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Thursday, November 3, 2016

armor up? 1 of 2


ARMOR UP?
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note: a good movie unto itself, an added bonus is Enfield Love.  On Netflix, "The Siege Of Jadotville".
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Today’s Question Of The Ages is, “should I even consider wearing body armor”.  I’m going to carefully go over every aspect of that question, use logic and common sense, and then I expect that every one of you will just ignore everything I wrote and do as you please anyway.  Well, that does suck, but it comes as little surprise as I’m sure that is what you normally do.  If the only thing I do is to get one or two of you thinking in another direction, I’ll consider my time far from wasted.  My short answer is No.  Here is a longer version.  Whenever I think of body armor, I envision the crème de le crème of the French aristocracy laying in a layer of mud filled with arrows like pin cushions.  They had so much armor on ( as well as their horses ) that mobility was sacrificed for safety and in the end they just made fabulous targets for the English bowmen.  And yes, I understand that this instance was a bit of a fluke.  The mud was especially bad that day-tactically they shouldn’t have engaged.  You can’t discount armor because in one case it was counter-productive.  I’m only saying that this particular vision is always what answers my query on wearing bullet protection.

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Now, PLEASE keep your Hello Kitty bikini underwear from bunching.  I understand the many and varied nuances of body armor.  In a stationary position in a less than tropical climate they might have some utility for the reserve personnel.  Nobody wants to come home to find their wife looking like pink Swiss cheese if a simple couple hundred dollar investment could have saved her life.  But that is little more than an emotional argument.  Let’s start from the beginning with combat utility then move our way to defending your family members.  First off, this is an Oil Age piece of equipment.  Once abused and used, shot up and soaked with so much sweat it has become useless, the armor probably won’t be replaced.  Kevlar is an industrial material, not a cottage craft one.  You might think this is okay, since the bullets will also pretty much be gone by then, but I have my doubts.  Okay, you say, I just need it to save my life once and then it will be worth any price.  Yeh, about that.  

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There are a lot of things you should be doing to save your life in the near future, but you aren’t, are you?  You still live in the suburbs near millions of people.  You still work at a high stress job despite what it is doing to your health, even though you know money will soon be worthless.  You should be storing a lot more food than you are.  You should be more worried about ammo stocks than buying yet another semi-automatic, but you are using Hillary’s election as an excuse to do that, aren’t you?  In short, not having a bullet resistant vest is really the least of your problems.  You need a lifestyle change, not another Tommy Tactical Tool.  Just like all the other optional tools we talk about here, body armor is just another piece of equipment slowing you down.  You are a French knight stuck in the mud.  A mule with a bulls eye.  Remember, military personnel are merely cannon fodder.  You think they are making armor mandatory to save a troopers life?  No, not a chance.  They are so short on personnel they are trying to wring out some more combat time on the ones they have-the armor keeps you going longer until you finally die another way as you lumber along slowly under too much weight.

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Why are you looking at our military as inspiration?  The same idiots that want to put females in combat?  The same jag-offs that spend a hundred billion on a ship that a three million dollar missile can mess up?  You want to look at the winners, not the losers.  Who won a war against both the Soviet Union and the USA?  Little Afghan dudes.  And they are extreme light infantry.  They don’t ask how many kitchen sinks they should be bringing to a conflict.  They want mobility, not weight.  You can justify any tool as a life saver, yet the Afghans reject them all to stay alive.  Sure, if you think a super studly combat pack of sixty pounds is a good idea, why not add another twenty in armor?  At that point it can’t hurt much, and it can only help since you are already under the hindrance of near zero mobility.  And as far as going with minimal armor to reduce weight, why are you bothering?  Much past a 9mm round they won’t accomplish much except overheat you.

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Armor is a hot SOB.  In Korea in the wintertime, they are pretty helpful for insulation ( not for mobility, of course ).  Every where and every when else, they hurt rather than help.  Armor is good if you are a cop in an air conditioned car or a soldier not moving around too much outside their mechanical transport ( assuming the lack of mobility is manageable ).  In real world conditions, armor just makes you so miserably hot ( the devices sold to cool you down while wearing armor only decrease the temperature increase marginally-better than nothing of course, but it is the difference between dipping your dingus in a pool of molten lava or boiling water ) that you are NOT paying sufficient attention to your surrounding threats.  Just as being overburdened does.  Being tough is one thing, being miserable to the point of distraction because of flawed planning is quite another.  Your men are getting shot at, stop acting like they are pussies because their knees blew out from a hundred pound ruck or they passed out from heat exhaustion. 

