Friday, July 1, 2016

Simplified Guide to Buying Bulletproof Military Vests

Even though they are most often associated with SWAT police teams, bulletproof vests (also known as ballistic vests) are also a necessity for patrol officers, private security and any other people that need protection. These vests can protect the wearer against many threats, including majority of pistol ammunition, FMJ Riffle rounds, knife/edged weapon attack, blunt trauma (i.e. clubs, fists, etc.). If you are planning to purchase a bulletproof military vest for your personal protection, there are a number of aspects that you need to pay attention to. Here’s a simplified guide that will help you in choosing the most ideal vest for you. Here are the steps to follow:

Price $$$
Weight (pounds)
Ultimate Arms Gear Tactical Stealth Black Carrier Military Hunting Vest With MOLLE Web Modular System With Included 7 Modular Pouches
Tactical Vest
$ 70 - 90
Paintball / Hunting / Airsoft Woodland Digital Camouflage Deluxe Tactical Vest
Tactical Vest
$ 30 - 50
Northstar Tactical Assault Vest (X-Large/XX-Large, Olive Drab)
Tactical Vest
$ 70 - 90
Vism Childrens Tactical Vest, Black CTVC2916B
Tactical Vest
$ 30- 50
BLACKHAWK! Commando Chest Harness - Coyote Tan
Chest Rig
$ 130 - 160
Condor MCR7 MOLLE Tactical Ronin Chest Rig Split Vest- Black MCR7-002
Chest Rig
$ 40 - 60
Vism AK Chest Rig, Green CVAKCR2921G
Chest Rig
$ 30 - 50
Condor Outdoor Airsoft Rapid Assault Multicam Chest Rig
Chest Rig
$ 70 - 90
Condor CR Chest Rig with Pouches
Chest Rig
$ 30 - 50
Modern Warrior Recon Chest Rig, Black
Chest Rig
$ 30 - 50
Condor Recon Chest Rig (Multicam)
Chest Rig
$ 70 - 90

1. Understand the difference between soft and hard body armor
Soft body armor generally uses layers of distinctive fabrics to capture the bullet in flight and diffuse the power of its impact.This type of armor is made from woven Aramid fibers such as Twaron or Kevlar, or resin-impregnated parallel or cross-plied polyethylene fibers i.e. Dyneema or Spectra. Soft body armors are capable of stopping bullets from majority of handguns, blunt shrapnel and shotgun pellets. 

Hard body armor, on the other hand, uses plates of steel, metal, polythene or ceramic material to shield the wearer from anything up to shotgun slug or riffle bulletsThey are extremely resistant to impact along the face of the plate. However, in the case of non-metallic plates, these types of body armors are susceptible to blows along their edges, necessitating packing during shipping. 

2. Understand the various levels of protection
Bulletproof vests, including military vests, are normally rated in accordance to the amount of blunt force impact they can be able to stop. The following are the levels of protection that are available currently:
• Level II-A vests are the thinnest of them all. They are usually 4 mm thick and are mostly made of soft materials, and are purposely designed to be worn under clothing for long durations of time.
• Level II bulletproof vests are usually 5 mm thick. These are the type of vests that patrol officers normally wear. You can wear such type of vest over clothing or under a loose-fitting shirt. 
• Level III-A vests are usually 8-10 mm thick. Compared to Level II-A and Level II vests, these types of vests are stiffer and heavier. They are purposely designed to stop heavier-grain bullets and handle minor combat situation. You can wear this type of vest under clothing if need be. 
• Level III and Level IV vests are usually 10-12 inches thick, and are used to cover the back and chest. They are commonly worn by SWAT officers, and are generally worn over clothing.  
• Stab-resistant vests use similar plates as those used in level III and IV armor plate vests. They are commonly worn by corrections officers to safeguard them from being stabbed by rogue prisoners.  These types of vests are usually rated in accordance with the energy impact,they are capable of deflecting. 

3. Decide if you need a concealable vest
Like previously established, Level II-A and Level II vests can be hidden under thinner dress shirts, undershirts or loose shirts. Level III-A vests, however, need thicker clothing such as suit jackets or sweaters to be effectively concealed. As for Level II and IV vests, they are hard to conceal and are designed to be worn over clothing. Therefore, you have to decide whether you need a vest that is concealable or not.

4. Choose the size that fits you
It is of great essence that the military vest you choose to buy fits you reasonably. Too small a military vest may expose your vital organs to injury, while too large a military vest may tend to slip. There are those manufacturers that make vests only in standard sizes. This can be a problem if you consider making an online purchase and can’t be fitted prior to buying. 

5. Go for vests with add-ons
Generally, body armor is meant to protect the torso (front and back only). In case you want to protect other body parts such as the shoulders, sides, neck or groin, you should consider choosing vest that comes with add-ons such as shoulder guards, side protection, gorget or neck guard and groin flap. 

It is good to ensure that the add-ons that you buy will attach to your basic military vest. There are many official and after-market add-ons that fit most body armors. It is important that the add-ons be fixed snuggly to your body in order to allow movement. 

Helpful Tips 

To clean your soft body armor, it’s best to use a mild detergent. Neither should you use bleach or strong cleaning chemicals, nor should you heat-dry your vest.
• If you plan to wear a bulletproof vest under your clothing for a long period of time, it's a good idea to wear it over an undershirt made of a fabric designed to wick perspiration away from covered areas to places not covered by the vest.
• In case you will be wearing your vest under your clothing for long durations of time, it is advisable that you wear it over an undershirt that is made of a fabric that wicks perspiration way from the covered areas to those places that are not covered by the vest.
• You have to be aware of the fact that there are those jurisdictions that disallow the sale of body armor like military vests to civilian’s altogether. It is, therefore, important to check with your country or state before making a purchase of a bulletproof vest.
• If you are planning to fly outside the country, you should familiarize yourself with the most recent regulations regarding body armor while flying.
• If you have ever been convicted of a felony, then you are not allowed to purchase body armor. 
It is also important to note that, even though a military vest may be bullet resistant, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will not feel the concussive impact of a bullet striking the vest. Therefore, wearing a military vest is not a total assurance that you are absolutely safe in case of an incident.



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