When you are in the line of fire, nothing is more valuable than a good quality bullet proof vest. Once bulky and restrictive, body armor is now stronger and lighter than ever with much thanks to technological advancements. From soft armor vests made by Israeli Weapons to hard armor plates, you can find gear that can save you money and your life.
How Does a Bulletproof Vest Work?
All types of vests and armor plates use the same mechanism: when a bullet hits, the force from the impact is absorbed and scattered over a wide area to prevent it from penetrating the skin. This protects you from incurring serious injuries and even death. Bullet-resistant gear differs according to the level of protection it can provide from ammunition. While some are designed to resist incoming ammunition projected at lower speeds, others are built to endure fire from high caliber guns.
What is the Difference between Soft and Hard Body Armor?
Soft armor is:
- Made mainly from layers of fibers
- Intended for protection against low and medium threats
- Lighter in weight
- Can be worn covertly (under clothing)
Hard armor is:
- Made with stronger materials like polyethylene and Ceramics
- Intended for protection against higher threats as assault weapons
- Heavier in weight
- Usually worn overtly (over clothing) because of its thickness
Which Materials are used to Make Soft Armor?
There are several popular materials for soft bulletproof vest, these materials are often classified under aramid fabrics and are layered to ensure maximum absorption of energy. The vests can be worn with panel and with plates to add additional protection. Gear made from fibers is easier to wear for a longer period because it is lightweight, easily concealed and generally more comfortable.
Which Materials are used to Make Hard Armor?
Heavy-duty vests can also be made from fabric but also contain polyethylene, metal or ceramics hard armor plates in their construction. Because of their resistance against more powerful ammunition, they are heavier and suitable to wear during shorter operations. Larger and thicker, they can be difficult to conceal and they tend to decrease your mobility.
How do I Know Which One I Need?
The driving factor behind your purchase should be your threat level. The threat level refers to the type of ammunition you need protection from. If you are a patrol officer, for instance, and you require coverage for low-speed, low-to-medium caliber weaponry, then soft armor would be a wise choice. However, if you need to protect your vital organs from rifles and other high caliber firearms, a bullet proof vest would be best.
You can determine your threat level according to five general categories:
- Level IIA
- Level II
- Level IIIA (vests made by Israeli Weapons LTD)
- Level III (Hard Armor Plates made by Israeli Weapons LTD)
- Level IV (Hard Armor Plates made by Israeli Weapons LTD)
- Level IIA
Vests at this level are the thinnest available. They provide resistance against smaller, slower ammunition and are easy to wear under clothing. Discreet and lightweight, they can be hidden and made of fabric for comfortable, all-day wear.
This bulletproof gear protects you from both low and medium velocity assaults. Depending on your particular situation, you can pair it with a softer panels for additional impact cushioning under clothing. Alternatively, you can add a hard plate and wear it over clothing.
As the threat rises to this level, you need harder armor for coverage. Vests at this level can handle impact from ammunition fired at higher speeds but still keeping within the medium range. Armor is relatively thicker but can also be made from thinner materials for covert wear.
At this stage, you encounter threat that requires thick and bulky armor from handguns, rifles and other medium-to-high caliber weapons. You can match your soft bullet proof vest to a hard plate for maximum protection. Tactical teams are frequent users because of the level of danger involved.
This is a very high level of threat that needs the toughest and most effective protection you can find. Armor required here should be capable of absorbing force from multiple hits and multiple types of firearms.
How much Does A Bullet Proof Vest Cost?
Your budget can help you narrow down your choices. However, it is not a good idea to compromise the quality of the gear just to save money. In fact, some manufacturers give discounts for high volume orders. The cost depends on how many units you need, the materials used and the manufacturer you choose. Investing in a quality product can give you lasting protection and help you save big in future.