Selecting body armor, especially if it is meant to be your only set, can be tricky. While you want to be safe and protected from attackers, you don’t want to injure yourself by carrying hard plates everywhere. Finding that sweet spot between safety and utility is the key.
Generally, there are three types of body armor when it comes to how you will use it:
- Soft armor for daily protection
- Hard plates to protect from rifles
- External carriers that can host gear
The third type includes both plate carriers and soft external vests but is different because it is meant to work with a lot of other gear. Those in the market to buy body armor will need to know when they will need protection and against what.
Thankfully, there are a lot of good models on the market, allowing anyone to find their ideal daily piece.
Going for Comfort
Anyone working in security services or law enforcement doesn’t have the luxury of knowing when they will be needed. As your job is to protect people or property over prolonged periods and unknown assailants, you need to be adaptable.
In this case, it is best to wear soft armor that won’t weigh you down but will stop any bullet from a handgun. Models like the UCV™ Universal Concealable Vest weigh only up to 10 lbs for the biggest models but will stop a round from a .44 Magnum.
And, you can wear this type of protection virtually indefinitely. Because they are well balanced, you won’t feel it on your feet any more than you would regular walking. Combined with utility offered, they are the standard choice for private security and law enforcement.
Going for Protection
Those who willingly put themselves in danger, such as soldiers and Special Forces, have the advantage of knowing when the mission is over. It is when the bad guys are not moving anymore.
In those cases, you can predict that the enemy will have a rifle and that you will need a plate carrier. Thankfully, modern solutions like the WPC™ Weightless Plate Carrier, as well as UHMWPE plates mean that the plate itself won’t add too much to your weight.
But, as they are usually worn with auxiliary armor and heavier weaponry, the whole set won’t be easy to carry over extended periods. Generally, four hours without rest should be the maximum due to medical concerns.
In some cases, the gear you will be carrying with you is more important than both your armor and weapons. If you have a specialized mission, you will need to optimize yourself, while still staying safe.
In those cases, using an external vest, regardless if it is soft or hard, is the only viable solution. These items are supposed to assist you in your task and should be reachable at any moment.
External carriers solve this issue in two ways, either by implementing MOLLE webbing or Velcro pads, depending on the weight of the equipment you are supposed to carry.