Specifics About Body Armor

If I am wearing armor, can I still be killed by a bullet?

Sadly, the answer is yes. Within the industry body armor is more commonly referred to as a ballistic resistant vest, because unfortunately nothing is 100% bulletproof. That being said, if your armor is equal to the task of the threat you are dealing with you should survive, provided the round strikes the protected area of the vest.

As mentioned elsewhere, different levels of armor are rated for different threats. Wear armor appropriate to the situation you are going into. If you expect to deal with rifle threats, you should be donning rifle plates. If you are going to a pistol-only shooting range and are only concerned with poor range practices and ricochets, a concealable vest should be fine.

How do I clean my body armor?

Often, we get asked how to how to clean body armor. Your concealable carrier will be machine washable, and most have wash instructions on them. Simply remove the panels from it and wash normally like any other apparel, following the manufacturer's instructions.

The ballistic panels on the other hand are inadvisable to submerge in water, since moisture inhibits the ability of the ballistic fibers within to move easily against each other to quickly slow the projectile to avoid penetration.

After removing the panels from the carrier, lay them down on a flat surface and wipe them down with a cloth slightly dampened in a mild solution of dish soap and warm water. Dry immediately, repeat the process 2-3 times and ensure your panels are quite dry before re-applying your carrier.

Body armor is one of those items that are easy to forget to clean, but if you let it go it will get quite pungent in its odor as mildew and bacteria build up and become harder to remove fully. Regularly scheduled maintenance is a crucial part of maintaining any gear or equipment and your armor is no exception.

What armor level do I need to be protected from rifle threats?

For protection from rifle rounds like .223, .556, 7.62X39, .308, 30-06, and other long guns, you'll want to look into level III or IV hard armor plates. While these products are heavier and thicker than soft body armor, they stop vastly more powerful threats. The technology has advanced in the past few decades to make these vital products lighter, stronger, and more user friendly for the person who needs to protect themselves from high-powered rifles.

See Body Armor Outlet's collection of Level IV plates and kits here.

Is my body armor stab proof?

There are 3 main styles of protective vests out on the market, outlined below.

  1. Ballistic Vests (Soft Armor):
    These vests are made to protect against firearms to a specified NIJ Level (IIA, II, IIIA). Why? Due to a loose weave style it allows for the bullet too caught up in the ballistics getting entangled in its fibers. However conversely this also allows for a sharp object such as an Ice Pick or Knife to penetrate through its weave. Short answer ballistics protect against firearms only, not stab proof.
    Understanding NIJ 0101.06 Armor Protection Levels
  2. Spike Vests:
    These vests are made of tightly woven material and are rated to Spike 1, Spike 2, or Spike 3. Due to the tight weave, they are able to catch the point of an ice pick or knife. However bullets will pass through with little, if any, resistance. The short answer is that Spike Armor only protects against Spike weapons, with no firearms ballistic protection.
    Stab Resistance of Personal Body Armor, NIJ Standard 0115.00 (starts on page 3)
  3. Combination (Dual Purpose) Vests:
    Dual Purpose Vests are made to protect against both firearms and stab threats. These come in the following levels:
    1. IIA/S3
    2. II/S2
    3. IIIA/S3

IIA, II, and IIIA are ballistic protection levels, while S1, S2, and S3 are spike onlyprotection levels. If you feel you work in an area in which you may be subjected to both threat styles, dual purpose ballistic vests are another viable option.

Will refurbished body armor still stop a bullet?

Yes. Refurbished armor is simply armor that has been 'rebuilt' from the existing ballistic panels and retested to the level specified. Please refer to the individual listing for the refurbished armor for more details on what protection it offers.

As long as it is certified NIJ, refurbished armor should have exactly the same bullet resistance after being rebuilt.

Does body armor expire eventually?

Not exactly. Body armor does not have an expiration date on it, but as per the NIJ (National Institute of Justice) all certified armor must display its warranty period on the armor's label. We typically see soft level II and IIIA armor offering a 5-year warranty and hard level III and IV armor offering from a 5 to 10-year warranty period from the date of manufacture. This is also why we keep a limited stock on hand. We want our customers to get as much out of a warranty as they can.

Can I still use my body armor after the 5 Year warranty date has passed?

It depends. Although the body armor may still stop a bullet it is not recommended to be worn after 5 years, as it is no longer under warranty. It is always recommended to replace your armor every 5 years anyway, since the protection abilities of ballistics are ever-changing. Newer vests can be more flexible, lighter, and depending on age of your ballistics you may be upgrading to a newer NIJ .06 certification.

