You may be wondering if you need additional armor for your protective detail. There are a variety of choices in the market today, and wading through the various options can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you are looking for. Depending on your position, your company may provide exactly what you need. Even still, you might be curious about what else is out there and how to choose what you might need. Consider the following things to help you narrow down your choices.
Weight of the Body Armor
You do not want something that will be too heavy for you to manage for a long time. If you are uncomfortable, you will not be able to focus on the task. You want a product that evenly distributes the weight load and has minimal interference with your movements. Granted, you want your tactical gear to withstand any conditions, but you also need to be able to move fluidly while wearing it.
Testing Protocols For Personal Body Armor
The National Institute of Justice places body armor into threat-level categories. Level II is considered soft body armor. Kevlar fits into this category. It is considered comfortable and flexible for everyday use, hours at a time.
Level IIIA is the next level. This category is still considered soft body armor, but the plates witing the armor are more rigid.
Level III Body Armor has plates that are known as rifle plates or hard inserts. There are many conditions to understanding how these plates react to different types of ammunition. Level III Body Armor is tested to withstand the equivalent of a .308 Winchester hunting round. Still, it might not perform well with smaller caliber ammunition.
Level IV is the highest-rated NIJ plate for personal body armor. There are levels higher than this tested for the military and other government entities.
Body Armor Materials
It’s important to understand that all armor levels have pros and cons. Nothing should be considered bulletproof. Rather, bullet resistance is more on target. And even then, the unthinkable still happens.
The production of rifle plates involves the use of a variety of materials. Compressed laminates made of materials like high-density polyethylene, ceramics, Kevlar, and others are among them. Typically, laminate materials don’t resemble those used in soft armor. For instance, the type of Kevlar used in soft armor is probably different from the type used in hard plates. Hard armor manufacturers employ thermally molded and/or compressed laminate materials.
Cost is always a factor in everything we purchase. Body armor is not different. If you’re purchasing your own armor, you want to ensure you are protected, but that does not mean you need the highest material available. Work with a company with a reputation for top-notch products and excellent customer service. Consider how long they’ve been in business and check out their reviews online.
There is a lot to consider when purchasing body armor. Make sure to research and ask questions. You may need to consult with colleagues, friends, or family before purchasing to ensure you feel comfortable with your decision.