By Staff Writer – The Survival Place Blog
Ballistic body armor has become an integral part of the gear of gun owners. It is one of the greatest modern marvels that has saved thousands of people from death or serious wounds. And while it is part of the standard work equipment for American law enforcement officers, gun enthusiasts are also discovering its many benefits.
People are well aware of the deadly power of guns and proper safety starts with securing tactical armor to protect yourself in case of a dangerous situation. Plain and simple – wearing body armor can save your life. Modern advancements in production and design have made it possible to find a balance between high-level protection, comfort and usability. Body armor has advanced considerably and is now made from lightweight and breathable materials that protect against a variety of threats. There are many levels and styles to find your optimal fit. Manufacturers offer a large selection of lighter and more effective body carriers that can protect you from life-threatening shots.
Armor effectiveness and comfort are both very important elements in choosing the style and type of vest that best works for you. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to body armor. It may seem like a good idea to go by the saying of ‘the more the better’, but this does not apply here. Higher levels of protection are heavier and bulkier, making them a poor choice in certain urban environments or when they need to be worn for hours at a time. Ideally, you want to choose body armor only for the types of threats you expect to face (for example, there is no need to go for additional spike and stab resistance if there won’t be close combat) as this only adds extra weight to your gear. Do some research, learn about your surroundings and make a decision based on your physical qualities and skillset before purchasing body armor for best results.
Understanding the different levels available helps you determine which one is most suitable against certain pistol and melee weapons and choose accordingly.
The most commonly used body armor for civilian protection is Level IIa. Rated for pistol rounds and light fragmentation, it is soft armor, and is good against 9mm, 40 SW and 45 ACP. However, many consider this level to be the bare minimum armor protection.
When it comes to a decent array of pistol weapon threats, versatility and affordability – the best choice is Level IIIa. This armor is considered as standard armor for law enforcement at this time. If offers enhanced protection over level IIa up to a 44mag and it also stops 357 Sig, which is a high velocity round for a handgun.
The style of the vest is equally as important as its level of protection to ensure the best fit possible. There are two types of tactical body armor styles – overt and covert (concealable). Gun owners generally find that the latter offers greatest advantages as it is usable in any scenario as opposed to hard armor which is impractical for daily use and high-risk situations. Covert body armor offers reduced chances of detection, which is particularly important as it won’t draw anyone’s eye. In some cases keeping your body armor out of sight may actually end up saving your life as attackers won’t specifically aim for those body parts left unprotected by your armor.
One of the best advancements in the field of body armor came with the introduction of lightweight ballistic plates. Designed to supplement soft armor – they are a convenient way to enhance the protective qualities of the carrier. The addition of lightweight ballistic plates expands the variety of weapons your vest protects against. This allows the wearer to move through different types of environments adequately prepared.