The Best Armor for Survivalists

September 15, 2015 by | Be the first to comment »

Surviving is a matter of preparation. This is why survivalists are often (sometimes derogatorily) called ‘preppers’. Of course, mental fortitude, survival skills and good health are all key—but these should all be a matter of preparation as well. It’s a very wide-ranging word that encompasses the various ideas necessary for survival. Being well-trained, well-stocked, and well-defended is key. However, far too few people realize that an important part of this is applying that diligence to body armor, for a number of reasons.

Why Do You Need Body Armor?

The most important reason that body armor is a necessity for survivalists is because all of your preparation will be for naught if one stray bullet can kill you. Protecting yourself against an attack is not simply a matter of loading up with guns and ammo and perching on the walls of your fortified complex. Even the most inexperienced shooter can kill you with a lucky shot, and when body armor is so readily available and so easy to wear, it is an incredibly useful piece of equipment.

Body armor is incredibly easy to wear thanks to the soft, flexible and lightweight materials used to give it its ballistic protection. These materials use extremely strong plastic fibers woven into fabric to ‘trap’, slow, and flatten bullets. This allows armor to be thin and comfortable while remaining strong, meaning it can be worn both under and over clothing.

Covert vs. Overt

Armor is available in two different styles; covert and overt. These are designed to be worn underneath and over clothing respectively, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. One of the benefits of covert armor is that it can be worn anywhere. Survivalists are all too aware that the world does not have to end or even come close to it for danger to rear its head, and being prepared against an attack is useful even before civilization crumbles. Covert armor allows you to be protected at all times discreetly, making it a useful piece of everyday equipment.

On the other hand, overt armor has its benefits that need to be considered. While it lacks the discretion of covert armor, and so is perhaps unsuitable for everyday wear, it does display a preparedness and strength that may deter potential attackers. Travelling through a post-apocalyptic society may be safer if bandits can see that you are ready for anything.

These armors assume that firearms will be the most likely weapon you will face, and this may be true; amateur survivors will certainly rush to get their hands on a gun, whether or not they know how to use it. However, as resources dwindle and people look to take what you had the foresight to acquire, bullets may not be the most dangerous weapon.

Edged and Spiked Weapons

Many do not realize that a bullet proof vest will not protect against edged and spiked weapons. The materials used in bullet resistant vests will absorb the impact of any attack, but edged weapons will simply cut through the protective fibers. Similarly, spiked weapons can pass through the minute gaps in the fabric, rendering your protection useless. This means that at close range you may be vulnerable, and if you have the misfortune of facing a trained archer or even an amateur with a crossbow, your armor may not protect you.

Stab and spike proof vests use chainmail and/or laminate to stop edged and spiked weapons respectively, and it is important to ensure that your vest is capable of stopping these threats. It is possible to get multi-threat vests that can stop all types of weapons, though these are naturally heavier and bulkier. The protection they will offer may prove invaluable however.

Melanie Swick (a.k.a. Survival Chick) grew up wanting to be a rocket scientist, but when she realized she that required way too much math, she took to her second dream—spending time in the wilderness. Today, when she's not hiking, camping, or hunting, she's blogging about it. You can connect with Melanie on Facebook.

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