Is the Body Armor Market Every Going to See Growth Like Suppressors?

body armor
Courtesy Citizen Armor

The biggest challenge for the civilian body armor industry is the value proposition. We love guns. Everyone in the OSD crew has at least one set of fancy plates. But when we’re talking to newbies, plates are so far down the priority list of what to buy that it doesn’t even come up. You need a gun. You need ammo. You need optics. You need training. Plates are nice to have, but there are very few people for whom there’s a clear story around, “This is absolutely the next $1000 I should spend.”

Silencers are at the point where they do have that clear story. The benefits are obvious, and immediately tangible. Body armor isn’t there yet.

There are two ways to solve that:

    1. Find the segment within the civilian market for whom there is an immediate story around body armor, and relentlessly make the products better for them.
    2. Go broader, and figure out a use case that’s compelling enough for people to click “Buy now”.

Over the past few years, a number of companies have gotten into the space. T.Rex and Ferro have done good business in armor, and more importantly have gotten the word out.

Nothing focuses an industry like the merciless demands of consumers. So we might be in the early part of a virtuous cycle: consumer demand attracts companies, companies refine the products and marketing, the refinements attract more consumers, rinse and repeat.

If that is indeed what’s happening, we’ll see more companies entering the armor market, more marketing dollars, and lower product prices. If we don’t see that, it’ll be a sign that armor hasn’t yet found its target. Let’s see.

— Open Source Defense in The State of the Body Armor Industry

3 Responses

  1. Realistically probably not. Short of a Pistol level 1 (2a-2 for previous certs) t shirt that weighs under 2 pounds and costs under $200 it will be a niche section of gear that can be more uncomfortable to wear than most people will put up with. With that said absolutely see a market for a heavier and slightly more expensive version of the above (ie actually exists) for various delivery and driver services becoming more popular especially where crime is high and unrestricted internet orders are legal (not NY or CT).

  2. my hard pistol plate is pretty lightweight and slides in tight against a lycra tshirt. then a flannel goes over. not edc but it’s easy to wear and the plate was under a hundred bucks. always goes with me to public ranges. daily it slips in my briefcase or backpack. adds almost no weight and it’s polymer so it can pass through metal detectors too.

    1. To be honest I always forget hard pistol plates exist but I could see the use of attire works with it especially if they are still that cheap. Typically go with kevlar for coverage and ability to work with business casual to formal but unless the carrier has metal buckles or a steel plate is involved most rifle rated armor wouldn’t do much with a metal detector.

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