What to Know When Buying Body Armor

Body armor is used in saving lives during an attack. With the many options of body armor available in the stores today, it becomes difficult to identify the right one. However, with a few tips, you will realize that selecting your body armor is not as complex as it seems to be, provided your choice meets any law enforcement requirements. Let us take a quick look at some of the things you need to consider when purchasing body armor.

Compatibility with NIJ Standards

NIJ stands for the National Institute of Justice. It is a body that is involved in determining how suitable vests, hard plates, and soft panels are for use by police officers. NIJ also helps to determine the lifespan of your armor.  After inspection, the armor is given a rating of either I, II, IIA or III+ depending on the type of armor. The higher the rating, the higher the level of protection. Therefore, it is important that you get an armor that has passed all the recommended requirements since it will give you maximum protection from threats.

Understand the Threat Level

Before choosing your body armor, define the level of protection you need and determine where you will use it the most.  This means that you must be aware of the kind of threats you are likely to face in your mission or assignment. For instance, if you are expecting a rifle threat, do not dress in pistol resistant armor. You must reach a level of understanding each type of body armor and know when to use it.

Professional officers may need an armor that protects them against other threats besides handguns. These officers require something like rifle-related armor plates used by patrol officers. When identifying your threat levels, also remember to include your weapon on the list. The armor should be able to protect you from your gun in the event of being disarmed.

Differentiate the Armor Types

You need to know the difference between in –conjunction and stand-alone armors. In-conjunction armor types cannot be used on their own. You must combine them with another type of armor for maximum protection. For example, police officers usually wear soft armors beneath their uniforms. These can only shield them from handguns but are worthless when riffle guns are involved. To maximize their functionality, you need to use them together with a hard plate. Stand-alone armors are effective on their own. You do not need additional protection to use them.

Determine the Right Time to Use Your Armor System

A body armor system only becomes useful when you wear it. As mentioned before, it is recommended that you choose the best armor for your threat level and keep wearing it to avoid any accidents. Take your time to test different brands and combinations. Walk around in them to get a sense of how the experience will be in the field.

Fit all the accessories that come with the armor to see how beneficial they can be. Mount your weapon on the plate and check out for any restrictions on your movement. If the armor interferes with your weapon or reduces your level of comfort, feel free to choose another one

Get the Right Size

A good set of body armor such as those from Plate Carrier Zone should cover your torso completely. Ask the manufacturer to help you with the fitting. Your measurements may be taken in the process to ascertain that you end up with the right size. As you fit, try to sit, bend or squat to ensure that the armor does not interfere with your work.

Check the plates for proper placement. The top of the plate should be right below the centre of your clavicles. The plates protect vital organs of the body from harm, and if they are not placed correctly, you are likely to be injured in the event of an attack. For complete protection, get an armor that features both torso and side plates. In case your body weight changes after fitting, you are advised to re-evaluate your armor. If it no longer fits properly, get it replaced.

In Conclusion

For several decades, police officers have been using ballistic protection and protective vests to increase their chances of surviving bullets and other forms of threats encountered at work. Your body armor plays a great role in ensuring that you remain alive. Always check your bulletproof vests and other forms of body armor to ensure they comply with NIJ standards.