Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Not Bulletproof

From the July 24, 2012 San Francisco Chronicle:

TacticalGear.com filled an order received on July 2 from Holmes, who allegedly opened fire inside an Aurora, Colo., theater on Friday, killing 12 people. Holmes paid $306.79 for an urban assault vest, two magazine pouches and a tactical knife.
Chief Executive Officer Chad Weinman said despite its name, the urban assault vest is not bulletproof, but is simply a vest made for carrying accessories.
It would still have been a hard shot to make in a dark and crowded theater.  I mean, with all those people running around, someone might have gotten hurt!

UPDATE: From some of the comments, it is apparent that irony doesn't come across very well.  I can't imagine any likely situation where an armed civilian returning fire would have made this situation worse.  The odds are against success, but even causing the shooter to look for cover would have been an improvement.

31 comments:

Alcibiades said...

Not exactly related, but if you look up "assault jacket" on Froogle, you'll see some civilian clothing with similar terminology.

They might be based on WWII Army jackets, but I think some of the manufacturers picked the name to sound cool.

Anonymous said...

This doesn't exclude the possibility that he was also wearing bulletproof clothing in addition to the tactical vest, does it?

Sigivald said...

Technically that's not proof he had no armor; just that he didn't get any there.

That said, if that order is the only source for claims he had armor, it seems staggeringly unlikely to be so.

Jeremy said...

Guess it's time for the government to ban scary looking (and named) clothing.

Anonymous said...

Would they be as critical of (say) a fly fishermans vest purchased at Orvis? How about a diaper bag with a shoulder strap? Either would have done the job just as well.

Jeff P. said...

I don't think body armor is available to the general public at all, only police and military types. I was wondering how Holmes acquired such. RealDirtCheap, a Fort Worth retailer of everything related to firearms, only sells body armor with empty pockets -- the kevlar inserts are not for sale. Probably they are federally regulated.

Mel said...

It wasn't just a dark and crowded theater; it was dark, crowded and filled smoke (maybe tear gas, though those reports may also be wrong.) It would have been a tough shot and one I don't think I could have made. (I'm a good shot on the range, but I'm a mom and would have worried about hitting someone else's kid.)
I do know combat vets and cops who could make it, though, were it not for the no guns policy of the theater.

bob said...

The shooter wasn't wearing plate style armor but he was definitely wearing a ballistic vest, a IIA type, you can see it on the ground along with his kevlar helmet in the 13th or so pic down on this page:
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2176377/James-Holmes-Colorado-shooting-Gunman-used-drugs-killed-Heath-Ledger.html

Its the object in front of the feet of the man in the tan cap, looks like the tactical vest might be to the left in the pic.

regardless, it doesn't mean that it would have been useless for a concealed carrier to shoot at him, that type of vest might stop the penetration of the bullet but its still going to feel like getting hit by a sledghammer or worse.

TOTWTYTR said...

I wonder what would have happened if he'd bought a fishing vest from Bass Pro or a photographer's vest?

The only crime here is charging that much money for a vest to carry stuff.

Moneyrunner said...

It really is a good thing that the theater was a gun-free zone. Imagine what the carnage would have been if the audience had been armed.

Mark Turner said...

Looks like a Plate Carrier with no plates. He isn't getting soft or hard armor for 300.00 unless it is used and likely sh-it.

Anonymous said...

I have a Camelbak Urban Assault XL backpack. It, too, is not bulletproof, though it's side pockets could handle a few STANAG mags.

Gnarly Sheen said...

It's a shame he wasn't wearing one of those photographer vests, I read on the interwebz that those cause criminals to shoot you first. Then he would have just shot himself first thing.

Cybrludite said...

A IIA level vest is the lowest grade still made, and is not rated to stop a .357 Magnum. Even when it does stop a bullet, the effect from the blunt force trauma is much like getting sucker-punched by Manny Pacquiao.

Anonymous said...

I realize you're being sarcastic, but there are folks who truly believe that an armed citizen would make things worse.

"You might hit somebody!!!" So it's better to do nothing and let someone go about their business whose sole purpose is to kill people?

D'oh!

Fûz said...

"I don't think body armor is available to the general public at all, only police and military types."

Silly rabbit, search eBay for Level IIIa armor. It's easier to get than the rifle was, and just like the rifle, for quality, you pay.

Fûz said...