What is the new NIJ standard (NIJ 0101.07)?

Publication of the final version of NIJ Standard 0101.07 came out in the second quarter of 2019, nearly ten years after the previous NIJ Standard (0101.06) came out.

Adoption of the .07 standard seems to be going slowly, with most manufacturers still shunning the new standard.

Overall, the new NIJ Standard 0101.07 further refines and updates the test methods and performance requirements for the ballistic resistance of body armor designed to protect the torso against handgun and rifle ammunition.

When compared to the NIJ Standard 0101.06, the NIJ Standard 0101.07 is slightly more stringent. Conditioned armor panels must be shot at the same velocity as non-conditioned armor.

The nomenclature regarding the threat level has been revised to more accurately describe threats and to clear up confusion among body armor end users in law enforcement.

The terms “HG1” and “HG2” replace Level II and Level IIIA respectively and represent handgun (HG) threats. The terms “RF1” and “RF3” represent rifle (RF) threats and replace Level III and Level IV, respectively. “RF2” represents an entirely new intermediate threat level introduced in this draft of NIJ Standard 0101.07.

NIJ 0101.07 HG Threat Levels

The Level IIA threat level against low velocity handgun rounds no longer appears in the new NIJ Standard 0101.07.

Regarding the NIJ HG2 threat level (formerly Level IIIA), the armor panels will no longer be tested with .357 SIG FMJ Flat Nose bullets, but instead with 9mm FMJ Round Nose rounds at 1470 ft./s.

NIJ Standard 0101.07 RF Threat Levels

Many things have changed in the NIJ Standard 0101.07 compared to the rifle protection levels in the NIJ Standard 0101.06. There have been additional test rounds introduced as well as an entirely new threat level.

The NIJ Standard 0101.06 had two threat levels, Level III and IV. In the NIJ Standard 0101.07 these levels are now called RF1 and RF3.

An entirely new threat level has been introduced to fill the gap between RF1 and RF3. This RF2 threat level includes protection against the 5.56mm M855 round. The M855 bullet is 62 gr with a “penetrator” steel core at the tip, enabling it to more easily get through barriers.

Soft Armor Designed for Females

NIJ Standard 0101.07 has introduced a special test protocol for female body armor that has been specifically developed and designed to protect and be worn by women.

What is the difference between all the ballistic packages and why the big price difference?

Manufacturers offer multiple grades in specified combinations to a specific NIJ Protection level. A grade is a certain combination of ballistic materials used to meet the specified NIJ Level requirement. Depending on the grade there are differences in weight, flexibility, thinness and cost of the ballistics. Feel free at any time to call us, as we are always happy to help.

What ballistic panel size do I need? What sizes are my panels?

A brief answer is below, but in most cases we direct customers to our Sizing Page.

Each manufacturer has a different shape to their ballistic panels, so the answer to this can vary. Though this is not specific, generic panel sizing structures tend to show as something like the example below.

Front: W"xL" / Back: W"xL"  (i.e. 20x15 / 22x15)

If you are asking this, you may be asking to verify what size you are. Please refer to How Do I Measure Myself? If you have additional questions on this please feel free to call us. We are happy to help and will walk you through the process over the phone or in person.

Will my ballistics fit into this carrier?

When ordering any carrier, you need to make sure that you order a carrier that matches your ballistics manufacturer, since their carriers are made specifically to fit their own ballistic panels. Mixing and matching will void any warranties you may have and may cause adverse fit and protection coverage issues. The only exceptions to this are uniform companies that make outer vest carriers, but not ballistics.

Examples of this include:

Be aware though that when these are worn, it is still required that you use them in tandem with your concealable carrier to hold your ballistic panels in order to not void the warranty.

What is the difference from one ballistic level to the next?

NIJ 0101.06 Threat Level Chart

The NIJ (National Institute of Justice) sets the levels for ballistic protection. These levels in order from weakest to strongest are as follows:

Soft Armor:  

  • IIA
  • II
  • IIIA

Hard Armor:

  • III
  • III+
  • IV

To see more information on this refer to the Understanding Armor Protection Guide.

What is a Manufacturer Ballistic Grade?

A ballistic grade is a specific combination of ballistic materials set by the manufacturer. These are layered and woven together in a precise number of layers and in precise order to meet an exacting NIJ protection level. Depending on the grade, there are differences in weight, flexibility, thinness, and cost of the ballistics.

Please feel welcome to call at 1-888-884-2427, email us or message us with your question. If it happens to be after business hours, emails will be seen in the morning and answered in the order they are received.

