Body Armor for Preppers: Is It Worth the Investment?

When it comes to prepping for disasters and threats, one of the things people often debate is whether or not body armor should be a priority.

body armor on a man

After all, there are many other things that need to be prepared for in order to stay safe besides incoming gunfire.

When you consider the expense and added encumbrance of body armor it is worth asking: Is body armor really worth the investment?

Body armor is a good investment for anybody who lives in an urban environment where threats are more likely, or anywhere gun violence occurs frequently. Body armor is likely not required in high-trust regions or areas where firearms are seldom encountered.

When bullets are incoming, everyone thinks body armor is always worth the investment, but whether it’s worth it to you depends on individual usage circumstances.

In this post, we will discuss the pros and cons of owning body armor and help you decide if it is something you should consider adding to your prepper gear!

The Need for Armor is Situational

The fact is that most people do not require body armor in their daily lives. Yes, you may make an informed and well-founded claim that body armor is required for certain vocations or scenarios.

Body armor is necessary for police, security guards, ATM service employees, armored car drivers, bouncers, and other professions where endemic threats exist due to the nature of the job or profession itself.

Body protection is also a smart inclusion in several inherently non-violent or non-aggressive work environments or vocations, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense to the uninitiated.

For instance, body armor is highly advised for people who work on public or private shooting ranges or for firearms instructors since being around live weapons all the time raises the chances of an accident (read: gunshot wound) proportionally, even though no one is trying to shoot them intentionally.

In the case of a civilian who is simply trying to be prepared, whether it’s for daily dangers or legitimate SHTF events like society’s collapse or a region wide breakdown in law and order, it’s a more difficult issue.

If you know people are going to shoot at you, or there’s a decent chance that you’ll get shot at, body armor will be appreciated no matter what you do to pay the bills.

The Answer Is More Complicated Now | Safe Life Defense Ballistic Vest Review

Body Armor Makes More Sense in Certain Circumstances

There is no flowchart that can tell you when body armor should be worn and when it should not. I’d love to have it myself, and share it with you, but as usual things are just not that simple.

The use of body armor and “best practices” relating to it are quite nuanced. Some individuals wear body armor almost constantly if they have any doubts about living in a high-risk environment.

Others only wear it in the same environment when they are certain an attack is imminent.

In a nutshell, the only environment I believe body armor is absolutely required in is a dense urban area where the danger of gunfire is likely to be continuous and could potentially come from any direction.

In built-up areas, combat is hazardous in ways that go beyond what lay people can comprehend. There are lots of hiding places available to stop bullets, but there are also many lines of fire to navigate around them.

Given that you’ll be operating and surviving alone or as part of a small group, body armor is an inexpensive life insurance policy.

Body armor, on the other hand, is a poor choice in many situations. In environments like forests, jungles, swamps and mountains body armor makes less sense compared to urban and suburban zones.

Armor is always heavy and will make you extra sweaty, further burdening you and sapping your stamina even faster than usual.

It will further burden you when you’re already loaded heavy with other gear, provisions, and ammunition.

Body Armor Basics / Recommendations

Body Armor Must Be Carefully Chosen for Specific Threats

A final point that is often overlooked by those who are unfamiliar with ballistic protection is the fact that body armor isn’t produced equally, and it must be tailored to the danger you’re facing.

The rating and type of body armor will have a major influence on how it can be worn and in what situations.

For example, light, thin protective vests may be easily worn and hidden beneath normal attire is frequently only capable of stopping relatively sedate handgun projectiles like .22LR, .25ACP, .32ACP, .380ACP, 9mm, and .38 Spl.

Such a vest will not stop high velocity projectiles or magnums, and will be completely ineffective versus buckshot, shotgun slugs and rifle fire.

By contrast, ceramic or steel hard armor plates can effectively block high-velocity rifle fire and beefy projectiles like shotgun slugs or large shot, perhaps even multiple shots’ worth.

But, owing to their weight and bulk they require a heavy-duty carrier that will make it difficult to conceal except perhaps under the largest outer garments, if you can conceal them at all.

If your goals dictate that you must remain low profile or “gray man”, your protection is unlikely to provide much defense against stronger or larger categories of small arms.

Plate Carrier Considerations for Civilians | Gear Reviews with Mike Glover

Your Objectives Should Inform Your Purchasing Decision

In the end, it is up to you and your specific objectives to decide whether or not body armor should be a part of your prepper gear.

As I’ve stated before, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. You must carefully assess the risks that are particular to your environment and tailor your protection to fit those threats.

Do not forget, however, that body armor is just one layer of protection and you must have a comprehensive plan that also includes training, situational awareness, and evasion techniques.

Body armor will do you little good if you’re caught out in the open with no place to hide.

So, Is body armor worth the investment for preppers? When considering all of the preparation one must make to be ready for various threats and disasters, is body armor something that should be prioritized or not?

In a nutshell, the only environment I believe body armor is absolutely required in is a dense urban area where the danger of gunfire is likely to be continuous and could potentially come from any direction.

Body armor makes less sense in other environments, but it is always better to have and not need than to need and not have.

In the end, it is up to you and your specific objectives to decide whether or not body armor should be a part of your prepper gear. As I’ve stated before, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

You must carefully assess the risks that are particular to your environment and tailor your protection to fit those threats.

Is body armor worth the investment for preppers? When considering all of the preparation one must make to be ready for various threats and disasters, is body armor something that should be prioritized or not?

Is it Worth It? Maybe…

The bottom line is that body armor has its place in prepping, but it’s important to understand when and where it makes the most sense to wear it.

If you’re looking for a general rule of thumb, think about how likely it is that you’ll be shot at and what kind of projectiles you might be facing.

The issue of body armor is a lot more complex than it appears. There is no definitive correct response to the question: It’s always better to have it when you’re under fire, but obtaining the benefit comes at a significant financial and encumbrance cost.

2 thoughts on “Body Armor for Preppers: Is It Worth the Investment?”

  1. I’ve thought more than once about getting some or a set of body armor but have held off because of the weight of the plates. but recently ran across a little blup about a new type of body armor, instead of metal plates, it is a type of white plastic. the little I’ve read about it, it almost reminds me of white cutting board plastic ( that is or was pretty tough stuff, or at least the kind we used in the packing plant ). Haven’t seen anything more about this kind of ” plastic / polymer used for body armor. Just a thought

    Reply
  2. I jumped in feet first. After careful consideration, I was at a gun show and ran into a vendor out of Arizona. Yes, the plates are a little heavy. I’ll just have to amp up my cardio. Great article!!

    Reply

Leave a Reply to WhereEaglesDare Cancel reply