Body armor has a surprising number of benefits for everyday situations, and is not necessarily the specialized product that many see it as. Of course complete tactical options are not particularly well-suited to anyone other than SWAT teams and the Military. Nevertheless, a wide range of products are available that can provide simple, accessible, and comfortable protection to anybody and everybody. Many tout the usefulness of weapons for defence, and any potential attackers may look to arm themselves. A bullet is incredibly deadly, and no matter how well-armed you may be, it will only take one errant shot to kill you. This is why you need body armor.
Bullet proof vests are easily accessible to nearly everyone, and are an easy way to protect yourself against a wide variety of threats. Part of the benefit of wearing body armor is the protection it can give you against bullets, certainly. However, many do not realize that bullet proof vests can help mitigate the impact of all sorts of injuries, thereby keeping you safe in all manner of situations. For example, DuPont, the makers of Kevlar, annually hold a ceremony commemorating Law Enforcement Officers whose lives were saved through body armor. Every year a significant proportion of these Officers were involved in otherwise fatal car crashes.
Of course, the main threat a bullet proof vest will protect you against is bullets. Even so, bullet proof vests can be purchased at a range of protection levels according to the ammunition it can protect you against. These protection levels are standardized by the National Institute of Justice, the world leader in ballistics testing. The NIJ Levels that are then attributed to body armor to show you at a glance just how strong your armor is. It is important you ensure your vest is compliant with the testing standards set by the NIJ, and is appropriate for the threats you will be facing.
It is just as important to consider the style of vest you will be wearing. There are a number of styles available to wear, each with their own advantages and disadvantages according to the situation and environment that armor will be worn in. The most common examples are Tactical armor, which as mentioned is usually reserved for SWAT teams and the military, and traditional covert armor that is worn underneath clothing. Of course, there is still variety within covert vests; some of these will be more appropriate for the situations you find yourself in. Nonetheless, most covert vests are lightweight, flexible, and breathable, and so can be worn comfortably.
A covert bulletproof vest has the benefit of keeping your protection discreet, meaning you can wear your vest in day-to-day life. On the other hand, an overt vest may be far more appropriate for your situation. An overt vest is designed to be worn over the clothing, and is still lightweight and flexible, but will usually have a durable and possibly weather-resistant cover. These vests have the benefit of being augmentable with high-visibility covers, pouches for equipment, and quick-release systems. Nevertheless, a covert vest is far more suitable for everyday use as it helps you avoid any unwanted attention while remaining protected.
The main benefit of the covert vest is how comfortable it is to wear, even for extended periods. Of course this will depend on the vest itself, yet most are thin and lightweight enough to be worn comfortably for extended periods. This means that you can almost forget that you are wearing a vest, and you will remain protected against a wide variety of threats. As already mentioned, it is not only bullets that a bullet proof vest can protect you against, as the Kevlar will help absorb the impact of any attack. Even falling debris or traffic accidents can be mitigated to some extent by a Kevlar vest.
Covert body armor will not be necessary for everyone, as some people are fortunate enough not to face threats on a day-to-day basis. However, it is not hard to see examples of innocent people being killed, whether intentionally or accidentally. Many of these tragic accidents could have been avoided with the use of a vest, and when they are so accessible and easy to wear, there are few reasons not to invest in a covert bullet proof vest.
This article was written by Thomas Bowman for SafeGuard Armor. Tom works closely with the manufacturing side of the business, using his knowledge of the body armor industry to suggest adjustments and designs that will help improve the vests for customers.