Review : Infidel Body Armor Plates and Vest



1x1.trans Review :  Infidel Body Armor Plates and VestA couple of months ago the good folks at infidel body armor, contacted me about reviewing one of their products on TheSurvivalistBlog.net , and despite my being upfront and letting them know that with my scheduled (and a number of projects that I want to get done before the heat of summer sets in),  that it might be a few months before, I could find the time to put the plates to the test, and to actually write and publish a review – well they still agreed to send me one free of charge.

The first thing that I look for in a company, is shipping speed and customer service (I hate to wait 4-6 weeks for a product to arrive), and I’m pleased to say that with infidel body armor my “wait” was just over a week and their customer service was fantastic.

The armor system that they sent me featured an Atacs plate carrier made by Condor and two AR 500 steel plates, with each plate measuring approximately 10 x 12 inches and weighing in at approximately seven and a half pounds each with each plate curved to help them “mold” to your body and provide more comfort and protection.

Each AR 500 steel plate came with an “anti-spalling coating” on the outside of the plates – this coating looked like the same stuff that is used in the spray on bed-lining process that you would get for your pick-up truck, but I’m not sure if it’s the same process or not.

I know that some of you are probably, asking, what in the heck is spalling and what does it have to do with this review and infidel body armor. Well spalling as related to armor plates has to do with shrapnel that can (and often does) fly everywhere as a result of these plates being shot – this shrapnel or spalling can cause injury or even death depending on the size of the shrapnel, the speed and where and how it penetrates the body of the person wearing the plates.

The flying shrapnel or spalling that can result from armor plates being struck by bullets can end up striking the person wearing the plates in the throat, under the chin, the arms or any other place that might be in its path and exposed. Never, ever, use any armor plate that does not have the “anti-spalling coating” applied to the outside of the plate.

From my research and tests performed on the plates that infidel body armor sent me, the “anti-spalling coating” works pretty well at preventing shrapnel from exploding all over the place (and into your face, neck and body) when struck by bullets.

To test the effectiveness of the coating at preventing spalling, I first placed the test plate inside of a T-shirt and then placed both inside a cardboard box, so it would be easy to see the effects or lack of spalling if any, after being shot.

To test the bullet stopping effectiveness of the AR 500 plates, I shot them with several different firearms of different calibers and power, including .22 long rifle, 9mm, .223 and .308 and none penetrated the plates, and there was only one incident of spalling and that was with the .22 long rifle that went to the right side and through the cardboard box.

Apparently, the  little .22 long rifle followed the slight curvature of the plate and took the path of least resistance – folks the .22 long rifle is the most unpredictable round available – a round that strikes the shoulder bone of a human could end up in the victim’s neck, or a hit to the collar-bone could go down and into the body or just about any other combination that you can think of.

My main complaint with the AR 500 steel plates are their weight – they are heavy. Wearing this vest is like having two concrete blocks, one in front of your body and one in back, that have been tied around your neck.  This isn’t something you would want to wear all of the time “just in case” a threat pops up, as you’re tending your tomato plants or feeding your chickens – this is a vest that would probably be held in reserve and only worn when you know that an attack is imminent.

Remember no matter the rating or bullet stopping ability of any body armor, vest or plate system, you have to actually be wearing it when you’re shot before it will help to keep you from being penetrated by the bullet, and subsequently being injured or killed.

If it’s too heavy and uncomfortable to wear and as a result is left in the closet and not worn, then you would have been better off to have invested that money in other areas… like training.

Body armor is needed and recommended, but instead of starting out with the AR 500 steel plates like those that come with the infidel body armor, I recommend that you invest in good quality concealable level II body armor. Sure level III-A  offers a little more protection (but not much), but is heavier and bulkier and costs more – and like I mentioned above, any body armor must be worn before it can be effective.

