Buying body armour is an extremely serious and calculated job, and it requires very careful considerations. There are different kinds of body armour suited for different jobs that require different protection levels. In order to know which kind of body armour is the best for a particular requirement, there are many considerations to make.
The term ‘body armor’ can refer to different products which have different advantages and disadvantages and offer different levels of protection against different kinds of threars. The most common example of body armor is a bullet proof vest, which naturally offers protection against bullets, as is suggested by the name. These are most commonly used by police and security personnel.
However, bullet proof vests are not the only form of body armour. There are many available types of body armour, which have very specialised uses as well. Body armour also exists for people, for example- who work in bomb squads, and these offer the maximum protection, much more than a bullet proof vest can offer, since it will take much more force and strength to stop the impact of a bomb than a bullet.
What is body armour made of?
The terms ‘body armor’ and ‘bullet proof’ are all used interchangeably, but they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. Body armour is generally either made of para-aramids or Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE). Para-aramids are plastics woven into fibers with a very high strength-to-weight ratio. These fibers can absorb a lot of energy and work by dispersing this energy of a bullet across these fibers, slowing the bullet down as well as trapping it within. UHMWPE is a gel-spun, multi-filament fiber made from plastic. While the mechanism behind these is the same, they are not used in every kind of armour.
There are certain questions that you should keep in mind when browsing for body armour, such as:
- What is my threat level?
If you are simply working in building security, you would not require military grade protection. If you are a military officer, you would need more than handgun level protection. Occupational hazards directly correspond to the level of protection one would require. If the armour you are choose does not protect you from the threats you are going to face, then you will be wasting your money, in addition to putting yourself at risk. Similarly, a piece of armour that offers unnecessary protection is not useful wither since it will be heavier and more restrictive and ultimately again be a risk factor instead of serving its real purpose.
- What material should my armour be made of?
Bulletproof armour does not simply stop the bullet from hitting you. A bullet is fired with considerable force and it always leaves a certain kind of impact, which is why it is possible to sustain internal injuries even when wearing bulletproof armour. Most armour is designed in such a way that they absorb the force from the bullet and disperse it into the fibres of the vest on its different layers. It is very important to know what material your armour is made of. This is again determined by the threat factor, since different kinds of ammunition have different impacts.
- Does my armour meet the NIJ standards?
Ballistic tests and trials are conducted by the National Institute of Justice to form a standard for all sorts of body armour, and to judge how effective available armour is against full-scale assault. The higher the level of the armour, the greater is the protection offered.
These are the most important question to keep in mind while browsing for body armour. Usually, services that require body armour provide adequate instructions on exactly what to buy, and it is a good idea to stick to those.