"I don't think body armor is available to the general public at all, only police and military types."

Uhhh, search eBay for "level IIIa armor" and choose between used American or brand new Russian, Chinese, or Israli. Easier to get than the rifle, and for quality, you pay.

Anonymous said...

...or if you want new, Amazon.com has it all.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dsporting&field-keywords=bulletproof+vest

Chaz said...

I think everyone focusing on the armor is the wrong direction...

Level IIIa armor is available on the civilian market BUT it doesn't stop anything beyond a Magnum pistol round. Even an intermediate rifle round would penetrate.

The question I have when it comes to the gear he had is: Where did he get the selective fire rifle AND the smoke grenades?

Full/burst auto selective rifles aren't available to civilians outside of law enforcement/military personnel. Grenades aren't available to the civilian market period (they're completely prohibited under 'Destructive Devices').

This is why I think that the shooter had access to a police/swat armory (and hence may have had yet another accomplice within their ranks).

Sabinal said...

I am so sick of the gun nuts claiming that if there was no gun policy in the theater,Holmes would have been shot down. Bullchips!!

One, if he did not follow the rules of not carrying a gun to the theater, what makes you think others did not? I know a few CCW carriers that take their weapons everywhere, rules be damned. As soon as the chaos lifted and Holmes started to reload they got out of there -- human nature.

Second, it was a dark and smoky and loud situation. Unless you are trained in combat, escape is your first action, not attack, ESP if you have loved ones there.

you folks are just as deluded as the anti-gun people thinking guns solve everything. owning a gun does not make you a member of Seal Team Six. You have a thing that can kill people - ruin lives. And no one except an elite few would ever get the training to pop off Holmes in the situation he put the folks of the theater in.

Stop dreaming that you're Dirty Harry and grow up. Your ideas about being a hero kinds disappears when you see murder actually in front of you. Your next response is to flee, not play police.

Dirk said...

FYI, the information about him wearing body armor was stated at the press conference the afternoon of the shooting. He was described (and this is as close to an actual quote as you'll get, barring watching the actual video) as wearing "A ballistic helmet, vest and leggings, also groin and throat protection, plus a gas mask and tactical gloves, all black." No details were given (then) as to what protection level any of those items had.

Clayton said...

Sabinal: mass murders stopped by bystanders with guns happen with some regularity, but of course, get no attention.

This would have been a very difficult situation, even for a highly trained person (as many civilians now are). Many of these random mass murders aren't so difficult.

Anonymous said...

Sabinal, I think you're projecting from what you'd do. I know a number of concealed-carry folks - IF they'd carried in spite of the prohibition, at least some of them would make the assessment "do I run, making myself a bigger target and living with the guilt of not doing what I could, or can I see a way to make myself a small target and wait for a good shot?"

Evil Creamsicle said...

someone might have gotten hurt? really? 70 people 'might have gotten hurt' as it stands, of whom 12 people 'might have' died. Do the math. Take the shot.

Sigivald said...

Chaz: Who said his rifle was selective fire?

Clayton said...

Evil Creamsicle: Irony doesn't work so well in text, sometimes. Obviously, there isn't anything that could have turned out worse.

Clayton said...

Chaz, not only is there no evidence of a full auto weapon, but full auto weapons are available to civilians, with the right licenses. I have a friend with a full auto Thompson.

Will said...

Sabinal:

Just because you appear to be a coward, who is unable to deal with anything of what went on in that theater that night, doesn't mean everyone else is the same way. Stop thinking most people are the same as you. That would be foolish thinking.

Look, there is a vast range of possible reactions in a stressful situation such as happened that night. Mindset, training, experience, physical condition, research, and weapons available, all have a bearing on how someone reacts. You might consider attending a training course, such as FrontSight provides, to get a better perspective. The benefits of self-defense training is a sense of empowerment, and a lessening of fear.

Anonymous said...

Most people that go through the hoops to get full auto weapons are not the type to kill a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

You can buy at least level IIA bulletproof kevlar online and probably machine them to fit.

Anonymous said...

I just ignore those silly "no guns" signs anyway. Just about everybody with a CCW ignores them as well. And the only way I would return fire is if I needed to to get *Me and mine* out alive. Otherwise, if I can escape safely, that would be my first choice. Everybody else has the same opportunity to legally carry a firearm as me. Not my fault if they choose not to.