Why did you buy that?

That was the first question I was asked by WF when I opened the box up. I really didn’t have an answer for her. I was a bit dumbfounded really. Most guys have that last minute “boy got caught doing something wrong” answer. I didn’t.

What was in the box? Before I imbibe, I want to say and in my defense I have really spent a lot of time thinking about this. About two years worth. Read, reviews, YouTube videos, etc, etc. I really struggled with this decision.

Back to the box, I purchased body armor from a company called AR500armor.com. They are located in Phoenix Arizona and seem to be a small sized operation, and I don’t mention that to be a bad thing. I mention it because they are a smaller company and make a good product. From placing my order until the UPS guy dropped the box off at the door was around 3 weeks. Their website does state that do to high demand some orders are taking upwards to 6-8 weeks.

I went with the steel AR500 plates vice the SAPI/ESAPI plates that you can purchase from numerous online companies mostly because of the price difference. I was able to get the same level of protection from the steel plates, and a pair of steel plates came in less than half of what one ESAPI plate would cost. AR500Armor also coats each plate with the truck liner product Lin-x to reduce spalling that occurs when a round hits steel. Essentially causing shrapnel.

Not convinced that AR500 steel is not as good as the ESAPI/Ceramic plates? Here is a link to a number of videos showing the resilience of the product after taking numerous hits from many different calibers of rifles and handgun ammunition. I honestly don’t want to get shot period, and even wearing body armor a person is going to feel the strike for a few days. But a bruised chest is better than a sucking chest wound.

The box. I thought a bit more padding could have been placed around the plates. But I don’t want to split hairs. Shipping was pretty inexpensive, like $16. Hauling the box downstairs, I was thinking jezz they are real heavy. Like heavier than the ESAPI plates I was issued in the Army.


Plates side by side



The strike face sticker.





I threw a plate on the scale and it came out to 9 lbs. Pretty close to the weight of a ESAPI plate.




Prepping the Condor chest rig for the front plate.



Each plate is curved to fit your torso, and the Condor plate pockets did not have any issue taking each 10″ x 12″ plate. Front and back slid right in without an issue.




Can’t really tell but both plates are in the carrier. Took all of 5 minutes to insert both and readjust the velcro.


I have had the Condor quick release carrier for a little over a year now and had it in the field numerous times without plates. So far it has held up well. I wore the carrier with the plates on for a few minutes and it fit well. My concern is wearing for long periods, are the should straps going to have enough padding with the extra 18 lbs? or with a full load out of ammo, magazines, and the hydration carrier on the back? Time will tell I guess.


Total price delivered to the door? $186.

Lucky Charms and Twister

Yesterday, GF and a good friend of ours spent a better portion of the day at the range shooting the shit out of some paper.

You know after a few months of shooting paper plates and splatter targets it just sucks. Most ranges (including mine) do not allow any sort of shooting exercises to be performed, or movement drills. They just want you to shoot straight at your target, play nice with others and go home without a ambulance ride. I totally understand, they have liability.

But yesterday, the weather was pretty chilly it had rained the night before and we had the outside 50 m range to ourselves.

Back in August I wrote a short post about . They offer free paper targets that you can print yourself and take to the range. I do suggests you have a partner if you shoot these targets, its more fun! Here are a couple of examples.


The premiss is to have your back turned to the Lucky Charms target. There are three possibles for each target. Your partner calls out a color, number, or shape. You turn, draw and shoot. The idea is to make you think first. Identify your target, sight, squeeze, and fire.

The Twister Drill is kind of the same as the Lucky Charms but you can really mix it up.

We ran the Twister like this: Starting with your back towards the target

Drill 1:  Shoot all the red dots on each line. Turn facing target, draw and shoot all the red dots.

Drill 2: Shoot the last two dots on the second line. Turn facing target, draw and shoot.

Drill 3: Shoot the first two dots on line one and the first two on the last line. Turn facing target, draw and shoot.

Your shooting partner can really use his/her imagination when calling out shots. You can also add the extra stress of only putting a few rounds in each magazine and as the shooter goes through the exercise he/she is forced to do a magazine reload in the middle of the exercise. Throw a snap cap in a magazine, force a failure to fire.

We burned though the last hour (or maybe two) shooting these targets, had fun. Because our paper was 8.5 x 11′ we kept all our shots at 3 m.

Here is a link to get your own copy of the targets in PDF format from Haley Strategic Partners that you can get through Soldiersystems.net, scroll down the page and you can see the link to Haley Strategic.

As a post script. The first part of November I wrote a post about a gun failure that occurred to me. I shot probably 200 rounds through that same weapon yesterday and never had an issue. I now check every piece of ammunition before I throw it in my ammo box.

Update: Condor Chest Rig

A while back I wrote a short article about the Condor Chest Rig that I purchased. I was able to use it in the field this past weekend for the first time. Results? I’m still on the fence.

I can tell you that wearing the Condor with a 60 lbs. ruck sack sucks to say the least. I had a hard time trying to adjust the straps on the Condor, not that it is hard to adjust the straps, I had a hard time adjusting it comfortably to my body. The other thing I had an issue with, was while wearing the ruck sack, the ruck caused the Condors straps to push into my neck. The Condors straps would not fall under the ruck sack straps or lay down flat. Maybe its my body type.

Before I give the system a thumbs up or down I will try it again next month when I am out in the field again.

Condor Chest Rig

I was sitting outback of the house today and the UPS guy rolls up in his brown truck, jumps out of with a box in his hand! I love Christmas in June! I had ordered a chest rig back in March from LAPolicegear.com. For whatever reason the rig has been on back order since that time. Total cost? $39.

Here is a view of the front.

There are 6 pouches (3 double stacked) for AR-15 magazines.

4 pouches for sidearm magazines on the left and right side of the rig.

The flap (center) can be used for sidearm magazines or other accessories, flashlight, knives, etc.

All the pouches are permanently sewn to the rig, so you cannot move them around. Condor did add molle to both the right and left sides so a person could add more molle gear if desired.








Here is a view of the back or the side closest to your torso.

Center- is a mesh pocket to store documents. Unless they are laminated I personally would sweat through the paper quickly.



Here is a better view of the rig in a multicam pattern.

All the straps are adjustable with padded shoulder straps.

There are a myriad of chest rigs that can be had in the price range of $39 upwards to $300.  It all depends on what you are looking for. Some rigs allow the insertion of ESAPI plates, soft armor, side plates (side protection) extra molle on the back. Just depends on what you are looking for.

One thing I will warn you against is the airsoft versions of chest rigs, and plate carriers. None of these are made to hold up to the hard knocks that continued field use do to gear. Although they look the same, feel the same and probably smell the same in the end the airsoft gear is not. There is your buyer beware for the day.

I bought this for use when I go into the field and when I’m not required to wear the IOTV. The Army issue “vest” sucks or in military parlance its commonly called the Fighting Load Carrier kit.