Watch Your Back...and Your Front and Sides - Dave Sheer Uniforms
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Watch Your Back…and Your Front and Sides

Watch Your Back…and Your Front and Sides

As South Africans, we will always try to hold onto our pride and love for our magnificent country but just when we thought that we were used to the level of crime and danger, we received a massive blow. We are living in a very volatile time now in South Africa.

While a torch and firearm have become necessary tools that we keep under our beds at night, there’s something else that, unfortunately, has become a necessary accessory in South African homes, regardless of where you live. We’re talking, of course, about your bulletproof vest. Most people have only seen these bullet-stopping items of clothing in action movies or worn by police officers and soldiers. However, they are selling out quickly in security stores throughout the country.

So, what exactly is a bulletproof vest? It’s a form of body armour that intends to stop or reduce the penetration of the body from projectiles (bullets) or shrapnel from explosions. There are different types of these ballistic vests, and they can be either soft or hard armoured. It’s possible to wear just the vest or you can even add plates to further decrease the chances of anything penetrating your body.

Who uses or would potentially need to use a bulletproof vest? Obvious examples are law enforcement officers, security responders, and soldiers. However, many different types of people in South Africa have started purchasing bulletproof vests for their personal protection. People living in high-threat areas, such as farms or high-crime zones know all too well how important having a bulletproof vest is. People have even started carrying vests in their cars and having them accessible at home. In the event of violent criminal activity – time willing – they can quickly put on their vest before responding to an incident.

This is where Dave Sheer Uniforms & Tactical Equipment can help you. We are currently selling new bulletproof vests, which come in the form of plates, be it stand-alone or in conjunction with soft body armour, and a plate carrier. Strap in as we show you the various products we stock and why they are so important today.


Level III+++ Ultra Steel SA Stand Alone Plate
(R1,795.00 incl. VAT)

Size: 250 x 300mm
Weight: 2,85kg

RifleCalibre Bullet Weight Velocity
R1 and/or .3087,52 x 51mm 143 – 148gn 854m/s
R4 and R55,56 x 45mm 55gn960m/s
M16-A2 5,56 x 45mm 60gn 940m/s
AK-47 7,62 x 39mm 123 – 125gn 710m/s

This very popular plate is made from a Very High Hardness (VHH) steel. It’s a stand-alone plate which means that it’s capable of stopping the calibres mentioned in the above table by itself. It doesn’t require extra (soft) armour to be worn in conjunction with it, and it can withstand multiple shots.

Well what can it stop, you’re thinking? The R1 and its variations (R4 and R5) was the standard service rifle of the South African Defense Force. The M16 is an American service weapon and it entered service just before the Vietnam War. The AK-47, also known as a Kalashnikov, is a Russian weapon that most people recognize because of its affiliation with terrorists or bad guys in movies.

Now, picture looking down the barrel of an R4 or M16 held by a man in a camouflage uniform in an African or Vietnamese jungle, or perhaps you’re looking straight at a Kalashnikov that is being held by someone who wants to harm your entire family. The shot’s fired and before you even hear it, you’re on the ground. It hurts but you’re alive because you have a Level III+++ Ultra Steel SA Stand Alone Plate in the front. You have one in the back just for good measure but we all know that you don’t turn your back on a gunfight.

Ultra-Light Level III++ (SA) Stand Alone Plate
(R3,395.00 incl. VAT)

Size: 250 x 300mm
Weight: 1,10kg

Rifle Calibre Bullet Weight Velocity
R1 and /or.308 7,52 x 51mm 143 – 148gn 854m/s
R4 and R5 5,56 x 45mm 55gn 960m/s
AK-47 7,62 x 39mm 123 – 125gn 710m/s

This is another example of a stand-alone plate, the difference being that it’s lighter – by quite a bit we might add. This is because it’s made from polyethylene. Like with all things in life, there are pros and cons. While you’ll be able to move quicker with these plates, the protection offered is just slightly less effective, as can be seen by the table.