A good company for level II body armor is Bullet Proof Me and they sell to civilians, and even offer police surplus vests at very reasonable prices averaging at around $250 each  for surplus level II body armor… Get concealable body armor first and then if finances allow, invest in some AR 500 steel plates via infidel body armor for when the stuff really hits the fan and you know that the “zombies” are heading your way…

Comments

  1. Buckwheat says:

    I listened to the CEO talk at the Survival Summit and double checked some of the facts and stats he was using. I could not find any problems with his claims. He spoke about the weight of these plates as opposed to ceramics and the cost vs. benefit. After some research and that discussion. I switched from looking at AR500 plates and carrier to an infidel model. It is next on my list.

    Also, a couple of times a year, US Palm level III plates & carrier go on sale at Primary Arms in Houston. They are a great retailer. The plates with the molle only carrier are very concealable and light, but a little smallish. Buy one size up with those plates. That might fit into your strategy above. I have not shot mine up to test it though.

    I think that there are a couple of unarmed people in NV that might have wished they had something to wear.

  2. DB Prepper says:

    Good review, and I completely agree with weight issue. A friend of mine has this vest and inserts and the weight didn’t bother him much because he is 6’4 230ish and an ex-linebacker. But I am 5’10 185 and it was very noticeable on my frame. He even let me fire at the vest (not while he was wearing it of course) on a post with my .40 beretta.

  3. Tom Arnold says:

    These are nice, but does anyone know of a company that can provide products for people that don’t have the “ideal” body type – as in fat? Not costing a fortune helps.

    • U.S Armor
      10715 Bloomfield Ave
      Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
      Phone number (562) 207-4240
      Business website usarmor.com

      They do custom armor and carriers. I’ve purchased from them before. Granted, I went to their business and got measured, but I’m sure they can send you a guide on how to measure yourself. Just remember, the bigger the armor, the more expensive it’s going to be.

      I get nothing from the company, I was just very pleased with their product.

  4. You can purchase a simple, but effective United Shield Spartan 10×13 Level IIIA ballistic panel which can be used with a vest, jacket, backpack, briefcase, or any other type of carrier your mind can conceive. They’re $90.00 at Botach. An outstanding product at a very reasonable price. I recommend them to all my students who are looking for ‘outside the box’ Level IIIA protection.

  5. Cool, thanks for the review.

  6. When you are talking about spalling on hard plated armor, you have to be very careful about how you do your tests. Obviously, you aren’t going to put it on and let people shoot at you. However if you think about the “real world” application of body armor, if you are hit, chances it’s not going to be straight on. It will be at a moving angle. And when I mean moving, I mean the wearer is going to be moving… or at least should be.

    On thing that is easy to do is take an old, out of date soft level II panel, or even a used one and put it over the hard plate, underneath the carrier. Out of date panels or used (read shot and hit) are not safe to wear for protection, but will still have enough fibers intact to “trap” any shrapnel or ricochets off the hard plates.

    Use this information at your own risk. I have tested this myself and it seems to work. Just remember that the speed and inertia of any round is going to do damage to your body underneath so all in all, the best plan is to NOT get shot.

  7. Chuck Findlay says:

    I’m waiting for a Star Trek force field vest that will stop a 105-mm from an Abrams tank at 5-feet. I hear they already have them, but it’s still going to be a while before the power supply is small enough to not need a semi-trailer to haul it around.

  8. The weight “problem” noted by our host is indeed real. It is however common to all plates. If you’re going to wear steel plates it is a necessity that you do your best to gain the physical conditioning of its intended wearers. That would be young fit soldiers. That state passed me by around forty years ago when the best we had was hot sweaty flack jackets (and yes they stankethed).
    Body armor is not for everyone as the down side of weight will kill an old man out of shape just as sure as a bullet to the heart.
    Soft body armor might save your life and be easier on a sixty year old heart but I know several people who have taken hits with it. It hurts and the blunt force is to say the least traumatic.
    My situation leads me to believe that good cover is more appropriate for me. My preps will however include the Infidel Armor for the young tough young men in our group who are more in need of it. I’ve looked at Infidel long and hard and believe them to be highly ethical, provide an excellent state of the art product and competitive in their price. In short they sure seem like the good guys to me.

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