Key Factors To Consider When Buying Body Armor

By  //  November 27, 2020

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There’s a reason why police officers and members of the military rarely head out into the field without some form of body armor over their shoulders: it’s because it saves lives.

In fact, statistics show that over the last few decades, body armor has helped to save the lives of more than 3,000 police officers in the US alone, with countless more lives saved worldwide thanks to armor of all kinds.

But those on the front lines aren’t the only ones who can be kept safe by body armor. Many civilians also choose to invest in body armor for a wide range of reasons, from keeping them safe against stray shots while hunting to helping protect themselves and their families from home invasions and attacks of all kinds.

If you find yourself shopping for body armor, it’s important to take your time and shop with care. There are a lot of different makes and models out there, and finding the best bulletproof vests can take some time. There are plenty of factors to take into account, and we’ll highlight some of the most important features and talking points below.

NIJ Protection Levels

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sets the standards when it comes to ‘protection levels’ of each piece of body armor. There are five different categories in total: IIA, II, IIIA, III, and IV. Many first-time buyers of body armor can get a little confused by these terms and ratings, but it’s really quite simple.

The higher the NIJ level, the more protection the piece of armor will provide. A piece of body armor with a rating of IIIA, for example, can protect the wearer against almost all handgun rounds, submachine gun rounds, and even shotgun slugs, while an item with a lower rating of just IIA will struggle to stand up against most modern times of ammunition.

Threat Levels

Following on from the previous point about NIJ protection levels, it’s also important to take threat levels into account and really think long and hard about how you plan on using your body armor and what sort of dangerous, firearm-related situations you might find yourself in, in the future.

If you’re a hunter, for example, you could potentially be at risk of stray rifle rounds out in the wilderness, so a body vest that can only stand up to handgun rounds simply won’t be sufficient to meet your needs. Make sure you always buy armor that’s appropriate for the situation and circumstances.

The Right Fit

When it comes to body armor, the fit is key. It’s vital to find a piece of armor that fits you properly, fully covering the front, back, and sides of your torso to provide maximum protection, without slipping off or moving around and exposing key areas in the process.

Be sure you choose a piece of armor that fits just right and speak with an expert for advice and assistance, if needed. Also make sure that the armor doesn’t ride up over your throat when you sit down, for example, or interfere with your movement in any way

Material

A wide range of materials can be used in body armor production, and each one has its advantages and its drawbacks. Para-aramid fibers like kevlar are immensely strong, flexible, and comfortable, for example, being among the most popular materials for body armor production.

PE (polyethylene) is another popular body armor material that can be quite cheap to make, resulting in more affordable items but faster degradation over time. Steel is a popular choice for hard armor too, but it can be quite heavy and impractical. Get to know the different materials and choose the right one to meet your needs.

Maintenance

Body armor can degrade over time and needs to be handled with care, so make sure you’re aware of all the necessary maintenance tips and techniques to follow when purchasing an item like a bulletproof vest or rifle plate. If you’re unsure about anything, speak with the seller or provider to ask questions, and learn more.

It’s absolutely essential to keep your body armor in top condition to ensure that it functions correctly. Be sure to follow all of the key cleaning and maintenance requirements and recommendations, as damaged or dirty body armor may not be as effective as it should be.

Final Word

Body armor could be the difference between life or death in a dangerous situation, and the best bulletproof vest could be one of the smartest investments you ever make. Just be sure to take your time, do the necessary research, and buy from a trusted brand to avoid any issues or disappointments.

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