When you are looking for body armor that would protect you from either ballistic or stab/spike attacks, there are a few things you should consider, before finally making your mind.
Overt or Covert Armor?
You have to decide whether you want your body armor to go over your clothes (overt body armor) or to be worn under them (covert body armor). Do you have any special demands for your armor? For example, do you want to use a SAPI plate or maybe you want your vest to have a front zipper?
These are the questions you must answer before choosing a type of body armor you need.
Consider the Threats
Make sure you appraise your situation. Are the threats you will be facing going to be just ballistic or are they going to involve edged weapons too? Do you know the maximum caliber you are going to encounter? After considering this, make sure to refer to the NIJ ballistic protection ratings or the HOSDB stab/spike protection ratings.
As significant as it is to have proper protection, it’s also essential to not overestimate the protection levels you require, specifically if you must wear the armor for prolonged time frames. Body armor with higher protection levels will be a bit heavier, than armors of lower levels, and will frequently stiffen your mobility.
Make Certain about the Size
There are 3 (4 for women) essential measurements that a consumer should refer to in order to increase the chances of body armor fitting them well.
- First of all, it’s the overall standing height. This will help you make certain that the armor is not too long, but is long just enough.
- Secondly, estimate your chest size. You must as well match this to a reliable chest size chart and guide.
- Thirdly, measure the length of your breastbone – the distance between the belly button and the top of your chest bone. This particular measure is the most significant in ensuring the length of the vest is appropriate.
- Fourthly, and lastly, female wearers should measure their cup size.
Make sure that you collect all this data before you choose body armor for personal protection.
Factual Fitting of Body Armor
A lot of people think that a body armor vest has to reach all the way down to the waist. But, this is not how it is in reality. The vest has to extend just to the navel area – the belly button. If a vest passes the navel, it becomes too heavy, while protecting non-vital inner organs. A too long vest will as well impede with the mobility of the wearer. It will also not feel comfortable and won’t even allow the person to bend down, if needed.
Even though taking care of all these things may take some time in the beginning, it is still better to do it before buying body armor. These factors and measurements will help you make certain that you buy the perfect body armor for you and your particular needs.
I’m no expert, and no personal experience – just reporting a friend’s experience.
It’s outrageously expensive, and, in theory, not supposed to be used by fielded troops, but my friend’s Dad bought and sent her a vest of “DragonSkin” when she was deployed in Afghanistan a few years ago.
While “in the wrong place at the wrong time”, she took a center of mass “double tap” from a 7.62 AK. Knocked down, severely bruised ribs, but she walked away, and came home to her kids.
If you have the cash, it appears to be more protective and more comfortable than an issue plate-carrier. YMMV.