Level III SA Mix Plate
(R1,595.00 incl. VAT)

Size: 250 x 300mm
Weight: 2,75kg

Rifle Calibre Bullet WeightVelocity
R1 and /or.308 7,52 x 51mm 143 – 148gn 854m/s
R4 and R5 5,56 x 45mm 55gn 960m/s
M16-A2 5,56 x 45mm 60gn 940m/s
AK-47 (Ball – MSC) 7,62 x 39mm 123 – 125gn 710m/s
AK-47 (API Type BZT) 7,62 x 39mm 123gn 725m/s

Here we have an example of a plate that needs to be worn in conjunction with another (soft) body armour. You’ll be able to see from the table that this – slightly lighter – plate offers almost identical protection as that of the first stand-alone plate you read about. This Level III SA Mix even offers protection against an AK-47 that is loaded with two different types of ammunition. The key phrase here, however, is “in conjunction with another form of armour”. The protection that this plate offers is only provided, granted you are wearing another form of body armour, usually soft armour. While this ceramic plate can protect you from high calibre rifles, you don’t want to be hit more than once when wearing it.

So, while this plate, which is used by our very own South African Police Force, is fractionally lighter and it offers almost the same protection, keep in mind that you will need to consider buying soft body armour as well.

Ultra-Light Level III++ Plate
(R3,095.00 incl. VAT)

Size: 250 x 300mm
Weight: 0.98kg

Rifle Calibre Bullet Weight Velocity
R1 and /or.308 7,52 x 51mm 143 – 148gn 854m/s
R4 and R5 5,56 x 45mm 55gn 960m/s
AK-47 7,62 x 39mm 123 – 125gn 710m/s

Here, we have another polyethylene plate that needs to be worn in conjunction with soft armour. At just 0.98kg, this ultra-lightweight plate offers the same protection as that of the ultra-light stand-alone plate but the 1,10kg stand-alone has a built-in trauma pack and again, you will need to supplement the 0,98kg plate with soft armour.

Side Plates

As you can imagine, most of the damage that you expect to absorb will be coming from the front. The front and back parts of your body make up most of your surface area and this is why most people who wear body armour opt for front and back plates but not always side plates.

Of course, if you want maximum protection, don’t leave the sides of your body exposed. Dave Sheer Uniforms & Tactical Equipment has you covered on the sides as well:

  • Entry Level Steel Side Plate (R1,200.00 incl. VAT): this plate can stop a bullet from an AK-47 and lesser.
  • Level IV Side Plate (R1,995.00 incl. VAT): this plate offers much greater protection and can stop a bullet from a 7,62 x 63mm (30-06). If you happened to be in the bush wearing a bulletproof vest with a level IV side plate – as bizarre as that may be – and a hunter, who was using his standard 30-06 rifle, fired a round into your side, you’d stand a good chance of walking away – however painfully.

Plate Carriers

You have read about the different types of plates that may save your life one day but where do you put them? You have more than one choice:

  • Falcon Plate Carrier (R2,395.00 incl. VAT): well, along with your plates, you can place your trust in the water and abrasion-resistant Falcon Plate Carrier. This durable vest has space for front, back, and side plates. Owing to the design of its shoulder buckles and straps, it can be put on and taken off very quickly – which is vital for any “time is of the essence” situation such as a farm attack, home invasion, or quick security response. Molle panels allow you to add on an array of pouches for your spare magazines, first aid kit, or torch. The carrier’s design allows for added strength and shock protection. This adjustable vest is not only extremely functional, but it looks great and comes in a variety of different colours.
  • In-House Manufactured Plate Carrier (R1,195.00): we manufacture our own plate carriers and different pouches at very reasonable prices without compromising quality. You will have enough space and comfort for those double and even triple mag pouches.

Don’t Be Shy

When it comes to safety, be it your own or that of your family, we don’t take chances. Perhaps in the past, someone would call you paranoid for owning a bulletproof vest but today, it’s very much becoming the norm to keep one handy.

We’d be happy to speak to you in person so come in and get advice from people who have many years’ worth of experience in both the use and sale of the products you have read about today, plus much more.

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