Armour musings

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Dammit. Lost one of my gloves today. The irony is that this glove was not one of the 40 or so pairs of surplus wool gloves I picked up last year, but rather one half of a unique set. I can console myself, I guess, by knowing I’ve got several dozen pairs of other gloves but still…annoying. Nice to not be too inconvenienced by it though. Swore at myself for being careless, and then pulled a pair outta storage.

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I get so wrapped up, from time to time, in the guns-n-mags aspect of proposed legislation that I sometimes overlook some of the ancillary stuff. There was a link on Drudge to an article about a fella who, apparently, shot up a home, set it ablaze, and then offed himself. When he was found, it was noted, and played up a bit, that he was wearing body armour.

From time to time, legislation is proposed (or passed) to limit the availability of body armour to ‘civilians’. (Quick semantic argument: cops are civilians, too.) In some localities, these types of rules are already in place. Most folks would say if you arent a cop or security guard, why would you need body armour? Isn’t that just a wee bit over-the-top?

Some folks in ‘high risk’ businesses wear body armour. I know there are jewelry shops and diamond vendors in NYC who wear the stuff. There’s probably more than one pharmacist somewhere who wears it under their smock. And there are probably plenty more industries and businesses, some in ‘high crime’ areas, that have folks wearing it.

I’ve had several sets of body armour over the years. I could probably count the times I’ve worn it on one hand. Almost always those times were at the range when teaching newbies to shoot. I think the only time I ever actually wore it ‘for reals’ was one time when I was accompanying someone on a ‘large(!!) amount of cash’ transaction. (Also the only time I ever carried two pistols. I figured if I needed the armour I’d need the guns, and vice versa.)

Given that very, very low usage rate, is there a place for body armour in preparing for the uncertain future? Arguable, I think. Certainly I’d rather have it and not need it blah, blah…. But on the other hand, it’s fairly expensive for something that you’ll probably never use and those resources can be best used elsewhere. It’s a choice between dumping several hudrred dollars on something you may never use versus dumping it on something you may be more likely to use (like food.)

I suppose the degree of practicality depends on the particular flavor of apocalypse that you see coming. If youre convinced that the end of the world looks a lot like ‘The Stand’ you probably don’t have as urgent a need as if the end of the world looked like ‘Jericho’. While pretty much every permutation of the apocalypse will have gunfire in it’s soundtrack at some point, you never know if it’ll be the refrain or just a few opening notes. Take the LA Riots for example:

Korean store employees/owners ca. 1992. +20 for friend-or-foe identifying headbands, -100 for ballistic resistance.

No one really planned on an impromptu re-enactment of Rio Bravo that day, and I’m sure that a nice set of plates in a good carrier would have been quite welcome. (Although there are pictures from the riots that do show some merchants wearing body armour.) The point being that although this was hardly an end-of-the-world event it was certainly an event that would have called for some serious ballistic protection.

As the economy declines, people start queuing up for food, and robberies become more common it would be nice to have some concealable body armour to wear on those trips to the barely-stocked supermarket or no-more-than-three-people-in-the-store-at-once convenience stores. When the gloves come off and it’s Katrina-ville where subtlety is uncalled for, then it’s time for the less discrete armour systems.

Personally, I doubt there’s much in my future that requires a high level of personal ballistic resistance. My goal in life is to leave ugly armed encounters to others and keep openings in my body limited to the ones I came with from the factory. But, you never know what’s gonna happen. So….there’s armour in storage.

My point, though, is that eventually this is another product that is going to get nudged out of the ‘readily available’ market and tucked away into the ‘Mil/LE only’ market. If not by legislative shenanigans then by economic ones as the manufacturers and distributors are ‘encouraged’ to restrict the availability to ‘legitimate end users’.

If you don’t think youre going to need either concealable armour or plates in a carrier then don’t worry about it. But if you think it’s something youre going to want down the line, you may want to consider acquiring some before it stops being overlooked by the ‘ban it for the children’ crowd.

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