Body armor which is also termed as personal armor/armour, body armour, or Vest, suit or coat of armour, is a protective clothing which is designed in a way that it can easily absorb or deflect physical attacks.
Body Armour is used since ages to protect military personnel or in various other fields. In today’s time, keeping body armour has become vital. It is also used by Law Enforcement Agencies, military personnel, various types of police (riot police in particular), Private security guards or bodyguards, and VIP’s and if required, by civilians as well.
As there are various types of projectiles, it would not be correct to refer to any or all the products as “bulletproof” because it implies that it will protect against any threat. Instead, we should refer it as bullet-resistant. Some bullets can penetrate the vest, but deal low damage to its wearer due to the loss of speed or small mass/form. Even without penetration, heavy bullets can deal enough force to cause blunt force trauma under the impact point.
Body armor standards differ from place to place. Around the world, ammunition varies and as a result, each law enforcement agency or para-military organization will have their standard for armor performance.
While there exists many such standards, a few of them are mostly considered to be internationally accepted standards around the world. One such widely accepted standard is the US National Institute of Justice.
In addition to the NIJ, the UK Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB – formerly the Police Scientific Development Branch (PSDB)) and VPAM (German acronym for the Association of Laboratories for Bullet Resistant Materials And Constructions), originally from Germany, are other widely accepted standards. In the Russia, the GOST standard is dominant. Other than this, the Chesapeake Testing Lab, Wiltshire Ballistic Centre and Ordinance Test Solutions are few other international standards accepted worldwide.
In ancient times, iron plate armour was used by soldiers, but they used to be heavy and inconvenient to use. Also, as the armour designed doesn’t cover the whole body it’s usually accompanied by a large shield, so it can provide desired protection. Later, in Medival ages, full steel plate harness was used.
Later modern non-metallic armour came into the picture in which various type of fibres were developed which proved to be strong. In today’s time, there are two main types which include: Regular non-plated body armor for moderate to substantial protection, i.e. the body armour with Level II or Level III-A protection, and Soft Armour In Conjunction With Hard Armour plate for enhanced and maximum protection, such as used by Soldiers, Military Personnel and Law Enforcement personnel.
Ballistic armour i.e. ballistic Vest includes ballistic panels and hard rifle-resistant plates which are fitted inside a special carrier so a wearer can wear it. The carrier can be of 2 type Concealable or covert carriers and Tactical or Military carrier. Concealable Vest are the one which is worn inside clothes and tactical carriers are worn over your clothes, basically carrier is the visible part of a ballistic vest.
The military type of carrier or Tactical Vest/Carrier /waistcoat carrier or police tactical carrier is most typically made in a way that it has series of webbings called as MOLLE system, hook, loop, drag bar, and snap type connectors on the front and back face. This permits the wearer to mount various gears to the carrier in many different configurations. This load carriage feature is an important part of uniform and operational design for police weapons teams and the military
In addition to load carriage, these type of carriers may include additional neck protection, groin protection, side plates, shoulder protection, biceps protection, thigh protection and backside protection as well. These Carrier also includes pockets which can hold the ballistic panels in front and back and add on pouches for rifles, magazines etc.
Another popular type of carrier include concealable carriers. This carrier is worn on wearer’s body and a uniform shirt is worn over the carrier so it’s not visible from outside. This is designed to conform closely to the officer’s/wearer’s body shape. Most companies provide fully custom made carriers to ensure good fit and comfortable armor. These carriers are very lightweight and can be worn in day to day use by anyone who feels the threat.
Hard armour Panels on the other hand is designed to offer greater protection against higher threats than soft armour could bear on its own. Hard armour plates are used in tactical armour. Tactical armour is a combination of hard armour plate and soft armour panels, resulting it higher protection.
Hard armour plates may be constructed from ceramics, compressed laminate sheets, metallic plates or composites that incorporate more than one material.
Other than the options quoted above, modern and latest body armour includes Ballistic Helmets, like PASGT, MICH and Special Force Helmets which are light in weight and designed to achieve the required protection.
Keeping the above points in mind, one can choose their latest body armor and stay protected.