If you find yourself in a situation where people are shooting at you, a bulletproof vest may be the piece of equipment that saves your life.
Bulletproof vests are typically made of a strong woven fiber called Kevlar or contain a ballistics plate that is capable of stopping bullets before they penetrate your body.
When buying a bulletproof vest, it’s important to weigh all of your options and make sure it fits before making your final decision. If you educate yourself on different models and measure yourself correctly, you can get a bulletproof vest that fits comfortably and protects you from gunfire.
Weighing Your Options
Determine if it’s legal for you to buy and wear a vest.
In the United States, If you’ve ever been convicted of a violent crime, it is illegal to wear body armor. In certain places, like Australia, it’s illegal to wear a bulletproof vest without a permit. Search online for your local and federal laws related to bullet proof vests or body armor, and make sure that you don’t need a permit to purchase one.
- If you do need a permit, follow your province, state or country’s application process and get a permit before attempting to purchase a vest.
Choose a vest based on the threat that you’re likely to encounter. Lighter, thinner ballistics vests like the IIA, II, and IIIA are made to stop bullets from handguns. These three vests are recommended if you are likely to encounter small arms fire. If you are in a more dangerous war zone, however, you’ll need the protection of a level III vest, which can stop rifle bullets. Determine what kind of atmosphere you’re in and the potential threats around you.
Decide if you want a concealed or an external vest. If you’re a civilian or an undercover agent, you’ll want to wear a vest that won’t be seen. External vests and plates fit over your existing clothing and are usually preferred by military personnel or police officers because they are easier to remove.
Consider purchasing stab resistant armor to stop blade attacks. Look at the armor panel label on the inside of your vest to determine whether it’s made to protect you from knife attacks. If you think you’ll be in a situation where your greatest threat is a blade, consider purchasing a stab-resistant vest rather than a standard ballistics vest. Combination armor is also an option, as it’s specially designed to stop both bullets and knives. Variations of stab proof vests are available at https://canarmor.ca/product-category/stab-proof-vests/
Get a vest that can stop a bullet from the gun that you plan on carrying. If you intend on carrying a gun, you should at very least purchase a vest that’s capable of stopping a bullet from the weapon that you plan on carrying. This may save your life if you’re disarmed and your own weapon is used against you.
Taking Your Measurements
Measure your height and weight. Most vests will have sizes based on your height and weight. Use a tape measure to determine how tall you are. Step on a scale and to get your current weight and write the measurements on a piece of paper.
Wear the clothes you’ll be wearing while measuring yourself. If you are buying a concealed vest, wear a tight fitting t-shirt and pants. If you are wearing a larger, exterior vest, wear the uniform or clothes you’ll be wearing and then measure yourself. This will give you a more accurate idea of what vest size you need while you’re out in the field.
Measure your chest. Have someone help when taking measurements. Wrap a tape measure around your chest so that the tape runs under your armpits and across your back. Take the measurement and round it up to the next whole number. Make a note of measurement.
Measure from your collarbone to your navel. Hold the tape measure up to the center of your collarbone and let the tape hang under your navel. If you’re wearing a utility belt, measure from the center of your collarbone to the top of the belt. Use this measurement to determine how long your vest should be.
Purchasing the Right Vest
Purchase a vest that fits within your budget. Determine how much money you have to spend on the vest and get one that falls within your budget. Some vests cost extra because of their style or look. Others will cost more because of their level of protection or innovative extra features.
If you are local, try the vest on before you buy it. Make sure that you feel comfortable in the vest and that it isn’t too tight or too loose on your body. If it feels too bulky and you can’t move your arms, find a vest that fits you better.