Unscientific body armor testing


Very Active Member
Today I decided to shoot at my expired Safariland level IIIA soft body armor and post some interesting pics for my fellow Nevadashooters peeps. This first pic is a hard metal trauma plate that slips into the pocket on the front to give extra protection to the vitals. I shot it with .40 S&W and .45 ACP FMJ and JHP, which were all stopped by the plate, but with about an inch or so of deformation. The two small holes were 5.56mm M193 which went through with no problem.

These next two pics show a soft trauma plate with the entry and exit pics of a round of M193. Once again like a hot knife through butter.

Next pics are the entry and exit of M193 through the front panel. You can hardly make out the entry hole through the velcro but the exit is pretty obvious! Pretty nasty on the exit.

Finally a pic of some .40 S&W and .45 ACP rounds that I dug out of the back panel. The body armor without trauma plates stopped all of the pistol rounds I shot at it. They did penetrate into the layers of material but they did not penetrate all the way through. This vest is 7 years old, been expired non-warrantied for 2 years.


Low Speed High Drag
That’s awesome.

I have a Level II vest and two Paraclete IIIa speed plates on order. Should be another month or so until they arrive.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Very Active Member
How often was the vest worn, and exposed to sweat?
I wore it for a little over two years. I wore the panels in an outer vest carrier over my uniform,so it wasn't exposed to as much sweat as an under the shirt armor would be. When I was working as an armored truck driver I stored my vest in a locker kinda rolled up and standing up to fit inside the locker. IIRC these should be stored flat(didn't know at the time). I also had both the hard and soft trauma plate inserted in the vitals pocket for extra protection. The carrier did have an internal pocket which could fit a hard rifle plate, but those are too expensive on an armed security paycheck. Me and my partner had an understanding-if one of us got jumped outside the truck and took hits from a rifle the one inside the truck should GTFO-our soft armor ain't stopping rifle rounds so there is nothing the guy in the truck can do for the other guy.


Obsessed Member
Forum Supporter
2019 Supporter
Just a question, nothing more, why even have an expiration date then?
Government requires it — like many things it’s when the manufacture stops testing if the vest works. The date isn’t because the vest failed after 5 years, but they didn’t test 6.

SL Dangerous

Zombies aren't real
Forum Supporter
I wore it for a little over two years. I wore the panels in an outer vest carrier over my uniform,so it wasn't exposed to as much sweat as an under the shirt armor would be.
Does sweat degrade Kevlar? I have a level II vest my LEO buddy in CA gave me when he went to a new department that issued him the normal level IIIA vest (he worked for a school PD and had to buy his own armor prior to lateraling to a city PD). The vest itself is crap but the panels look fine with no visible damage, stains, etc. I've never had a need to wear it but, if like most things, expiration dates mean little or nothing I might look for a new vest to put the panels in as a "just in case" thing. If there is any risk at all of it's protection abilities degraded I might as well shoot it up for S & Gs. The NIJ references level III now though I did not see testing results, just standards (it's a PDF under in the Understanding Threat Levels box).



Obsessed Member
Staff member
Founding Member
Interesting seemed to work good at stopping the pistol rounds which its supposed to do. Cool test!