How do you choose the best body armor?
Body armors come in different shapes and sizes, not to mention protection levels, vest style and price. To say the least, finding concise information about the basics of the best body armor can be both confusing and difficult. Whether you are looking to furnish your security team with bulletproof vests or are buying your first body armor, information about the very basics of a good body armor is by all means necessary.
So what is body armor, and how does it work?
You have probably heard the terms “body armor”, “bullet resistant” or “bulletproof vest” used interchangeably. Well, while these terms are interchangeable, they do not necessarily mean the same thing. For instance, “body armor” could refer to any form of a bulletproof vest. It could also refer to other forms of protection such as leg or groin protection, helmets or plates used to provide protection in hostile environments.
A body armor is made of either Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) or para-aramids. Para-aramids are plastics that are carefully woven into fibers with an ultra-high strength-to-weight ratio. When used to make a material like Kevlar, these fibers are capable of absorbing great amounts of pressure because they are extremely strong yet flexible. Like Para-aramids, UHMWPE is also made from multi-filament plastic. However, it is important to note that these materials may not offer protection from high caliber ammunition. For this, you may require “hard armor” plates that are made from titanium or steel. These types of body armor tend to be heavier and thicker, which can be a smaller price to pay for extra protection.
So which is the best armor for you?
Given what it is meant for, this is obviously the most important question you need to ask when shopping for a body armor. If the armor you are wearing cannot guarantee protection from the threats you are going to face then you will have wasted your hard earned money, and endangered your life too. On the other hand, there is no wisdom in choosing a piece of body armor that provides unnecessary protection as it may be heavier and restrictive.
Covert or overt?
Body armors come in two main styles – covert and overt. Covert body armors are designed to be concealed by the clothing. Overt body armors, on the other hand, are meant to be worn over clothes.
Covert body armors
Covert body armors generally come in light colors. They are designed to be as thin as they possibly can be, making them difficult to notice under clothes. Since they get into direct contact with the skin, they are often enforced with moisture wicking fabrics to keep you cool when wearing the vest for a long time period. They are ideal for people who do not wish to let the public know they are wearing a body armor, like protection officers and undercover operatives.
Overt body armor
As already indicated, overt body armors are designed to be worn over clothing. They are generally black, although the can also come in other colors. An overt body armor is normally thicker and harder-wearing than a covert armor. It is commonly worn by law enforcement officers, the military, journalists in war zones and security guards.
Finding the best body armor for your protection does not have to be a daunting task. When shopping for a body armor, be sure to have a clear understanding of the threats in the area you will be working. This will help you determine the protection level you will need, and thus the right body armor for your need.