If there is a chance you could find yourself in a situation where bullets are flying, it may be time to buy a bulletproof vest. These vests are usually made of very strong Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Fibers like Dyneema or strong Aramid fibers. Oftentimes, when ballistic panels are being made, the body armor manufacturer will use both fabrics together in a so-called hybrid panel design.
When selecting your bulletproof vest, it’s critical that you understand and consider all options before making your decision. You must ensure that the vest you choose fits you properly so that you have maximum protection. You should be fully educated on the various and be properly measured so that your vest fits comfortably while offering you the right level of protection.
Before doing anything you need to find out if it is legal for you in your area to buy and wear body armor. People who’ve been convicted in a court of law of a violent crime are not legally permitted to wear body armor anywhere in the United States.
Also, there are countries, like Australia, where you need to get a permit before wearing a bulletproof vest. Go online and search federal laws as well as laws in your local area regarding the wearing of ballistic vests. Verify whether or not a permit is needed to buy one. If one is needed, follow the laws and obtain the required permit before trying to make a purchase.
Once you’re ready, here the steps we recommend and some things to consider when you first set out to buy body armor:
1. Make your mind up to stay within you budget when selecting a vest.
Decide how much you want to spend on your vest and do not go over your budget. It’s easy to spend more on a vest you like the style of or one that has a higher level of protection than you need or some additional features. But, if you keep looking for what you realistically need, you should be able to stay within budget.
2. When considering your budget, you should know that you would need to replace your vest if a bullet strikes it and if not, every five years.
If a bullet strikes your vest the ballistic plate can crack or otherwise be damaged. You have no choice but to replace it. We also recommend that every bulletproof vest be replaced every five to ten years even if it is rarely used. After just two years, the materials it’s made of will start loosing strength at a very slow pace. A vest that’s expired might be able to stop a bullet, but you don’t want to take any chances.
3. Determine whether it’s best to wear a concealed vest under your clothing or an external vest.
If you’re just an average civilian or an investigator working undercover, you’ll want to wear a concealed vest under your clothing. Military personnel and those working in law enforcement typically wear external vests with body armor plates since they are much easier to quickly put on and take off.
4. The vest you choose should be capable of stopping a bullet fired from your own gun.
If you plan on carrying a gun yourself, the vest you wear should be strong enough to stop a bullet fired from your own gun. Preferably at point blank range. This could save your life if someone disarms you and fires at you with your own weapon.
5. Select the type of vest that matches the threat level you may be facing.
If the threat you are most apt to encounter would be from handguns, a Level IIA, II or IIIA ballistic vest, would be recommended. These level vests are relatively light and thin; yet can still protect against small arms fire.
However, if you are entering more dangerous territory, like a war zone, you’ll need a higher level of protection, such as a Level III or IV vest capable of stopping rifle fire. It is crucial that you determine which type of environment you’re going to be facing and all potential threats: