Choosing the right body armor for the job!
This article was contributed by Anthony McGrath
Warriors have been wearing protection vests for centuries. There are different levels of body armors and the previous ones were heavy with reduced flexibility. Today the modern materials and proper manufacturing process ensures that the vest is of light weight as well as effective in all conditions. The main purpose of body armor has not changed in all these years and the main aim has always been to protect the wearer from death or injury. The comfort has always been a major factor and increased comfort level means that the wearer will wear it more. Modern vests are designed by undergoing tests and decrease the penetration levels. Usually the armors are classified as soft, semi-rigid plates, and hard armor.
It is better to call them bullet resistant vests rather than bullet proof vests as the body under the vest still gets impacted and the degree to which there is deformation of the tissue is known as backface deformation. There are different levels of protection that one gets from these bullet proof vests whereby the higher level vests provide better protection and are far more comfortable.
While choosing a vest for yourself you must know what type of protection you want. One should always make sure that the vest should be able to stop the rounds from a handgun at the minimum. People often tend to buy higher level vests that are uncomfortable and stiff. They leave these vests at home if it tends to get too hot or uncomfortable. It is very important to get the vests measured properly. Even if it gets hotter and uncomfortable you must be able to wear them and get protection for vital areas of your body. The vests which provide you protection according to your requirements and help you remain flexible when you bend or move is considered to the best for all situations.
It is not that difficult to select the right kind of vest as the NIJ and similar organizations have set proper standards for the preparation of the right vest. Most of the soft body armors are well reputed and you should always make sure that you buy the vest which meets NIJ standards. Most of the vests have a life span of around five to six years and should be replaced as and when required. While buying a vest one must remember that the protection as well as the comfort level both matter equally.
So some of the important points which should be kept in mind while you buy a vest are:
The threats you are going to face: Proper assessment of the situation is very important. You should know whether you will be facing edged weapons or riffle bullets. When you assess the situation properly you just need to have a look at NIJ levels and find out a suitable vest.
While buying the vest you should make it clear, whether you will wear them above the clothes or under the clothes, the amount of visibility and waterproofing you require. After you know this, just choose the armor which suits all the criteria.
If you are confused with the sizing then have a look at the sizing guide and choose the size according to your height. People between 5ft8”to 6 ft require standard level vests. While the one above 6”ft should get longer length vest.
The vest should be near the naval area and you should make sure not to expose your vital organs.