Body Armor Myths and a Beginners GuideAugust 14, 2014 by Melanie Swick | Be the first to comment »
Everybody knows about the existence of the so called bulletproof vest. It is a somewhat magical cloak that protects the wearer from any type of injury and bodily harm. In fact, while that may be true in some instances, this myth about body armor is of course nothing more than just that. Body armor, with i ts different properties and levels of protection based on the type that is worn will increase the chances of surviving an attack with a firearm and many more weapons, however, the effectiveness of the vest really depends on the weapon used and the strength of the vest itself. Simply putting on any vest for any scenario is not a good idea. That is why beginners need to learn to assess their situation and learn a thing or two about the properties that the different kinds of body armors have, all while resisting the temptation of believing in the most common myths related to body armor.
Myth: Body Armor Equally Protects Against Bullets and Stabbing Weapons
Bullet proof vests are made from Kevlar. They are comprised of many individual layers that are constructed to keep out bullets and protect the wearer from being penetrated by potentially lethal rounds. Knives on the other hand are a different thing. The tips of knives are generally smaller than bullets and capable of penetrating some vests. In the end, however, it depends on the force that a knife attack is carried out with. Attacks carried out with more force require a higher level of stab protection. Every vest has one of three stab proof levels, with level 3 being the highest.
Myth: Body Armor Absorbs All Energy From the Bullet
In the minds of those who like to succumb to Hollywood myths, the one about body armor absorbing all of the force transmitted by bullets is certainly one of the favorites. In movies all over the place, the heroes will continue running at an equal pace, despite being shot by firearms of many kinds and calibers. In reality, however, being shot while wearing a vest is no walk in the park. When body armor is hit by a bullet, basically of any caliber, there will be some bruising and potentially internal injuries. While it is still exceptionally better to suffer a large bruise, a broken rib or even minor internal bleeding than being penetrated by a projectile, it will definitely have an effect on the wearer. He may not be knocked out by the force of the bullet, but he also won’t be able to continue at the same pace, completely unfazed.
Myth: Body Armor Can Easily Be Worn Under Any Type of Clothing
Body armor comes in two varieties. There are overt and then there are covert vests. While the myth states that it practically makes no difference what kind of armor is worn when hiding it is the objective, in reality there is. Covert vests, as the name suggests, can be worn underneath clothing. As covert vests are much lighter and thinner, they are only available up to Level IIIA. Any vest of a level higher than IIIA is considered overt as hiding it underneath regular everyday clothing is hardly, if at all, possible. Now, there sure is always the possibility of buying 4XL shirts to hide high level vests underneath, however, fooling anybody may be harder than anticipated.
The Truth About Body Armor
As the previous paragraphs of this article have revealed there are both myths and truths surrounding the infamous “bulletproof-vest” or as it is more professionally known, body armor. Factually, body armor is a very specialized item that protects against severe bodily harm or even death caused by blunt force trauma, glass, shots fired from firearms and stab wounds caused by knives and other pointy and sharp objects. Nevertheless, body armor is so versatile that one model does not fit all scenarios. With the different levels of protection, weight, water resistance and other special features, one needs to assess his threat level and personal needs and pick his body armor based on that.
For lighter threat scenarios, level IIA to IIIA body armor is likely the best pick. These protective vests can fairly easily be hidden underneath everyday clothing and resist 9mm rounds fired at a velocity of up to 1090 feet per second in the case of level IIA and 9mm rounds fired at a velocity of up to 1400 feet per second in the case of Level IIIA body armor.
In scenarios where the wearer is threatened by large caliber firearms, level III or IV body armor may be appropriate. While body armor of these levels protects against larger calibers fired at a higher velocity, they are also much heavier, more uncomfortable and almost impossible to conceal. Level III body armor protects against up to 6 .308 Winchester Full Metal Jacket rounds fired at 2750 feet per second, as well as smaller caliber rounds (also covered by lower level vests); while level IV body armor even protects against a .3006 Armor-Piercing round fired at up to 2850 feet per second and smaller calibers (also covered by lower level vests).