Being prepared for a disaster is something that everyone should do. And this is not a rule that only military and law enforcement professionals should observe. Even civilians need to have the right kind of tactical gear to cope with the adverse situations they may come across at any point in time. Speaking about tactical equipment, one piece that you may overlook is body armor. However, this is one of the most important pieces for civilians and law enforcement professionals alike. At the same time, it is also legal in most of states. So even if you aren’t a security personnel, you can still buy one. Before you decide whether you should include body armor in your arsenal, here are some facts that you should know.
What is body armor?
Even before you contemplate buying body armor, you need to understand what it exactly is. Essentially, body armor is a piece of gear (usually a vest) that covers your body to protect it. This means that you may even consider a helmet as body armor because it protects your head. Often, body armor is used interchangeably with bulletproof vests but may not necessarily be bulletproof. At the same time, it may be strong enough to slow down a bullet if not completely stop it.
The popular base material for modern armors is Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE). It comprises plastics that are tightly woven for giving them added strength and making them capable of dispersing a bullet’s energy as it makes way through different layers of the protective gear. Besides the ones made out of UHMWPE, you can also find armors that are crafted with steel and titanium plates. This variant is heavier in weight but offers greater protection as compared to the UHMWPE counterpart.
What are the types of body armor you can explore?
It has already been explained that body armors are usually made of UHMWPE and steel. Besides these, there are different variants available in the market. Here are the variants that you can explore:
Soft body armor: This type of armor is capable of stopping a round from penetrating through it by decelerating it rapidly. This usually results in the bullet falling out after it hits the armor (unless you are unlucky). These armors often work but factors like types of bullets fired and the condition of the vest can affect their efficacy. However, you can expect them to take only a few rounds because the armor becomes weak after every single shot.
Ceramic plates: The armors made with ceramic plates are stronger than soft ones when it comes to resisting rifle rounds. This is because ceramic has the potential to slow down the bullet in addition to fracturing its impact. On the downside, ceramic cannot take multiple rounds because the plates become weaker with each round just as it happens with soft armors. Further, these are heavy in weight and you cannot wear them without an additional carrier.
Polyethylene plates: A variant in body armors that has become popular in recent times is that made in polyethylene plates. Basically a high-quality plastic, this material can stop the rifle rounds by breaking them apart upon impact. Surprisingly, it is much lighter than ceramic even while being more effective and secure.
Steel plates: Like ceramic, steel too offers good protection but is too heavy in weight. So you will seldom find professional operators using this type of armor these days. Still, steel emerges as the best choice if you are on a budget because it provides ample protection and does not cost a fortune.
If you want to explore the options, you can choose to buy body armor from engardebodyarmor because there is plenty of choices here. The best part is that you can shop online discreetly in just a few clicks, without even having to step out.
How can you fit the body armor?
The fitting of body armor matters the most, irrespective of the variant you opt for. Ideally, it should provide coverage for the main areas of the torso, including your front, back, and sides. The purpose is to protect your ribs and vital organs from potential bullet attacks. Also, you need a good fit to get the right level of protection. This is done by proper positioning and correct adjustment of the armor.
Do you really need body armor?
Now is the most important question, whether you really need body armor. The answer is that it is completely up to you. For example, if you are in the law enforcement department, this is one piece of tactical gear that you cannot just manage without. On the other hand, it can act as a lifesaver in a defensive scenario even for a civilian. Whether it is a disaster or an attack, body armor can be a great thing to keep you safe. You may feel protected just because are armed. But remember that your attackers will be armed too and wearing protection can actually save your life in the worst situations. Even if you are a civilian, wearing armor gives you the confidence that you may need when facing survival issues.
Can body armor actually save your life?
Body armor can absolutely play the role of a lifesaving gear but wearing it does not guarantee complete protection. The truth of the matter is that you need to choose one that is strong enough to maximize your chances of survival even from bullet attacks. If you have the right one on, the probability of survival increases to a significant extent. When you buy body armor, its NIJ rating is a factor that you should consider. NIJ refers to the National Institute of Justice while NIJ rating is a global rating system that is used as the ballistic standard of resistance. A reputed manufacturer always mentions the NIJ rating for the armors he sells. The rating is classified from Level I to Level IV and the higher is obviously better.
What factors should you consider while choosing a carrier?
Besides choosing the right body armor, you also require a carrier irrespective of the fact whether you are picking soft or hard armor. Full carriers and plate carriers are the two options you have. While full carriers work for both soft and hard armors, plate carriers are only meant for carrying the hard ones like ceramic or steel. The best carriers are made out of cotton or polyester and have Velcro straps. There are adjustable variants that allow you to attach other gear such as extra pouches to them. When you choose a carrier, steer clear of elastic because it weakens with time and eventually the vest may sag. It is not advisable to wear one that does not give you a snug fit because the vulnerable areas of your body will get exposed.
Considering these key facts about body armor, you will realize how important it can be in combat situations. Though nothing can guarantee survival at such adverse times, this protective gear increases your odds to a significant extent. Make sure that you pick one from a good brand and also a piece that offers a snug fit for great protection. Still, you should not get overconfident because this attitude can make you slack about your safety!