6 issues to think about for your body armor

How many times have you been watching a movie and seen someone get up off the ground and reveal that he was wearing a bullet-proof vest after you assumed he’d been killed by a gunshot wound? It still gets me almost every time! Of course, sometimes it happens in real life, too, as long as the gunman is kind enough to shoot a victim in the stomach or chest rather than in the head.

If you find yourself in a situation in which getting shot is a distinct possibility, it’s very possible that body armor could save your life. Once you decide to go that route, there are a variety of choices you can make, depending on your circumstances. These involve, among other things, the thickness of the vest and the materials used to construct it, how much movement it allows you, how concealable it is, and what the price is.

I found a great article about this here, including the different types of vests and what they offer. Best of all, it gets you thinking about your particular circumstances including what types of threats you face, how often you’ll need to wear a vest, how maneuverable you’ll need to be if the threat becomes real, etc.

All of the information you just read is great, but I especially like the easy formula they provide so you can figure out the likelihood of your body armor being effective. It says that if your vest is designed to stop 95 percent of the threats you are likely to face, and if it covers 70 percent of your upper body and if it’s worn 100 percent of the time you are in a threatening environment, you have achieved 67 percent coverage (95 percent times 70 percent times 100 percent). In other words, nothing is 100 percent guaranteed, but you can increase your odds of survival based on your choice of which vest to wear and when to wear it. As the information states, the best vest for you is the one you’re wearing when you’re shot.

So, here are six factors to consider when buying body armor:

  • Heat build-up – No vest is going to be comfortable in the heat, but some are less uncomfortable than others.
  • Comfort – This becomes more of a factor the more you feel you need to wear your vest.
  • Freedom of movement – A vest could become as much of a liability as a help if it limits your ability to move. The thicker and bulkier it is, the more it will hinder your movements.
  • Weight – Depending on how long you’ll need to wear your vest at a time and how much movement you’ll require, this will affect your fatigue level.
  • Concealability – The advantage of wearing a vest could disappear if your assailant sees that you’re wearing it.
  • Cost – You have to determine how grave the threat is. It could be worth it to you to pay a little more for a vest if the end result is bruises rather than broken ribs. A stronger and more expensive vest may also enable you to return fire if you need to.

Have you or others you’ve known ever worn a bulletproof vest? Which factors went into your decision regarding which one to purchase? Is there one vest in particular you’re sold on, or maybe one that you’d recommend against?  Looking forward to hearing your take on this.

 Editor’s Note: If you are considering purchasing and/or using body armor, check your state’s laws pertaining to this type of personal equipment. 


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