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Choosing the Right Body Armor

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Today, the market of body armor offers many different varieties of products with many  accouterments in the market. Moreover, there is a wide range of information available to customers. One can spend several months looking for the perfect armor which fits ones needs and desires. Practical guidance is very important when choosing body armor. Here are some insights to help you make the right choice. 🦅

The Main Aspects of Choice

The most important factors to be considered while choosing accouterments and body armor are:

  • Weight
  • Threat Level
  • Price

These factors are crucial when testing body armor. First, weight is very important. If the accouterments are too heavy, it may cause some discomfort. On the contrary, if the armor is too light, it can lose its protective properties. The weight in between is perfect, that way the person will be both protected and comfortable. 

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Some people think that cheap armor is better, in comparison to expensive armor. However, that is not always necessarily true. Always do your research when purchasing a  product.Expensive items can be poor quality, while cheap ones can also be perfect for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most companies are fairly open to answering their customer’s questions in a good and timely manner and if they don’t, it’ll clearly prove that it may not be the right company for you. What if something goes wrong or anything in general with your products? Good communication between a company and their customers is a key asset in any business.

Choosing the correct threat level is also crucial. The United States’ National Justice Institute, or NIJ, has been developing a program of certification that classifies the armor and simplifies the choice process for customers. In this system of certification, all accouterments are divided into several levels, from level I to level IV. Each level has its specialties and characteristics. The number reflects the armor’s abilities to react to different threats and protection.

What is the Best Level?

Customers often ask “what’s the best level?” Although the question is impossible to answer, the choice of a certain level depends on different aspects, such as:

  • Your needs and expectations 
  • Conditions of the armor
  • Threat level
  • Your budget

Thus, whether one chooses Level III vs Level IV Body Armor is up to each person. 

Body Armor Classifications in the United States (NIJ 0101.06) 

There are several classes of accouterments, each of them with its own specific characteristics. The accouterments of classes III and IV are the most popular both in the USA and all over the world. 

Type I (22 LR; Z80 ACP)

This armor protects a person from being hit by a long-barreled .22 caliber rifle bullet. The first  protects against lead bullets with a modified tip, the mass of which does not exceed 2.6 g. The impact speed should not be more than Z20 m/s. In addition to the .22 caliber, Type I body armor holds back the Z80 ACP (FMJ RN), which fires bullets in a metal shell. The Macca of bullets should not exceed 6.2 g, and the speed of Z12 m/s. 

Type II A ( 9mm, 40 S&W)

This armor protects a person from a 9 mm blunt-edged bullet, which has a metal shell. The weight of the bullet is 8.0 g, and the impact velocity is ZZ2 m/s. In addition to the 9mm bullet, the second type of armor protects a 40 S & W caliber bullet in a solid metal shell. The weight of the bullet is 11.7 g, and the impact velocity is Z12 m/s. In addition to the listed threats, this type of armor can protect the owner of the bulletproof vest from the types of weapons specified in the first paragraph.

Type II (9mm Z57 Magnum)

This armor provides protection against a 9 mm blunt-edged bullet, which has a metal shell in its composition. The weight of the bullet is 8.0 g. The difference with the second class is only in the speed of impact. Here, the velocity of impact is Z58 m/s. Besides, the bulletproof vest saves when shooting from the Z57 Magnum, where the bullet is in a softshell. The weight of the bullet is 10.2 g, and the impact velocity will be 427 m/s. Protects against threats from the first and second points. 

Type IIIA (high-speed 9 mm, 44 Magnum)

This body armor level 3 provides protection from a 9 mm blunt-edged bullet, which has a metal shell in its composition. The weight of the bullet is 8.0 g.

The difference with the third class is only in the speed of impact of the bullet, the velocity being 427 m/s. Also, the bulletproof vest saves when shooting from 44 Magnums with a bullet mass of 15.6 g and a speed of 427 m/s. It protects against threats from the first, second and third points.

 Type III (rifle)

A special protection class designed to protect against a 7.62 mm blunt-edged bullet with a metal shell (M80). The weight of the bullet is 9.6 g, and the impact velocity of the bullet is 8.8 m/s. This class fully meets the requirements of the previous paragraphs. 

Type IV (armor-piercing rifle)

 And, finally, the last type of accouterments, it is level 4 body armor. These accouterments provide protection against Z0 caliber armor-piercing bullets (M2 AP). The weight of such bullets is 10.8 g, and the minimum impact velocity is 869 m/s. The fifth class protects against the threats that were listed in the previous paragraphs.

Making the Right Choice

The number of people with a fair amount of understanding of weapons  has increased. On the Internet, people actively discuss armored vehicles, compare weapon characteristics and buy uniforms for themselves.

Personal Armor Protection Equipment is not only a passion, a hobby or something for bodyguards to use but also an effective way of saving lives for civilians. Bullet-resistant vests are often chosen and acquired without much consideration, which can lead to disastrous, and even fatal consequences.

To make the right choice, consider these aspects:

  • Determine the threat level needed in your situation
  • Concealed or outer wear
  • Maximum permissible weight of a bullet-resistant vest
  • Continuous wear time
  • Body armor size

People often ask who certifies body armor testing. Body armor testing standards are regulated by the national institute of justice.

Body armor can be:

  • in the form of ready-made sets with plates or separate covers
  • made for concealed or outer wear use
  • modular or with  sewn set of pouches

For each case, you get to choose which option feels right for you.

The plates can be made out of:

  • metal (titanium, steel-originally used),
  • kevlar
  • ultra-high-molecular-weight high-density polyethylene (UHMWPE)
  • ceramics
  • cermets

Conclusions

In general, the choice depends on your preferences. 

A high-quality bullet-resistant vest must have its own identification on its surface. Currently, there is a huge global supply of body armor, the vast majority of the equipment not being what it is marketed as. The manufacturer can claim “bulletproof” while selling, but one needs to carefully study the options to make sure that what you’re buying is safe and reliable. 

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