Understanding Your Choices in Body Armor

Moeez Khatri

Where ancient armor had to withstand the force of club, mace, sword, pike or arrows, modern armor must withstand the force of firearms, which is far greater than any other weapons used in the past. Choosing the right armor solution for your needs is imperative. How do you do it, though?

Dispelling a Myth

First, it is important to understand that there is no such thing as a bullet proof vest. Body armor is designed to resist the force of bullets, by dissipating the impact force through the fibers of the vest material (or by deflection in the case of hard body armor). Vests and other lightweight armor options still deform with the force of a bullet, and that deformation affects the body of the wearer. The amount of deformation to the wearer's skin is called backface deformation.

Hard or Soft?

There are two primary options in protective armor today. Hard and soft armor systems are available, but both serve very different needs. For instance, a soft vest is more easily worn, mykaratestore.com not as cumbersome and far more comfortable than hard armor. This makes it the best choice for everyday use by police officers.

Hard armor is designed more for battle and other conditions, where high-powered rifles are the more common threats (soft armor is better for resisting handguns). There is also a third option, semi-rigid body armor, which comes in between soft and hard armor options in comfort and protection.


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