Ballistic Vests - Completely Bullet Proof Yourself
Ballistic vests or bullet proof vests are known to be the best protective equipment for firearm projectiles. These are mainly worn on the torso and near the navel area. The soft vests are prepared by using many layers of fibre and protect the wearer from small caliber handguns and small fragments. Metallic or ceramic plates can be added to soft vests to provide extra protection from rifles. Tightly woven layers of fibre provide protection and resistance from knife or stab attacks. Soft vests are mainly used by private citizens, police, security guards, bodyguards, etc. whereas hard-plated body armour is more commonly worn by combat soldiers and hostage rescue teams.
Vests that are used by military and police mainly include side protection and shoulder protection, whereas the bomb disposal squad wear much heavy armour along with spine protection and face visors. This body armour has strong layers of fibres that catch and then deform the bullet. They mushroom the bullet into a dish shape and spread the force all around the vest fibre. When the bullet hits the wearer, energy is dispersed and the bullet is brought to a stop before it penetrates further.
Though a huge amount of energy is absorbed by body armour, some part of the impact force is still felt by the wearer. Modern pistols have enough power to cause blunt force trauma even without penetrating. Purely ballistic vests cannot provide much resistance against sharp objects like knives or ice picks. The main reason for this is because the impact of these sharp objects remains concentrated in a very small area and allows them to puncture the vest fiber.
Some textile vests are augmented by ceramic or metal plates to provide extra protection. The hard armour plates have been proven to be effective against all types of rifles and handguns. The Kevlar in vests can be laminated and coated with para-amid textiles or some metallic components to counter additional threats such as from spikes. This has become standard in military use. Instead of using the term bullet proof, it is better to refer to body armour as bullet resistant as there are various types of projectiles and certain threats must be countered by specific vests.
There are various body armour standards all around the world depending upon the type of threat in that area. It is always recommended to buy these vests after understanding the type of threat you are going to face. Para-military and law enforcement organisations own a specific standard for armour protection and ensure that they are protected against the threats they face. The NIJ standard is followed broadly and adopted by various countries for making a particular bullet proof vest. These standards and methodologies are utilised to test the performance of different types of vests. The NIJ has developed specific standards for the performance of a bullet proof vest and rates them on a specific scale.