Why have body armor? That’s the question many people ask and my response to that is this: why NOT have body armor and as a matter of fact why NOT have body armor for every member of the family that is capable of wearing a vest? To be sure there are other preps which take priority over body armor but if one is able to outfit the family I certainly suggest going that route. After all the same rationale which has us stockpiling ammunition, guns, chest rigs full of magazines, sandbags, and night vision most definitely applies to the need for body armor. From actual SHTF, working in high threat areas, to armed felons who are being pursued by law enforcement in our neighborhood body armor certainly has its place on the prep list of “must have” items.
Keeping the above info in mind and noting the fact that I did not have a vest for my daughter I recently reached out to BulletSafe.com, an American manufacturer of body armor based out of Michigan which, according to their website offers a great bullet proof vest at an unbelievable price. I explained to Tom (CEO) that I needed a small lightweight vest for my daughter and that I would provide a review of said vest for the benefit of all of my readers. After all there has to be hundreds of reviews out there for plate carriers and concealable vests from guys like me, but not so many from a teenage girl who probably weighs 105 lbs soaking wet. Think about the difference in mindset from someone who considers a vest utilitarian and will wear it without question versus someone who might complain about a vest messing up her clothes or causing discomfort in the shoulders or back. Tom was on board with the concept and a size small vest arrived to my PO Box a few weeks later. Apparently they are selling these things faster than they can make them so that explained why I had to wait (which wasn’t a big deal).
Before I get to the initial impressions of the vest let’s take a look at what BulletSafe has to state about their product.
BulletSafe Bulletproof Vests – If you are looking for a great bulletproof vest and you want to keep your hard-earned money, we have your vest right here. It’s a great bulletproof vest, with Level IIIA protection to stop almost all handgun rounds, plus plate pockets for upgrades, easy sizing, and high-quality materials. Finally, the price is astounding, just $299. Bulletsafe vests are affordable to more people than ever before. How do we do it? Simple, first we decided that we wanted to offer the best bulletproof vest for the price, anywhere. Then we designed the vest. We didn’t need to sacrifice protection or quality, we just had to limit the option available. We don’t custom-fit our vest, we don’t offer it in any color other than black, and we don’t take special requests. We do offer five different sizes that will virtual almost everyone and we sell our bulletproof vest for only $299.
I personally own a few other brands of concealable vests and have worked with even more brands in my career. I have to state with all of that experience I was very impressed when going over the BulletSafe vest for the first time. Quality material and stitching were very prevalent, rugged and compact design but with comfort in mind. I liked how large the hook and loop adjustment panels were on the sides and shoulder area and the pockets for the addition of plates did not appear to be an afterthought. Details matter to me so the nice BulletSafe embroidered logo and even the dogtag just oozed craftsmanship and quality.
Right off the bat I wanted to lay out the BulletSafe vest next to a competitor’s vest just to get a snap shot side by side. You have to take into consideration that the BulletSafe vest is a small and the other is a large, but you can see the differences in each for yourself.
Let’s face it, my daughter isn’t going to be wearing this vest to the mall concealed under her clothes, nor will she be working an armed security detail and need discreet protection under a suit. That said the vest design does lend itself to conceal-ability if you do not utilize the front and rear pockets for ballistic plates, sandwiches or datrex meal bars. Here is what I do like about the overall design besides the recognizable quality of the material. The vest is easily adjustable, both my wife and daughter can wear it with few changes to the hook and loop panels. The small vest only weighs 5.5 lbs and isn’t super bulky when worn over clothing. It allows for freedom of movement in both arms while still having large enough shoulder straps to help manage and distribute the overall weight.
You can see from the side picture just how slight the vest is, remember that this is on a girl who is just over 5′ tall and might tip the scales at 105 lbs.
I suppose comfort is relative here in that if my daughter ever had to wear this vest in a “real world” situation I’m sure the extra 5 lbs of weight would be a reasonable sacrifice considering she would have 390 square inches of total protection capable of stopping .44 magnum handgun rounds. Of course that is dad’s thought process so I needed to get her impressions since the vest would be on her body and not mine. She actually didn’t have anything negative to say about the vest while worn and was surprised at how light it actually was. She did mention that while it didn’t restrict her movement if it were hot outside only wearing the vest over a short sleeve t shirt might be a bit uncomfortable (chafing), but that is simply because she is so small. So I’m happy to report overall no comfort issues whatsoever with the vest.
When compared against other brands out there the BulletSafe price point ($299) is very reasonable. Other vests go for $500 and up and don’t have the capability for insertion of ballistic plates. This is one of the areas where the vest simply cannot be beat in that you could potentially get two vests for the price of 1 competitor vest.
Additional Items / Features
One of the things which I picked up on was the interior label of the vest. Two things stuck me as positive. First was the manufacture date on the vest and the fact that it was stamped as inspected and approved by their team. I know this doesn’t seem like much but who knows if the vest was sitting on shelf for 15 years as surplus and then sold off by a company who got a shipment in bulk? The QA stamp is also gives it the personal touch which I tend to gravitate toward, I appreciate the attention to detail.
As far as features go I’ve also been mentioning the fact that this vest has external pockets for ballistic plates. The good news is that if you do not already have plates Bulletsafe manufactures their own plates specifically made for their vests. Each plate has a price of $169 and when used in conjunction with the vest give the user level IV protection capable of stopping non-armor piercing 7.62x51mm rounds.
The Bottom Line
The BulletSafe vest is very impressive and offers quality construction coupled with real world protection at a great price point of $299. If you go over to the BulletSafe website and read the credentials of those involved with the design and manufacture of the vest you’ll be even more inclined to support their effort. Tom was a military test engineer and wears his own product while volunteering in the streets of Detroit (aka the wild west). Of course there are also videos where they test the vests, something we all typically like to see. Here’s the deal: If you have it in the budget I suggest going the BulletSafe route for yourself and for your family. I recognize that there are competitors out there (a few of which I own and have been satisfied with) which offer vests which are capable of stopping the same rounds as the BulletSafe, but I’m not sure if they can match the price point, features and overall package that BulletSafe offers.