Buying Body Armor From BAO

Can I buy wholesale from BAO to resell?

Yes, but we only wholesale the BAO Tactical brand of body armor and tactical accessories. Please fill out the attached Credit Application and submit it to us at sales@bodyarmoroutlet.com. One of our staff will call you to discuss our programs and set your account up.

What if I represent an agency that needs to buy on NET 30 terms?

We set up all Local, State, and Federal agencies on terms with one simple form. Please view and fill out our simple Credit-Terms-Of-Service form. We will then verify your submission and set up your account — it is that easy. if you have any questions during this process feel free to contact us or call us M-F 9:00 to 5:30 EST at 888-884-2427.

We look forward to doing business with you!

If you are looking to become a reseller please visit our reseller Credit Application.

Is this just a carrier or does it come with ballistic protection?

Should you ever not be sure, there are a variety of ways to verify this.

  1. If a listing has ballistic protection there will be a notification of an NIJ Protection Level (IIA, II, IIIA, III, III+, III++ or IV) in either the name or the description, or both. If you do not see a protection level listed, this means it has no protection and is only a carrier; if it specifies an NIJ Level this is the level of protection of its ballistics inside the carrier.Note: Eventually, we should see the new NIJ 0101.07 standard implemented, which will replace the current levels with a new method for ranking ballistic protection tiers.
  2. Check the heading of the item's page. If it says "carrier" and the page's description offers no references to its protection level in the description, then it is a carrier and offers no ballistic value whatsoever. If you do see a NIJ level specified as protection that would be the level of protection offered.
  3. The price is also a tip-off. Carriers for concealable ballistics normal range between about $95.00 to $150.00 while a full vest (ballistics w/ carrier) can range on average from $350.00 upwards to $1,500.00+ depending on what combination you get. Please note that we do get used or unsold vests in from time to time that will often be on sale for far less.

If you are still unsure, contact us and we'll be happy to make sure that you purchase what is actually needed for your specific application.

See BAO's Armor Carriers and Plate Carriers here.

Concealable, Crossover, and Tactical Armor vests, as well as Active Shooter Kits can be found in subcategories under Body Armor.

Does this Active Shooters Kit come with 1 or 2 hard armor plates?

Our Active Shooters Kits will normally have two hard armor plates, however some kit combinations may vary so always check that particular item's description. If this still does not answer your question, please feel free to callemail, or message us with your question. If it happens to be after business hours, emails will be seen first thing in the morning and answered in the order they are received.

BAO's collection of Hard Armor Plates is here.

Does BAO have any discount codes available?

Every month we work to have new armor specials available. Some will have discount codes, while others are applied during the checkout process. The best way to be in the know on these would be to subscribe to our Email Newsletter. We normally push out specials once a month. We also understand that too many emails is a bad thing, so we purposely limit our messages. We tend to average about 1 to 3 a month aside from normal order notification emails.

If you wish to be added to our BAO Newsletter List or to check if you are already on the list, you can head to our Sign Up page here.

Discounts: Military, Police, Fire, and EMS

BAO works hard to bring the absolute lowest possible pricing to all of our hard working customers, the vast majority of whom are either military or first responders. When you purchase from us, we have already discounted our prices to bring you the best possible value. We appreciate the hard work you all do risking your lives to protect and serve. You are what keeps this country protected, safe, and great. We in turn want to make sure you can get what you need without overpaying for it. We also regularly have promotional codes and / or specials for extra savings. If you wish to join our e-mail list to be alerted for sale items please select Sign Up Now.

If you are an agency looking to purchase multiple units and/or need a quote, please contact us at 888-884-2427 and speak to one of our Account Managers. One of our territory representatives will be able to assist you. Tests & evaluations are also available upon request.

Why doesn’t the site say if the item is in stock or not?

While we stock many of our popular items, many are made to order due to a warranty period. We are always striving to stock as much as we can, but there may be times when your order may get delayed for a short period of time while more stock is en route to us. If there is ever an instance where this happens our staff will be sure to notify you right away. If you ever have an item ordered from us that absolutely cannot get delayed, please let us know and we will be sure to check stock levels for you.

Some of our items that sell fast and tend to go in and out of stock are set to display their stock status in the listings.

Where is your retail store?

Directions to Body Armor Outlet in Salem, NH

Although we have representatives covering the entire country, we currently only have one retail store. it is located at 26 Ermer Road in Salem, NH. Google Maps Link

Need directions? Use the handy Google Maps link to the right to find us, right on Route 111 at the northern tip of Salem, convenient to I-93 and under an hour from Boston.

