1. What level of protection should I get? Do you need protection from pistol threats or rifle threats? Soft Aramid vests stop pistol and Fragmentation threats, but it takes a rigid Rifle Plate to stop a rifle bullet. For handgun protection it is important to know that Level II-A, Level II and Level III-A all stop the overwhelming majority of PISTOL projectiles you are ever likely to encounter (plus 12 gauge, OO buckshot), and also to know that NO vest is ever 100% ‘bulletproof’ under ALL conceivable circumstances. There is always a tradeoff between more protection and wear-ability or concealability - so the level of protection chosen is a personal choice. Better to get a lower protection level that you will wear consistently, than the highest protection that isn't worn! The best vest for you is the one you are actually wearing when shot!Level II-A generally ~4 mm thickLevel II generally ~5 mm thickLevel III-A generally ~8 - 9 mm thickThe biggest difference between Levels is the amount of blunt trauma impact protection. Ballistic details at Ballistic Protection Levels...Level II-A could be the best choice if thinness, comfort and concealability are the most important factors, e.g., if wearing for long periods, or with a lot of movement. Most folks opt for the extra safety margin of blunt trauma protection with a Level II or Level III-A these days.Level II is often worn by police officers. A great balance between blunt trauma protection, versus cost, and thickness / concealability / comfort. What we recommend most often if concealing under light clothing is a priority...Level III-A is a little thicker, stiffer, heavier and more expensive, but will stop more of the uncommon pistol threats, for example, it is tested for 9mm sub-machine-gun and .44 Magnum. Plus it gives you more blunt trauma impact protection – possibly better to return fire in a gunfight.Stab-Resistant vests are available, but we generally do not recommend the added cost unless there is a significant knife threat. Why? Not that we don't like to sell our more expensive vests – but Stab-Resistance makes the vest a little heavier and thicker and significantly stiffer, and therefore less comfortable and concealable. Secondly a regular ballistic vest does offer some knife protection from slashing attacks. 2. What about protection from RIFLES ?The much higher velocity of rifle rounds requires HARD Body Armor Rifle Plates – Level III or Level IV Ballistic Steel, Ceramic or Polyethylene - usually ~10" by 12" (~25 by 30 cm.) and generally from 4 to 9 lbs (1.8 - 4.1 kg.) per plate to cover the Chest and / or Back (that's 8 to 18 lbs. Front & Back)SOFT Body Armor vests only offer pistol, Fragmentation, and shotgun protection (birdshot and buckshot, but NOT shotgun slugs). Even doubling up TWO Level III-A soft vests would NOT stop a rifle bullet!Rifle Plate information... 3. How COMFORTABLE are vests? Very comfortable - unless it gets hot! You usually don't notice an extra 4 - 5 lbs. of weight all that much, and vests don't restrict freedom of movement very much (if fitted properly), BUT...Heat buildup is always a problem in the summer. No vest on earth can honestly claim to be comfortable when it is hot and / or you are exercising and sweating hard. The thickness of the ballistic panel insulates you, and the waterproofing of the ballistic panel simply prevents effective cooling through the vest.So, in a very hot environment, you might want to leave a gap on the sides for extra ventilation when we size you, and accept only partial side protection.We strongly recommend at least one of our 'Sweat-Wicking Undershirts to keep you drier and cooler. It accomplishes this by wicking sweat away literally 3 times faster than a cotton shirt. When the sweat has been "wicked" to the edge of the vest it can then evaporate. As a last resort, wear your vest on the outside. This makes ventilating under the vest with outside air MUCH easier. You do sacrifice the concealment of the vest, thus letting the bad guys know to aim where you don't have armor coverage - but it's preferable to not wearing a vest at all. Make sure the color of your vest matches the color of your uniform or clothing to help it blend in. 4. How CONCEALABLE are vests? It really depends on your body type, your clothing – and that the vest fits you properly. That's why we take the time to fit you properly, and have a Satisfaction Guarantee.Level II vests are only ~ 0.25" thick (5 to 6mm) so just a shirt can cover it up nicely if the shirt is loose, and not too thin. A thin dress shirt may need a T-shirt over the vest to conceal well. A sweater, or suit-jacket makes it easy.Level III-A vests are 0.33" thick (8 to 9 mm) and are concealable, but tougher to stop them from "printing" under light clothing.Level III-A GoldFlex ProMAX Concealable vests are similar to Level II thickness at 5.5mm. More expensive, but perfect if you want the protection of a Level III-A with the conceal-ability of a Level II Rifle Plates are generally an extra 0.25" to 1.0" thick (6 - 25 mm) and thus require a jacket, sweater, Battle Dress Uniform, etc., etc. to conceal.COLORThe short answer is that the color of a concealable vest usually doesn't matter at all. If your shirt is so thin that the color shows through, then the vest will be printing through the light fabric anyway.If you have open buttons at the collar, you might want a White vest - so if it does peek out, it looks like an undershirt. On the other hand, if you might have to throw a vest on after dark, on top of clothes, then a darker color is preferred. 5. I'm on a budget, what is the least expensive, GOOD protection?Level II-A is adequate (and may be the best choice if concealment, light weight and/or comfort is the first priority over more blunt trauma protection). We usually recommend our Police Surplus in Level II as the best value for those on a budget, ~$200 and up.We also offer our brand-new ProMAX Body Armor... 6. How good is Police Surplus? In ballistic tests used armor tests as good as new according to National Institute of Justice research. Aramid is good for many, many years as the NIJ research, and our tests, show.You will have to replace the elastic in the outershell carrier somewhat sooner, and you might wear out the carrier quicker. 7. Can I TEST SHOOT my vest? Not a good idea as you would weaken your vest so it will not work as well in a real life shooting, and could fail for shots close together. To feel better about your protection, read up on the ballistic testing that is done on vests, see the photos of some of our tests of Police Surplus and then read about some folks who got shot wearing our armor....If you'd like to test-shoot an old vest to see just how good old armor is, one one of our heavily used / beat-up panels is roughly $20, if available. It has always stopped 9mm FMJ, and .357 Magnum JSP for us.NOT SOLD FOR THE PROTECTION OF LIFE OR PROPERTY. 