The use of tactical means of protection today goes far beyond military operations or special operations of law enforcement agencies. By buying body armor, you ensure your safety: you can minimize injuries caused by bullets, blunt objects, or shrapnel from an explosion. If you have been puzzled by the question of buying a ballistic vest recently but do not know where to start, this guide will help you. We will give you a basic understanding of where to buy body armor, which type to choose, and more information so you can buy the best body armor vest for your needs.
What Type of Body Armor to Buy?
Before choosing the type of body armor you are going to buy, you need to decide what kind of threat it is designed to protect you from. Body armor categories imply different levels of protection against various types of threats and are divided at the most basic level into soft and hard. Let’s take a closer look at their characteristics.
1. A soft bulletproof vest can protect you from shots from handguns. It is compact and lightweight as it is made from heavy-duty composite materials such as Kevlar, Twaron, or Dyneema. The protection extends over the entire area of the vest and works not only in front or behind but also on the sides. This vest can be worn under clothes, it does not restrict movement and will not make you clumsy due to its low weight. Soft body armor also includes a carrier vest. You can insert soft bulletproof armor plates into it, which give it protective properties. In such armor, unlike composite, the sides of a person remain vulnerable.
2. The hard body armor is made according to the combined type, with the difference that not soft composite but hard steel or ceramic plates are inserted into the carrier vest, which holds back rifle fire and armor-piercing shells. Such protection is worn over clothing and is characterized by modularity and scalability. You can change the type of protective plate depending on the situation, as well as attach additional tactical equipment. Such protection is quite heavy and affects the ability to move quickly and maneuverable but is much more reliable than soft armor.
Lightweight body armor is commonly worn by police officers, corrections officers, security guards, and some ordinary citizens. If you are a military or special police officer, you need a hard armor option.
In addition to the above basic types, there is customized body armor designed to protect against piercing and cutting threats. In such body armor, composite fibers are woven more densely and have more layers to protect against knives, syringes, and tools with thin and sharp blades.
If you need to have protection against a wide range of threats, you should purchase multi-threat armor, with which you will be protected from both knife and gunshot wounds. (1)
Where to Get a Bulletproof Vest?
There are several ways to purchase body armor. If you serve in law enforcement agencies, you can get it for free as part of a program that involves the supply of a model of armor that goes out of military service. Civilians can also purchase such equipment from specialized army surplus stores and wear it legally.
This way of buying has two drawbacks:
- Typically, this is equipment designed for a level of conflict that most civilians or private security guards will never encounter. Hard body armor is very bulky and severely limits mobility.
- Since these are models of armor that go out of service, you may not be able to assemble a complete set right away. You will have to look for many components separately by warehouses.
It’s much easier to get a police vest, which you can buy through a licensed police store. Authorized police equipment dealers provide a wide range of protection suitable for civilians as well. This method also has a drawback: when buying from such a store, you are required to present a valid law enforcement ID. So, if you are a civilian and do not have acquaintances in law enforcement agencies, this method of purchase is not suitable.
But don’t despair: many shops specialize in selling Law Enforcement Gear. For example, the Galls brand even has an online store that collects products from popular suppliers of police equipment and uniforms, and the category BODY ARMOR | BALLISTIC PROTECTION has a whole section dedicated to it. Providing uniforms for the needs of police and security agencies for over 50 years, Galls carefully selects manufacturers, so you can be sure of its range.
After Buying Body Armor
When buying a bulletproof vest, it’s good to know a few things that will help you get the most out of it and extend its lifespan. Here are the basic details about body armor and how to care for it so that it retains its ballistic properties:
- Periodically check the body armor for any signs of damage (wrinkles, tears, odors, and burns) and remove them in time. With proper care and gentle operation, the bulletproof vest will last you up to 10 years.
- The most appropriate would be to buy two carriers and one set of plates. So, you can always have a clean and dry vest, and the ballistic plates will not deteriorate under the influence of moisture and sweat.
- Dry the vest by hanging it on a hanger and the panels on a horizontal surface. If the composite fiber is bent or is out of shape, it will be difficult to return it to its form, and the bulletproof properties will be lost.
- Keep in mind that different sides of the skid plates may have different properties and place them strictly according to the instructions following the marks indicating which side should face the body.
- A vest pierced by a bullet or a knife is best sent to the manufacturer for disposal or an order of replacement parts. Self-repair of body armor or its component is not recommended. (2)
Don’t think that by buying a bulletproof vest, you become an invulnerable superhero. Take precautions and do not expose yourself to unnecessary risk.
Speaks from heart, always too passionate and driven by emotions. Spins the words with kindness & sharpness, intriguing your ever-inscrutable minds.