While on the search for reliable and affordable personal safety and body armor products, Less Lethal Alternatives came across a company called Kurotadori. Kurotadori specializes in a wide range of body armors which are all custom made for the individual purchaser. The Operator Molle Vest is one of these products, made with 600 Denier Nylon rip stop carrier and Teijin Twaron ballistics. While the Operator Molle Vest looks like a tactical plate carrier it is actually a level IIIA soft body armor capable of stopping anything from a .22 caliber round to a 44 magnum. The vest offers front, rear, and side protection of vital organs. The Operator Molle Vest also has front and rear pockets for adding AR500 plates for extra protection against rifle rounds. The front and rear pockets have a Velcro strip for adding agency/company patches. The entire vest is setup with molle configuration and allows the wearer to add body cams, flashlights, and other duty gear to the front, rear, and sides. The exterior is capable of being cleaned and the vest’s size is customizable to the wearer. Unlike most body armors the Operator Molle Vest is slipped overhead once the sides have been adjusted to the wearer’s body type. There is an emergency drag handle at the top rear of the vest which can be used to drag an injured individual out of harms way, but this feature also aids in taking off the body armor. The shoulder area is equipped with a Velcro section as well as straps to adjust the fit for the wearer. This great piece of duty gear is available from Kurotadori for $300.00. Every purchase of $250.00 also comes with a Kurotadori cleaning kit and carrying bag.
Recently Less Lethal Alternatives came across Skarr Armor a company that is certified by the National Institute of Justice as a reliable armor manufacturer. The company specializes in high-quality ballistic vests, plates, and helmets. One of their products is the SKVC-01BK vest, this vest is ideal for exterior or concealed wear and complies with NIJ IIIA, latest 0101.06 standards. These armor standards mean that the vest protects against: all 22, 25, 32acp, 38 special, 380 acp, 9mm, 40, 45, 357sig, 357mag, 10, 44 special, 44 mag. The Skarr Armor 3rd Gen. Kevlar ballistic panel measure only 3/8″ thick per panel that are double heat-sealed waterproof panel case. The dual layer polycarbonate trauma plates provide absorption of impact force. This vest covers the front, back, and sides (waist specific) of the wearer. The Skarr Armor cross joint waistband design offers both easy access & durability, the elastic shoulder strap for better reach and fit. The removable carrier cover for easy cleaning and the vest has additional hidden chest pockets for rifle plates. Sizing for this product can be found below:
XS – 30″ to 33″
S – 34″ to 36″
L – 39″ to 43″
XL – 44″ to 47″
XXL – 48″ to 51″
XXXL – 52″ to 55″
[Measure at belly button]
As Less Lethal Alternatives on occasion posts articles on body armor we figured that it may be helpful to know how to measure for proper fit of your body armor. The video below illustrates the proper way to measure yourself for the best fit of your bullet resistant vest.
From Gilliam Technical Services (GTS) a Virginia based company comes a neat product which provides protection from both edged weapons as well as gunfire. This is the GTS bullet proof and stab resistant shirt which is rated as a NIJ IIIA 3A meaning that it can stop most rounds between a 9mm FMJ up to a .44 Magnum JSP. While this product is relatively light and concealable under regular clothes, it only provides front and rear protection to the wearer. The ballistic material is DuPont® Kevlar® fabric and the stab protection is (KR/SP Level 1) is UHMWPE. The added stab resistance adds approximately 30% more weight to the body armor. The product comes with a five year defect warranty. Other info from vendor’s website;
” It is imperative that the soft panels be properly installed before wearing. In most cases, the vests are shipped with the panels already installed. Please check for proper installation. Make sure that the ballistic panels in your vest are installed with the “wear face” toward the body and/or “strike face” away from the body and in the direction of the threat.
When wearing: Adjust your product so that it is centered over vital areas and side overlap protection is utilized (if applicable). Remember that wearing the carrier without any ballistic panels being properly inserted provides NO ballistic protection.”
The Armor T-Shirt is a product by Miguel Caballero developed with the highest quality materials capable of carrying ballistic panels with medium flexibility and discretion, perfect to wear under garments in any daily activity. This inner shirt is certificated by the most demanding norm NIJ 0101.06 (National Institute of Justice of the United States) . It features an ergonomic design, antibacterial, deodorants and thermoregulation materials. Each T-shirt comes with a user manual that provides care instructions and warranty specifications.
