Surplus Ballistic Vest?

Surplus Ballistic Vest?

This is a discussion on Surplus Ballistic Vest? within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I see that Century has some surplus ballistic vests that they say have exceeded their useful life. Does anyone has an idea what that means? ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array nhcruffler's Avatar
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    Surplus Ballistic Vest?

    I see that Century has some surplus ballistic vests that they say have exceeded their useful life. Does anyone has an idea what that means? Does Kevlar biodegrade after so many years? Is it just a liability statement or what? At $25 it would be a great deal if they were useable. I would love to hear from someone that knows about these things. Thanks, NH


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    It all depends on how it was cared for. Body armor usually has a "use life" of about five years. A few years ago a friend of mine tested one of my old vests that dated back to Reagan's first term. It still stopped 9mm and.45 acp fmj rounds.
    Chemical contamination and ultra violet will shorten its life.
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    Member Array rolltide13's Avatar
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    I have a surplus vest without plates. Wouldn't hurt for the SHTF scenario and at $25 bucks it's not a bad investment in case there ever comes a time when you might need it


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    Long term exposure to strong Ultraviolet light and getting run through the washing machine are the two things that will degrade Kevlar the most.

    Do you just want a used vest for the range or just to have one around for the end of the world as we know it?

    If so then make sure that the label that is always on there is crisp and not faded or bleached out.

    If that is looking really good then you should be OK.

    Are they Law Enforcement USED/Expired or turn ins for upgrade...or are they new old stock and just beyond the manufacturer Expiration Date?

    Really though at $25. it's a deal either way.
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  5. #5
    Member Array nhcruffler's Avatar
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    The add says that they are surplus. I talked to Josh and he told me that they were trade ins from a PD. He said that they were used but not trashed. So I went ahead and ordered three vests and three 4 pocket AK mag pouches. Total delivered price was $90.70. I will do a follow up post when I get the vests. Thanks for the replies guys. NH

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    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    Hey would you provide a link? I would get one of those.
    "...whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36)
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  7. #7
    Member Array nhcruffler's Avatar
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    The company is Century International Arms. Here is the link. Century International Arms The vests , item # OT 1518 is on special this month. I had trouble ordering on line so you need to call and talk to a salesperson. To get the special price you need to order two at $25 ea. THis is a large wholesale company and they have certain conditions. I have a C&R and I must place a $75 order or pay something like $29 small order fee. That is why I ordered three of them ( and my wife & son ). They are going fast he said. If you can get them I would bet you could sell one or two to cover your costs. Good luck.
    Also to answer Qkshooter I guess I am just thinking they would be nice to have in a Katrina, End of the World , ( LA & Detroit riot, Georgia, Syria, Bosnia, Darfor) type of thing. Not for everyday or work or anythign like that.

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    Senior Member Array kb2wji's Avatar
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    We took a dept. issue vest that was 25 years old and put a few .45 hydra shoks into it. Worked just fine.

    That said, the tag says 5 year service life. After 5 years and 1 day, I just dont like wearing it. It's fine im sure, but dang, that'll mess with my head. I wouldnt trust it. Something about tempting fate...

  9. #9
    Member Array nhcruffler's Avatar
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    I hear ya kb2wji, but the way I figure it this vest is better than the one I don't have. If I was really shrewd I would sell the three for $100 each and buy me a nice new one. But I am not that savy , just working on a budget. Anyways, I live in the sticks in NewHampshire. What could possibly happen up here????
    Last edited by nhcruffler; May 15th, 2012 at 09:52 PM.

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    Distinguished Member Array Knightrider's Avatar
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    I hope that my vest holds off past the 5 year mark. Mine is about 6-7 years old and still have to last me for another month or two.
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    I don't think anybody wants to put their neck on the chopping block and state that any other person should trust their life to an expired vest.
    I will only say that they don't just get to be 5 years old and then suddenly begin to auto-disintegrate.
    If that is what you are wondering about.

    Used vests that have been worn daily for 5 years naturally would have quite a different provenance and you would need to be much more cautious making that purchase.

    I have an old one that I (of course) got new. It is carefully stored and well beyond its Expiration date and I would still trust it but, I know its complete history.
    It is quite a bit heavier and hotter than the newer ones. It also has the hard and soft Trauma inserts.
    These days I just keep it tucked away. I used to wear it when I worked in the N. Side Pawn Shop - Watch the show "Hardcore Pawn" sometime on TV and you'll know WHY I wore one.

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    Senior Member Array TomEgun's Avatar
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    Can anyone order from this site or do you have to be an authorized dealer?
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  13. #13
    Member Array nhcruffler's Avatar
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    Well my vests arrived yesterday. The XL size vest looked bran spanking new. The other two , size L, looked in very good condition. They are just like the pic in the link I posted above. They have two pockets and what I believe is a Radio pocket / pouch. One cam with a velcro identification tag that says " Policia" Two had a "soft" plate and one has a "hard plate" in the sternum area. I believe these are for blades. I have made some bad purchases in my day but I believe that this is one of the better ones. All I can say is that I am happy with my deal. Thanks for the replies. NH

  14. #14
    Member Array nhcruffler's Avatar
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    Sorry TomEgun, I just saw your post. Consumers can purchase any non-firearm products directly from Century INt. Arms. Go to their website and you will see their ordering policy.

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    NH. The soft and hard plates are known as trauma plates and are used to provide extra protection to the chest area.

    Bullet resistant vests are not knife proof however. Body armor is made by sandwiching together multiple layers of kevlar like a piece of plywood. The fibers go in different directions with each layer. The round hits and basically becomes tangled in the material a knife blade however may cut through the fibers and get to what is underneath. With that being said it takes a pretty hard thrust to penetrate the kevlar but that is why there are specific stab proof vests made.

    If you already knew this sorry.
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