Tell me about body armor

Deployment Tactics

  • Consider your threat level
    • Current trends indicate that a potential adversary that a civilian may encounter will most likely be armed with a handgun.
  • Consider your fields of fire when it comes to home defense
  • Understand the concepts of cover and concealment
  • Do your research on what materials will stop which bullets

Soft Armor

  • Most common material is kevlar
  • Soft armor can be purchased for $200 and up
  • Worn by regular police officers across the USA
  • Designed to stop pistol cartridges
  • Will NOT stop rifle rounds.
    • This includes:
      • 7.62×39
        • Fired in AK-47 pattern rifles
      • .223 or 5.56x45mm
        • Fired from AR-15 pattern rifles
      • Certain types of shotgun slugs
    • Will not stop stabbing weapons such as knives and arrows
      • Corrections Officers often wear special stiffened protective vests to stop knife attacks.

Hard Armor

  • Designed to stop rifle rounds
  • Steel armor plates
    • Cheapest option but a high risk of shrapnel and ricochet when hit
  • Polyethylene armor plates
    • Very lightweight
    • Most polyethylene plates are not rated to stop 62 grain .223 bullets.
  • Ceramic plates
    • Heavier than polyethylene
    • Will generally stop armor piercing threats such as .30-06 AP and .308

Caveats Related to Body Armor

  • Emergency First Aid
    • Armor is not a substitute for lack of first-aid skills
    • Trauma bandages and Qwik-Clot can be very helpful
  • Trauma plates
    • Even if the armor stops the bullet, the blunt impact trauma can seriously hurt you.
  • Weight
    • Rifle plates can be heavy over a period of wearing them.
  • Heat
    • It gets hot when wearing armor.
  • Certification
    English: x-ray of Dragon skin body armor

    English: x-ray of Dragon skin body armor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    • Only buy armor that has a current NIJ certification
    • Be sure to check the manufacturing date on the armor panels
  • Zylon
    • RUN AWAY
    • Zylon was decertified by the NIJ back in 2005 since the material loses its protective properties when wet.

      Run away! Run Away!

      Zylon: It sucks.

    • Be very wary if the label on the armor panel reads “SECOND CHANCE
    • As pictured to the right, Zylon has a dark yellow/gold color to it.
      • Kevlar has a light yellow color to it.
  • Dragon Skin
    • It is a promising technology and concept but it has yet to be fully certified by the NIJ
  • Threat Level
    • Rifle bullets punch right through soft armor
  • Unprotected spots
    • Armpits and the sides are common weak spots on most body armor setups.
  • Concealment
    • Visibility and protection are often inversely related
  • How fast can you put it on?

Further Reading

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Posted in Home Defense, Preparedness

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