First Choice Millennium Flex MF 8 Body Armor
(We paid a show price of $656.25 at TREXPO, but cannot find a retail price)
We ourselves have traditionally worn level II A armor, which was sufficient to protect us from the majority of handguns carried by the 36,000 + people carrying guns here in Gotham, as well as most other places where we traveled. This was good, as level II A body armor is relatively comfortable, and, more important, sufficiently thin as to not be overly obvious.
Unfortunately, the level of threats requiring body armor has been on the rise. Without going through the logic of why there has been an escalation in threat level – we would have to go back to the Gun Control Act of 1968, and don’t think readers really care – the fact is that police departments have been shifting from.38 caliber revolvers to higher velocity semi-automatics. This means that we who wear body armor have to now deal with the threat of these higher-velocity weapons. Which means that we have needed to move up to level II vests (save in some countries where the police use lower velocity ammunition).
We chose to replace our old level IIA vest with a Millennium Flex MF 8 Level II vest from First Choice Armor.
The good news is that the vest is comfortable to wear: We recently had occasion to wear it for three days straight, so this is fact, not theory.
The bad news is that by their very nature level II vests are more bulky than level IIA vests, since level II vests offer more protection than level IIA (threat level II is higher than IIA). This is a real problem for those of us who are, er, not large, though less of an issue for those who are larger than us. In practical terms, this means that while our level IIA vest in a T-shirt carrier went generally un-noticed, the new level II vest in standard carrier has been noticed with frightening frequency. This constitutes a risk for slim wearers, because it would allows an alert adversary to pre-plan a head shot, rather than the torso. This is, of course, more an issue for those of us providing protective services where we are dealing with conscious opponents, as opposed to those involved with the less-studied shootings associated with crime. At some point we’ll try the vest with a T-shirt carrier to see if this helps deal with the concealability issue.
In addition, when you move up to a level II vest you may need to get new clothing to cover it. At the moment we are having new custom shirts made to cover the vest, as the shirts we had made for the replaced IIA no longer fit. We are hoping that we won’t need to get new with-vest suits and jackets to replace our existing with-vest clothing.
In the best of all possible worlds level II vests would be thinner, but this is not the best of all possible worlds. This issue aside, we think we made as good a choice as the state of the art allows.