I was passing along a great deal on plates. You can get minimal carriers without MOLLE for less than $100 that are very concealable under a jacket or baggy shirt. Not a big deal there. Even my Mayflower is pretty concealable without the kangaroo pouch. Remember that steel plates are much thinner than ceramic or poly. REALLY thin compared to the poly ones actually. Those are in NO way concealable.
The nice thing about these is:
1) Their price for all 4 pieces.
2) The fact that steel plates are multi shot where most ceramics are 3-4 hits before they are too spidered to stop additional rounds.
3) This kit has 6×8 side plates versus 6×6 like most companies offer/push.
My soft armor should arrive today. I picked up Level II concealed armor as well. I went with II instead of IIIA because it stops all rounds I call “banger calibers” such as 9mm, .40, .45, and even 357. Basically all the pistol calibers except for hunting magnums. I am no expert, but I don’t think I have ever seen a gang banger arrested with a 454 Casull shoved into a belt. Also has a trauma pad. The thickness is actually not so bad that I can’t throw my steel over the concealed if I am in a hurry.
The only times I have had to wear armor was in the military. I have worn flak jackets, ceramic plates in the crappy MOLLE carriers that were be transitioned into service in the early 2000’s, and the Second Chance vests used in tracked vehicles. My soft armor is about the same as the Second Chance vests we wore. They aren’t that bad to wear albeit they do get hot. Flak’s were annoying and hot, but they helped keep your other gear from rubbing holes in your body and they worked VERY well to lock your helmet into the collar so that you could sleep in a moving vehicle. The hard plates are very uncomfortable, hot, and are completely unforgiving. They are, however, the best option for protection. Your carrier’s internal padding makes a huge difference IMO at to whether you will never wear it or actually use it.
As to covertness of body armor:
I figure that plate armor is made for protection. If it comes down to a situation where we have to wear it versus soft armor, being seen is more dangerous than being seen with a combat load out and full body armor. If the thinner steel plates can be hidden by a coat to some degree, WOOT! Either way you are going to be a bullet magnet to some degree no matter what. Better to be a protected bullet magnet than one that is completely squishy.
And yes…. I have helmets for the wife and I as well. They are the old PASGT ones, but I will probably get a MICH helmet with NVG mounts in the next year or two along with PVS-14 for me. Just going to have to save up for that since I am going to be quitting my second job en lieu of other projects and time with my new grandson.