Thank you for your question. What a great thing to do for your uncle.
Since you did not mention what Pennsylvania has provided for him now,
and realizing that the "best" is always a matter of opinion, I set out
to find quality information for you on what might be state of the art.
According to the Jewish World Review, the Interceptor is the best,
especially in the new improved version not yet deployed by the Army"
"...Last year, senior leaders of the Army became aware of
technological developments which make it possible to improve the
"Interceptor" body armor worn by our troops.`
The "Interceptor" consists of a vest, two SAPI (small arms protective
insert) plates worn in the front and the back, and "backing" material
around the plates. The plates are made of boronic carbide, the second
hardest substance known to man (only diamonds are harder) but fairly
The plates will shatter a standard rifle bullet, and the backing
catches the bullet fragments to prevent injuries from shrapnel.
The "Interceptor" is the best body armor manufactured in the world
today, and represents a remarkable improvement over the protective
vests worn by our troops in the first Gulf War, and Somalia in 1993.
Those vests could protect against shrapnel, but a rifle bullet would
cut right through them.
Those vests weighed 24 lbs each. The interceptor ensemble ? which can
stop an AK-47 bullet fired from just 10 feet away ? weighs just 16
lbs. But the best isn't perfect. There are some special types of
ammunition that can penetrate the boronic carbide plates. Last year
Army leaders became aware of improvements that could be made to the
SAPI plates that would protect against most (though not all) of these
special types of ammunition..."
Do read the entire article.
In searching for a way to buy or order the "Interceptor", I found the
following at Military.com. Interesting background on body armor as
well as links for ordering:
There is also a link to a discussion forum on body armor as well.
However, the links to purchasing unfortunately say:
"...POINT BLANK ARMOR
Due to the importance of U.S Government Defense Priority Contracts,
ALL Interceptor Body Armor has been restricted to ONLY U.S. Government
Sales. There is NO schedule for delivery until late 2005. This
includes all colors and sizes of all Military Interceptor models,
"...POINT BLANKŪ ARMOR
GAMMA PLUS LEVEL III
TACTICAL ARMOR PLATE
Meets all ballistic requirements for the SAPI and approved by the U.S.
Army. Plate inserts in vest carrier pocket. Multi-hit capability NIJ
Certified Level III+. Defeats 7.62 X 54mm, 5.56mm X 45mm, M855, and
M80 ball and 7.62 NATO 148 grain.
This item is controlled by the Office of Defense Trade Controls and
restricted to Authorized Military and Police Purchasers. Shipments
outside of CONUS required a Validated Export License. Proper
credentials re required to make any purchase. Contact our Customer
Service Dept with any questions..."
So it looks like these items are restricted for civilian purchasing.
There are items that can be purchased, but do not seem suitable for
full protection or are incomplete unto themselves:
DHB industries echoes the review of Point Blank products:
"...Point Blank Body Armor is the acknowledged worldwide #1 brand of
technologically advanced body armor systems and unprecedented design
development for the U.S. Military, as well as federal, state, and
local law enforcement agencies. Point Blank specializes in the design,
development, manufacture, and distribution of innovative,
technologically advanced tactical and concealable body armor. Point
Blank continues to set the industry standards as the premier company
in terms of technology and development, and is well positioned to grow
both domestically and internationally..."
In an interesting article about soldiers in Iraq buying their own
armor, I found the following from USA Today:
"...Soldiers in Iraq still buying their own body armor
The Associated Press
Soldiers headed for Iraq are still buying their own body armor ? and
in many cases, their families are buying it for them ? despite
assurances from the military that the gear will be in hand before
they're in harm's way.
Body armor distributors have received steady inquiries from soldiers
and families about purchasing the gear, which can cost several
thousand dollars. Though the military has advised them not to rely on
third-party suppliers, many soldiers say they want it before they
Note, this article is from March 2004. But, it goes on to say:
"...Reliance Armor in Cincinnati, which makes armored vests for
soldiers and police, has nearly doubled in size as a result of the
"...The Defense Department says it has contracted with one
manufacturer for its armor. Point Blank Body Armor, which produces the
Interceptor brand, has all but stopped selling to the public..."
Reliance Armor can be found here:
They do have an order form page:
Point Blank can be found here:
While I did not find a way to order from their pages, they do list
their distributors in every state:
You might call you local and nearby distributors for more information
and availability. It seems possible with their variety of products
that some may be available for civilian purchase, although the latest
Interceptor may be tied up by government orders at the moment.
Point Blank can be contacted at:
United States of America
Atlantic Business Center
2102 SW 2nd Street
Pompano Beach, FL 33069
Chief is one Point Blank distributor that seems to have some of their
products available for purchase:
Security and Safety Supply sells some Point Blank products:
This Yahoo store does as well:
Some product sales are restricted while some seem available to the public.
Since this is such a critical purchase, I will rely on you contacting
these distributors to assess the value of the products you can
purchase. This is really a personal decision. But as you see, there
appear to be distributors that will sell some of the line of Point
Blank products to the public and more may be available soon as
government contracts are fulfilled. And since I cannot evaluate what
your uncle is using now, I can not say what might be improved
To find more online vendors of Point Blank, just click this search:
"point blank" +armor +buy OR order
Best of luck and kudos to you for this question and the desire to
provide the best protection you can find.
"body armor" +review -paintball -movie -motorcycle
"Interceptor" body armor +buy OR order
"point blank" +armor
I trust my research has provided you with reviews and possibilities
for civilian purchase of quality body armor. If a link above should
fail to work or anything require further explanation or research,
please do post a Request for Clarification prior to rating the answer
and closing the question and I will be pleased to assist further.