When most gun owners hear the phrase “personal protection” they typically think of a handgun and holster. However personal protection can also be passive, such as in ballistic inserts and plate carriers. Before the internet, this equipment was either expensive, uncomfortable, or even both. When we find less expensive options we meet them with skepticism. I mean why wouldn’t we? The last thing that we want between our vitals and a speeding bullet is something “cheap”. I came across RTS Tactical during my morning routine of scrolling the internet while those aforementioned vitals started waking up. The prices were phenomenal and the gear looked pretty good so I reached out for a few samples and figured let’s see if they stop what they say they will.
If you are new to the armor market, there are plenty of variables out there. For this reason, RTS has put together some of its most popular items into easy to digest kits. One of its bestsellers is the Active Shooter Kit that features lightweight Level VI ceramic plates and a MOLLE clad vest. The vest is completely adjustable via hook and loop fasteners that make up the shoulder straps and cumberbund. Looking tacti-cool is only half the fun. The other half is knowing that you can stop most rifle rounds, even some armor-piercing rounds. To test this rating we tied a naked insert to our Birchwood Casey 66% IPSC target and sent a round of 7.62 x 51 M80 ball into the center from just 25 yards away. The panel stopped the round completely and even absorbed 100% of the spall, leaving our thin string completely intact. We noticed just a slight bulging in the back of the plate but our virgin target was completely unharmed, sans what some asshole did with a box cutter when they opened the box.
At 6.3 pounds they aren’t the heaviest ceramics on the market and a pair of them with the vest left us with a total weight of 16.2 pounds. While that is more weight than most people are used to carrying, the load-bearing system and the padded mesh inside made this rig more comfortable than something from the Army surplus store and more comforting than denouncing Dr. Fauci at a dinner party. The plates are also poly-coated to weatherproof them should a rainstorm ruin the boogaloo. This keeps them from falling apart like a promise from the government. Hey, if this shit keeps up it could be the best $399.99 you ever spent.
If you are looking for something more minimalistic in both profile and budget, the RTS Steel Kit might be best for you. For $189.99 it includes two Level III AR500 SAPI cut plates and a very thin and basic carrier that can even be worn under bulky clothing. For an extra $40 you can treat-yo-self to the anti-spall coating that will mitigate bullet fragments if you do get hit. This carrier has the same fastening system as the more feature-rich vest but has a less intricate padding system. Nonetheless both 195-pound me and 120-pound wife (one of these numbers might be false) found it comfortable enough to wear without regret during our five-hour range day. At 7.9 pounds each the steel plates certainly were heavier but the carrier was lighter, making the steel kit only about two pounds heavier than the ceramic kit.
The steel plates were rated to stop the very same M80 ball ammo that we had on the range but why stop there? Also in our possession was a rifle chambered in 28 Nosler. This cartridge sends a 160-grain 7mm bullet screaming out of the muzzle at close to 3200 FPS. The slimmer bullet and higher velocity spell out better piercing potential so it made for a great acid test. In a near-suicidal manner (don’t try this at home kids) I fired one of these hot rods square into the center of the plate from that same 25-yard distance. I’m pleased to report that the round merely teased the plate, it didn’t penetrate – prom night all over again. The anti-spall coating did its job very well, as I am still here today to talk about it and the wooden spool that we propped it against was free of bullet fragments.
Body armor is becoming far more commonplace today and with effective options that cost less than a good night out, you’re foolish not to have a kit at your disposal. RTS Tactical makes it easier than ever to get set up with a high-speed ceramic rig, or even outfit your entire family with the less expensive steel options ensuring everybody has a means of staying safe. It pays to have one of these in your trunk, office, or anywhere that you think you and/or your family might be should it hit the fan.
For more info visit www.rtstactical.com
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