VIDEO: 500 S&W Magnum vs. $300 body armor

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Video and photos by Mike Lang

Story by Lee Williams

Guardian Defense is a new Georgia-based firm that offers Level IIIA body armor to the public at $299.99 – about a thousand dollars cheaper than most firms.

The firm’s owner Kevin Lin says he’s able to offer such low prices because he imports the vest

Lee Williams fires a Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum at High Noon Guns in Sarasota.  Staff Photo / Mike Lang

Lee Williams fires a Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum at High Noon Guns in Sarasota. Staff Photo / Mike Lang

carriers – either concealable or a tactical plate carrier – from China. The ballistic panels – the part that matters – are 100% DuPont Kevlar made in the USA.

Level IIIA is the thickest flexible – Kevlar – body armor available. It’s rated to stop most handgun rounds, buckshot, shotgun slugs and some low-velocity frag.

Lin’s firm also sells ceramic plates, which fit their plate carrier model, for only $89.99. This increases the ballistic protection to Level III, which will stop any round up to and including  7.62 NATO.

As with any discount body armor, the key question is whether it’s safe.

Lin saw our first vest test – a review we conducted of a competitor’s model, which failed to stop two 7.62x25mm rounds – hot ComBloc submachine-gun ammo.

He knew what he was asking for, and sent us a vest anyway.

It arrived last week – a model called the “Recon Concealable Body Armor Level IIIA.”

It’s a decent product. The poly-cotton blend carrier was well made. The Velcro and elastic straps were thick and strong – capable of withstanding multiple washings, which is the main reason carriers degrade. The stitching was first-rate.

Mike Lang, the H-T’s director of photography, and I took the vest to our good friends at High Noon Guns. Co-owners John and Bill graciously allowed us complete access to their new, state-of-the-art indoor range.

We brought a wide variety of pistols for the test – calibers including: 9mm Makarov, 9mm, .45 ACP and 7.62x25mm, which shredded the previous vest.  Our ammunition included both hollow-points and FMJs.

Lee Williams fires his CZ52 at High Noon Guns in Sarasota.  Staff photo/ Mike Lang

Lee Williams fires his CZ52 at High Noon Guns in Sarasota. Staff photo/ Mike Lang

John and Bill upped the ante a bit with a Thompson Contender chambered in 45-70, and a massive ‘hand grenade with a handle’ – the Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum loaded with Hornady’s 300 gr FTX rounds.

The Guardian Defense vest stopped almost everything – including the 45-70. The .500 S&W  rounds penetrated both panels, but this was expected and not exactly fair. These rounds will penetrate an engine block.

The Kevlar functioned perfectly. This is a great product offered at a great price.

Everyone agreed it offers cost-effective ballistic protection for anyone concerned about their safety.

To sum: highly recommended.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Pingback: Body Armor vs. .500 S&W Magnum - Guardian Defense

  2. Pingback: 500 S&W Magnum vs. $300 body armor | The Gun Feed

  3. The .45-70 might have penetrated if a spire point bullet was used in the testing. The slightly narrower diameter of the .45-70 over the .500…BUT similar bullet weight and velocity…should give it the ability to penetrate. I’m assuming that a JSP was used in that Contender.

  4. Geezus christ this game at MOST shulod of only had minor kinect functions that were optional. I’m so sick of seeing kinect only games. Its as though MS is aribtarily forcing developers to make kinect only games just to push their crappy over priced 99 dollar peripheral that deosn’t even work right. Sor of how they are swearing upa dn down taht windows 8 is gona be some sort of desktop revolution .. when in reality it wil jsut cause a desktop revolt , and this peice of crap xbox hardware is just revolting. I refuse to buy it. The fact that cashcom butt humped this game series into being only kinect is even more upsetting , i loved the first game with it huge awsome controller. but this sh*t is weak. Great review joe and thansk for letting us know this game like all otehr kinect games .. IS BROKE.

  5. Pingback: VIDEO: Ballistic vest vs. lots of edged weapons

  6. Pingback: VIDEO: Body armor vs. lots of sharp things

  7. Next time skip all hollowpoint bullets,they will not go through.Try Magtech 454 Casull FMJ-I think it is about 260 gr @ like 1600+ FPS,Privi Partizan 7.62X25 85gr FMJ @ 1600+ FPS,Underwood Ammo 357 Sig 125 gr FMJ @ 1475 FPS,Underwood Ammo 357 mag 125gr FMJ @ 1700 FPS,7.62X39 out of a AK pistol and Underwood 44 mag 245gr FMJ @ 1450 FPS.7.62X25 ammo runs from about 1350-1650 fps depending on load,Winchester makes a 85 Gr FMJ at about 1600.Thanks,Jimmy

  8. Just for fun,try out the Sykes-Fairbain Commando knife,icepick,Cold Steel Trenchhawk,Flechette rounds from a 12 Gauge shotgun,12Ga 3″ magnum slugs and last….a Molotov cocktail.jimmy

  9. One thing that is sure to get through a class 3A vest is a hot naked woman.( that is if it is a guy and the guy is not a you know what ) Jimmy

  10. Just stumbled upon this year old review, but with all due respect Mr Williams, but your information is at best; Poor to ridiculous.

    Your stating that Guardian concealable vest is “$1000 less than any other IIIa concealable vest out there.”

    For a gun writer, it’s probably best to provide factual information, let me help you out. While I’m not a expert on ballistic protection, I’m retired military and know a few things.

    Anyone can buy a quality, concealable and entirely MADE IN THE USA level IIIA vest a lot cheaper than your comments infer, I suggest you go to one of the larger suppliers like and look at their concealable IIIA options, atb the link below, are a few examples from a respectable venfor. There they start around $399 and their top tier IIIa is $570

    Your readers deserve the best information possible.

    By the way, your pop up at the start of the video shows this vest as a Level III product. (You should fix that, because it’s bad enough your review is ridiculous, but stating the vest is level III is completely incorrect.)

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