Is Body Armor Legal For Civilians?


Is Owning Body Armor Illegal or Legal?


Most of the people who read this blog are Survivalists or Preppers and many of you certainly understand the need to have body armor for yourself and the members of your family to protect yourself in the aftermath of a disaster.  Body armor can protect you from an attack and give you peace of mind.  However, it is important to know that not just anyone in the United States can buy and wear body armor legally.  Laws regarding the buying, selling and wearing of body armor can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, this even includes purchasing body armor online from companies like Safeguard Armor.  In Connecticut it is illegal for civilians to purchase body armor online, there it must be a face to face in person sale.  As many of you may know I previously conducted a review of some of Safeguard’s vests, but didn’t address any of the legalities of ownership (nor is this article meant to be a comprehensive review of the legality, it is just to raise awareness that you need to do some research before buying).  In my reviews I only covered the specifications, comfort, useability, concealability and even did some informal and unscientific testing to see if they would perform as advertised and they did very well!  Feel free to see those reviews by clicking here or here.  It seems as though in most areas of the United States it is perfectly legal for civilians to purchase body armor online or in person.  However, the Body Armor Act of 2002 prohibits a convicted felon from “purchasing, owing or possessing body armor” so if you are a felon and haven’t petitioned for one of the few exemptions to the law, watch out no body armor for you even though you have paid your debt to society.  Also if you were planning to go out and commit a crime while wearing or using body armor in any way be sure to consider that 42 U.S.C. § 3796ll-3, provides for a criminal sentence enhancement if body armor is used in the commission of a federal violent or drug-trafficking crime according to this outstanding report.  Lastly, in some areas there may also be additional restrictions that only allow for the purchase of bulletproof vests if you have a job that requires you to wear one.  Of course police officers, military members, other first responders, etc are typically able to buy and wear body armor pretty much anywhere.

It is probably fair to say that the reason that some jurisdictions limit who can and cannot buy bullet proof vests is that they want to be sure that body armor does not fall into the hands of criminals.  Is it right that lawmakers limit the freedom of the vast majority of law abiding civilians because a few criminals may choose to use body armor in the commission of a crime?  Clearly the answer is No it isn’t right at all.  But that is a conversation for another time.  Police would like to be certain that criminals do not use body armor to protect themselves during the commission of a crime, but as that article shows it does happen, although not very frequently.

Which Body Armor Is Right For You?

Body armor has become more available to the general public over the last several years and in most places in the United States law abiding civilians (who are not felons) are able to own and wear body armor.  Nevertheless, it is important to take the time to find out what the laws are for your specific city, county and state before buying any body armor.  If it is legal to purchase and own in your area, you need to be sure that you take the time to buy the right body armor to fit your needs.  Bullet proof vests are available in many different sizes and protection levels.  Be sure to visit the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) website by clicking here to learn more about NIJ protection levels and the standards for testing and certification.  Consider cost as well as what you believe is the most likely range of weapons that you may need protection from and who will be wearing the body armor.  If you are a woman or you have a wife or daughter who needs a ballistic vest, you need to be sure that you buy body armor that is designed for a woman’s body.  This will ensure a proper fit as well as maximum comfort and protection.  Body armor has become extremely affordable in recent years and is a great way to be sure that you and your family are ready for the worst case scenario.   For a look at a very budget friendly remanufactured body armor check out this video of the “Covert & Overtbullet proof vest from Safeguard Clothing.

The reason many of us prepare for disasters and the worse case scenario is because we look around the world and see more and more frequent disasters happening all over the world.  It seems to us that it isn’t really “if” but “when” a disaster will strike in our area.  Time and time again in the aftermath of medium to large disasters the affected area is plagued with criminals and opportunists looking to loot and steal from abandoned property or even to mug people right on the streets.  Fernando from lived through the collapse of the Argentina economy in 2001 and wrote that the most dangerous thing he and his family did during that disaster was to simply walk back and forth to work or down the street to the local market.  Having a good ballistic vest that is capable of defending you from knife slashes & stabs as well as the common handgun calibers could go a long way to making walks in a dangerous environment here in the United States much more survivable.  So if it is legal for you to do so, I would highly recommend including a ballistic vest as one of your most important preparations for each of your grown family members.  Police and law enforcement officers wear body armor everyday for one reason and one reason only…they work!

Is body armor legal in your state? Let us know in the comments below!

Support this site by shopping for all of your Survival Gear using the Reality Survival Amazon Store! It gives me a few pennies and doesn’t cost you any more!




Prepper Skills:


Free Audio Book:
Free Survival E-Book:
Free DIY Shooting Plans:
Free Dropbox Cloud Storage:
Discounted Freeze Dried Food:
Discounted Premium Razors:



TWITTER: or @RealitySurvival
FACEBOOK Personal profile:


7 thoughts on “Is Body Armor Legal For Civilians?

  1. I don’t see why body armor should be illegal for civilians. We need to be protected just like you’re military does. Once those armed bands of roving looters start running around you are gonna need something to protect you from bullets, and other airborne things that could hurt you, or possibly kill you.

  2. body armor for civilian use is legal unless its used in a criminal activfity

  3. Yep that sums it up pretty nicely, except in Connecticut where you could get into issues purchasing it online as opposed to face to face. Thanks for reading!

  4. Let get this straight your government does not want you to own body armor guns or anything else for they want to be able to control you with fear and intimidation when they don’t get what they want from you.

  5. It is true. One needs to determine the legalities surrounding the acquisition and ownership of protective armor. But the point you made about the use of armor during the commission of a felony should raise the eyebrows of your readers. Often times, someone you and I would consider to be a normal Joe, acting in a perfectly normal way under duress, may be charge by law enforcement for something no one in their “reasonable” mind would consider to be a crime. The unexpected charges brought by the badge are the ones that ruin lives. All for a scalp on the belt of some damnable and upwardly-mobile deputy DA (dumb ass).

    It is true, I would rather be “judged by 12, than carried by 6.” The issue is that those who are sworn to protect and serve often work to protect their pensions and serve themselves lobster tail. Do what you have to do to stay safe, but remember that staying safe means more than what superficially floats at the tops of our ruminations.
    LP recently posted..Some Civil Defense Films for YouMy Profile

  6. Great article! I’ve never thought of the legal repercussions of owning or buying body armor! Seems kind of silly that the Government would limit (or try to) the ability of a person to defend themselves… oh, wait, there’s the attacks on the 2nd amendment…

    Anyway, thanks for the good info, and I can also attest, Safeguard Armor makes a fine product!

    TheALOwens recently posted..The “Almost” EMP Proof VehicleMy Profile

Comments are closed.