Preparing for disasters is crucial for everyone, not just military and law enforcement professionals. Tactical gear can be essential for civilians to handle adverse situations they may encounter. One piece of gear that often goes overlooked is body armor.
However, it is one of the most important pieces for both civilians and law enforcement professionals, and it is legal in most states. So, even if you are not a security personnel, you can still purchase one. Before deciding whether to include body armor in your survival kit, here are some important facts to consider.
What is Body Armor?
Before purchasing body armor, it’s important to understand what it is. Essentially, body armor is a piece of protective gear, typically a vest, that covers the body to prevent injury. Body armor may include a helmet because it protects the head. Body armor is often used interchangeably with bulletproof vests, but it may not be entirely bulletproof. It may be strong enough to slow down a bullet, but not necessarily stop it. The primary materials for modern armor are Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) and Aramid materials such as Kevlar and Twaron. These materials disperse the bullet’s energy as it passes through the ballistic panel. Armor plates can also be crafted with steel, which are heavier in weight but are generally cheaper.
What are the different types of body armor available?
Body armor can be made of different materials such as Aramid, UHMWPE, ceramics and steel. There are various options available in the market, which can be explored online. An overview of body armor manufacturers can be found at BodyArmorNews.com. The following are the different types of body armor that you can consider:
Soft body armor
This type of armor is made of flexible layers of PE and/or Aramid, capable of stopping handgun rounds from penetrating it by decelerating them rapidly. The successive layers of the vest absorb the bullet’s energy, gradually stopping it before it can penetrate.
This category can be divided into three types;
Ceramic plates: These armor panels are much stronger than soft armor ones when it comes to resisting high velocity rounds. Ceramic plates use a combination of layers of PE/Aramid with Ceramic and Level IV ceramic plates can also stop armor piercing rounds. The ceramic breaks the incoming round, and the PE/Aramid package part of the plate absorbs any fragments left. However, most ceramic cannot take multiple rounds because the plates become weaker with each round. Moreover, they are heavy in weight and cannot be used in every textile carrier as the carrier requires additional pockets.
Polyethylene plates: This is a variant that has become popular in recent years. These plates are made from layers of PE (UHMWPE) that are pressed together under high pressure and temperature. These plates are much lighter in weight than ceramic plates, but they do not stop armor-piercing rounds.
Steel plates: This type of armor is cheaper but heavy, and rounds tend to ricochet, making it less effective than other types of armor. Steel plates can still provide ample protection and are a good choice if you are on a budget.
By exploring these options, you can find the type of armor that meets your requirements and budget.
How to properly fit body armor?
The fit of body armor is crucial, regardless of the type you choose. It should cover your front, back, and sides, protecting your vital organs and ribs from potential bullet attacks. Proper positioning and adjustment of the armor are necessary for achieving the right level of protection.
Is body armor necessary?
Whether you need body armor or not depends entirely on your personal preference and situation. If you work in law enforcement, it is an essential piece of tactical gear. For civilians, it can be a lifesaver in defensive scenarios, such as during disasters or attacks. Wearing body armor gives you the confidence to face survival issues. It is also important to note that body armor requires proper maintenance and care to ensure that it continues to offer adequate protection. This includes regular inspections for any signs of damage or wear, and following manufacturer instructions for cleaning and storage. Additionally, it is recommended to replace body armor after it has been hit by a bullet, as it may have weakened the material and reduced its effectiveness. By taking good care of your body armor, you can ensure that it is in top condition when you need it the most.
Can body armor save your life?
Body armor can significantly increase your chances of survival from bullet attacks. However, it does not guarantee complete protection. When choosing body armor, consider the NIJ rating, which is a global ballistic standard of resistance. Ratings range from Level II to Level IV, with the Level III and IV ratings providing protection against rifle rounds.
What factors to consider when choosing a carrier?
Choosing the right carrier is just as important as choosing the right body armor. A carrier is a piece of textile that holds the soft armor panels and optional hard armor panels, and it is crucial to ensure that the carrier fits comfortably and securely.
The best carriers are made of strong and durable materials such as cotton, polyester or nylon and feature Velcro straps for a custom fit. It is also important to avoid carriers made of low quality elastic materials as they can weaken over time and lead to a sagging. In addition, a carrier with adjustable features allows you to attach extra gear or pouches for added convenience. A well-fitted carrier that holds the armor panels in place is critical to ensure that the vulnerable areas of your body are fully protected in a high-risk situation.
Overall, body armor is a crucial piece of gear for combat situations. However, it is important to remember that nothing can guarantee survival in adverse circumstances, and overconfidence can lead to a lack of safety awareness. Choose a reputable brand and a well-fitting vest for the best protection.