A bulletproof vest, also known as a bullet-resistant vest or a ballistic vest, refers to vest-like body armor designed to absorb the impact of ballistics or projectiles fired from a firearm. A bullet-resistant vest also reduces or prevents these ballistics from penetrating through the torso. The armor may also help to neutralize the impact of fragmentation from explosions.
Now, buying a bullet-proof vest is probably one of the best personal safety decisions you can ever make. But as you might expect, there are several things to keep in mind before honing in on the perfect ballistic vest for you. This post looks at the top considerations while shopping for a bullet-resistant vest.
Determine If You Are a Perfect Candidate
You deserve a ballistic vest if you work in any of the following occupations:
- Police officer
- Military person
- Prison warden
- Security guard
You’ll also require a bullet-proof vest if you work in a hostage rescue team or are part of a special mission unit. However, you don’t have to fall into any of the above categories to need a bullet-resistant vest. Any private citizen may require a ballistic vest. All you need to do is prove that you work a high-risk job and, therefore, deserve an extra layer of protection.
Some of the private citizens who might require a bulletproof vest include people who, by the nature of their professions, are likely to make fierce enemies. They have attorneys, magistrates, successful business moguls, etc. Construction workers and miners might also require bullet-proof vests to shield them from fragmentation in the event of explosions.
Understand The Various Types of Bullet-proof Vests Available
Bullet-proof vests fall under four different types. They include Soft, Hard, Composite, and Hybrid. Each type comes with its benefits and drawbacks. The main advantage of soft bullet-proof vests is that they don’t add extra baggage to the wearer. That’s in contrast to hard ballistic vests.
Conversely, hard bullet-resistant vests are more efficient against high-impact projectiles than their softer counterparts. Hybrid bullet-proof vests blend engineered products merged in a sandwich form. These products are usually designed to offer a higher-impact resistance than the other.
Last but not least, a composite bullet-proof vest typically features a polymer resin that comes reinforced with a ballistic fiber.
Know What to Look for in A Bullet-proof Vest
After determining that you’re a perfect candidate for a ballistic vest and understanding the different vest types available, the next thing to know is the specific features to look out for in ballistic vests. Here are some of those aspects:
A bullet-proof vest should be able to offer protection against various gun types. Nearly all handgun calibers will penetrate most bullet vests irrespective of bullet size. .357 SIG and 9mm rounds tend to travel faster. Therefore, they have a higher penetration rate than slow-traveling rounds like .44 Magnum and .45 ACP.
However, the essential thing to note is that guns remain deadly despite the protection you wear. That’s especially true for guns fired at close range.
Lifespan is another crucial factor to consider when shopping for bullet-resistant vests. The lifespan of a bullet-proof vest mainly depends on the manufacturer or producer. However, how often you use the vest could also determine its longevity. And the term “use” doesn’t just imply the mere act of wearing the armor. It also entails having the vest shot at while you’re wearing it.
All other factors held constant; ballistic vests should last anywhere from 5 – 10 years. Here, one best practice is to sift through the products for tears, burns, or creases. Also, be sure you’re purchasing the vest from a reputable brand.
Remember That Bullet-proof Vests Aren’t Truly Bullet-proof.
The name “bullet-proof” is quite deceptive. That’s because bullet-proof vests are not truly bullet-proof. Instead, they’re bullet-resistant. In lay terms, a bullet-proof vest will only minimize the extent of damage caused by bullets. This armor does not cushion you from the impact of bullets. And as you shall find, that impact can be devastating, especially if you’re within close range of your assailants.
Many officers equate the feeling of being shot while wearing a bullet-resistant vest to being hit with a hammer. So, while a ballistic vest may save you from being killed by bullets, the attacks may still leave you nursing severe bruises.
Cleaning, Maintenance, and Storage
Every bullet-proof vest comes with a manual outlining how to care for and maintain the armor. Take your time reading these guidelines.
One way to keep your bullet-proof vest in a crisp condition is to avoid washing the vest in a washing machine or sending it to a dry cleaner. Instead, use a mild soap and a damp sponge to clean any sweat and dirt vest.
Avoid stuffing a ballistic vest into a small space when it comes to storage. That’s because the product is made of several layers of materials that need to be straightened out at all times. The best way to store a ballistic vest is to put it on a hanger in the closet.
There are plenty of things to bear in mind while shopping for a ballistic vest. However, remember to check your local laws to determine your eligibility for a bullet-proof vest before hitting the stores.