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  #1  
Old 09-24-2012, 6:13 PM
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Default Does Body Armor Have An Expiration Date?

Question is as above... I have a P.A.C.A. Level IIIA vest (model #ZG3A-3) and it's dated October 2002. I also have Point Blank brand interceptor vest with Tactical Armor Products Gamma-M plates front and back dated to July 2004.
Obviously I am not a BAMF, so the PACA vest has only been worn a few times...other than that they are in storage. Do vests degrade over time?
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Old 09-24-2012, 6:14 PM
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IIRC, expiration is 5yrs from manufacture. Check for a label.

~~~

Sunlight is bad for vest and will cause them to degrade. Moisture is a variable in effectiveness.
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Old 09-24-2012, 6:30 PM
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If I recall properly they have an 'estimated expiration date' based upon the number of times the SBA is doffed and donned. The idea being that the taking it off/on over time loosens the tight weave of the fabric that it depends upon to stop rounds.
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Old 09-24-2012, 6:37 PM
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Well even though I'm not SHTF fanatic, I would rather wear a ten year old vest to a gun fight than no vest... If S really HTF lol

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Old 09-24-2012, 6:58 PM
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Yes they do, proper storage and limiting exposure to sunlight is important
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  #6  
Old 09-24-2012, 7:07 PM
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I was told that NIJ destructive testing on expired and very very very expired vests showed very little in the way of reduced effectiveness. Wish I could find that article its buried somewhere in the intardnet . Il look tonight.....
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Old 09-24-2012, 7:25 PM
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I've tested 20+ YO LE used duty body armor & they still work as advertised. Most were Point Blank & Second Chance brand from the early to late 1980s, just regular yellow Kevlar weave panels encased in white water resistant pouches. I've never tested the later high performance stuff. Do some testing on your armor if you are worried. Watch the old Richard Davis vids, but I wouldn't test them like he did. You can shoot the corners of the panels, but use some duct tape to keep the layers from fraying.

If you are worried about it, you can beef up your armor by adding more layers & add some steel trauma plates.
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Old 09-24-2012, 7:41 PM
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Generally the service life, assuming worn every day, is five years. The enemy of most soft body armor, particularly the units made principally of Spectra, is moisture. Some Spectra vests were found to be compromised by sweat after a year or two of regular wear.

While most soft armor would probably be okay at > 5 years of everyday use, if you are someone who bets your life on it every day, it's peace of mind to replace on / around the manufacturer's recommendation.

If the vest has not been worn more than a few times and has been stored correctly, it is more than likely just fine. I still have a Safariland vest I wore every day back in the early 90s. It's been stored since I replaced it. It probably is still effective, but I wouldn't bet my life on it.
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Old 09-24-2012, 7:49 PM
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Remember, you want WOVEN Aramid kevlar.

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=498169
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  #10  
Old 09-24-2012, 9:14 PM
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technically NO - it's effectiveness does not "expire" suddenly 5 years after date of manufacture.

however, there are service limitations to how long you want to keep your issue vest around that you've sweat in for 20 hour shifts year after year.
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Old 09-25-2012, 6:44 AM
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Our fall protection gear (harnesses and lanyards) expire after 5 years, and you can bet if I need to rely on it to save my life, I'll take the manufacturer's recommendation on that any day.
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Old 09-25-2012, 8:35 AM
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keep the vests dry and cool

HEAT & MOISTURE are the biggest enemy of vests

don't leave it in your trunk

I'd have confidence in a vest that is rarely worn, but kept dry and clean.

5 years of almost daily wear on duty is what they are accounting for. 5 years is conservative IMO.

For occasional wear for a vest kept in a cool dry place, I'd wear it 20 years later with no issues.
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Old 09-25-2012, 9:09 AM
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So if you typically keep a kevlar vest or panels locked in your safe other than the occasional run and gun you should be able to get far beyond 5 years?
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Old 09-25-2012, 2:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stix213 View Post
So if you typically keep a kevlar vest or panels locked in your safe other than the occasional run and gun you should be able to get far beyond 5 years?
WAY beyond 5 years
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