If you need high-quality body armour to protect against various threats, it is essential to pick the right type. Different types are designed to protect against different threats – for example, a bulletproof vest may not offer suitable protection against knives.
Before you buy body armour, it’s wise to develop your understanding of the different types available. In this article, we will outline the different types of Kevlar body armour available on the market.
Often known as a ‘bulletproof vest’, this is the most common form of body armour. It’s designed to protect the torso against bullets, but there are different armour levels that offer different grades of strength. Generally speaking, higher-level ballistic protection offers greater protection against stronger ammunition. Ballistic protection can also be related to ballistic helmets.
Level II to Level IIIA armours are designed to protect against common handguns, such as 9mm, .44 magnum and .357 magnum pieces. The sturdy, durable Kevlar can trap these relatively slow bullets. Level IV and Level III armours protect against higher-velocity firearms by using materials like titanium, steel and ceramics in rigid plates. This is mostly applicable to military personnel.
Edged blade protection
Edged blade armour offers protection against cutting implements, such as knives, swords, axes and improvised weapons like broken bottles. Stab-proof armour traps the edged blade in its fibres to prevent injury, so it is different from ballistic armour.
Stab protection may use Kevlar, but some also use chain mail or laminate to stop edged weapons from penetrating the protective fabric.
The terms ‘stab’ and ‘spike’ are often used interchangeably, but spike weapons include things like nails, screwdrivers and needles, which can penetrate the spaces between fabrics of edged blade armour. Thus, stab-proof vests are not the best option for these threats.
This is where spike-proof vests are valuable. They feature layers of laminated plastic underneath the Kevlar so that the initial impact is absorbed and the solid surface prevents the sharp tip from penetrating through to the skin.
In many cases, it is not possible to predict what weapons an attacker might use. This means you must consider yourself exposed to multiple threats. Fortunately, there is multi-threat armour available that can offer superb all-round protection. Multi-threat armour is suitable for:
- Police officers
- Security guards
- Some military personnel
If you need comprehensive protection against a wide range of weapon types, then multi-threat armour is for you. As the name suggests, it offers the most comprehensive protection money can buy.
Multi-threat vests incorporate ballistic and edged blade protection to resist impacts from both bullets and cutting weapons. They also include laminated layers to prevent sharp objects from penetrating, making them spike proof as well. This means you get robust protection against all the most common forms of threats you are likely to be exposed to.
You will likely find that multi-threat armour is more expensive than single-threat alternatives, but the benefits you get can far outweigh the cost. If you are exposed to unpredictable threats in dangerous environments, you can’t really put a price on gaining maximum safety.
Choosing the right body armour for you
The best body armour for your needs depends largely on your occupation and the types of threats you are exposed to. If you’re not in the military, you are unlikely to need high-level ballistic armour. If you work in law enforcement, you may find that multi-threat armour is the best way to gain comprehensive protection against a range of threats.
If you are finding it difficult to chose the best armour for you, it can be helpful to consult with a body armour expert to get reliable guidance.