This is a post from Speed6 over at Minion Report Forum, I think its pretty well thought out and to the point, specially the way he goes about purchasing armor so that it serves several purposes, from most likely to be used to less likely scenarios.
I wanted to share my experiences with buying NVD's and body armor, thought it might help any other newbs out there. First, BA:
I originally bought a set of steel level III rifle plates and a protech carrier. WAY too heavy and uncomfortable for all day wear IMHO. Then came a level II concealment vest...then eventually I just broke down and bought a level IIIA concealment vest, level IV in-conjunction plates and an eagle plate carrier with cummerbund.
If I could do it all over again, this is what I would do. IMHO, this would be the best setup in terms of cost efficiency, comfort, effectiveness and versatility. First, get a level IIIA vest from bulletproofme in their thinnest material (gold shield: http://bulletproofme.com/ProMAX_Vests.shtml) this will be your supporting vest for rifle plates and can double as a concealment vest. My level II vest is about as thick if not thicker. I would recommend a tan carrier, this way it can kinda blend in both as a concealment vest and under your plate carrier. Next, get bulletproofme's level IV in-conjunction rifle plates (http://bulletproofme.com/Body_Armor_....shtml#Ceramic). Lastly, get an eagle small/medium plate carrier with cummerbund (http://www.optactical.com/eainplcawicu.html). Per my experience and Nomad's (he recommended this carrier to me) this is the best bang for your buck plate carrier around.
Next, NVD's: I have an ATN NVM-14 gen II set, a PAGST helmet with MICH upgraded suspension, and a PASGT helmet mount.
If I could do it all over again, I would still probably go with the ATN NVM-14 (it can take AA's or CR123A's and is pretty well built), but I would get a gen III or gen IV (spend the extra $$$, it's worth it). I would also probably just break down and get an ACH or MICH helmet. It looks like it's a better design, the helmet mount isn't any more and the helmet costs at tiny bit more. From what I hear and in my limited experience the helmet mount is where it's at, the most comfortable and versatile option. You are gonna want SOME kind of mount (helmet preferably, maybe one of the upgraded head suspension systems) cause holding the scope or your weapon with the scope mounted gets old REAL quick.
So there you have it, any comments/thoughts/questions?