Should You Be Including A Body Armor In Your Survival Gear?

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 the 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.

Should You Be Including A Body Armor In Your Survival Gear?

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 resistant 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 Aramid steel. This variant is heavier in weight but offers protection comparable 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 Aramid UHMWPE and steel. Besides these, there are different variants available in the market. 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.

Here are variants that you can explore:

Soft body armor: 
These soft armor packages consist of a certain amount of flexible layers of PE and/or Aramid. This type of armor is capable of stopping a round from handguns penetrating through it by decelerating it rapidly. This usually results in the bullet deforming or “mushrooming” (and ultimately stopping) the bullet falling after it hits the armor (unless you are unlucky). The successive layers of the material of the vest absorb the bullet’s energy and gradually stop it before it is able to penetrate.

Hard Body Armor: This category is segregated into three types on the basis of plates being used in them.

Ceramic plates:  The armors made with ceramic plates are stronger than soft ones when it comes to resisting rifle rounds. Ceramic plates use a combination of layers of PE/Aramid with Ceramic. The Ceramic part is placed a strike face side of the panel. The ceramic breaks the incoming round and the PE/Aramid package part of the plate absorbs any fragments left. Essentially, 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 armor. 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. These polyethylene plates (PE) are made from layers of PE (UHMWPE) that are pressed together under very high pressure and temperature. These plates can weigh around 1-1.5 kg in comparison with their ceramic plate counter part weighing 3-3.5 kg. However these polyethylene plates do not stop armor piercing rounds.  They can slow down the bullet by “mushrooming” effect and the bullet is actually caught in the plate. Weight reduction is the main benefit of these plates.


Steel plates:
Steel is another variant you can find in hard body armor. Compared to the other variants, it is quite a poor performing product as rounds tend to ricochet. These plates are cheap but very heavy. 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.

You can explore these options and find the one that matches your requirements and budget.

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 IIA to Level IV.Level I to Level IV and the higher is obviously better.  Level IIA, II and IIIA are ratings for handgun protection (soft armor). Level III and Level IV are ratings for rifle protection (hard armor).

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. A carrier is basically a textile piece that has pockets in which soft armor panels and/or hard armor panels can be placed.

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!

A Survivalists Guide To Body Armor

Owning body armor these days makes a lot of sense for civilians as well as professionals in the security industry. With crime statistics through the roof in recent years, frequent terrorist attacks, violent protests and demonstrations – more and more people are viewing the purchase of a tactical vest as a sound investment.

It’s hard to put into words just how important body armor is, but let’s just say – it can be the difference between life and death in a number of scenarios. Still, many survivalists are quick to buy different type of guns and ammo, but overlook protective vests. However, it’s really this simple – if you own a gun or plan on owning a gun, you should also have a bulletproof vest in your house.

It’s a common trait of all survivalist to plan ahead, to be prepared. Equipping yourself with adequate protection helps you stay safe in specific circumstances. You need to understand how body armor works, what it can and cannot do for you against different threats, and how to select the best one for you.

Types and Styles of Body Armor

While there are 6 levels of protection in ballistic armor, there are three forms of armor platforms: covert,overt armor and tactical overt.

Covert armor is worn under the clothing and can be easily concealed. It is lightweight and flexible, making it idea for prolonged use. Recent advancements in the development of body armor have allowed the use of breathable materials that improve heat transfer, making it more comfortable for the wearer.

Overt armor’s main function is to protect the wearer and can also be used to intimidate the opposition. It comes in a variety of colors, styles and levels, although it is usually used when a high threat level exists. Overt armor is typically bulkier and heavier than covert and it conveys a sense of authority. Apart from offering more protection, its other main benefit is that it’s easy and quick to put on and take off.

Tactical armor is worn in a situation that is associated with a high degree of risks that prove too much for soft armor to handle. This means that it is likely for armor-piercing rounds to be used. This type of system relies on a combination of overt armor fitted with additional SAPI (hard ceramic) plates and panels that cover the neck, arms, thighs and groin area for maximum safety.

