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    Can I Buy a Bulletproof Vest?

    Can I Buy a Bulletproof Vest?

    Can you buy a bulletproof vest? Yes! As long as you live in the US and haven’t been convicted of a violent felony, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Any resident of the United States can buy a bulletproof vest, regardless of your occupation or citizenship. You don’t have to be a police officer or armored car driver, and you don’t even need to be a US citizen (any US resident can buy one) - the only qualifications you need are a felony-free record and an interest in protecting yourself!

    Bulletproof vests and other pieces of body armor are just safety equipment; no one’s ever been harmed by a bulletproof vest. Because of that, there aren’t a bunch of bureaucratic restrictions on purchasing them. Except for a few very specific cases, anyone can purchase a bulletproof vest either in person at a store or online, and then they can wear it wherever they want to. You can find a guide to the laws about body armor in each state using BulletSafe's guide to body armor law by state here, although they are mostly pretty uniform throughout the whole country.

    There are only a few exceptions to this freedom to purchase a bulletproof vest. The James Guelff and Chris McCurley Body Armor Act of 2002 states that no person convicted of a violent crime may purchase, own or possess body armor. So, if you have been convicted of a violent felony, you aren’t allowed to buy a bulletproof vest. But if you haven’t, there is no reason why you can’t buy or own one. It is up to the buyer to determine whether or not they are legally allowed to buy a bulletproof vest; if a felon comes into possession of a bulletproof vest, the responsibility does not fall on the person who sold the vest. For this reason, there is no background check, waiting period, or registration necessary in order to buy a bulletproof vest, so an ordinary civilian can buy one hassle-free.

    The other small exception is that in the state of Connecticut, all bulletproof vests must be purchased in person, face-to-face in a retail store. You are not allowed to order bulletproof vests online if you live in Connecticut, and so unfortunately we cannot fulfill online orders or ship to that state. Rest assured, you are still totally free to buy and own a bulletproof vest, you’ll just need to go to the store to purchase it. You can find an authorized BulletSafe dealer near you using our store locator.

    You are also free to wear your bulletproof vest wherever you want to, with very limited exceptions. You can wear your vest to the shooting range if you’re worried that you might be standing next to an inexperienced shooter; you can wear it to work if you have a job like a bounty hunter or a repo man where you’re worried you might encounter violent individuals; you can keep one under your bed in case of a home invasion or in your emergency bunker in case of a major catastrophe; you can even wear one day-to-day in any and all situations where you’re concerned about your personal safety.

    The only exception to this is that you can’t wear your bulletproof vest into an airport or on an airplane. You can put it in your checked baggage, but you can’t wear it on your person when you fly. You should also exercise caution if you’re considering traveling internationally with a bulletproof vest. Different countries have different laws regarding body armor, and you should find out what those laws are before you get ready to head to the airport. You definitely will not be able to travel internationally with the ballistic plates we sell for upgrading your vest’s protection level; whether you can travel with the vest itself or not will depend on what country you’re flying to, and you’ll need to look their laws up ahead of time.

    As you can see, anyone is free to own a bulletproof vest, as long as you haven’t been convicted of a violent felony. And now, thanks to the BulletSafe bulletproof vest’s super-affordable price tag of $299, personal protection is truly available to anyone for the first time. To celebrate your freedom to buy and own body armor, you can use the coupon code “ANYONE” at checkout to receive free shipping on your order from BulletSafe.com.

    Does it make financial sense for employers to buy bulletproof vests?

    Does it make financial sense for employers to buy bulletproof vests?

    What costs more, buying security guards bulletproof vests or paying the lawsuits in wrongful death cases?  That’s the question on my mind. 

    Let’s take a look by comparing the cost of wrongful death lawsuits vs. the cost of vests.  

    What do wrongful deaths cost?
    There are a few things that have altered the landscape related to this question.  First, wrongful death settlements have become larger and increasingly more common.  $3,000,000 is not unusual for a wrongful death lawsuit.  Also, if someone is injured on the job and not killed the lawsuits can be just as large.  

    Security Guard assaults are becoming more common.  Armored car drivers are most at risk.  Let’s find one company to use as an example.  Loomis has had two armored car drivers killed in a four year period.  (ref: http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2017/05/armored_truck_employee_shot_an.html)

    Thus, an estimated cost of wrongful death lawsuits to a company like Loomis is $1.5M per year.  

    What do bulletproof vests cost?

