Body Armor Warranty Makes a BIG Difference

If you've read any recent articles published by ShotStop®, you’ve probably heard by now about the value of a warranty as it relates to your body armor. We receive many questions from customers seeking additional information related to our warranties - why they are so important and why our warranties are potentially different than what you typically see in the body armor industry today. We’ve put together a brief example of why we believe a warranty is a very important component when exploring the proper solution for body armor.

Typically, an administration or public entity is responsible for selecting the body armor solution that will justify the designated dollars provided to their local police department. The decision-making process usually involves the following questions:  

  • What is the stopping power?

  • How much does it weigh?

  • How thick is it (in consideration of the carrier system)?

  • How much does it cost?

Although that decision-making approach is very efficient and can lead to a solid decision, it doesn’t address the more specific details that should be considered when purchasing body armor

Do Not Overlook the Warranty

One element often overlooked is the warranty. In fact, we hear from clients that there is an expected warranty of 5 years with a midterm examination ensuring the plates are within warranty specs and have no hairline fractures or deformations.  For us, we look at the warranty as “product life.” Warranties represent how long a product is going to be in service. In our case, and in the case of rifle body armor, your warranty decides how long your officers can truly be using this product with full confidence before it has to be replaced regardless of quality. 

Let’s break down an example of how a product warranty or “product life,” impacts the overall business decision. Let’s say there are two options:

Option 1 is a ceramic shooter’s cut 10x12 NIJ Level III plate very common in the industry. It ranges in cost from $250 to $350 based upon specifics. 

Option 2 is a polyethylene (poly) plate shooter’s cut 10x12 NIJ Level III+ with polyethylene material. Cost is right around $500 per plate.

The product life/warranty for the ceramic plate is 5 years with the required midterm x-ray examination. The average warranty length for products developed from ShotStop is 10 to 15 years. To supply a crew of 20 officers with a front and back plate would total 40 Plates.

With the previously mentioned ceramic option, the total investment cost is around $12,000.

With the poly plates, the total investment is approximately $20,000.

After 5 years the ceramic plates will need to be replaced. If the agency decided not to upgrade and purchased the exact same plates and quantity as before, they would be looking at an additional $12,000 which makes the total investment $24,000 (not including the administrative cost of an additional procurement process).

If the agency had purchased poly plates, they would still have 5 (and potentially 10) more years without having to engage in a new round of proposals and lengthy reviews. 

So, there is actually savings and a logical business decision since you’re buying plates that are on average 30% lighter than the best of ceramic, with better multi-hit stopping power. Thinner, lighter poly plates are more comfortable and remove the need for ongoing examination or concerns that the product is going to give them the protection they need. Therefore, it seems very logical to save $4,000 over the product life cycle and obtain a better product lasting 10 years.

Yes, warranty is king and deserves serious consideration when it comes to choosing your body armor solution. If you need more information to lead you in the right direction in making this extremely important decision, contact us.