For security, military, and police personnel across the world, rifle fire is one of the biggest threats they face in extreme situations. While a vast range of body armor is available to protect against lower-velocity handguns, defending against rifles requires a tougher solution. With bulletproof vests separated into five levels (by both the UK's Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology and the USA's National Institute of Justice), only those at levels III and IV (the highest two) offer reliable resistance against high-velocity rifle rounds.
Vests at levels IIA, II, and IIIA are generally made with Kevlar: this absorbs a bullet's energy on impact, distributing it throughout the armor to slow the round to a halt. While this is highly effective for a range of handgun rounds, rifle bullets will tear right through. Level III and IV vests include ballistic plates (of steel and ceramics, respectively), which are strong enough to stop bullets hitting with an impact speed of up to 847 meters-per-second (level III) and 878 m/s (level IV).
Numerous innovations have taken place within the body armor industry, enhancing the covert protection available to gun users.
Covert Vests for Discreet Protection
Whether you're using a rifle yourself or entering an environment in which others will be firing at you using them, you should wear armor at either level III or IV – for maximum protection in all eventualities, wear the latter.
However, depending on the situation, particularly if providing close protection to a VIP, you need to maintain a low profile to avoid attracting attention. Whether you're wearing smart or civilian clothing, you'll be unable to wear a vest overtly (over other layers), so will need to opt for covert armor. This is worn underneath your clothing and is specifically made to be thinner & more lightweight, even with plates.
To provide better protection and comfort, various innovations, such as breathable materials and moisture-wicking fabrics, have been developed. The StealthPRO vest, for example, features CoolMAX® technology, which allows air to ventilate through the material, keeping the wearer cool in even the hottest climates. It also includes SAPI (Small Arms Protective Insert) plate pockets, to protect against ammunition of higher velocity, typically fired by rifles. Plates up to levels III and IV can be inserted, providing the wearer with a more comprehensive form of defense.
This is a significant breakthrough for covert rifle armor, keeping the wearer fully protected against the most lethal types of ammunition discreetly. While the CoolMAX technology helps keep the wearer comfortable in the warmest, driest environments, the SAPI plates will stop such rounds as 7.62x51mm NATO M80 and .30-06 Springfield M2 AP (armor-piercing).
As more and more manufacturers focus on streamlining bulletproof vests, the range of covert armor available with enough strength to defend against rifle fire will only increase. As StealthPRO demonstrates providing the highest levels of ballistic protection in a lightweight, concealable form is possible, offering maximum defense in even the most extreme situations.