SafeGuard Armor ‘Stealth’ Level IIIa Ballistic Vest – Review Part 2
We headed east along CA 91. A lengthy road trip took us past the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles, gaining altitude as we made our way towards Las Vegas. Our destination was a non-descript parcel of land nestled among barrel cacti and Mojave Green Rattlesnakes.
Our mission: field a new ballistic vest for SafeGuard Armor.
Intended as an undergarment, the “Stealth” level IIIa ballistic vest is meant to defend against pistol-grade ammunition and edged blade weapons. But as red-blooded Americans with several AR-15s at our disposal, we figured what the hell; let’s see how she holds up…
It was a temperate day in Apple Valley, California. A slight wind rose from the large swath of salt flat that dominates the area to the north. The slope, which forms Bell Mountain, was empty spare a solitary off-roader in the distance. We found level ground, insuring a stout chunk of earth would catch our rounds should they perforate the vest. Packaged in a handy little canvas bag, we eagerly unboxed the SafeGuard Armor in moments. Inside, we found a lightweight black ballistic vest – dubbed the “Stealth,” the undergarment is 100% DuPont Kevlar with a CoolMAX outer vest. Weighing in at around 5.5 pounds, the vest secures with a heavy-duty Velcro bellyband. The gear itself is one of the most comfortable bulletproof vests I’ve ever worn. The material is reminiscent of UnderArmor and where applicable, utilizes breathable mesh to cut down on heat.
We opted to add a little creative flare to our field-test – wrapping the Stealth around an inflatable ball and several watermelons. Keeping up with the vest’s specs, we launched nearly a dozen Winchester .45 caliber hollow points at her. According to SafeGuard Armor, the Stealth IIIa (which we had) would protect the wearer from 9mm, .357magnum, and .44magnum. We ended up putting 10 rounds downrange, tagging the vest in the shoulder and center mass. Although one round managed to slip past the Kevlar shoulder plate, the wound wouldn’t have been life threatening – if anything a grazing shot requiring a few stitches and some Motrin. The flexible inner plating quickly absorbed the remaining rounds – with the first several impacts barely bruising our watermelon. And the inflatable ball remained intact and swollen – lurching back as the hollow points smashed into the Stealth. Ultimately, SafeGuard Armor’s level IIIa ballistic vest stopped the handgun rounds we shot at it. But then there were the AR-15s…
As expected, the Stealth didn’t hold up so well against steel-core 5.56. In fact, the rifle rounds passed right through the Kevlar as if it were warm butter. Frayed layers of Kevlar danced in the breeze as we peppered the vest with a fusillade of fire. The ball simply popped, sending sections of plastic airborne. But the watermelons were another story. A testament to the devastating power of an AR-15, our watermelons literally exploded as round-after-round penetrated the Stealth. The majority of our 5.56 bored straight through the ballistic plates, occasionally retarded by vest’s back section.
SafeGuard Armor’s Stealth level IIIa ballistic vest performed as promised. Able to impede some pretty hot handgun loads, the vest was never advertised to stop hits from a rifle. When it comes down to it, you can’t go wrong with the Stealth – it’s comfortable, it’s lightweight with a low profile and moderately priced (for a vest of this nature). You can check out SafeGuard Armor here.