I spoke to a local officer the other day in our Mesa store. He was looking for a way to up-armor from his basic concealable vest when he realized his soft armor armor wasn't enough after reporting to an active shooter call with no rifle plates.
Fortunately, there was no active shooter. But it was a sobering wake-up call to the very real threats officers face today.
I believe this video is shown to almost every recruit in the country at this point.
It's a dramatic illustration of the constant threat of armed noncompliance. And while 99% of traffic stops don't end this way, it's always a possibility.
So what can you do to ensure safety and survival in the face of this kind of danger? There certainly is no way to prevent this from happening in the first place, but you can take steps to mitigate your risk.
We can't provide you additional training, an armored vehicle, or the ability to predict the future. What we can offer you is the ability to up-armor your person.
Most modern concealable ballistic vests come with a front pocket built to handle 5"X8" or 7"X9" special threat plates of different varieties. Here, a level IV-rated 7"X9" concealable rifle plate is worn under a Class B shirt placed inside the special threat plate pocket on the wearer's concealable vest.
Most departments don't allow patrol officers to wear tactical plate carriers as part of their normal C/D uniform of the day. And for many, wearing 10"X12" or 11"X14" level IV plates would be ridiculous anyway. The size and added weight would wreck your cardio-muscular stamina and agility.
Some people choose to have a plate rack in their vehicle in the trunk or the front seat. This can be a great alternative if you're responding to a call and have time to don it. But what if the shooting begins before you have time to exit your vehicle, get to the rear, open the trunk, take out your vest, put it on, secure it, and return fire?
The answer is up-armoring. What do we mean by that?
It's like swapping out the soft trauma pack that came with your vest for a hard plate that stops 5.56 and 7.62 API rounds. And yes, it is possible to conceal it.
Thanks to advanced armor technology from companies like Survival Armor, Armor Express, Point Blank, and Safariland, rifle protection has been scaled down to provide a practical application for routine patrol and plainclothes use of rifle armor. And, it won't get in your way or weigh you down.
The best part is, you're still in uniform policy while wearing Class A, B, and C uniforms with concealed armor and a special threat rifle plate.
So what would hold you back from up-armoring?
Isn't it bulky?
No. The Armor Express H-Shock level IV rifle special threat plate is 0.6" thin. You can wear it under a shirt.
I've worn rifle plates before, and I know they're heavy.
You haven't worn these. Whether you go level III or IV, the average weight at 7"X9" is about 2.2 pounds. It's much lighter than you expect when your frame of reference is 6-12 pound full-size ceramic plates in a 2 or 4 plate set.
It must be expensive.
It's not. While your SWAT team is wearing ultra lightweight full-size III++ plates that cost $700-$1000 each, You can up-armor your patrol vest for only $199.99. (Use code UPARMOR at checkout for $10 off the Armor Express H-Shock 5X8 or 7X9 plate.)
Looking for something else? There's a lot of soft armor, plates, and carrier options we don't list on our website. Let us know what you need.
Skaggs Public Safety Uniforms
2602 W Baseline Rd. #12
Mesa, AZ 85202