A Survivors Guide to Body Armor
Survival is a matter of preparation, and those that put the most effort into preparing for the end of the world will survive the longest. However, many survivalists do not consider body armor when preparing, for any number of reasons. This could spell disaster, and could potentially undo all of your preparation. Protective clothing is lighter, cheaper and more protective than ever, and so is an extremely useful addition to your equipment.
Body armor is a necessity for anyone who faces the threat of attack; even before the world devolves (further) into madness and violence, a bullet or stab proof vest can save your life. Of course, the end of the world will dramatically increase your chances of being attacked, and body armor becomes vital. Indeed, being prepared for survival will make you a target for those who did not have the foresight to prepare, and you need to be protected.
Bullet Proof Vests
Body armor can refer to a number of products, including bullet proof vests, stab proof vests, and even spike proof vests. These are also available in numerous different levels of protection, and in different styles of wear, and so understanding exactly what protection you need is vital. Firearms are regularly touted as an important piece of equipment for survivalists. Any potential attackers will likely realise their benefit too, and so it is important that you have protection that can protect against bullets.
Handguns are seen as the most useful firearms, because of their relative ease of use and size. They are also relatively accessible, and so it is likely that any firearms used by attackers will be handguns. It is therefore necessary to ensure that your bullet proof vest can protect against handgun ammunition. Ballistic protection is tested and graded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and a vest at Level IIIa is capable of stopping the vast majority of handgun ammunition, including .44 Magnums and 9mms fired at high velocities.
On the other hand, there may be instances where higher caliber weapons are used; where they are available people will naturally make use of them because of their perceived power. High caliber ammunition cannot be stopped by lower levels of protection, and only a Level III or IV vest can stop ammunition used in rifles and automatics. These higher levels of protection require rigid plates of Ceramic or Polyethylene, which are heavier and bulkier than their ‘soft’ counterparts. However, they are still thin and light enough to be worn comfortably in even covert armor.
Covert and Overt Armor
Armor is available in both covert and overt styles, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Deciding on which style is best for you depends on the preparation you have done and the situations you find yourself in. For example, an overt vest is worn over clothing, displaying your protection. In situations where you find yourself at risk, visible armor may help deter potential attackers and signal your preparedness. Of course, this may have the opposite effect and invite attackers who see you as a valuable target. In this case, a covert vest would be a better choice as it can be worn comfortably under clothes, even at high levels of protection.
No-one knows how, where, and when the world will end, but being prepared means having your equipment to hand at all times. Survivalists know the importance of having a bug-out bag, as it allows you to have all the equipment you will need at hand for when the SHTF. A covert vest allows you to wear your protection at all times, and even if the worst never happens, it will provide you with protection against all manner of attacks.
Stab and Spike Protection
While bullet proof vests can protect you against various types of ammunition and even blunt trauma and impacts from things like car crashes, they cannot protect you against edged and spiked weapons. The soft materials used in bullet resistant vests can absorb energy and dissipate it across the fabric, but edged weapons will simply cut through the protective fibers. Similarly, edged weapons will only pass in between these fibers, and so it may be that you will need additional protection.
Bullet resistant vests can be equipped with stab and spike protection with the addition of chainmail or laminate, which create tough surfaces to stop edged and spiked weapons respectively. This will increase the weight and bulk of a vest, but is still light and thin enough to be worn covertly. In situations where close quarters combat or an ambush is likely, protection from weapons like knives and needles is essential.