Armor is not a topic most people talk about. Many people tend to think of body and vehicle armor as only necessary for police, armed security, and the military. And while those professions take advantage most frequently from armor solutions, they are not the only ones who could benefit from it. Considering the frequency that the media covers shootings, I wanted to take some time to dispel some myths and help those on the fence about armor.
First off, Body Armor is legal to purchase and own in the U.S. for most people, except for felons and a few other state specific limitations. All states allow you to purchase body armor, however some require to be face to face in a brick and mortar store and not over the internet. There are also some state specific laws regarding when you can wear the armor, like certain states prohibit wearing armor in a school unless it is part of your assigned duties. The bigger issue comes from intent. If you are wearing armor for your own protection during everyday activities, you are generally allowed to do so. However, if you wear armor during the commission of a crime it elevates the degree of severity of the crime and can carry additional charges and penalties. I would encourage you to check your specific state for any restrictions.
Another myth out there is calling something bullet-proof. This is a misnomer in most cases, the same as saying a suppressor is a silencer. Armor is generally tested or certified to be bullet-resistant up to a standard of protection level. Meaning that particular type of armor is capable of withstanding impacts from several calibers within their level. For instance a level 3a will be able to stop a .357 and .44 magnum, it is also capable of stopping 9mm and .38 special. Now, it will stop those rounds from penetrating that armor up to a point. At a certain number of rounds, or specially designed ammo, the armor will fail. But up to that point, the armor is bullet resistant and can help protect your life.
Now that a couple myths are out of the way, lets talk about the different type of body armor. There is soft or hard ballistic armor. The soft is going to be more flexible, more concealable, and generally weigh less. The hard armor can be composites, ceramic, or steel. These can vary in weight from 2lbs to 20lbs per plate depending on your protection level and any other enhancements. The hard armor is going to offer a higher level of protection than soft and can usually take substantially more damage before failure than soft armor. But the soft armor is less conspicuous and often more comfortable for long durations.
Many people will look at armor and think of the police/military plate carrier style that can often be large and bulky. However, there are a ton of options today, from covert soft armor that is worn under your normal clothing, bullet resistant back packs, back packs that can convert into an armored vest, and many many more. Your specific needs will dictate what kind of armor you would need. If you are looking for something to wear that doesn’t draw attention, the soft covert armor or backpacks are best. If you are looking for more protection and modularity, then plate carriers may be the best option. They also make armor specific for children, teens, and armor designed to specifically fit women as well.
There are a lot of options in levels of protection and materials used in armor, but they can all offer more protection than your standard cotton T-shirt. The media loves to tell you about shootings, but won’t ever give you any help to protect yourself. The proper training and armor can help bridge the gap between the fear some news outlets portray and the safety in uncertain times that we all need. Armor is not meant to be scary, but to give you an additional layer of protection. Other skills like situational awareness, conflict avoidance, and self defense all tie together to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Contact us today to talk about our armor and training solutions to give you the peace of mind we all deserve.