Body armor in 2022 is constantly changing, with exciting new technologies and developments popping up all the time. In the field of soft armor, manufacturers are competing to make the most flexible, lightweight solutions, while focusing on sustainability.

However, there are many ballistic solutions on the market right now and it’s almost impossible to review all of them and choose body armor that best suits your needs. To make your job easier, we at BodyArmorNews.com have you covered!

For this article, we reviewed five of the most concealable and lightweight body armor packages available on the market today. These are the best of the best. Choosing a ballistic vest is an investment and you should always ask yourself what a piece of lifesaving equipment is worth to you.

We have collected information on five amazing soft armor panel solutions from five excellent body armor manufacturers: Slate Solutions, Armor Express, Point Blank Enterprises, EnGarde body armor and Safariland to help you make your decision.

Five Body Armor Criteria

We judge the soft armor panels on the five most important criteria for body armor: Thickness, weight, flexibility, warranty, and price.

1. Thickness

The thickness of a panel is important for the concealability of a ballistic vest. The thicker and bulkier the vest is, the more obvious it is that a person is wearing it.

2. Weight

The weight of a ballistic panel is important. The lighter weight a panel has, the more options for additional load bearing equipment you have. Moreover, a lighter ballistic vest is generally more comfortable to wear. In order to compare the weight of different panels it is best to use a lbs/ft² (or kg/m²) calculation since not all panels have the same ballistic coverage. It would be unfair to use the total vest weights, as vests with a great 360 coverage could come out as “heavy” compared with vest that have no side protection.

3. Flexibility

The flexibility of a soft armor panel is a key feature. It increases the wearer’s comfort and is especially important for concealable body armor solutions. This is because flexible panels tend to follow body contours better.

4. Price

The stated retail prices are online prices that include the ballistic panel set and a concealable textile carrier. We have also calculated the price per year by dividing the price by the warranty period.

5. Warranty /  Sustainability

The warranty is the period a body armor manufacturer guarantees its armor panel to keep its ballistic properties. An increased warranty greatly influences the cost per year (=price vest : warranty period) for a ballistic vest.

For example, A US$ 700 vest with a warranty of 5 years compared with a US$ 700 vest that has a warranty of 10 years is actually twice as expensive using a price per year calculation.

As the body armor industry strives to become more sustainable, the lifespan (and therefore warranty) of a ballistic panel also becomes more and more important. The higher the lifespan, the higher the sustainability of the product.

Slate Solutions – SLXIIIAbest bulletproof vest 2022 review slate solutions

Manufacturer:
Soft armor solution:
Threat level:
Ballistic material:
Thickness:
Weight:
Warranty:
Flexibility:
Retail price (incl. conc. car):
Estimated Leadtime:  

Slate Solutions
SLXIIIA
IIIA
Teijin Twaron / DSM Dyneema
.21 inches / 5.3 mm
0.86 lbs/ft² and 4.2 kg/m²
5 years
very high
US$ 899 (US$ 180 per year)
6 weeks


SLXIIIA 
Weight:
Flexibility:
Thickness:
Price:
Warranty:

Total score:

 

score card
8/10
8/10
8/10
7/10
5/10

7.2 out of 10


 

Armor Express – RZRG2-A-IIIA

Manufacturer:
Soft armor solution:
Threat level:
Ballistic material:
Thickness:
Weight:
Warranty:
Flexibility:
Retail price (incl. conc. car):
Estimated Leadtime:  

Armor Express
RZRG2-A-IIIA
IIIA
Teijin Twaron / DSM Dyneema
.21 inches / 5.3 mm
0.93 lbs/ft² and 4.54 kg/m²
5 years
very high
US$ 995 (US$ 199 per year)
6-7 weeks


RZRG2-A-IIIA
Weight:
Flexibility:
Thickness:
Price:
Warranty:

Total score:

 

score card
7/10
8/10
8/10
6/10
5/10

6.8 out of 10


 

Point Blank Armor – AXBIIIA

best body armor 2022 review point blank body armor

Manufacturer:
Soft armor solution:
Threat level:
Ballistic material:
Thickness:
Weight:
Warranty:
Flexibility:
Retail price (incl. conc. car):
Estimated Leadtime:  

Point Blank Enterprises
AXBIIIA
IIIA
Woven Aramid and UD Polyethylene
0.19 inches / 4.8 mm
0.79 lbs/ft² and 3.9 kg/m²
5 years
high
US$ 1160 (US$ 232 per year)
7 weeks


AXBIIIA
Weight:
Flexibility:
Thickness:
Price:
Warranty:

Total score:

 

score card
9/10
7/10
9/10
5/10
5/10

7 out of 10


 

EnGarde Body Armor – FLEX-PRO™

best armour 2022 review engarde

Manufacturer:
Soft armor solution:
Threat level:
Ballistic material:
Thickness:
Weight:
Warranty:
Flexibility:
Retail price (incl. conc. car):
Estimated Leadtime:  

