster than expected. With all the recent events happening across the country, body armor lead times have been pushed significantly higher than normal. Let’s take a closer look at these factors so you can get a better idea of when to expect your order.

Demand for Body Armor

When it comes to lead times, demand for body armor is the most crucial variable. Most people don’t think about buying body armor until there is a major event in the news such as riots, mass shootings or some other form of tragedy. Like clockwork, body armor sales spike every time an “event” takes place. It’s a very similar story akin to gun sales and ammunition sales (or lack of ammo as we’ve seen in 2020). If you place an order for body armor after a major event takes place, inevitably you are going to see a longer lead time. While we saw a record year of sales in 2019, that record has been utterly obliterated by the events of 2020. If you have placed an order or you are looking to place an order for body armor, please know that we work hard to push orders out as fast as possible and we will get you taken care of!

Body Armor Production Process

It’s important to understand why body armor lead times even exist. In order to keep costs down, most body armor manufacturers do not keep a large surplus of body armor plates. This allows body armor to be sold at a more affordable price. A similar consideration is body armor shelf life. In the case of ceramic body armor, the shelf life is only 5 years. This means that fresh ceramic body armor plates have to be made available so that customers are receiving a product with as much life remaining as possible. Conversely, steel core body armor has a shelf life of 20+ years. The difference here is that steel core body armor is typically in higher demand due to its lower cost, longer shelf life and a greater ability to withstand multiple shots. When it comes to production, steel core body armor may seem like a simple product. However, there are actually a large number of steps that we go through to ensure that the ballistic integrity of our steel body armor plates stays intact for many years to come. At Spartan Armor Systems we do not cut corners or compromise on quality. When you buy body armor from Spartan Armor Systems, you can rest assured that each armor plate is of the highest quality. Some body armor products naturally have fewer production steps than others which results in a lower lead time. If you’re looking for body armor and tactical gear products with low lead times, check out this recent article.

Body Armor Lead Time Calculation

Our lead time is an average of the number of days between an order being placed and an order being shipped. We also factor for current material supply and known factors that will effect demand levels. As you can imagine, those “known factors” can be very unpredictable as tragic news headlines are rarely predictable. Some products ship faster than others. For example, if you were to order a plate carrier by itself without body armor, there’s a good chance that you’d have it in half of the stated lead time. In this scenario, there’s no production process as we typically have plate carriers on the shelf ready to go. However, if your order includes body armor plates that need to be manufactured, then you should expect to receive your order around the stated lead time. Recently we have made major changes to our production process and our lead times have been steadily dropping despite an ever-growing number of orders flowing in. Based on these process changes, we expect our lead times to continue dropping despite the impending turmoil of election season and the holidays.

We understand that no one enjoys waiting for an order to be shipped, especially when it’s for a product that could potentially save your life. We’re working hard every day to increase production outputs so that our customers receive their body armor in as little time as possible. Do you have questions about our body armor or tactical gear? We’re always happy to answer your questions and help you choose the safety gear that’s right for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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