I just recently picked up the Guarder SAS level IV tactical vest, a very cheap means to protecting yourself, and acquiring the look of CQB assualters. I found this vest to be somewhat of a weird topic to most people, many have seen it, but few own it or have used it themselves. For the price their asking i assumed it would be a popular choice for close quarter players. In any event, i was eyeing cheap replica armor to hold me over until spring or the odd pick up games for the winter, so i picked this up from SDU eric for a sweet 60. I prefer armor just because i like something that stays tight to your body, unlike my old wasatch which bounced everywheres. also the protection they offer is nice, bbs dont hurt too bad, but if you can stop them, then there an added bonus.
Within a week i cracked open the package and pulled out the vest. My first thought was "Wow its black not navy." as most of the ehobbyasia pics lead you to believe. Then i touched it. The nylon is extremely durable, and will easily stand the test of time, and whatever velcro is on the chasis is very strong. The most notable part of the vest though is the foam plates. They are so incredibly thick, that the vest retains a rigid shape no matter what. they bend and are only about 1/8th inch thick, buy its like wearing corkboard or soemthing. I looked it over some more, and noticed the Neck sheild. It looked nice and not too obstructuve. I then folded out the lower body shield (the ball wall) and laughed, itll work, and look professional, but its like a big external cup. The straps that secure the sides are of excellent quality, and the 3 front m4 pouches have excellent buckles. the loops that can hold shells are elastic and can adjust to hold other items. All the foam plates can be removed via panels covers, and the neck guard and lower body guard can be folded into the vest or removed entirely. However on the shoulder plates, there seems to be too much velcro in the wrong places. I think theres more to this vest than i know. Now to try it on.
I took it to the field for a quick pick up game and tried it out. The waist fits perfectly, and can be adjusted to fit most frames, however, the length cannot, and is too short for my height. Im 6'0 and when i stand upright the lower body shield doesnt do its job. But the rig seems to cover everything when im in my shooting stance. This isnt a good field vest though, when i fell prone, and tried to raise my head to sight up, i found i couldnt lift my head up because the neck brace obstructed my movement. Infact, if your doing anything else other than standing or crouching, something is working against you. Obviously this vest isnt for those best suited to awkward positions.
The Ballistic protection the vest offers is excellent, we took Tankdude's AK @ 420fps with .25s, and shot at the vest from about two feet. You could hear loud cracks from the rounds hitting the vest, but i felt nothing at all. This applies to everywhere, back, front, lowerbody, neck, every inch is plated. 60 dollars for that kind of protection would be easily worth it in CQB.
For what its meant to do, and that is to replicate the SAS level 4 armor, it is worth the money, but for the protection and use, its a real bargain. The pouches work well, and the customization of plates is nice. however, its not the best armor for the woodland as it restricts movement.
+Cheap, affordable armor. Other CQB vests from Guarder can go to 150-200
+6 Stanmag capacity (rear pouch can hold a p90 mag)
+Shell loops, a rare commotity.
+Protection is second to none, works as well as replica SAPI plates.
-Doesnt fit people 5'10 and up very well, but does the job.
-Velcro inside neck brace scratches at balclava