In the modern civilized world, where science and technological progress have reached significant heights. A substantial scientific potential is involved in the military defense industry. New and improved types of weapons are being invented. In this reality, the process of creating appropriate and adequate personal protective equipment has no right to recede into the background. Body armor is one of the most effective types of such protection.
Is it legal for civilians to own body armor?
In the increased crime situation in many countries, body armor could protect the military, police, and civilians. But in reality, this type of protection is often used by criminals. For this reason, the United States regularly discusses the issue of banning or at least limiting the use of body armor for civilians. This is since criminals can also use this type of protection under the guise of civilians, making them less vulnerable to law enforcement agencies. While, for example, police officers are advised to use body armor most of the time or even constantly while on duty. It is also recommended to use this protection even outside of work. The legality of body armor for civilians remains open and controversial. Nevertheless, it is possible to purchase a bulletproof vest for a law-abiding citizen for personal safety.
What materials are used in body armor?
Ultra-high quality materials are used in modern body armor, allowing maximum protection with the relative comfort of using them. Modern metal alloys make it possible to manufacture armor shields with a lower weight without losing protective properties. High molecular weight polyethylene bags are widely used.
For a long time, Kevlar was one of the most popular materials for body armor. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA have developed ultra-strong nanofibers -Spectra and Dyneema. This material is used for the production of a new generation of body armor for the military. The strength of the material is several times superior to Kevlar. Also, the material Rusar has high performance. The material is made of 24 layers of aramid fiber, which is five times stronger than steel. Besides, modern models are equipped with climatic shock-absorbing support, which softens the kinetic force from the impact of a bullet and distributes it throughout the body. In the design of body armor, a damping layer is essential to reduce the weapon’s effect. The damper layer can consist of polyurethane, rubber, foam, and other synthetic materials. In modern models of body armors, to increase the ergonomics and comfort of using and maintain the temperature balance, interlayers and shock absorbers made of porous material are provided.
It is also essential to consider the maximum time for wearing the product without deteriorating well-being, which directly depends on the weight of the bulletproof vest. There are recommendations for each level. It is also essential to pay attention to the temperature influence from the outside.
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Protection Body Armor Levels
There is a vast selection of body armor. To make it easier to choose the correct version of ammunition according to the tasks, they are subdivided into classes according to the level of protection.
There are IV main classes and II subclasses of body armors. The body armor of these classes is the best option for the civilian population. Bulletproof vests of the IIA and the II level are most suitable for long-term wearing and are often represented by models of a hidden type of wearing. It is an excellent option, if necessary, to disguise the presence of protection since this kind of model does not have much weight and practically does affect the user’s activity.
Bulletproof vests of the IIIА and the III level provide more reliable protection, but the weight is also quite noticeable. As a rule, this class of protective body armor is represented by an open type of wearing, often used by law enforcement officers, collectors, and security services.
Bulletproof vests of the highest protection – are the IV level. Protect against much more serious weapons. But such ammunition has a reasonably significant weight and size. Indeed this affects mobility and activity of the user, mainly the military use this class. This type of product can be used for a minimal time without any visible negative impact on the soldier.
Body Armor Maintenance, Storage, and Care
Caring for a bulletproof vest begins with reading the instructions. It is essential to ensure the integrity of the waterproof cover. Ballistic material (kevlar, aramid fibers) lose its properties when exposed to moisture. Wet cleaning is only possible for the vest itself, without the use of fabric softeners. All packages are pre-removed. Dry the vest thoroughly after washing. All armor can only be assembled dry. Alcohol and chemical cleaners should also be avoided—vests of the concealed type of wearing mean any clothing under them, such as a T-shirt.
It is necessary to store body armor in such a way as to maintain its proper technical condition. As a rule, products are stored in a particular case at room temperature and not high humidity. Products that are in use, as a rule, are stored in extraordinary cabinets in a dry room. All manipulations for the care, storage, and operation of the product must be consistent with the instructions for use. Before using the body armor, it is necessary to check the presence and integrity of the protective armor elements.
Thus, a vast selection of body armor models, on the one hand, can satisfy almost any user request, but on the other hand, it will significantly complicate the selection process. It is necessary to understand exactly which model is needed in a particular situation. It is a pity that the peaceful civilian population increasingly requires personal protective equipment such as body armor for self-defense in our modern society. So, when choosing a bulletproof vest for personal use, you need to be ready to understand at least the basic principles of technical characteristics.