    Loomis operates 3,000 armored vehicles.  If they wanted to supply 3 vests per vehicle, that would be 9,000 vests.  BulletSafe vests are $299, so the tally would be $2,691,000. That would last them five years.  

    The cost of outfitting everyone in a Loomis armored car with a bulletproof vest would be $538,200 per year.  

    $1,500,000 vs. $538,200.  It is far less expensive to buy vests.

    Not only will outfitting armored car guards with a bulletproof vest save lots of money, it will save the lives of employees too.  Also, employees know when you care about them. Buying them vests shows that they matter.  Some companies have started supplying BulletSafe vests to all of their armored guards, others have not.  Which would you prefer to work for?

    It might be time to consider buying employees that work dangerous jobs a BulletSafe vest.  

    Tips for Buying A Bulletproof Vest

    Tips for Buying A Bulletproof Vest

    Here is some advice for buying a bulletproof vest.  You may find me slightly biased because I run BulletSafe, but I like to be really honest with people so I hope my advice is useful. 

    1. Choose your protection level.  Handguns or Rifle:
      1. Handguns: 89% of gun crime happens with handguns, and level IIIA soft armor will stop almost every handgun.  So level IIIA is my suggestion. 
      2. Rifles: If you might be involved in active shooter situations or you want something to wear while deer hunting on public land, you'll need rifle protection. This requires hard armor like our ceramic or PE plates.  Level III is good for active shooter scenarios, but if you are hunting go with level IV to stop the rounds that deer hunters use.
    2. Choose your coverage area.  Most people choose the coverage of a standard bulletproof vest. A vest covers almost twice the area of a standard plate carrier with 10x12 plates or soft panels, yet it costs just slightly more.  Few people choose the combat ready protection of our Alpha. It is much bulkier than the popular BulletSafe Bulletproof Vest. 
    3. Choose your budget. 
    • Less than $650 for a vest: Take a serious look at BulletSafe.
    • More than $650 for a vest: Visit a local uniform shop. They will measure you and get you fit for something slightly lighter and more flexible. 
    • Plates under $200:  Look at BulletSafe's Ceramic Plates. At 5.7lbs. they offer great protection at an affordable price.
    • Plates over $200: Look at BulletSafe's Ultralight PE Plate.  At 3.3 lbs. it is ultra light, they are $299.
    1. Choose your size carefully.  Bulletproof vests do not fit like a shirt.  Your shoulders, arms, and neck all fit outside the vest.  The most important things about finding the right vest is your height and weight.  Use our size chart to pick the right vest for you. 
      1. Find your height and weight on the chart.  Order this size show.
      2. If you are between two sizes:
        1. If you are fit and have a flat stomach, choose the smaller size.
        2. If you don't have a flat stomach, choose the larger size. 
      3. This size is probably not the size shirt that you wear.  Don't worry.  Height and Weight is more important. 
      4. Our vests run really large.  Why? Because we normally sell them to security guards and those guys are big, so our vest is too. 
      5. We do not make a 3X vest.  Please use the height and weight chart. Most people who request a 3X are very well served with a 2X. 
    2. Get free shipping. Use the coupon code "Blog" and receive free Ground shipping from BulletSafe.com.  It's our way of saying thanks for paying attention and reading our blog. 

    BulletSafe Dealers Are Our Best Resource

    BulletSafe Dealers Are Our Best Resource

    Even a great product at a great price needs great places to sell it.  Our customers often either don't have or don't want to use credit cards to buy a bulletproof vest.  Instead they want to pay cash.  These folks need to buy their vest in a store.  So we need good dealers to stock BulletSafe products. 

    Our first dealers were local to us.  We are in the Detroit area, which has a large number of private security companies.  So we asked them where they shopped for their uniforms and equipment.  Then we visited those companies, in person. 

    It went really well.  Action Impact is a gun range, shop, and training facility that is owned by a former Chief of Police.  He understood our product immediately and became our first dealer.  Then an Army Navy Store called Harry's Army Surplus let us stop by.  They couldn't believe our product could be purchased for $299.  They've been a great dealer ever since. Of time we have signed up dealers all over. 

    Are vests aren't in every store, but they are in quite a few.  If you are looking to find a BulletSafe dealer near you, please visit this page. 

    If you would like to become a dealer, you can fill out the form right here. We are always looking for stores where people shop for related items like: uniforms, tactical equipment, gun shops, and ranges.  These companies do well with our vests.

