Surviving is more than just being lucky; it is preparation. Preparation is key to surviving all manner of situations; after all, there is a reason Survivalists are often called ‘Preppers’. This preparation may cover self-defense, resource management, first aid, and a number of other skill sets. Whatever you choose to focus on, it is worth considering exactly how you can keep yourself safe. While the situation will change, body armor is an easily accessible product that has a number of surprising benefits.
Firstly, imagine you are in a situation where you need to use your survival skills and experiences. This is where your considerable knowledge will come to light and the stores and defenses you have built will set you in good stead. Whatever the situation, your skill set allows you to cope with the challenges you’ll face and work to the point that you are living comfortably. However, due to luck or similar preparation, there will be others out there. These others may view your success with jealousy, and will work to take what you have. You need to defend yourself.
Self-defense is a broad topic with a number of different methods. Most Preppers will have already considered their own self-defense, and depending on the situation, will have a number of options available to them. Many Survivalists tout the usefulness of weapons for self defense, and your attackers will certainly look to arm themselves. A bullet is incredibly deadly, and no matter how well-armed you may be, it will only take one errant shot to kill you. This is why you need body armor.
Bullet proof vests are easily accessible to nearly everyone, and are an easy way to protect yourself against a wide variety of threats. Part of the benefit of wearing body armor is the protection it can give you against bullets, certainly. However, many do not realize that bullet proof vests can help mitigate the impact of all sorts of injuries, thereby keeping you safe in all manner of situations. For example, DuPont, the makers of Kevlar, annually hold a ceremony commemorating Law Enforcement Officers whose lives were saved through body armor. Every year a significant proportion of these Officers were involved in otherwise fatal car crashes.
Of course, the main threat a bullet proof vest will protect you against is bullets. However, bullet proof vests are available at a range of protective levels that outline exactly what ammunition they can protect you against. These NIJ Levels are standardized by the National Institute of Justice, the world leader in ballistics testing. It is important you ensure your vest is compliant with the testing standards set by the NIJ, and is appropriate for the threats you will be facing.
What is the best style of Body Armor for me?
Just as important, however, is ensuring that you are wearing the right style of vest. Bullet and stab proof vests are available in a variety of styles, each suited to different situations and with their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, the most common example of a bullet proof vest is the covert vest, which is worn underneath clothing.
However, even these covert vests are varied, and will likely be quite different to the images most have. For example, these covert vests are exceptionally thin and lightweight, making them truly discreet. This also means that when worn for extended periods they will remain comfortable. Furthermore, some manufacturers offer covert vests designed with temperature-regulating materials to help keep the wearer cool.
A covert bulletproof vest has the benefit of keeping your protection discreet, meaning you can wear your vest in day-to-day life. On the other hand, an overt vest may be far more appropriate for your situation. An overt vest is designed to be worn over the clothing, and is still lightweight and flexible, but will usually have a durable and possibly weather-resistant cover. These vests have the benefit of being augmentable with high-visibility covers, pouches for equipment, and quick-release systems.
If you are truly preparing for the worst, and you expect to face some particularly extreme threats, you may need a tactical vest. These vests, like overt vests, are worn over clothing and are usually more durable than their covert counterparts. However, these vests are extremely protective, offering upgrades to protect the upper arms, throat, neck, and groin for example. These vests are heavier and bulkier than any others, but offer unparalleled protection. These should only be worn in the most dire of circumstances.
There are a number of things to consider before you choose your body armor; how and where will you be wearing it? What level of protection will you need? Understanding the different options available is very important; otherwise you may end up with a vest that does not protect you properly. For example, having a vest that does not fit just right can leave you with gaps in protection. Furthermore, bullet resistant vests cannot protect against knives or needles, and you may therefore need a stab or spike proof vest that uses additional materials like chainmail and plastic.
It may seem confusing or even intimidating, but coming to understand the options available allows you to choose the right vest, and keep yourself protected no matter what you find yourself facing. For example, if you’re going to be faced with large crowds or members of the public, a covert vest will help keep you discreet and give you the upper hand. However, if you find yourself facing an attack of any kind, an overt vest will unnerve your opponents and/or give you the confidence needed to survive.
by Chris Taylor