Hard Armor Vs. Soft Armor
With all of the craziness that is going on in the world and our own country, the need to be prepared to protect your family and yourself is at a higher demand than ever. The way everything is going, you never know if walking out your door may be your last time. With this said, a truly good investment in your family security would be a bulletproof vest, which in my opinion is just as vital as yet another case of ammunition. You can prepare for the worst all you want but you won’t be able to fire all of that ammo or eat all that stored-up food, if you get shot and wounded because you didn’t have body armor to protect you and your loved ones. In the same amount of time it would take you to reach into your gun locker and grab your weapon, you could have thrown on a vest. I believe it’s a sensible and necessary piece of equipment for any home defense plans.
Types of Armor
There are two majorly distributed types of body armor. The first is known as “Soft Armor” and is what most police officers wear under their uniform shirts. This armor is reasonably light-weight and flexible, most soft armor is made of multiply layers of Kevlar. But other synthetic materials like Spectra Shield is also used in soft armor. This type of armor is classified by threat level (the type of bullets they protect consumer against). Current NIJ threat levels are (in order from least protection available to most protection available) Level IIA, Level II, and Level IIIA. These levels of vests can stop pistol and shotgun rounds reliably, but they generally won’t stop centerfire rifle rounds. It’s a velocity issue. The faster the bullet, the harder it is to stop.
You wear your soft body armor when you’re on duty; But what if you must respond to a school shooting or other incident that might involve rounds your armor isn’t rated to stop? This brings us to our second class of armor, hard plate armor. The hard armor plates that fit inside the front and back pockets in armor carriers offer protection against rifle rounds, and some protect against armor-piercing rounds. But should you have them? And if so, how do you know which kind to choose? As opposed to ‘soft armor’, hard armor is only available in an overt style due to its extra weight and bulk. This however has the advantage of protecting against high caliber and armor-piercing rounds. These vest function in the same way as vests of Kevlar or Dyneme, but utilize Ceramics, Steel or Titanium. Hard armor is available in two levels; a Level III vest protects against 7.62mm Full Metal Jacketed Bullets, or M80 as they are designated by the Military, and a Level IV vest protects against .30 caliber armor piercing rounds (Military designation M2 AP).
While these armors offer the maximum protection, and can often defend against explosives and fragmentation, they are naturally very heavy because of the materials used, and so are not recommended to be worn for extended periods. They are reserved only for the most extreme situations, but are certainly suitable in these scenarios. Furthermore, because of the way the materials protect against ammunition, certain hard armors are not suitable use after taking a bullet, and should be replaced immediately.