In ancient times, armor was made to protect the warriors from the spears, arrows, and swords of the battlefield – and since then both war and weaponry have advanced tremendously, and people have never stopped trying to come up with new military inventions. With lethal bullets and shrapnel, and the fact that so many people own a gun these days, having a bulletproof vest is essential to protect yourself, even if you are not a soldier or law enforcement officer.
As bulletproof vest technology has advanced, there are now so many options available. In order to make the right choice, it is important to understand the fundamentals of this important piece of kit. Here is what you need to know about bulletproof vests:
1. “Bulletproof” is a Relative Term
This might sound strange, but a bulletproof vest is not absolutely “bulletproof”. In actuality, this type of body armor does not protect the wearer from every threat possible, but it is designed to stop common types of bullet fired against it. A bulletproof vest, or plate carrier as they are also known, is graded to a certain level of protection according to ballistic resistance standards, meaning that they are meant to withstand specific calibers and types of bullets. However, there is still a minor chance that you could be unlucky and that your vest is penetrated by bullets that the vest is supposed to stop. This also means that if you are looking to buy a vest for stab protection, you need to look for a type with very specific ballistic protection.
2. How Vests Stop Bullets
Bulletproof vests are built with multiple small layers made from very strong non-woven and/or woven ballistic fibers. These act like a soccer net when a ball hits it; and as the energy from a bullet is distributed out, the vest will cause the bullet to turn, slow down, and will then absorb the force of the round across the whole vest. It is also important to take the velocity of the bullet into consideration when it comes to bulletproof vests; mainly because the slower the bullet is, the less blunt trauma that the wearer will have to suffer. As a result, bullets with hard tips or fired at a high velocity will have a higher chance of penetrating a bulletproof vest without hard armor plates.
3. The Lifespan of a Bulletproof Vest
The majority of bulletproof vests will typically have a minimum life span of 5 years – and that is according to the standards and requirements of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). However, keep in mind that these vests are designed to keep their qualities under an ideal amount of use and preservation, and therefore the lifespan should also be considered an “ideal” period. When worn everyday, it is common for a bulletproof vest to lose its protective capability faster than one which is rarely used.
Bulletproof vests must also be stored in specific conditions to last a long time, but if properly taken care of, they should last the entire period and further. Moreover, it is essential to look for signs of wear and tear on bulletproof panels to check that a vest hasn’t already sustained a shot. If your vest sustains a bullet impact, it is strongly recommended that you replace it with a new one to ensure your maximum safety.
4. Bulletproof Vests are Built to Fit
It is vital that you choose a bulletproof vest that fits you well as one which is the wrong size will be uncomfortable and will not last as long as a correctly fitting vest one and will not do the job that it is supposed to effectively. A bigger vest does not mean that it will offer more protection whilst a smaller vest can hinder your movement when you are trying to avoid gunfire. The ideal bulletproof vest should fit closely to the body in order for it to work to the best of its capabilities, and if you have any significant changes in weight or size, it is time to get a new vest or choose a model which allows size adjustment.
As combat weaponry and its extended uses continue to advance at an astonishing pace, the needs for body protection have also changed dramatically over the years. Bulletproof vests are no longer reserved only for military and security services but are now for everybody who is working or living in an environment where the use of guns is not prohibited. Choosing the right bulletproof vest is very important in order to protect yourself from potentially lethal danger. Keep this article in mind when researching the best bulletproof vest for you.