Police Body Armor | Everything Officer's Need To Know

Police Body Armor | Everything Officer's Need To Know
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It’s no secret that Police Officers in our country have an incredibly difficult and increasingly dangerous job. With the civil unrest in our nation today, Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) are under more scrutiny than ever before.

At ShotStop®, we understand the plight of police and want nothing more than to help keep our LEOs safe. This is why our armor is not only ballistic-proof but it’s also stab-proof. As an LEO, there are two types of protection you should consider, stab-resistant and ballistic-proof. (Stab-resistance is formally called spike resistance by the NIJ)

 

How Do I Make the Best Choice For Armor?

When choosing which type of protection you want, you will have to figure out what your greatest threat is during your workday. Corrections officers might not need ballistic protection, but they for sure need stab-resistance armor. 

Highway Patrolmen will need more in the line of ballistic protection and less in stab-resistant protection. Fortunately, there are companies, such as ShotStop®, that produce armor that’s both stab and ballistic-proof. 

Why Do Police Need Body Armor?

It’s not hyperbole to state that police have the most dangerous job in our nation, and it’s not even close. There is no other job in the country where you can put your work uniform on and be killed for what that uniform represents. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Police officers were fatally injured at a rate of 13.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers in 2018; the rate for all occupations was 3.5”

In short, you are about 5x more likely to die on duty as a police officer than you are any other job in America. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that you are 17x more likely to be non-fatally injured on duty than any other job in America.

Any officer that questions whether or not to wear body armor, 50% of all fatal incidents in 2018 were from gunshots. 

The reality of the situation is, police officers are the protectors of American society and are always going to be put in dangerous situations. There is no getting around the fact that our officers have a very good chance of getting shot, given the stats on the occurrence each year. However, body armor can assure if our police get shot, they have a 70% greater chance at surviving the gunshot. 

 

ARE POLICE MORE LIKELY TO BE SHOT IN 2020 AND BEYOND?

Our law enforcement has come under more scrutiny than it ever has before in our nation’s history. With the politicization of every police encounter, there has been an increase in hatred for our law enforcement. In today’s divisive culture, Police are being targeted at a higher rate than ever before. 

According to the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 39 LEOs have been murdered so far in 2020. That’s almost a 20% increase from this time last year, and we still have more than 2 months to go for the year. 

As far as predicting the future of violence towards police, we can’t do that. However, we can use the statistics to show that officers need ballistic protection to increase their odds of going home to their families–now more than ever.


What are the 4 Factors I Should Consider for Armor?

At ShotStop®, we believe 4 factors go into choosing the right body armor. These factors are Threat-Level Protection, Weight, Profile (thickness), Wearability, and Longevity


THREAT-LEVEL

It’s up to you to determine what kind of threat-level you face and need protection against. As we’ve stated before, police are more likely to be shot by small arms fire than rifle fire. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t face rifle-caliber bullets. Figure out what your job entails and make your decision accordingly. 


WEIGHT

As a former police officer and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I can tell you that weight was the biggest concern for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to own Duritium® armor during my time in the service. We have the lightest and strongest body armor in the world to help protect our men and women in Blue. 

 

WEARABILITY/PROFILE (THICKNESS)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreaded wearing body armor because of how uncomfortable it is.  The bulkiness of a plate plays a critical role in this consideration. Every officer in the country can relate to taking off their vest at the end of shift and having it stick to their shirt through a layer of sweat. I don’t miss the days of struggling to take my shirt off because the sweat has somehow bound it to my skin. It made me feel like the stay puft marshmallow man throughout the post. 

Fortunately, if you buy ShotStop® armor, those days are over for you! Gone are the days of having to lift your shirt from the bottom and rolling it over your head as the sweat soaks your face and head. 


LONGEVITY

It’s no secret that body armor is an expensive tool that is as necessary as any other tool you wear besides a gun. Body armor should be able to last more than a decade if it’s taken care of and not damaged by bullets. ShotStop® offers the only 15-year ballistics performance warranty on the market for level III body armor and a 10-year ballistics performance warranty for level IV body armor

To learn more about the 4 factors of choosing body armor, read our blog: “ 4 Must-Evaluate Factors for Any Body Armor Purchase”.


Which Cut of Armor is Best for Law Enforcement?

