Small Arms Protective Inserts(SAPI) are ceramic shielding plates that were first produced for and used by the United States Armed Forces. Before discussing where and how these can be purchased, it's important to know what other names these go by. They are also known as Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts(ESAPI), which are capable of protecting the wearer from larger, higher velocity rounds. Otherwise, they are simply known as ceramic protective plates.
Where to find SAPI Plates
SAPI plates are often available for sale at local gun shows. The benefit of purchasing from a local gun show vendor is the possibility of running into more of a variety than expected. The sellers are often veterans or current military personnel, and will know exactly what customers are looking for. They can often be bargained with to sell at a reasonable price.
Buying SAPI Plates online
SAPI plates can also be bought online. BulletProofMe.com has a large selection of them, including the ESAPI plates. These are much more expensive, because they are manufactured from extremely hard boron carbide material, a boron-carbon ceramic used mainly for this purpose. These cost about 50% more than the regular SAPI plates. SAPI plates are not returnable for exchange or refunds at BulletProofMe.com. However, they are bubble-wrapped and then boxed twice with plenty of protective padding to ensure it reaches the customer in perfect condition.
Security Pro USA is another online location that carries SAPI plates. It was established in 1986 to supply the United States and allied government defense, police and military departments with necessary equipment including SAPI plates. These can be purchased by regular civilians as well, and many times at bargain prices.
In 2004, when the United State's economy began to decline, Body Armor Outlet was established. It initiated a 'buy back' program to liquidate outdated, top of the line armor used by law enforcement in order to redistribute it to law enforcement departments in need. Today, it works with manufactures around the country to sell brand new body armor at a fraction of the cost. Although there isn't a wide selection to choose from, there are some SAPI plates available at BodyArmorOutlet.com.
SAPI plates are also available at Compar99.com. Although many of these are dummy plates used for training purposes, there are some genuine ones if customers look carefully. The website is updated with new products daily, so it helps to keep checking.
SAPI plates can also be found on eBay. There is a good chance for a potential buyer finding exactly what they're looking for at a bargain price. However, due to the nature of the eBay platform, what is available now might not be available in a few hours, so it's important to make quick decisions. Prices vary according to the type, and there is often a wide selection to pick from, including accessories and the more protective ESAPI plates.