Body armor is critical for law enforcement officers. During shooting, this armor can make the difference between life and death. There are various types of armor available with different capabilities. Purchasing this armor from a reputable manufacturer is crucial. It’s not just about buying the right armor. It is also about making sure it’s stored properly so that whenever it is needed, it is in excellent condition and will ensure your safety.
Plates are available in different levels. The type of rounds the plate can stop are dependent on the scale. The three types are ceramic, polyethylene and steel. A ceramic plate will stop rifle rounds but start breaking down once hit. They are additionally extremely heavy and may break if dropped. Polyethylene plates are lightweight and designed for multiple shots. Steel plates are adequate but very heavy.
The Carrying Case
Plate and soft armor have to be worn inside a carrier. This type of armor is usually soft polyester or cotton with Velcro straps. This armor can easily be worn underneath a uniform. External carriers carry plates, body armor or both. Attachment points and multi-stitched seams are a must for external carriers. The carrier should be adjustable using Velcro because elastic will eventually break down. The carrier will not provide any protection. This case is just a carrier for the armor.
Trauma plates fit over the body armor. This plate is an additional layer of protection intended for the vital organs. A trauma plate is capable of absorbing an impact when used with soft body armor. These plates are worn on top of the armor and slide into the carrier in the front. Both hard and soft trauma plates provide a higher level of protection while reducing the ricochet from potential bullet fragments. Individual plates were explicitly designed to reduce blunt trauma while others are designed to increase the rating.
It is vital to realize soft body armor must be protected from degrading. It is essential the armor be stored away from UV light, moisture and heat to ensure it remains in optimal condition. If the carrier is going to be exposed to snow or rain, it must be moisture resistant to avoid damage. Soft armor expires in five years and should be replaced. All armor should be stored in a safe, dry area where it is not in danger of falling.
The Bottom Line
No armor is 100 guaranteed to stop every type of round every time. Body armor does not make law enforcement and police officers invincible. When properly maintained and used it will provide additional safety, prevent numerous types of rounds and fragments from doing severe damage and help protect lives.