We are consistently asked by our customers to help them choose the plate that will give them the most comfort and mobility. For law enforcement purposes, we always recommend using the Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI)

Left to Right:  SAPI Cut, Shooter’s Cut, Full Cut

Left to Right: SAPI Cut, Shooter’s Cut, Full Cut

The SAPI plate is often misunderstood because it can be rated in any protection level you need, regardless of the name. The SAPI plate is designed to be lighter, thinner, and give the wearer more mobility compared to a full cut plate. The corner cuts of the plate are more aggressive for SAPI compared to the full cut. Furthermore, SAPI plates open the plate up for increased arm mobility for cross body firing or other activities requiring that movement. This gives our officers more fluidity in movement, especially in a cross-arm movement. 



WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES OF A SAPI PLATE?

SAPI plates provide more arm movement mobility compared to full cut. However, the SAPI plate offers less coverage than the full cut. You will also see many armor companies offer Shooter Cut plates, which are the most aggressive corner angle cut. Shooter cut provides the most arm mobility but has slightly lower coverage of the upper torso. It’s all a question of wanting more coverage, but less arm movement or more arm movement with less coverage.  

When looking at all three cut options (Full Cut, SAPI Cut, or Shooter Cut), SAPI is the friendly middle-middle ground option where both coverage and arm mobility are very good. This is why this cut has been such a popular design choice for LE and Warfighters.  


To learn more about all the cuts of armor, read our blog: “ShotStop® | Buyer’s Guide to Ballistic Armor.”

 

WHAT ABOUT FEMALE OFFICERS?

With more women becoming police officers, it’s imperative that they get the level of protection needed without sacrificing comfort and practicality. At this point, companies aren’t making hard inserts designed for women.

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However, ShotStop® is now researching ways to create hard plate inserts that are specifically designed for women. This research will take time, but we’re committed to helping our female LEO’s. Stay tuned for more information because we will update our site the moment we create our female plates. 


To learn more about wearing body armor properly for female officers, read our blog: “How to Properly Wear Body Armor.”

 

Which Armor Should Female Officers Wear?

We still recommend female officers wear SAPI plates to maintain the mobility it offers and to keep the loadout light. We fully understand that no matter what cut of armor a female officer wears, it’s not as comfortable as it is for men. 

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ShotStop® is still going to be the most comfortable body armor for all body types. With multiple sizes and weight options, we give female officers the best comfort and protection. 

 

Why Should My Law Enforcement Organization Choose ShotStop®?

We understand that budgets are tight, and LEO’s can’t always afford the best and newest technology. Our whole purpose in starting this business was to help our first responders and military members. With that being said, we offer exclusive deals to all first responders and military organizations in our great nation. Fill out our contact page because we’d love to speak with you about what we can offer to your organization. 

 

WHAT ARE COPS SAYING ABOUT SHOTSTOP® BODY ARMOR?

As a former cop and member of the military, I think it’s best to get actual testimonials from current cops. That’s why you should listen to Sheriff Stephan J. Levorchick of Ottawa County in Port Clinton, Ohio. 

 

“I was used to 40-to-50-pound kits, rather than 10 and 12-pound kits,” says Sheriff Stephen J. Levorchick of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office in Port Clinton, Ohio, who upgraded his SWAT team to Level IV protection and his squad cars to Level III protection through ShotStop®. “So when we had the opportunity to pursue good ballistic equipment for our people without weighing them down so much, we had to take it. It’s more protection than we’ve ever provided, at a lighter weight.”

Officers like Lieutenant Jamie Lovett of South Carolina have been police for decades and switched to ShotStop® because it’s lighter, more comfortable, and offers more protection than any other armor made to date. 

 

“Although my plate carrier weighs more than my soft body armor, it is ten times more comfortable,” says Lovett. “My soft body armor will bend, fold, and scrunch up; it just gets out of whack. The [ShotStop ICW] plates fit absolutely perfectly; they have since day one. They feel good, and they’re light. I’d rather wear them than something else.”

 

Conclusion

I’ve never met a police officer that was excited to wear body armor for 12 hours straight, but it’s imperative to their survival. We believe that body armor shouldn’t be something you dread putting on every day. From our own experience and current peer-reviewed research, LEO’s will not wear the armor as much if it’s uncomfortable. 

ShotStop® offers LEO’s the lightest, thinnest, and most comfortable body armor on the market, for both men and women. We offer the best warranty of any ballistic protection company in the world. We also offer exclusive deals for first responders and military organizations. Don’t miss out on the best body armor made to date; email us at sales@shotstop.com today!


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