Lining warranty: 1 year
Ballistic Panels warranty: 5 years
Sizes come in: M, L, XL , XXL
For additional info please view criteria from NIJ on ballistics armor testing:
NIJ BODY ARMOR CLASSIFICATION Personal body armor covered by this standard is classified into five types (IIA, II, IIIA, III, IV) by level of ballistic performance. In addition, a special test class is defined to allow armor to be validated against threats that may not be covered by the five standard classes. The classification of an armor panel that provides two or more levels of NIJ ballistic protection at different locations on the ballistic panel shall be that of the minimum ballistic protection provided at any location on the panel.
Type IIA (9 mm; .40 S&W) Type IIA armor that is new and unworn shall be tested with 9 mm Full Metal Jacketed Round Nose (FMJ RN) bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 373 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1225 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .40 S&W Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) bullets with a specified mass of 11.7 g (180 gr) and a velocity of 352 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1155 ft/s ± 30 ft/s). Type IIA armor that has been conditioned shall be tested with 9 mm FMJ RN bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 355 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1165 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .40 S&W FMJ bullets with a specified mass of 11.7 g (180 gr) and a velocity of 325 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1065 ft/s ± 30 ft/s). 2.2 Type II (9 mm; .357 Magnum) Type II armor that is new and unworn shall be tested with 9 mm FMJ RN bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 398 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1305 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .357 Magnum Jacketed Soft Point (JSP) bullets with a specified mass of 10.2 g (158 gr) and a velocity of 436 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1430 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Type II armor that has been conditioned shall be tested with 9 mm FMJ RN bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 379 m/s ±9.1 m/s (1245 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .357 Magnum JSP bullets with a specified mass of 10.2 g (158 gr) and a velocity of 408 m/s ±9.1 m/s (1340 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Type IIIA (.357 SIG; .44 Magnum) Type IIIA armor that is new and unworn shall be tested with .357 SIG FMJ Flat Nose (FN) bullets with a specified mass of 8.1 g (125 gr) and a velocity of 448 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1470 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .44 Magnum Semi Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP) bullets with a specified mass of 15.6 g (240 gr) and a velocity of 436 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1430 ft/s ± 30 ft/s). Type IIIA armor that has been conditioned shall be tested with .357 SIG FMJ FN bullets with a specified mass of 8.1 g (125 gr) and a velocity of 430 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1410 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .44 Magnum SJHP bullets with a specified mass of 15.6 g (240 gr) and a velocity of 408 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1340 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Our next entry into the body armor category comes to us by way of American Blast Systems; a company with thirty-five years of experience in composite, ceramics, and metals for ballistic personnel protection. Amongst the many things American Blast Systems produces is NIJ Level IIIA bulletproof vests capable of stopping 9mm up to a .44 magnum slug. The vest-carrier provides pouches for trauma plates which can accommodate 6×8 trauma pad, 7×9 plate, 8×10 plate and/or a 10×12 plate(depending on the size of the carrier). The back pockets are capable of holding an 8×10 plate and/or a 10×12 plate (depending on the size of the carrier). The body armor also features removable, radial shoulder pads that are constructed of 500 Denier Cordura® and foam to decrease tension on the shoulders and neck. The vest utilizes a full set of MOLLE ( Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) on the front and back with a drag handle for tactical applications. This is useful incase someone equipped with this vest receives an injury which impairs their ability to walk, the drag handles allow a team member or friend to pull the injured person to safety. This body armor carrier is available for civilian purchase through online retailers such as Amazon, armor plates sold separately.
From Guard Dog Security Products an up and coming leader with twenty years of experience in developing security and safety products for everyday use comes a unique concept in personal protection and body armor that literally has your back. The Guard Dog ProShield is a NIJ level IIIA bulletproof backpack that will give you and your vital organs protection ranging from 9mm to .45 cal pistol rounds. This product only weighs a few ounces more than a regular backpack and looks just like a standard back pack. The Guard Dog ProShield is backed with the same lifetime warranty that all Guard Dog Security products come with. No matter if you are a high school student, college student, or battlefield journalist you can feel better knowing that the Guard Dog ProShield bulletproof backpack will keep your rear covered. This product comes in black and pink.