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Weighing Options: How to Buy a Bulletproof Vest Properly

If you get drawn into a fiasco, wherein, people are shooting at each other, wearing a bulletproof vest may be the best measure you need to save your life. That is the same thing if you are security personnel and you’re assigned to handle a shooting case. You’ll deal with armed personnel; therefore, you need to put up protective strategies.


Bulletproof vests typically composed of a robust woven fiber called Kevlar. Or if not, it contains a ballistics plate that can effectively stop bullets before they penetrate your body. 


Now, before you buy a bulletproof vest, it counts to consider all of your options and make sure it matches before making your final decision. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the fundamentals which you need to know. In that way, you can get a bulletproof vest that fits you well and effectively protects you from bullets. 

1.    Determine if it’s legal for you to buy and wear a vest

Have you been arrested or charged for a criminal offense, whether heinous or minimal? If so, the authorities will not allow you to wear body armor, especially if you’re residing in the United States. In countries like Australia, you need to secure a permit before wearing a bulletproof vest. 


So here’s the first thing you need to do. Browse online for your local and national laws relevant to body armor or a plate carrier and make sure that you’re not required a permit to buy one. 


But if you need a permit, comply with your country’s application procedures and get a license before attempting to purchase a vest. 

2.    Select a Vest Based on the Threat you’re Likely to Face

There are variants of body armor or plate carrier. We have the lighter, thinner ballistics vests such as the IIA, II, and the IIIA which are designed to stop bullets from handguns. You can choose from these if you’re likely to encounter small arms fire. These are suitable for police authorities, guards, and other security personnel. 


On the other hand, you need to upgrade your vests if you are in a more dangerous war zone. Let’s say you’re a soldier assigned in Afghanistan or a marine tasked to patrol pirate-infested seas, you’ll need the protection a level III vest. This type of garment can stop bullets of a rifle. Identify what type of atmosphere you’re in and the possible threats around you.


  •   If you’re a civilian living in a war zone such as Mosul, Iraq or Sulu, Philippines, it’s recommended to buy a lighter vest. In that way, you can wear it under your clothes, effectively making it look like you’re in the usual fashion. 
  •   An IIA can withstand bullets from a 9mm or .40 caliber handgun.
  •   A II vest can withstand 9mm and .357 caliber handgun bullets.
  •   The IIIA vest can withstand bigger caliber handguns bullets such as a .357 SIG and .44 Magnum.
  •   For the most robust protection, select a level IV vest that can protect you from .30 caliber armor-piercing rounds. 


3.    Determine whether you want a concealed or an External Vest


Imagine walking around the busy streets of New York City while wearing a full-blown and visible bulletproof vest. Everybody might think you’re nuts or if not, you’re security personnel just trying to gain attention. That is why you wear a vest depending on your situation and purpose. 


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If you’re a civilian or an undercover agent, do wear a body armor that is not externally visible. You can make use of a jacket as a concealing material. But if you’re more comfortable wearing it as an external layer, make sure it fits over your existing clothing. But this is a style which military personnel or police officers usually prefer because they are easier to remove. 


Remember Van Diesel who’s been famous on his action-packed stunts. If you’ll notice, he’s always wearing a bulletproof vest though it does not entirely cover his upper body. But that is just how it should work to make the person more agile and more responsive when incidents arise. 


4.    Consider your Mobility


Let’s say you’re a cop assigned to investigate high-profile targets such as a group of gangsters. Sure. These gangsters may not know you’re coming. But once they get the tip or hint that you’re about to arrest them, they could flee like chaotic pests. So how do you deal with that? Agility and mobility!


But here is the thing. The higher the protection level of the vest you wear, the thicker and heavier it will be. That can slow you down. Heavier bulletproof vests also feel clunky and will be harder to chase after targets. That is why if you need to be agile and quick on your feet, choose a lighter and a more flexible vest like the II or IIA. 


5.    Consider buying stab-resistant vests to stop blade attacks

Targets don’t only use handguns to protect themselves from authorities. Some wear razor-sharp knives which can make it easier for them to do a silent and surprise attack.


So how do you determine an excellent vest to protect you from stabbing? Do check out the armor panel inside of your garment to identify whether it’s designed to protect you from knives or blades. If you’re aware that you’ll be in a situation where your potential threat is a knife, choose a stab-resistant body armor than a typical ballistics vest. 


You can also choose a combination of armor which is designed both for bullets and blades. That works best if you are a correctional officer or a jail warden as you’re more likely prone to stabbing and slashing. 


6.    Buy a vest that stops a bullet from you’re Gun

Ever heard of a police officer who accidentally shot himself during a pursuit of a criminal? Yes, that happens. Not just once. But a lot of times. Sometimes, its the criminal who got hold of the police’ gun and used it to shoot the later. 


That is why make sure that you buy a vest that is capable of stopping a bullet from the weapon that you plan to carry. Such body armor should also withstand bullets of your colleagues as accidental shooting can happen during a relentless operation.

About Tony Richardson

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