ESAPI on Private Market: How Old is Too Old?


Verified Military
Aug 14, 2007
Armor has gone through some changes in recent years, and I was trying to find out if there is a good source for reading up on what constitutes serviceable "old stock" body armor (specifically, ESAPI APM2 from 2005 ). I have done a number of searches and did not readily find anything on "age" of body armor, or if it degrades. Do we switch it out just because the newer stuff is better, or is there a sort of shelf life on certain kinds of body armor composites?

At what point does ESAPI body armor get too old to be considered serviceable if it has no physically visible damage? Does it degrade in static condition, and/or is there an online resource you can recommend?

Thanks in advance for any help on the topic.
The manufacture will list a “shelf life” but from what I have been told, the only way to ensure plates are GTG is by xray’ing them to ensure there are no cracks in the plate. That said, even with a crack in the plate, the plate would still offer protection. But to what level and how it would meet DoD standards, I do not know.

This is one of those items you don’t really want to go the cheap route on IMO. Better to pay extra and know it will work when you need it, then to pay less and die as a result. You can buy a new set (front and back) depending on brand and threat level $500 on up to $2000.
Body armor does not really degrade from anything other than heavy use, primarily moisture. When soft body armor first came out it did not have an expiartion date, those came about because L.E. agencies asked for expiration dates. Plates IMO are completely stable...unless it has been damaged (More than just normal wear) it's serviceable. Many think of body armor/plates as a rabbit's foot (Better safe than sorry...I'll buy new stuff) but I have no issues with wearing something that is in good shape, regardless of the expiration date.

P.S. I'm that way about a lot of (Dry) food too, which my wife hates!