Is it Legal to Own and Wear Body armour in the UK?

Even when you’re informed about the technical specs of body armour, it is not a purchasing decision to be taken lightly. There is a great variety of styles, protection levels and addons to choose from. While many people feel safer in dangerous areas when they’re equipped with body armour, there are other factors to consider.
Countries, states and counties have uniform laws on body armour purchase and ownership. Before you buy a ballistic resistant vest online you need to check with regional and national regulations on whether you are legally permitted to own one as a civilian. Keep in mind that there may be restrictions on its purchase or usage dependant on your area. Many people are not fully educated about the laws on body armour, including whether they can legally buy and own one. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are adhering to the legal restrictions and regulations in your area when buying body armour online. To give you a starting point - we have listed several different examples of the legal status of body armour in several areas around the world.

  • In Australia it is illegal to possess body armour without authorisation in certain territories (South Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory, ACT, Queensland and New South Wales).
  • In certain Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia) a license is required to possess body armour, though there are no such restrictions in the rest of the country.
  • In the European Union, ballistic protection that is considered ‘for main military usage’ is restricted to civilians.
  • In the United Kingdom, there are currently no legal restrictions on the purchase and ownership of body armour.
  • In the United States it is legal to purchase and possess body armour, except for a few states:

- In Connecticut, body armour can only be purchased in person, and cannot be purchased online, over the phone, or by mail;
- In New York, a proposed ban of body armour for private citizens is currently debated;
- In Kentucky, committing a crime while wearing or even owning body armour is a crime in and of itself;
- In Louisiana, it is illegal to wear body armour on school property or on campus.


Even in regions, where wearing body armour is legal, overt (visible, on top of clothing) body armour is likely to attract attention from both the general public and law enforcement officials. Police officers may want to confirm why you are wearing a vest as this is unusual for a civilian out in public places. Additionally, this may cause other people to become worried and frightened as they might think there is an imminent danger or that you are a threat yourself. In such cases it is important to remain calm and explain your reasons for wearing body armour. As long as you are abiding by the law, police officers are likely to be understanding. A way to avoid this situation altogether is to opt for a covert vest, which is worn underneath the clothing. This still provides you additional safety against ballistic, stab or spike attacks, but remains out of sight to anyone else. You can then move freely in public places with a greater degree of anonymity.

Keep in mind that the restrictions mentioned above are not an exhaustive list of all body armour regulations and laws in existence. It is your responsibility to check with local and national standards and rules before you purchase body armour. If you are unsure about any such laws, it is imperative that you educate yourself to avoid breaking the law.

Even when you’re informed about the technical specs of body armour, it is not a purchasing decision to be taken lightly. There is a great variety of styles, protection levels and addons to choose from. While many people feel safer in dangerous areas when they’re equipped with body armour, there are other factors to consider.
Countries, states and counties have uniform laws on body armour purchase and ownership. Before you buy a ballistic resistant vest online you need to check with regional and national regulations on whether you are legally permitted to own one as a civilian. Keep in mind that there may be restrictions on its purchase or usage dependant on your area. Many people are not fully educated about the laws on body armour, including whether they can legally buy and own one. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are adhering to the legal restrictions and regulations in your area when buying body armour online. To give you a starting point - we have listed several different examples of the legal status of body armour in several areas around the world.
In Australia it is illegal to possess body armour without authorisation in certain territories (South Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory, ACT, Queensland and New South Wales).
In certain Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia) a license is required to possess body armour, though there are no such restrictions in the rest of the country.
In the European Union, ballistic protection that is considered ‘for main military usage’ is restricted to civilians.
In the United Kingdom, there are currently no legal restrictions on the purchase and ownership of body armour.
In the United States it is legal to purchase and possess body armour, except for a few states:
- In Connecticut, body armour can only be purchased in person, and cannot be purchased online, over the phone, or by mail;
- In New York, a proposed ban of body armour for private citizens is currently debated;
- In Kentucky, committing a crime while wearing or even owning body armour is a crime in and of itself;
- In Louisiana, it is illegal to wear body armour on school property or on campus.
Even in regions, where wearing body armour is legal, overt (visible, on top of clothing) body armour is likely to attract attention from both the general public and law enforcement officials. Police officers may want to confirm why you are wearing a vest as this is unusual for a civilian out in public places. Additionally, this may cause other people to become worried and frightened as they might think there is an imminent danger or that you are a threat yourself. In such cases it is important to remain calm and explain your reasons for wearing body armour. As long as you are abiding by the law, police officers are likely to be understanding. A way to avoid this situation altogether is to opt for a covert vest, which is worn underneath the clothing. This still provides you additional safety against ballistic, stab or spike attacks, but remains out of sight to anyone else. You can then move freely in public places with a greater degree of anonymity.

Keep in mind that the restrictions mentioned above are not an exhaustive list of all body armour regulations and laws in existence. It is your responsibility to check with local and national standards and rules before you purchase body armour. If you are unsure about any such laws, it is imperative that you educate yourself to avoid breaking the law.