Body armour is an important piece of kit that can save lives.
While it was historically used to protect military personnel, there are now a variety of different people that require protection against handgun or rifle fire, including security guards, law enforcement agencies, and even the general public.
Whatever your reason for wanting to invest in your own body armour, there are a few things you should know before you make a purchase.
How Does Body Armour Work?
Body armour is usually made up of either Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene or para-aramids and extra strong synthetic fibres. The para-aramids will be woven into these fibres making it strong yet flexible. This process is designed to help the material absorb large amounts of energy, for example, a flying bullet.
If a bullet hits a bulletproof vest, the energy is dispersed across the fibres, helping it to slow down to a complete stop.
When you are shopping for a vest, look for body armour made in the USA that has been certified to meet the National Institute of Justice standards.
Unfortunately, there are companies online that sell non-certified and non-compliant products, and they will not provide the right protection – so make sure you do your research.
Decide Whether You Need Covert or Overt
Once you have found a reputable body armour retailer, the next step is to decide which vest is right for you.
You can usually choose from two different styles known as overt and covert.
Covert is a vest that is designed to be worn underneath your clothes, and overt can be worn over the top. A covert vest is obviously for people who do not want to show that they are wearing body armour. This can be useful in undercover operations and for door supervisors. The key here is to look for a vest that is as light as possible, light in colour, and breathable.
An overt vest will give you more options as they are produced in a variety of different colours. Because they do not need to be hidden away, they tend to be a lot thicker and therefore a lot more hard-wearing. They also usually come equipped with webbing for ID cards and pouches to be attached. Overt vests are usually worn by the military, security guards, and members of the police force.
The Threats You Face Will Help Determine Which Body Armour You Need
Another factor you need to look into before buying body armour is what threats you are likely to face.
In the military, for example, you are going to need something with the highest level of bullet protection, as the possibility of coming under fire is extremely likely.
Moreover, this threat is likely to be from rifle rounds, so you need something that can be used in conjunction with armour plates, as traditional soft body armour will not be enough on its own.
In addition to a vest, you will need to look for things like a helmet and neck, arm, and groin protection.
Before you purchase body armour, make sure you thoroughly research your options.