Body armor is a protective piece designed to stop projectiles. Modern body armors are also known as bulletproof vests. They are used by police, the Army and private security as default vest. The name bulletproof is deceptive though, as no body armor currently available can stop all bullets.
The design and materials have evolved with time. In the last century, the evolution has rocketed following the development of ammunition technology.
Different Types of Body Armor
Two big groups of body armors can be established, the set used by law enforcement officers and the sets used by the Army or other high risk groups, such as the Secret Service.
Among the first group, there are different types of body armor characterized by increasing protection power. The classification is not easy, due to the large number of available ammunition calibers and the variations among similar caliber cartridges.
Standards for Body Armor
The USA standards for body armor in relation with common threats to law enforcement officers are seven and can be found in the NIJ Standard 0101.04.
Types I, IIA, II, and IIIA protect against handgun threats. Types III and IV also protect against high powered rifle rounds. Type II is the one that most officers choose.
- Type I: minimum level of protection.
- Type IIA: protects from lower velocity 9 mm and 40 S&W ammunition.
- Type II: protects against high velocity 357 Magnum and higher velocity 9 mm ammunition.
- Type IIIA: protects from high velocity 9 mm and 44 Magnum ammunition. Not recommended in hot or humid climate.
- Type III: protects against 7.62 mm Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) bullets.
- Type IV: protects against .30 caliber armor piercing (AP) bullets.
- Special Type: No standard custom made, it is be based in any of the standards with addition for special requirements.
Types of Body Armor for High Risk Groups
Body armors for high risk groups are, at the moment, not soft armors. The research in materials allows them to be highly protective and not as heavy as they used to be.
Interceptor Body Armor: It is made up by a Kevlar vest and small-arms protective plates (removable throat and groin protectors, as well as front and back removable plates). It can stop 7.62 mm rounds and weighs 16.4 pounds.
Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops Vest (PASGT-V): It is made up by a thick filler of Kevlar separated in sections to provide better fit. The vest has a 3/4 collar, pivoting shoulder pads, two front pockets, two grenade hangers and rifle butt patches at the front shoulder area.
Dragon Skin Body Armor: This body armor is used by the Secret Service and other groups in high risk, but it was not accepted by the Army after the preliminary proves. It is conformed by small circular discs made of a silicon carbide ceramic overlapped like fish scales. The peculiar arrange gives the body armor a high flexibility and allows for multiple hits.
For more information on body armor, visit the Body Armor page at Liberty Lib.