EnGarde body armor
FLEX-PRO™
IIIA
Teijin Twaron / DSM Dyneema
0.23 inches / 6 mm
0.92 p/sf and 4.5 kg/m2
7 years
very high
US$ 865 (US$ 173 per year)
1 week


FLEX-PRO™
Weight:
Flexibility:
Thickness:
Price:
Warranty:

Total score:

 

score card
8/10
8/10
7/10
7/10
7/10

7.4 out of 10


Safariland – HW-2019-01-SB

ballistic armor 2022 review safariland

Manufacturer:
Soft armor solution:
Threat level:
Ballistic material:
Thickness:
Weight:
Warranty:
Flexibility:
Retail price (incl. conc. car):
Estimated Leadtime:
Safariland
HW-2019-01-SB
IIIA
DSM Dyneema
0.23 inches / 5.84 mm
0.68 p/sf and 3.32 kg/m2
5 years
high
US$ 1444 (US$ 288 per year)
12 weeks

HW-2019-01-SB
Weight:
Flexibility:
Thickness:
Price:
Warranty:

Total score:

 

score card
10/10
8/10
7/10
3/10
5/10

7 out of 10


 

Best Body Armor Review Conclusion

All reviewed ballistic panels are spectacular products. These are the best and most concealable level IIIA armor solutions on the market today. Any panel on this list will meet and exceed your expectations!

With a score of 7 out of 10, Point Blank’s AXBIIIA panel is the thinnest of the reviewed panels while Safariland’s HW-2019-01-SB model is, by far, the most lightweight solution. It is almost 15% lighter when compared to the runner up.

If you want to go easy on your wallet without compromising on quality, look no further! The SLXIIIA from Slate Solutions and the FLEX-PRO™ from EnGarde body armor offer the best prices.

Scoring evenly across the board, the RZRG2-A-IIIA from Armor Express is an incredibly well-balanced armor panel. With a score of 6.8 out of 10, it has many plus points and is undoubtedly a great option!

But, without further ado, now let’s talk about our top choice! Last, but definitely not least, with a score of 7.4 out of 10, the FLEX-PRO™ panel manufactured by EnGarde body armor clearly stands out from the rest.

WINNER: FLEX-PRO™ – EnGarde

The modest price combined with an additional 40% lifespan/warranty in comparison with all four competitors gives this panel the edge over its competitors. The fact that the FLEX-PRO™ can be shipped within 1 week is an added bonus.


Although this brings us to the end of the rankings, we have included some more general information that will help you make your choice! And so, before wrapping up, let’s talk about what body armor is and why you need it.

Why do I need body armor?

In a world with a rising number of firearms in circulation, the need for ballistic protection is always increasing. Whether you are a part of the military, law enforcement or a civilian, it is important to be protected against any active-shooter situations that may arise, and body armor provides this protection.

What are bulletproof vests?

Bulletproof vests are typically made up of a textile carrier that contains two armor panels. While the vests themselves are more accurately bullet-resistant, rather than bulletproof, they provide a high level of ballistic protection against many threats.

These armor panels are typically divided into two categories: hard armor and soft armor. Hard armor panels are designed to protect against heavy threats like those posed by assault rifles. Soft armor protects against lower threats, like ammunition fired from handguns.

The panels are typically tested and certified according to a scale provided by the National Institute of Justice in the US. Today, most manufacturers follow the NIJ Standard-0101.06, with a scale ranging from II (lowest protection) to IV (highest protection).

What ballistic materials do you have?

So, what exactly are these panels made of? A variety of ballistic materials go into the manufacture of body armor. These materials include aramid, UHMWPE, Kevlar, steel or ceramics.

Many panels use not only one of these materials, but combinations of them called ‘hybrids’, creating solutions that provide maximum protection with high flexibility and comfort. Manufacturers are always trying to find new compositions which will improve flexibility and reduce the weight of the panels.

How to choose your body armor?

To choose the best soft armor panel, there are many factors you need to consider. Weight, flexibility and thickness play a major role in the decision, since the best body armor protects you while letting you do your job. From a buyer’s perspective, warranty and price are also extremely important when you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Final thoughts

At BodyArmorNews.com, we have considered all these factors and we pride ourselves on being able to give you the most reliable information in a comprehensible format. While there are many effective ballistic solutions available worldwide, these are the top-tier products that stand out in the field of body armor in 2022. Please keep in mind that these rankings are the opinion of BodyArmorNews.com.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Unfortunately it looks like you didn’t take in the most important issue of body armor into consideration! that is will it stop what it says it will? How much of the surface area is considered to stop projectiles. for example, will it stop a 1/2 in edge shot? 1 inch edge? or a 2 inch edge shot? shot placement matters with testing and there are a lot of companies that build for the testing and not the battle field.

    • Hi Lee, Thanks for the feedback. You are correct. But for reviewing these issues correctly a large amount of soft armor panels is required for testing at NIJ certified test labs. Per panel type you need to repeat tests in order to get accurate data and even then the differences in round velocity will have an impact on results.

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