    How'd You Start A Bulletproof Vest Company?Aug 7th 2013

    How'd You Start A Bulletproof Vest Company?Aug 7th 2013

    How did you start a bulletproof vest company?  This is the first question people ask. It isn't a simple story, but you're reading and I'm writing so I will try to tell it as quickly as possible.

    After Engineering School I went to work for a Helicopter company.  There I became a Test Engineer.  Test Engineers see if things work properly. One assignment I had was to test a new fuel tank liner.  Instead of a Kevlar liner, they were switching to polyethylene to save money.  The new liner was only 30% of the cost of the Kevlar one. If it worked, it would save a bunch of money. I think the difference was $100,000 vs. $30,000. I was on the team that did much of the testing and it worked really well.  We all received little certificates for our desks that said we helped the company save money.  At the time, I looked at bulletproof vests, they cost $1,000 and were made of Kevlar.  I wondered if they could switch to polyethylene and get the price to $300. 

    After working for the helicopter company I went to work for Ford where I became a business planning analyst.  It was at Ford that I learned to make things inexpensively.  The Helicopters at my old company were $50,000,000 and didn't include any electronics.  A fairly complex car or truck was less than $20,000.  Ford knew how to build great things at a low price, it was a great place to learn.  I left Ford in 1998 to start a company, but tried to keep that knowledge handy.

    Fast-forward to 2012 and I was in a store that sold bulletproof vests.  I noticed that vests were still $1,000 but now they were made of polyethylene.  I was surprised.  Why hadn't the price dropped? 

    I smelled an opportunity. Why were vests so expensive? Could you make them for less?  Would anyone buy an affordable bulletproof vest?  Would this be a good business for me to launch? 

    Fortunately, I'm married to a really smart woman who is also a marketing expert.  I also have a brother with a Master's Degree in Market Research.  I enlisted their help in finding the answers to my questions.  Here they are:

    Why were vests so expensive? I identified three reasons:

    1. Because police departments only pay 1/2 the price for their vests and the federal government subsidizes the other half.  This causes police departments to buy nicer vests than they would normally. 
    2. Police departments are hard to sell to.  You have to visit them, you have to measure each officer, meetings are canceled if there are emergencies, lunches and dinners are often purchased, and the sales process is slow.  This adds significantly to the cost. 
    3. Many customers want custom cut, fit, and stitched vests. This requires local manufacturing, highly skilled labor, and a portion of vests are sent back because the first attempt doesn't fit well. 

    Could you make a vest for less?  Yes.  The manufacturing of the vest for less wasn't hard, but could you make, market, and find customers for an inexpensive bulletproof vest. 

    Who would be interested in an affordable vest?  It didn't seem like police departments would be that interested, even Detroit's police department who was just about bankrupt didn't want to buy vests that were customized, and every department we spoke to couldn't believe that we wouldn't send a representative to visit them.  But, we did find a second market for vests.  Security Guards.  Security Guards need protection, but they don't get a federal subsidy, nor are they issued a vest by their job.  They have to buy their own vest and $1,000 is two weeks take home pay for them.  That is far too expensive.  

    Could you sell an affordable bulletproof vest?  Yes, in fact some people already were.  Army/Navy stores all over the country were selling expired bulletproof vests for $300-$450.  These were vests with no guarantee they will work, no liability insurance, and no warranty.  None of the stores seemed to know if these vests will still work, yet they were selling for as much as we thought we could sell a brand new vest for.  The only problem, Army/Navy stores were paying as little as $50 per vest for the product. 

    What could we sell a vest for?  Right away we learned that $299 was the target price.  It was lower than we had hoped.  At $299 we would lose money on our first batches of vest and would need to sell quite a few of them to get the cost below that, but after interviewing 100 security guards it became clear, $299 needed to be the price.  One person said that if the price was higher than that, we would have to ask his wife and he didn't want to do that. 

    After we figured all of that out, we decided to start the company.  Unfortunately, it is a long, slow process to create a bulletproof vest, get it independently tested, and to acquire liability insurance for your products.  After about 2 years we were able to launch, on August 7th, 2013. We debuted the BulletSafe Bulletproof Vest at the Midwest Police and Security Expo.  Here is picture of myself and my friend Beth who helped me out in the booth. 

    It was a great launch, except for the white BulletSafe labels which we used on our first vests.  One officer mentioned "those make a nice target". We changed to black within a week. 

     

     

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