Soft armor question: GoldFlex

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Re: Soft armor question: GoldFlex

Post by Dave_M » Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:09 am

gun toting monkeyboy wrote: I also got to help him develop some of the plate carriers and vests to hold the panels and plates. Let me tell you, that is more work to get right than getting the armor to fit it.
Absolutely. I cannot agree more. There are several companies that do it right and n+1 companies that do it completely and totally wrong. Terrible ride height, insufficient/incorrect coverage, especially around the plate itself (for the ones with integral soft armor), no attention paid to internal abrasion resistance and on and on. The best carriers I've used have all been American made and designed around specific plate sizes and cuts.

I've always like higher quality gear for purposes of fit and durability, but it wasn't until spending time at some of the factories did I truly gain insight as to why it was more expensive aside from material and labor cost.

If I have to source web gear outside of the western world, Vietnam is a far better bet than China, and then only from some companies (invariably ones that have their own people over there for QA/QC).
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Re: Soft armor question: GoldFlex

Post by gun toting monkeyboy » Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:54 pm

Yeah. I have found that it is much better for people to find a carrier that fits them and supply the armor to go in it, rather than trying to come up with one that everybody is going to like, and stock it. Which is one of the reasons I have so many plates and panels. Yes, the vests sold. But you had to have the correct size in stock for the customer at the time they wanted it. With the plates and panels, they already have something they like. You are just offering the armor for them to improve their own equipment.

Believe it or not, one of the most popular items my friend sold was custom-sized inserts for those Condor Compact Plate Carriers. Those carriers cost what? $25-35? And the quality wasn't bad, but it was not the same as many of the American-made ones. However, everybody seemed to have them. And being able to drop a couple of panels in them for $100-120 to get Level IIIA protection seemed to appeal to a lot of people. There were even people who bought Level IV stand alone plates for those things. Think about that. A $200+ plate in a $30 carrier. But it is what they had, and what they liked. I hate to admit it, but even I broke down and bought one. Realize I have spent the last few years collecting all kinds of over-runs, samples and odd bits and pieces from my friend, and from other places. I have everything from concealed vests to full combat outfits. And I just couldn't resist getting the cheap Condor airsoft carrier with panels. I keep it tucked in a drawer in my desk at work. It is one of those "I'll never need it, but..." kind of things.

-Mb

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Re: Soft armor question: GoldFlex

Post by AS556 » Tue May 26, 2015 7:17 pm

Can someone recommend me a IIA concealable vest for under $400? I'm 6'1 180lbs, if that matters.

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Re: Soft armor question: GoldFlex

Post by gun toting monkeyboy » Thu May 28, 2015 5:48 pm

You can normally pick those up on ebay, new from Israel for around $250, the last time I checked. That is for a kevlar version. UHMWPE is significantly cheaper. The biggest problem you are going to have is finding somebody that sells Level IIA armor. Most places carry Level II and higher. Are you sure you want something that is that low of a level of protection?

Here is a IIIA vest that is an example of what is out there. This isn't my aution, and I am not recommending it in any way. But just showing what is available for not a lot of money.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NIJ-STAB-BULLET ... 19da56d964

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Re: Soft armor question: GoldFlex

Post by AS556 » Fri May 29, 2015 12:10 pm

Ah, I meant lvl II, my bad. I figured level II would be a bit more concealable under a hoodie but would still provide good protection against most common pistol threats. Will Ebay vests be as trustworthy as buying direct from the manufacturer?

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Re: Soft armor question: GoldFlex

Post by gun toting monkeyboy » Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:04 pm

AS556 wrote:Ah, I meant lvl II, my bad. I figured level II would be a bit more concealable under a hoodie but would still provide good protection against most common pistol threats. Will Ebay vests be as trustworthy as buying direct from the manufacturer?
It all depends on who you get it from. There are several places on ebay that are more than happy to provide you with the ballistics report from an NIJ certified ballistics lab. Realize that "meeting the NIJ test requirements" is NOT the same as being NIJ certified. But generally, if a company has gone through the trouble of using an NIJ lab, and they are willing to give you the results, the odds are good that the vests aren't made out of cardboard. However, it is always best to contact the lab in question, and verify things yourself if you have concerns. They will generally tell you if a company's products that they have tested did, in deed, pass the testing. It isn't 100%, but the real vendors with thousands of sales are generally kosher. Believe it or not, some of the better vests I have gotten on ebay and tested over the years have come from Israel. The shipping was around $50. But I ended up with a nice Level IIIA vest in a good quality carrier for less than similar US-made versions. It was Kevlar, not UHMWPE like I prefer, but I don't mind having a couple of different kinds of armor around the house. ;)

-Mb

(edit) Just to clarify, I mean US seller. Not those from the rest of the world. I took a gamble on the Israeli company simply because they had a good rating. I would NOT trust a company shipping fron China or Hong Kong. Not because the Chinese armor isn't just as good as anybody else's. But because unless you know the company making it, you are just as likely to get something that is several layers thinner than they say it is.

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Re: Soft armor question: GoldFlex

Post by 400 Grains » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:16 pm

crypto wrote:Yeah, I get that Point Blank is a quality brand. I was asking about materials though, not brands.

You'll note that even Point Blank sells about a half dozen different vests that all meet the NIJ standards, the difference in bulk and weight is in what vest is made out of what material.
Aramids and laminates both have unique qualities. Many of the best performing vests have used a combination of the two, (or 3), to perform against a wider range of projectiles and conditions. Goldflex has been around for many years in one version or another. My own department first used a hybrid vest containing Goldlex and Kevlar back in the 90's. I was part of the selection process. It performed spectacularly in a number of shootings, including multiple hit contact shots, and against threats that were substantially over it's rated level. But it wasn't the thinnest and lightest vest available.
crypto wrote:Thin and comfort aren't just nice, they make one more likely to wear it.
Thin and light are nice, but today the differences between most of the top vests are pretty small. We found comfort was far more dependent on fit, than minor weight or thickness differences. A well fit IIIA is more comfortable than a poorly fitting level II. Flogging lightweight and thinness was a sales ploy to purchase the most expensive vests, which coincidentally, often performed at a lower level ballistic wise. The new NIJ standards addressed some of that. It's harder to make a vest that barely squeaks by now, just to be the "thinnest and lightest".

One of the biggest issues with vest comfort is heat retention. There's little to no difference between vests in that regard. They all suck after 10 hours on a warm day.

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