(from Dec 2013)
Product review of Engarde Body Armor's "Patrol" ballistic vest. This is a Level IIIA "bulletproof" vest, designed to withstand up to a .44 Magnum handgun blast.
I tested the vest against a wide variety of calibers, including .22LR (from both a pistol and a rifle), .380 ACP, .38 Special, 9mm, 5.7x28, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .45 Colt from a rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun with both a slug and buckshot, .454 Casull, and a 5.56 NATO AR15 rifle round.
For purposes of illustration, there are several "levels" of ballistic vest protection. The vest I tested is a Level IIIA, which is the "strongest" soft-body armor available, providing protection against handgun rounds up to and including the .44 Magnum. It is not designed to withstand high-powered rifles; in order to protect against rifle hits you would need ceramic or steel armor plates inserted into the vest which would raise it to Level III protection.
The vest was supplied by Engarde Body Armor, with absolutely zero influence on what I chose to do with it or how I chose to test it. They didn't know what I was going to do with it and had no say in how it was treated. That said, I found it to be a very well made product, quite rugged, and comfortable for a Level IIIA vest. No Level IIIA vest is going to disappear on you like a t-shirt, I mean, come on, it's a Level IIIA vest that can stop a 12-gauge slug! But given the level of protection it offers, I found it quite comfortable, quite lightweight, and overall I felt it was a very good product.
The vest was supplied to The Truth About Guns (at www.thetruthaboutguns.com), who sent it to me for testing and evaluation. I have no affiliation with the manufacturer and was not paid a penny to conduct this review; in fact it cost me quite a bit in terms of gel, clay, and ammo. But it was fun!
If you're interested in this particular product, you can contact the manufacturer at www.EnGardeBodyArmor.com.