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Body Armor Basics: What You Need to Know About Expiration Dates

All body armor vests, inserts, and other protective gear are stamped with expiration dates. It’s essential for you to know why and when your armor expires so you’ll have peace of mind knowing your gear is always performing at its peak to keep you or your loved ones safe.

First off, does body armor expire?

Yes! Just like any other chemical compound, the ones used to make up the panels inside your Kevlar, composite, or industrial fiber combination vest will eventually degrade. Of course, there are a variety of factors that influence how fast your body armor will break down, this includes:

  • Exposure to moisture (for example, a vest that’s worn daily in humid climates is going to expire sooner than a vest that’s only worn on weekends in dry climates.)
  • UV light
  • Overall use (daily vs. sporadic usage)

How long does body armor last?

This often depends on what your armor is made out of, how it was manufactured, and how frequently it’s used. On average, most body armor comes with an expiration date around five years after it’s made.

What are the risks of wearing expired body armor?

Body armor won’t instantly go bad on its expiration date, but expired vests aren’t rated to protect you with the same reliability and consistency as non-expired vests. How so? Well, expired vests may not be penetrable by a bullet or blade, but its internal components are more likely to warp, crack, or dent, which may cause serious bodily harm to the wearer. As with everything else with expiration dates, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. It’s essential to follow the expiration guidelines provided by your body armor’s manufacturer. Regardless of whether you think your vest seems in good shape, using an expired piece of body armor could have consequences.

Can you extend the life of your armor?

Yes! There are a few ways to make your armor last up until it’s expiration date. Our specialists put together a few tips in the video below to help those interested in extending the life of their body armor pieces.

If you have questions about expired equipment, the lifespan of your current body armor, or want to discuss upgrading your current protective gear, give us a call! When it comes to backpack armor, condor plate carriers, and tactical vests, we have you covered. Our experts specialize in tactical body armor, and we’re your one-stop shop for all your tactical armor needs online.