Well, my advice is the following!
If you are planning in the future to be in the private secureity, Private Military the all means try to buy you some real ones and get use to them. Most companies that sell them require the order being on company letterhead. LEO, Military will issue you some real ones if you need them.
Of course you can take the chance in buying some used ones if you want. But I always had a problem in buying used SAPI Plates. The issue was!
1) one they are used- How did the owner take care of them, Did he drop them, are there hair line cracks that can not be seen.
2) Are they stolen plates- Big time federal offense
Here is the 2003 FBI warning with SAPI Plates:
he Defense Criminal Investigative Service of the Department of Defense
(DOD) is investigating the sale of suspected stolen military property. The
property, a small arms protective insert (SAPI), is a lightweight body armor
worn to protect the chest area. When used in conjunction with the soft
ballistic vest, the SAPI is designed to protect the user from multiple
impacts from high velocity, high-impact assault ammunition. The SAPI
currently is being used by U.S. military personnel in military operations
throughout the world. The SAPI provides state-of-the-art ballistic
protection and would provide a tactical advantage to criminals in
confrontations with law enforcement officers.
Investigative sources indicate that individuals throughout the United States
are selling and buying this property at an alarming rate. The theft and
subsequent illegal sales of SAPIs is a continuing and pervasive problem. It
has also been determined that several individuals who have both sold and
purchased SAPIs have criminal histories. Recent legislation has passed that
makes it illegal for anyone with a felony conviction to possess body armor
(the SAPI is considered body armor), Title 18 U.S.C. 931(a), Possession of
Body Armor by a Convicted Felon.
A DOD directive requires that SAPIs be destroyed when no longer needed by
the military and that SAPIs are not to be sold to the general civilian
population. One exception to this directive is the sale to law enforcement.
There have been no government sales to explain the ability of civilians to
purchase any such item legally. Because the SAPI is only being produced
under current DOD contracts, the property should be considered stolen, and
anyone who purchases a SAPI is in possession of stolen military property.
It should also be noted that the picture above is only one example of a
SAPI. Although they all share similar features and dimensions, there may be
slight variations in appearance, to include differences in markings on the
SAPI and the absence of a manufacturer's plate
Now you can buy training plates to get the same effect weight, size for the "Train as you fight scenario" and that is what I suggest to you. You Can buy them if you want, But I went with the cheap route and made mine and they work fine for me and what I need. I made them out of Blue foam board you use on the exterior of Houses and Gorilla tape (Duck tape will work).
I used my real ones traced them on to the foam board. Then cut them out, Used the duck tape to wrap tight and it actually bent the foam board a little to create that bowel effect. I would take a picture of them but everything is packed up so it will be at least two week until I can take a picture of them..
Here are some dimensions so work with if you make some.
Front and back SAPI plates:
Extra Small - 1.27 kg (2.8 lb) | 184 x 292 mm (7¼ x 11½ in)
Small - 1.59 kg (3.5 lb) | 222 x 298 mm (8¾ x 11¾ in)
Medium - 1.82 kg (4.0 lb) | 241 x 318 mm (9½ x 12½ in)
Large - 2.09 kg (4.6 lb) | 260 x 337 mm (10⅛ x 13¼ in)
Extra Large 2.40 kg (5.3 lb) | 280 x 356 mm (11 x 14 in)
ESAPI plates are the same size but slightly greater in weight.
Extra Small - 1.70 kg (3.75 lb)
Small - 2.08 kg (4.60 lb)
Medium - 2.50 kg (5.50 lb)
Large - 2.85 kg (6.30 lb)
Extra Large - 3.25 kg (7.20 lb)http://www.defensein....r-04416/#esapi