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Safe Life Defense Hyperline Body Armor Review: Can Something So Thin Still Protect?

We tackle one of the thinnest pieces of body armor out there -- the Safe Life Defense Hyperline. Does it balance weight and protection? Come find out.

Over the years we’ve seen many advancements in technology that have served us in our daily lives. Electronics get smaller and faster while automobiles gain features and become more fuel-efficient.

In the world of body armor, the classic tradeoff has always been weight/bulk versus the level of protection. If you wanted more safety, you needed more size.

We want something light and thin!

We can agree body armor serves a crucial role, but do we have to rumble about like the knights of old to feel safe?

We don’t think so which is why we’ve been on the hunt for lightweight armor that protects without weighing you down.

Recently, we came across Safe Life Defense and its Hyperline armor. It promised a lighter approach to armor. Have they cracked the code with their new Hyperline?

We did a full test out on the range to find out! So keep reading as we walk you through the Hyperline and why we think it’s a good option for those in need of a bit more protection.

Table of Contents

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Super thin (.19”)
  • Made in USA
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Price
  • Perishable (5-year warranty)

The Bottom Line

This new body armor is extremely thin but still held up well to our non-laboratory testing. When we actually took the panel apart, we were surprised at how well it protected.

Not only did the rounds fired not penetrate, but they also didn’t make it through the first three layers. This is impressive protection from such a thin and lightweight vest.

Specs & Features

Specs

  • NIJ Rating: IIIA, HG2
  • Size: 24 sizes
  • Protection: Bullet, strike, & slash
  • Weight: Varies by size

Features

  • Multi-hit capable
  • Concealable
  • Front, rear, and side coverage

Source: Safe Life Defense

1078
at Safe Life Defense

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Background

Wearing body armor is thankfully not something most people have to deal with on a regular basis. I wore it for 15 years of uniformed service in law enforcement.

I can tell you there are a lot of negatives that go along with wearing body armor on a daily basis. In my experience, it was hot, bulky, and generally uncomfortable.

I wore Level IIIA armor my entire career and despite advancements, I still continually pulled at and adjusted my vest during shifts. They would often chafe, ride up, and get soaked with sweat.

When the Hyperline was announced, I was intrigued to see how something so thin could still offer a competent level of protection.

Who Is It For?

Body armor is for just about anyone though check your local regulations since there have been recent, localized, efforts to outlaw the protective gear.

People who work risky jobs or in high-risk areas may benefit from the ballistic protection offered by these products.

Fit & Feel

The most striking thing about the Hyperline is the combination of its thinness and weight. At .19 inches it is a tenth of an inch thinner than an iPhone 12.

It’s odd because based on my experience, it doesn’t convey the feeling of security I was used to from the excessive weight and thickness of older body armor.

All in, the two panels and carrier of the 2X-sized model I tested weighed a little over 6 pounds.

The carrier is a standard fare black, nylon feeling material with mesh on the inside to increase airflow and help the normal evaporative cooling process. This is an important advancement that wasn’t a common feature in years prior.

Multiple, adjustable, Velcro straps ensure a good fit on the carrier — one on each shoulder and two on each side. This also pulled the protection of the panels around my ribs and under my armpits.

The vest felt snug without limiting my range of motion and the panels flexed in a way I was not accustomed to.

How Does It Perform?

I used Speer LE Gold Dot, 147 grain, 9mm ammo for this test, and shot the Hyperline while it was on a Clear Ballistics torso.

The results were impressive.

Shooting 20 rounds from a short distance I grouped my shots in the center mass area. None of the rounds penetrated the vest.

In fact, when we pulled apart the panel, none of the rounds had even penetrated further than the first three layers — a feat for such thin and lightweight material.

What Sets It Apart?

Unlike the body armor I wore in the past, the Hyperline is remarkably thin and lightweight while still offering impressive protection.

The mesh on the inside of the carrier helped with evaporative cooling and was otherwise comfortable.

There are some realities that come with wearing body armor. It will obviously be bulkier than going without, but the Hyperline is one of the thinnest, lightest options you can get.

I was able to wear it under a t-shirt and would be willing to bet most people would not notice the difference.

By The Numbers

Weight: 4/5

As noted, the 2X carrier and both panels still only rang in at just over 6 pounds.

Ergonomics: 5/5

With multiple sizes and configurations, Hyperline is pretty diverse in the fitment department. The carrier feature adjustable, elastic, straps that pull the vest tight to the body based on the fit you want.

Fit/Comfort: 4/5

I was genuinely impressed with the Hyperline’s comfort. The mesh portion on the interior allows at least a bit of airflow.

Protection: 4/5

The NIJ holds IIIA protection as capable of stopping most pistol rounds up to .44 Magnum. Considering this is done with a material so thin makes the Hyperline impressive indeed.

