According to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), “An officer who is not wearing armor is 14 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury than an officer who is wearing armor.” A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene found that officers who do not routinely wear body armor are 3.4 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury from a torso shot than officers who routinely wear body armor.
Body armor is often a misunderstood piece of gear. Generally speaking, ballistic armor choices fall into the following areas. A Level IIA vest could be the best choice if thinness, comfort and concealability are the most important factors. A Level IIA vest is generally about 4mm thick and is the minimalistic way to get a balance between some blunt trauma protection, cost, thickness, concealability and comfort. Level IIA ballistic protection means it’s made to stop a 9mm FMJ at 1,305 feet per second (fps) or a .40 S&W FMJ at 1,155 fps. The tradeoff here is the possibility of more blunt trauma exposure. A Level II rating is made to stop a 9mm FMJ at 1,305 fps or a .357 Magnum JSP at 1,430 fps. At this level, the vest is generally 5mm thick and is often considered to offer the best balance when considering thickness, weight, cost and comfort/concealability. This level is usually considered the best “all around” vest for concealable protection. A level IIIA vest is thicker, stiffer, heavier and more expensive. Generally about 8mm to 9mm thick, this vest level offers the most ballistic protection, will stop the widest variety of pistol threats and gives the wearer the most blunt trauma impact protection. At this level, the vest is made to stop a .357 SIG FMJ at 1,410 fps or a.44 Magnum SJHP at 1,430 fps. This vest gives the wearer the highest blunt trauma protection rating in soft body armor and is capable of handling the maximum amount of threats.
Safeguard Your Life
A leading ballistic company, Safeguard Armor, has worked to perfect the construction and development of body armor for every operator’s needs. From low-visibility and stealth body armor for protection professionals to developing tactical, mil-spec and patrol-ready soft armor, Safeguard seems to have every aspect covered.