Soft Body Armor…What You Need to Know

Is it legal to own body armor?

Body armor is legal in all 50 states for law-abiding citizens.

As a US citizen or resident of the US you have the right to protect yourself. You have the right to own a bulletproof vest. However, that right to own a bulletproof vest is automatically taken away if you commit a violent crime. The James Guelff and Chris McCurley Body Armor Act of 2002 stipulates that no person previously convicted of a violent crime may purchase, own or possess body armor. If you have been convicted of a violent felony, you cannot own a bulletproof vest of any kind.

There is no background check, waiting period, or federal registration required to buy body armor. No permits or paperwork required to legally purchase it and/or own as a civilian. You can order a bulletproof backpack-to-vest on, and have it delivered to your home or office without asking permission or reporting to anyone. You do not need to register it with authorities.

Body armor is legal in all 50 states with ONLY the following three restrictions:

  1. Body Armor is illegal if you have been convicted of a violent felony.
  2. Body armor may not be shipped to a civilian in Connecticut. Body armor purchases in Connecticut are not allowed by Connecticut state regulations to occur over the internet; they MUST be made only through an in-person store purchase.
  3. Wearing body armor while committing a crime will increase penalties greatly. Body armor was not designed for nor intended for criminals!

You can purchase your bulletproof backpack-to-vest online and take delivery in 49 of the 50 states. The one exception is Connecticut, which requires that you buy a bulletproof vest in person, not online for delivery. You can still own a bulletproof vest if you live in Connecticut, we just cannot ship vests to Connecticut.

Can I travel with my backpack/body armor on a plane?

Yes! Body armor is legal in all 50 states and can be transported and/or worn over state lines. As a law-abiding citizen you cannot be arrested for wearing or transporting of body armor and your armor cannot be confiscated

What does the “NIJ Rating” of body armor mean?

The soft armor panels in your Leatherback Gear™ bulletproof backpack are Polyethylene NIJ (National Institute of Justice) rated for a Level IIIA threat. This Level IIIA rating is the ballistic standard of resistance used in the United States and most of the world. Body armor becomes NIJ rated when it passes a strict set of guidelines at a NIJ certified 3rd party ballistic laboratory.


Armor rated at level IIIA will protect the wearer against nearly all handgun rounds up to .44 magnum, including 9mm submachine gun rounds, and even 12 gauge shotgun slugs. To be rated level IIIA, armor must protect the wearer from .44 magnum with a mass of 240 grains and a velocity of 1340 ft./s.

What is the Lifespan of Soft Armor Panels?

All soft body armor has a limited lifespan due to the natural degradation of ballistic materials over time. Leatherback Gear™ soft armor panels have a 5-year lifespan with a full manufacturer warranty, guaranteeing the ballistic panels from defect during the entire lifespan of every vest produced.

Warranties & Guarantees

Satisfaction Guarantee

If you are dissatisfied with your Leatherback Gear™ backpack/body armor, send it back to us in its original condition and we will issue a refund for the entire cost of your product within 30 days of shipping.

Incident Guarantee

Should your Leatherback Gear™ backpack/body armor save your life, we promise to replace your backpack and armor at no cost. Simply send us your body armor accompanied by an official incident or police report.


Leatherback Gear™ provides a 5-year manufacturer warranty on all ballistic panels and a 2 year warranty on all of its backpacks.

Basic Body Armor Care & Safety

Can I test shoot my armor?


Care Instructions for Leatherback Gear™ Backpacks and Armor

IMPORTANT: Do not machine wash or dry clean ballistic panel insert(s).

  1. Remove ballistic panels from inside the backpack.
  2. Gently wipe ballistic panels using a mild soap and water. Set aside to dry.
  3. Close all Velcro fasteners on the backpack armor pockets.
  4. Dry clean, hand wash, or machine wash the backpack on a delicate cycle using medium water temperature. DO NOT BLEACH!
  5. Air dry the backpack
  6. Reinsert ballistic panels with the “Strike Face” facing outward of each armor panel pocket; BE SURE THE BALLISTIC PANELS AND BACKPACK ARE DRIED COMPLETELY prior to re-inserting.

How should I store my body armor?

You should store your backpack in a room temperature environment away from direct sunlight, liquids, and chemicals.


How do I buy body armor? Can I purchase it online?

Body armor is an unregulated product which does not require any special paperwork or background checks in order to purchase. Any company selling body armor can choose to restrict their sales to law enforcement or sell to the general public. Leatherback Gear® believes everyone has the right to be protected. Body armor is simply a reactionary tool to a life threatening situation. By itself it can cause no harm. As a law-abiding citizen you have an absolute right to purchase protection for you and your loved ones.

You can order body armor online through We do our best to keep all items in stock and provide same day shipping on all orders before 5pm (unless they are customized). You may also contact us by phone at 877-6-SAFETY to place an order.