If you’re planning to buy a body armor like a bulletproof vest, don’t just pick the first thing you see in the store. And don’t just go for what is in or new in the market. Keep in mind that you are investing in your safety, and your choice of the vest is a life-and-death matter.
In ancient times, warriors had to protect themselves from spears, arrows, and swords and they quickly realized that wearing armor made a big difference. Body armor has been around for centuries, and we’re lucky to live in an age where innovations are at their peak to help us survive and thrive. Today, it has morphed into an advanced protection gear capable of defending against the most lethal weapon fire.
Today, buying a body armor means you have to carefully weigh the factors and different options. It is important to choose only the best bulletproof vest that will meet your needs without having to spend too much money. This guide will help you learn everything to consider before buying one!
Due to the military and security aura around the entire range of body armor including bulletproof vests, Kevlar vests, armor plates, and bulletproof clothing, there is a general feeling that such items are restricted for sale to only the military, security, law enforcement agencies, and other such outfits. However, it is 100% legal for any civilian to purchase one unless you’re one of the following:
- Convict of intentionally done violence cannot own one
- From Connecticut, buying a body armor at an e-commerce site.
- Going to use it while committing a premeditated crime
You also need to know that federal law does not allow people to carry these products purchased in other countries inside the US.
Even if bulletproof vests don’t feel light or soft, they should still be comfortable for extended periods of wear. You wouldn’t want this tactical gear to be a cause of distraction instead of protection.
Consider the size of your body as a determining factor too. If you lose or gain weight after purchasing a properly sized vest, it could become less effective in protecting your body. Different brands have different sizing policies. Some accept customized ones while others do not.
Bulletproof vests are usually made of nylon or cloth. Depending on the materials, your sweat or other forms of moisture can affect the durability and the kind of maintenance required. Take note that specific materials can cause skin abrasion or discomfort under certain conditions.
Body armor is made of synthetic materials, so they become less effective with time. The materials lose their abilities of deflection, resistance, and dilution of kinetic energy. If the armor will be used for more casual and occasional purposes, it’s okay to wear slightly outdated vests. But for combat and utmost security purposes, you should discontinue t the use of expired armor.
Here are some questions to ponder on:
- Do you want your vest to go under your clothes (and be covert), or be worn over your clothes (and be overt)?
- Do you have any special requirements? For example, do you require the ability to use SAPI plates, or want the vest to open with a front zip?
Armor Rating Levels
The National Institute of Justice or NIJ provides the official ratings for bulletproof vests and body armor. Without proper specifications or any indicators of quality, it can be difficult to find that piece of gear tailored for your needs. Here are the different NIJ ratings:
- Level IIA – least effective but most concealable, ideal for undercover agents, spies, high net-worth people
- Level II – a balance between weight, flexibility, protection, and possibility of concealing the armor. Level II armor can cover specific handgun and shotgun fire.
- Level IIIA – most universally recommended armor that offers protection against most rounds of handguns and shotguns
- Level III – for rifle rounds, capable of countering AK 47 rounds.
- Level IV – the most advanced body armor rating with outstanding capacity to resist most rifle, handgun, and shotgun strikes. However, its bulkiness and weight limit its usability.
Your budget is also a deciding factor in which vest you will end up purchasing. If there’s any financial tip we can give, it’s that you can’t put a price on your life and coming back home safely to your family.
A bulletproof vest is a matter of life or death, so don’t rush into buying it. Do your research to determine which type is most suitable for your needs. Always purchase from a trustworthy store and know how to maintain it so you’ll be safe for years to come.