Body armor, also known as personal armor is protective clothing designed to absorb or deflect physical attacks. As per the standard set by the National Institute of Justice, you will see the “A” mentioned with a Threat Level. For instance, there are levels III and III-A body armor. So, in this article, we will focus on the difference and the advantages between these two and what level of the ballistic vest is relevant for your day-to-day activities.
Basically, the standard of resistance is divided into five levels. That is level II, II-A, III-A, III, and IV. Levels II to III-A is considered as part of the soft body armor while level 3 and 4 belongs to the hard armor, which helps in enhancing the protection for user as per the requirement. This is the primary difference between the two body armor, that Level 3A belongs to the soft bullet-resistant vest while level 3 are hard armor panels.
Usually a Vest of level 3A can withstand bullets up to .44 magnum whereas, Hard Armor Panels are designed to protect against much powerful ammunitions. Hard armor plates are inserted in the pockets of Vest which is used to enhance the protection of Vest. So, if you intend to buy ballistic body armor, firstly you have to determine the ballistic threat level you might encounter and accordingly you can choose the design of Vest.
Later you can consider another factors as well such as cost, weight, raw material and comfort. Also, please note that the higher the level of protection, the costlier the set will become depending upon the design of Vest, weight of plate, accessories required, etc.