Value: 4/5

The Hyperline comes in at $999 which isn’t chump change. But when you think about the marvelous performance characteristics of the panels despite the thickness, you can see how you might pay a bit more to be on that cutting edge.

Overall: 4/5

1078
at Safe Life Defense

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Final Verdict

In the past, only weight and bulk could offer adequate protection. What you gained in defense, you often lost in range of motion and comfort.

The Hyperline is assaulting that old paradigm and offering a better solution.

Works well with our PPT shirts too!

Safe Life Defense offers a fit guarantee where you can exchange for a better size within 30 days. In addition, the Hyperline comes with a 5-year manufacturer warranty.

In all, we think the Hyperline is a win!

Zero penetration, all rounds stopped

Would you wear the new Hyperline? Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to check out our Best Body Armor article for more suggestions!

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12 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Timothy Paul Danielson

    Sixty-one cents a day for 5 years to be able to survive being shot. It is cheaper than conceal carry insurance and a lot better than taking a bullet. Insurance is a necessity; the vest is a plus. Quit buying newspapers, they're all liars anyway, then you could afford six of these bad boys.

    June 30, 2022 6:17 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      I always looked at vests as insurance. It's what kept me wearing them in 100 degree days.

      July 1, 2022 8:59 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    CP93

    Since it's so thin, will it transmit energy (and therefore cause bruising) even more than the traditional body armor?

    June 30, 2022 5:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      This is a great point that is beyond my testing capabilities. The vest will obviously still allow energy transfer. You can see the label on the inside of the carrier was stuck to the chest of the ballistic torso. This was simply from the impact of the rounds. Exactly how much transfer is difficult to know.

      July 1, 2022 9:00 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        John

        Ahhh... the energy transfer question.

        The maximum energy transfered is equal to the maxium kinetic energy of the round at the moment of impact.

        You can not transfer more energy than you have and energy has to go some place. You can not transfer less energy unless something affects the energy to decrease it. So if nothing decreses the bullet kinetic energy before it hits the vest the energy transfered is the kinetic energy of the bullet at the moment it hits the vest.

        For close ranges of most defense shootings this can be considered for practical purposes estimation if ya just gotta have an idea is the kinetic energy of the round as it leaves the barrel.

        A more correct question, which i think people really intend to ask is ... how much energy is dissipated across the vest?

        The answer to that is simple- all of it.

        So figure out the kinetic energy of the round at moment of impact with maybe distance related math vs impact energy and you will have your answer. Or measure if you can.

        July 1, 2022 12:02 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          John

          Also to add... basically the effect of less bruising in more traditional vests is a result of mass in the depth of the vest in the horizontal plane. Basically, the more mass in thickness and the more resistant the material the more energy dissipated before whats left hits the body. More mass increases weight and the 'stifness' of the vest.

          July 1, 2022 1:00 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Krush

          The kinetic energy delivered to a target is 1/2 *mass*velocity(squared). Using order of operations in math, square the velocity (in kilometers/h) and then multiply it by half the mass (in kilograms). You'll have to do some English to metric conversions from ft/s and grains to km/h and kg. The kinetic energy yielded is in Joules. To convert to pounds of force, multiply the number of Joules by 8.8507. The muzzle velocity of the round listed on the box will be higher than the actual impact at the target because the round slows down over distance. There are measuring devices available that can be used at or near the target. Be careful not to shoot the measuring device! :)

          July 13, 2022 11:14 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Krush

        Does the vest have compatibility with trauma pads? That would help mitigate some of the physical impact of the rounds. Also, does it have anti-spall capability? Not having the anti-spall would be a deal breaker for me.

        July 13, 2022 11:18 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Scott

      I was just thinking the same thing. Even with thicker, bulkier vests I thought you still got massive bruising. I was thinking that since it's so much thinner, all the energy still gets transferred to the person, since there's no mass in the vest to absorb it. But I'm curious what the experts say. Regardless, massive bruising is still preferable to a large exit wound...

      July 4, 2022 2:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John

    Why did you rate Protection: 4/5 ?

    If it was about $200.00 less I'd order one right now. But I understand the price now is probably worth it.

    June 30, 2022 4:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Great question John, these numbers present a challenge because they are subjective. I welcome the opportunity to explain my thoughts in a little more detail. In my line of thinking, the protection offered is no doubt 5/5 for level IIIA. In fact, I've seen people shooting this vest with a Smith and Wesson 500 and it stopped the rounds!

      However, if I keep in mind that there is level IV body armor available, that creates a range where the protection could possibly be better. It's not the fairest comparison, but level IV body armor at this thinness is currently the stuff of science fiction.

      July 1, 2022 9:10 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        John

        Thanks Sean

        July 1, 2022 11:31 am
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