Episode 192 S5-29
Being Shot in Ballistics Gear
Dark Days in Denver Ch 29
In this chapter of Dark Days in Denver, Vince wakes up after being shot twice in his ballistics gear. Lucky to be alive, he assesses the bleak landscape the volcanic eruption left behind. Here today to discuss the reality of people that are preparing for a disaster becoming the leaders in a long term survival situation is Brian Duff, host of The Mind 4 Survival Podcast.
Ballistics gear does not guarantee you will survive a bullet. There are a few factors that determine whether it will be effective or not. The size of the round, how fast it was traveling and how far away you were, all determine whether the gear will work or not. When it comes to a ballistics vest the age of the gear will be a factor. Also, how much you have worn it plays into its effectiveness. When it is worn a lot it will be exposed to perspiration that can start to deteriorate materials like Kevlar. If it was a ceramic vest, it matters if it has been dropped or not. Also if your vest is steel, it needs to be layered to absorb shock and bullet fragments or the fragments can cause big problems.
Your helmet can also be compromised with age. If it is dropped, it can crack. Severe impacts can also affect the integrity. In addition, exposure to heat and extreme weather can cause it to start to fail. Salt in your perspiration will also affect it.
You have to be sure to take good care of your gear and check it constantly for structural integrity. People can survive being shot in the head with a helmet on but sometimes it fails. It's a gamble, either way. Even though in my book the pocket watch Vince carries helps to save him, this has actually happened many times in history where an item in a pocket saves the individual from a bullet wound.
The size of the bullet can actually make a difference. I've heard that a .22 round can actually penetrate armor better because of it's small size but because of its lack of use in war zones, the theory hasn't been properly tested. However, .22 caliper rounds fragment big time and can cause some serious problems if you are shot with it. Also a .22 round ricochets around quite a bit inside a body.
Other rounds are built to pierce armor. Full metal jacket rounds, like those used in a lot of AK-47s are an example. However in a long term survival situation, many rounds will be reloaded lead rounds. Most of these rounds could be stopped by soft armor like Kevlar.
When you put your gear together, you can't just put a steel plate into a carrier. You need a backer made from a material like Kevlar. When the plate get impacted, it will stop the bullet but the energy has to go somewhere. It gets displaced into the steel making a huge dent. The energy's trauma on the body is sometimes enough to kill you. A helmet that is hit doesn't penetrate the head but it will ring your bell, like being hit with a baseball bat. Being hit in the vest, the energy can cause serious organ damage, bruising and pain.
Armor piercing rounds are a serious threat to any person, with or without armor. Even at a long distance, these bullets can penetrate ballistics gear. The rounds are designed with a steel core that penetrates. A .30-06 armor piercing round can rip a hole through a telephone pole so your soft ballistics armor would be no match. A steel or ceramic plate may stand a chance but it's not guaranteed.
Ballistics gear has a life span. How long it will last depends on how well it is cared for. Severe environmental conditions can have a big effect on the quality of your gear. How often you wear it will deteriorate it faster as well. If you are exposing it to cleaners and chemicals can also make a big difference on its life span. In a long term survival situation, it may deteriorate faster because you will be using it so much. However, something is better than nothing. Body armor has had a big effect on the life span of soldiers in war zones. Plus, without armor any body wound would most likely be fatal in a long term survival situation and death would come slowly. You should make sure you have armor and a tourniquet stocked for a this contingency.
Helmets save lives. Even if you do not have a bullet proof one, it is still a good idea to wear one. Head injuries are often fatal and a helmet can protect your skull from the trauma. A bandana may look cool but provides no protection for you. In fist fights its often not the trauma of being knocked out that injures the individual. It is the impact on the skull receives when it hits the ground that can be fatal. It is not a matter of if but when you will receive a head impact in sports, fighting or battle. A helmet can go a long way to protect your dome. Make sure you have a helmet stocked for a long term survival situation and get a ballistics helmet if you can afford it.
The gear you plan to stock for you and your family will depend on your plan. How active do you plan on being in it? If you are planning on moving a lot a low profile plate carrier with a stand alone plate with a Kevlar sheet that fits the plate would be a good idea. Remember that when you wear armor, you will be trading ease of movement for security. If you are not planning on moving a whole bunch, you could get a soft armor vest with a plate in it. There are also low profile options like brief cases or back packs that you can carry in case of an active shooter incident.
In a long term survival situation most people will not be walking around with M-4s and AKs. The biggest threats will be from common weapons like .22s, 9 mms and .45s. Most IIIA armor will stop those rounds. Start with a basic setup and you can always add to it as you can afford it. Then you can scale up or down depending on the situation you are facing.
Remember that armor is bulky. It is going to restrict your movement. Make sure you put it on and do yard work or other activities in it. Armor also comes in standard sizes. It may be just a little too big or too small. It will affect how you draw or weapon or if you can draw it at all. If your armor comes up over your shoulder, it may affect how you hold your rifle and you site lineup. It can also change how your magazine reload goes. Make sure you wear your gear and practice in it! Do not ever put your first aid kit on your back! You need to be able to reach it and be responsible for your own life.
Fight like you train and train like you fight! Get fit so you are strong enough to wear your gear and carry your pack.
AR500 Armor® Testudo™ Lite Plate Carrier
AR500 Armor® Level IIIA Curved Armor with Trauma Pads Combo
AR500 Armor® Level III 10" x 12" - RAW Steel Armor Plate
Galls Max Pro Police PASGT Style Ballistic Helmet
BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Canvas Classic Pack
AR500 Armor® Tactical Emergency Personal Injury Kit (EPIK)
The Changing Earth Series
Brian Duff is the go to resource for concerned people who want to improve their safety, security and preparedness. He is a proud former Army Ranger, Paramedic, Firefighter, High Threat Security Specialist and International Security Director who has served and protected people around the globe for decades.
When he’s not working to help others, he can be found in the garage, tinkering away, out on the hiking trail, or meeting up with friends and occasionally trying to find the end of the Internet. Make the choice, take a look at Brian’s virtual home, Mind4Survival.com and set yourself up to overcome and survive any difficult situation.