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As a survivalist, you have it in your power to prevent poor judgment planning for combat.  No dumbass officer is there passing down holy commands from on high at the Pentagon.  We finish up tomorrow.

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22 comments:

  1. I have a soft vest, but only because an old landlord gave it to me when some crack head dealer left it behind. Couldn't refuse the price heh. Dunno if I'd ever wear it tho. Maybe on watch duty perhaps, when I'm just standing around. Its got pockets for plates but I've yet to bother buying any.
    Figure one o these days, some tactical Tommy will trade me something cool for it.

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    1. Holding for barter is just money in the bank.

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  2. My neighbor has that stuff, kevlar and a plate carrier.
    VERY restrictive, to the point of making the wearer almost useless for combat readiness. I put the plate carrier on one time. Jayziss. I'm talking 1/2" thick stuff. No way are you gonna get anything done like that. I'll even go so far as to say it will make you a liability and you'll take a head shot.

    Lean and mean is what I say. Nothing stops a bullet like a tree or a berm of dirt, just like it always has.

    Armor wearers plan to get shot, non-wearers plan to not get shot. Which will be more productive in attitude?

    If you take a bullet in the chest while wearing kevlar you won't get away uninjured. Have a friend hit you in the chest fairly hard with a 3 lb sledge hammer. If the bullet hits over your heart it may stop the ticker from impact shock. If you get hit anywhere in the kevlar with anything bigger than a .22 it's going to take the wind out of your sail and make you susceptible to a follow up shot.

    Frankly, I'd rather spend my money on ammo and other things that will kill the people trying to kill me.

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    1. Exactly. The attitude goes with the lack of equipment-armor or semi auto. Or, with a lack of money.

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  3. The cartels use them a lot when they are planning a big fight. And Mexico is certainly hot. I take that as a reasonable, positive vote in favor.

    But as day to day gear, I just don't see it.

    I suppose it comes down to what scenario you see yourself in. Most scenarios I see where I would be in some sort of shoot out are so bad that the armor would just mean I'd have a better chance to take a few down with me: rather cold comfort.

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    1. The cartels are looking at a mechanical transport, short term use as they are being offensive and can time the length of wear. Surely the "hot" part is minimized there.

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  4. "There are a lot of things you should be doing to save your life in the near future, but you aren’t, are you?"
    Working on it.

    "You still live in the suburbs near millions of people. "
    Nope, not me, the entire county I live in has less than 5000 people, next nearest counties only have about triple that population, and we are well off most major routes between bigger cities.

    "You still work at a high stress job despite what it is doing to your health, even though you know money will soon be worthless."
    Stress in the head, do enough to stay employed but dont worry about it too much. It's just a job and those will go away for most sooner or later. But do keep the job as long as you can- money might be worthless sooner or later, but for now it is worth something. The lack of exercise as a cubicle drone is a bigger danger - and expensive gym memberships don't seem like a smart option.

    "You should be storing a lot more food than you are."
    True for everyone - Until you have enough for the rest of your life it isn't enough, being only enough for the rest of your life (see how that works- starvation will kill hundreds of millions, and malnutrition millions more).

    "You should be more worried about ammo stocks than buying yet another semi-automatic, but you are using Hillary’s election as an excuse to do that, aren’t you? "
    Nope, you convinced me that magazine fed bolt or lever actions are more reliable for long gun uses for long term survival. And around here sight lines can be long enough an accurate bolt sniper rifle is far more effective than spray and pray. I think .gov is going to go after ammo and magazines first anyways - lack of ammo makes the best BFG a near worthless club.

    "In short, not having a bullet resistant vest is really the least of your problems. You need a lifestyle change, not another Tommy Tactical Tool."
    True but just the beginning. Bullet resistance is easiest gained through immobile defenses like sandbags behind masonry construction, etc. Cheap, easy, nothing to track by the .gov. After you have THAT squared away the occasional mobile defense of a bullet resistant kevlar vest might be worthwhile if you have the cash to spare. Longer term think long heavy leather coats and sporting good type pads and the kevlar riot helmets. I would rather protect my noggin over my torso anyways - behind fortifications you may have to expose your head to see where the bad guys are, a helmet of some sort may be useful here (but hand mirrors are probably better). And when doing scouting and recon fast movement caused accidental injury to your head and feet is more likely to stop your quick egress from a bad situation than any minor wound to the torso (and major wounds are going to be death sentences anyway. Armor should start with good boots, good helmet, good gloves in roughly that order. You can worry about the torso later.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm pretty excited-Elko county is projected to lose 2% population this year. Not enough, or quick enough, but at least it is a start!