8. Why should I buy from BulletProofME? Glad you asked – we have a whole page to list all the reasons!Briefly, we offer quality protection at a very competitive price – without expensive flash or gimmicks. What sets us even further apart is responsive service. We treat our customers as we would like to be treated.We care that you end up satisfied. We back it all up with our ‘Bulletproof’ GUARANTEE of Satisfaction below... Check out our extremely high customer satisfaction ratings at PublicEye.com... or hear what a few of our customers say... 9. What is your GUARANTEE? Simply put, we want you to be happy. If you are not completely satisfied with your retail purchase we will CHEERFULLY do our best to make you happy.We will exchange to your satisfaction, OR We will send you a 100% refund, less shipping charges. TWO EXCEPTIONS: 1) We reserve the right to charge a restocking fee of 5%, to cover costs, such as credit card fees, when an order is canceled on customer's request. 2) Ceramic Rifle Plates are NOT returnable as they are vulnerable to damage if abused or improperly shipped. We require two things from you:1) contact us by phone or email within 14 days of delivery, to tell us what corrective action is needed, and get a Return Authorization emailed to you with shipping instructions. We need to understand how and why the product didn't work for you, and exactly what corrective action is needed, AND 2) We receive the product back in re-salable condition, within 21 days of delivery (pack rigid items with a LOT of cushioning, and ship INSURED). This Guarantee does NOT apply to discounted quantity orders, or Custom, Special Order, or Made-to-Order items not normally stocked. If this applies to your order we will always let you know BEFORE you approve your order via email. Of course the applicable Manufacturer Warranty still applies. This Guarantee is part of our Legal Terms of Sale. 10. Printed CATALOG? Sorry, we don't publish a printed CATALOG (specifications, products and prices change too quickly). This website is our CATALOG. For information on how to print out our online Catalog on your computer. 11. How do I Order? ORDER 12. Shipping - How fast / How much? FAST! Details here... 13. Is it legal for civilians to buy Body Armor? In general, yes - for law-abiding folks. A felony conviction makes possession of Body Armor illegal under federal law and in many states.We have had civilian clients with many different civilian needs for Body Armor so we understand the need for vests for civilians. Our policy is to only sell to law-abiding adults who have a lawful purpose for Body Armor. (A parent or guardian may buy for a minor with a legitimate need.)Residents of Connecticut are prohibited from buying Body Armor unless the sale is face to face (or unless the buyer is a police officer, Police Department, or military). We can't ship to Connecticut, or even accept credit cards billed there...We cannot ship to residents of Connecticut who are not police or military.Some states are considering new legislation to prohibit or restrict sales of Body Armor to civilians, e.g., New York. If you are in a state that passes such a law, you would be well advised to make your Body Armor purchase now before it becomes much more expensive and inconvenient, if not prohibited altogether. 14. Wholesale orders? Contact us for quantity pricing on 10 or more units of one item. 15. Exports? Shipping Level III and IV RIFLE Plates outside the US requires a U.S. State Department export permit which can take 3 weeks to 2 months. Please plan your lead times for delivery accordingly.Level II-A, Level II and Level III-A Body Armor generally does NOT require a Bureau of Industry & Security export license to most countries.To check on Body Armor regulations in your country, or estimate import duties and taxes into your country, please consult your government. 16. Discounts? We strive to put our best price up-front on the website for small quantities. We do offer 5% to 10% discounts for 10 or more units in one order for many of our products. Call or email for quotes on large quantities. 17. Flying with Armor? At the US Transportation Security Administration, Body Armor is NOT on the list of prohibited items. But they also say: "The prohibited and permitted items list is not intended to be all-inclusive and is updated as necessary. To ensure everyone's security the screener may determine that an item not on this chart is prohibited." So you can carry your armor onto the plane to ensure that you have it when you arrive - but with possible extra questioning from security if the vest is noticed... OR ...do you want to put your armor in your checked luggage, and avoid possible security hassles, but at a higher risk of lost bags, damage or theft in transit, etc., etc. If you want to carry-on we suggest:bring your professional credentials as the TSA is generally not used to seeing travelers with Body Armorget to the screening checkpoint with plenty of time to spare, in case of extra security procedureshave the appropriate materials to pad and protect your Rifle Plates, just in case they request that you check your armor in baggage. 18. How Do I Pack Ceramic Rifle Plates? Outside of bleach, ultraviolet light, and high heat or chemical abuse, it is quite difficult to hurt SOFT Body Armor. On the other hand, Ceramic Rifle Plates, while they are designed to take sharp impacts from the front, are potentially vulnerable to fractures from sharp impacts to the sides or corners.When packing, be careful to: pack in a sturdy containereach plate should be individually bubble wrapped - wrapping inside your vest "burrito style" is also a good idea. all items must be securely cushioned at least 2" from box edges, or 4" from suitcase edges, so if the container takes a nasty hit the plates have some cushioningWhen flying a potential problem is that your careful packaging may be disturbed by an airline or TSA security inspector who opens your suitcase and does not repack it properly. When checking plates on a flight, be sure that your Ceramic Rifle Plates are in a protective container that can be easily accessed to verify the safety of the item for security purposes, and also easily repackaged to prevent damage after repacking. A "FRAGILE" sticker or notation might help too..