Why should I have to pay for shipping on my return if the site offers free shipping?

We offer free shipping on the initial order with any order over 199.99, so if your exchange order equals or exceeds $200.00 we will cover the shipping back to you, as per our free shipping policy on any order over $199.99. 

If you wish to return or exchange an item it needs to be shipped back to us with an RMA number. You'll need to contact us to have one issued and if you have questions on the RMA Policy you can see it at any time on our Shipping and Returns page. 

What is the return policy if the item doesn’t fit and I want my money back?

Body Armor Outlet requires that you contact us prior to the return of any item. From the date of delivery you will have fourteen (14) days to return items purchased. Store credits can be offered on all items purchased. If the item purchased is not as described we can offer a full refund.

Restocking Fee

There is a 15% restocking fee for all items. If an item is ordered by the factory, then the fee will be adjusted per the manufacturer's cost to return an ordered item(s). If this is an exchange of the item for a similar item, we reserve the right to waive this 15% restocking fee. Body Armor Outlet reserves the right to deny a return that is not returned in the same condition as when it was originally shipped from our location, shows any signs of wear (on new items), or for any reason we feel the ballistics or items were jeopardized. Any RMA issued is valid for 7 days from the issuance date and are required to be shipped back within this 7 day period. Shipping redirects or re-shipment costs accrued are covered by the customer. Any returns need to be sent with a tracking number; we are not responsible for lost or stolen returns while in transit back to us. 

To view our shipping and return policy, please refer to our Shipping and Returns page.

Why can’t I log in?

The most common reason customers aren't be able to access their account is if their password contains characters of the wrong case. It is important to check your Caps Lock key to ensure that you are using uppercase characters where needed and lowercase if they are needed.

If you still have difficulty, you can use the "Forgot Password" link on the login page, or click it right here.

Policies and Legal Info

Is it legal for me to own body armor?

Yes, under most conditions. Federal law states that as long as you are not a felon and are 18 or over you are legally able to own body armor. However, here at BAO we want to ensure that only responsible individuals are using the armor we sell. If you are current or retired Military, Police, Fire, EMS, Government Contractor, Security Officer, Range Officer, or have any reasonable, lawful use for body armor we can help you out. We do require you to fill out an authorization form verifying this information and it can be found on our website near the purchase button whenever a product with restrictions is purchased.

Be sure to check with local laws however, as the banning of body armor is something that regularly gets discussed in state legislatures and laws could change in your area without sufficient notice.

Any such bans are almost assured to face a legal challenge and the US Supreme Court is likely to eventually rule on the matter.

Some quick notes on the subject:

1. It is illegal for felons to wear body armor or for anyone in the commission of a violent felony anywhere.
2. New York: It is generally unlawful for civilians to purchase, sell, or exchange body vests or similar items.
3. Connecticut: It is illegal to sell or purchase body armor online, over the phone, or via SMS text message. The entire sale and purchase must be handled in person, face-to-face. To buy from us, contact us first and make the drive through Massachusetts up here. We're just across the border in Salem, NH.
4. Louisiana: Unless you're a student or faculty member, it is illegal to wear body armor on school property or campus, or in gun-free zones.
This law has been challenged and modified and we expect more of the same coming.
5. New Mexico: It is illegal to wear body armor during the commission of any crime. Does this include minor offenses, like driving without a seat belt? We have no idea, but we urge caution anyway.

Please refer to our Conditions of Use page. When you purchase armor, we will send you an Authorization Form to verify credentials and confirmation of use.

Is it legal for me to buy OC (Pepper Spray) in my state?

This one has a longer answer requiring its own page, but the short version is below:

As of 2016, pepper spray can be legally purchased and carried in some form by anyone over 18 in all 50 states. However, other states do not have requirements about age. Currently, state laws prohibit us from shipping some pepper spray products to AK, or NJ, and all pepper spray products to Massachusetts, New York, and Hawaii.

For Massachusetts Residents: It is illegal to ship OC spray within the state and you'll need to be at least 18 years old. In addition, local town ordinances may have further restrictions on OC defense spray products so be sure to check with them. Note: it used to be required to have a valid state FID card to possess OC spray in the state, but that law was repealed and as of July 1st, 2015, it is once again legal.
We do happen to sell OC spray off the shelf in the store to any who come in, and we're conveniently located near the Massachusetts state line and I-93 in tax-free Salem, New Hampshire.

See more state-by-state laws on OC defense spray products. >>