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    2. There is an optimized spot in there that includes vests for some missions. Some police vests are upgraded to anti-stab as well as level3a, which might be a worthy item to a warlord.

      Agree with JJ that the best bullet stops are stationary terrain. They weigh nothing in your pack (except maybe your E-tool). If I was wearing armor, it should be well-covered and look like I'm a little fat. After a while, the skinny guy in the armor will not look fat. Sentries need helmets, but that's big-mil. I need a hat.

      pdxr13

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    3. I cover helmets the next installment

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  5. One thing that I've never liked about the modern bullet proof vests, is that they seem to be awfully low cut in the neck region, almost like a V neck shirt, leaving the wearer woefully exposed in this region. It's not much overall I suppose, since under the stress of combat, it's still a small region to concentrate on, but it does expand the area of vulnerability by a few inches. There's probably a reason for this design, but I don't know what it is.

    Other than purposely heading off into a combat encounter (which you should only do in order to retrieve an abducted loved one) avoidance as usual is the common sense thing to do.

    I want to say that The Poor Man's James Bond touched on an econo version of a bullet proof vest using phone books or some such material, but don't quote me on that.

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    1. I'd think the V-neck issue is simple. X amount less fabric equals Y times more profit. Not sure if I told this story before-way back when the airlines were profitable, one of the majors did a study. Two less olives on each salad served on flights equaled extra profit in the MILLIONS per year.

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    2. There are two types of neck designs (I think), V-neck and scoop (like a shallow dish). People who wear one professionally with a uniform shirt choose the V-neck so it's not visible above the second to the top shirt button. The scoop is for those who don't care about that. In any event, if you sit down with the vest on (it'll happen eventually) the vest will push up and start to choke you at the bottom of the neck, hence the cutout. That's assuming you're wearing sturdy clothing with a belt that you could fight in, not so much in loose or athletic clothing. I still recommend http://www.tacvent.com/ Check the videos showing an approximate 50% decrease (maybe more) in blunt force trauma absorbed by the wearer. I wouldn't wear soft armor if I had to walk anywhere, but I sure would in a fixed location. The hard stuff is so heavy and un-ergonomic I'd probably never use that unless I was desperate. It also pushes the butt of your long gun forward, really messing with your length of pull.
      Peace out

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    3. Your answer is closer on the mark, although I LIKE my story better:)

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  6. Projectile terminal ballistics is all about energy transfer. That's the Idea behind expanding projectiles, they crate a larger wound trail and lessen over penetration by dumping a bigger proportion of there energy in the target. Seems to me if your wearing a bullet proof vest and you get shot by a military style rifle firing military style ammo I would imagine the wound created would be greater than if you were not wearing a ballistic vest as the bullet would dump more energy in your body.

    That's another Segway into expanding projectiles verses solid projectiles. Hunting, solid bullets suck, they just don't kill things. Shoot a animal in the chest cavity with something like a 303 ex mill ammo and it will more than likely run off, probably to die later( though I have shot plenty of things that have healed from some really serious bullet wounds). Quality hollow point in the same place and the animal drops on the spot or doesn't go to fare. There is a world of difference between pocking neat little holes through things and blowing out holes the size of a decent orange. I cant see it would be any different with people. Obviously quality expanding ammo or projectiles for reloading cost a lot more ex mil ammo or casting your own lead projectiles, but that cost saving has to be weighed up with being less effective. Just a thought.
    Aussie

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    1. The answer to solid 303 was to make a Dum Dum.

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    2. You can't just saw off the front of a jacketed bullet and expect it to perform. Aerodynamics of a bullet matters when shooting at proper ranges of 300M+.

      A miss doesn't count, except to lose surprise.

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    3. Okay, you have a point. The dum dum was fine for close in or volley fire, not so great for marksmenship.

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  7. Really good points about living in the wrong area that gives you thoughts of needing armor. The urbans are tailor made for those kind of thoughts.

    Wearing armor down here is TOO hot. Couple that with Gulf of Mexico induced humidity - shit, you'd die of dehyration wearing that vest.

    Good feedback all, particularly JJGrey. Thank you.

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    1. We are fish in water when it comes to climate.

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    2. While in Korea, I enjoyed wearing armor over my field jacket, since it stopped the wind pretty well. A pile of clean armor vests also makes a good nap spot above hard-cold concrete. Only in the winter! Armor and MOPP4 in the summer is a killer.

      pdxr13

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    3. And MOPP exercise was only ever in summer. Yes, they did hate you.

      Delete

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