The Use of Armored Vehicles in Protective Services – From the 2019 Executive Vehicle Survey

Since the Omar García Harfuch Ambush, we (ISDA) have received questions concerning the use of armored vehicles in protective services. The following is an excerpt from ISDA’s 2019 Executive Vehicle & Secure Transportation Survey. The surveys have been conducted biennially since 2013. The 2019 survey includes data on – Two-Vehicle Scenario’s – The types of vehicles used – The security driving environment they drive through – the use of rental cars and the vehicle type most often rented. We also collected data on hiring subcontracted security drivers.


Over the last six years, the surveys have covered various aspects of secure transportation. The survey aims to examine trends and collect data to develop a broader perspective on the secure transportation profession.

Practitioners who participated in the survey represent the corporate, high net worth, and private security communities. Thirty-seven percent of the participants are from the corporate community, twenty-three percent are from private security, and twenty-one percent are from high net worth. The participants have an average of fifteen years of experience.

Please keep in mind that while these may not be the best vehicles for the job, they are the most used, and although the ISDA is a worldwide Association, Most of the respondents are from the US – so it is fair to say that the results are US-centric.

The Data

Sixty-three percent of those who took part in the survey do not use an armored vehicle. Of the thirty-seven percent who do use armored vehicles, their vehicles are armored to levels B5 and B6. As a side note, there still seems to be confusion concerning armor levels and the use of the word “bulletproof.” No vehicle is bulletproof, and vehicles marketed as such should be used with caution.

Note – The use of armored vehicles has fluctuated from 15.5% in 2013 to 22.9% in 2015, and 14.1% in 2017. In 2019 the number of participants using armored vehicles jumped to thirty-six percent. That is more than double the amount reported in the last survey (2017) and thirteen percent from the highest usage (2015).

More on the Level of Armor

The level of armor can be an indication of the type of risk the vehicle moves through. The higher the level of armor, the higher the perceived risk. The survey indicated that of the thirty-seven percent who use armored vehicles, 29.7% are driving Level B4 vehicles, which are used mostly in a low to medium risk environment. Level B5 vehicles are used by 27.5% (of the 37%) of participants, Level B6 28.6% (of the 37%), and the highest level, B7, was used by the remaining 14.3%.

Teijin, an international ballistics standards app, provides up-to-date figures of major international standards for different ballistic protection applications. The app is available for free on Android and iOS platforms.

ISDA Members can download “Best Practices for Purchasing an Armored Vehicle

Renting Armored Vehicles

This year, twenty-six percent of the participants rented armored vehicles; although this number has been consistent over the years, we feel that it is a significant metric. The number of survey participants who rent armored vehicles has stayed relatively the same. We urge caution when renting armored vehicles. Ensure you are getting what you pay for.

For the complete report

2019 Executive Vehicle and Secure Transportation Survey Results Summary

A Great Article – Rental Vehicles and Secure Transportation; Best Practices for a Less-Than-Perfect Solution

Excellent article via ISDA Member Mark Caldwell – Considering the Purchase of an Armored Vehicle?