Levels of protection

Body Armor is rated at different levels based on the NIJ standards. Because the protection of the armor increases with the level, so does its weight and the cost. Ballistic body armor is rated by the Department of Justice against different round calibers. Basic soft body armor does not stop penetration from sharp objects and weapons, but it will stop thick-bladed stabs and offers protection against slashing attacks. These makes them suitable to wear in places, where there are large gatherings of people (protests, marches, during riots, etc.) as in close quarters – people often use concealable but deadly weapons, such as knives, broken bottles, screw drivers or other piercing objects to cause harm.

Survivalists who want to ensure they receive maximum protection can go for a combination of ballistic and stab proof systems that are available for purchase online but they are more expensive. In terms of bullets – pistol bullets are easier to stop than rifle bullets, because they are slower. This type of combined protection gives the best chances of surviving in risky situations, such as riots or a scenario, where you might need to travel from point A to point B while facing attacks and poor weather conditions.

Basic levels, such as Level IIA. (Level I is not in use anymore) through IIIA are considered soft body armor types and don’t always offer sufficient protection in high-tension situations, while Level IV provides the fullest protection against pistol and melee weapons but is bulkier and heavier on the wearer.

Do some research and compare the different options on body armor available online. Make sure you measure correctly and select a vest that fits well, is lightweight and comfortable apart from offering a high level of protection – these are just a few of the ground rules that every survivalist should stick to when shopping for body armor.

Why Try Body Armor?

As this is the first post I’ve had about body armor, we’ll start with a little bit of history:

Bullet-Proof-Vest

The modern form of body armor has its Western origins in Italy and England in the mid- to late-1500s. From there, we move on to various updated forms of body armor, paying
particular attention to forms of “bulletproof vests,” experimenting with steel breast plates and cotton padding. The greatest shift occurs with the discovery of properties leading to the creation of Kevlar® in the 1970s. The synthetic fibre known as Kevlar® is extremely strong, while having the benefit of being lightweight. This revolutionary discovery lead to the advancement of improvements with body armor, allowing for a less restricted frame of movement while being exceedingly strong. Though the name Kevlar is synonymous with bulletproof vests, there are similar aramids used to create vests, such as Twaron and Heracron.

There are various types of body armor on the market, with different levels of strength, as outlined by the NIJ. The NIJ takes care to note the difference between bullet proof and bullet resistant. Although the types of ammunition increase incrementally as the armor level goes up, as armor cannot protect against every type of ammunition, they thus cannot be called bulletproof. In fact, “an extremely small percentage of cases, a round can even go through a vest that it is rated to stop,” meaning that one must exercise reasonable precaution even while wearing a form of body armor.

Although the Level IIA offers the lightest weight, and thus is easiest to conceal, it may not be an optimal choice for your protection needs. For comparison purposes, the vest most commonly worn by police officers is a Level II. Interamer offers a pretty comprehensive chart outlining the specific weapons and ammunitions each armor level will cover. As the protection level increases, so too does the weight of the vest. You should be taking that fact into account when it comes to choosing your vest – if your vest is too heavy to comfortably wear, you’ll likely forgo wearing it altogether.

Another important thing to keep in mind about your body armor is its longevity. Though the NIJ “rates for five years of service,” that ends up depending on how often it’s worn. A vest worn at least semi-daily will have more wear than one worn sporadically, so further inspection is required. Related to this, due to wear and weather conditions weakening the ballistic fibers, the strength of your vest will end up dwindling over time. As it is unsafe to buy a used vest because of this, I wouldn’t recommend trying to sell it either.Teijin Aramid, the company that produces the synthetic fiber known as Twaron offers a buy-back program of vests. The materials are recycled and used as an “asbestos replacement.”

Provided you care for and wear them properly, a bullet resistant vest could end up being a worthy investment. So long as the vest is fitted properly, it has the benefit of offering additional protection in case of vehicle crashes. If you’re realistic about what a bullet resistant vest could do for you, the positives of owning (and more importantly wearing) one certainly outweigh the negatives.