Let’s face it – the chance of you actually needing to wear a kevlar vest (unless you’re in law enforcement) are very small. Though handgun crimes are common in certain areas, the average person has an extremely low chance of needing bullet protection. However, some people like the peace of mind offered by a bulletproof kevlar vest. If you’re in the market, here are a few tips for choosing the vest that’s right for you.
The main factor that you’ll probably want to consider is the level of protection that you want out of your kevlar vest. Though a higher level offers better protection, it can also be much heavier and more difficult to conceal compared to some other types of vests. Also, you have to take into consideration what types of calibers you would like protection from. For example, the .22 rifle bullet is common, but most situations involving gunfire might be more likely to involve handguns than rifles. The protection levels are:
This type of vest is lightweight and easy to conceal. However, it also only has a low level of stopping power. It can stop .22 rifle bullets (with an impact velocity of less than 1,050), 38 special rounds, .25 handgun rounds and .32 handgun rounds.
This level of protection can take an impact from .45 automatic rounds, 38 special +P rounds, 9mm rounds and 357 Magnum rounds.
This vest is designed to withstand 357 Magnum rounds and 9mm rounds with a higher velocity.
The Level IIIA vest protection level can withstand 9mm rounds that have a full metal jackets, which have a high impact velocity. It can also withstand most handgun rounds, as well as .44 Magnum rounds.
This level of protection is designed mostly for protection against high-powered rifle rounds, such as 7.62mm round with full metal jackets. It can also protect against 30 Carbine FMJ bullets, and 12 gauge rifled slugs.
You’ll only need this level of protection from a bulletproof vest if you are seeking protection from armor-piercing rounds. This vest will help take the impact of 30 caliber armor-piercing bullets, as long as they have a nominal mass of 10.8 grams.
Disclaimer – These protection levels are meant as a basic guideline only. Other factors, such as the distance between the vest and gun, or the angle of the bullet could affect how much protection each vest offers.
Making Your Decision
If you’re simply purchasing a bulletproof vest for peace of mind, you’ll probably be safe with buying a vest that offers protection from the most common caliber bullets. If you want to be able to easily conceal your vest, you’ll probably be purchasing one of the lower-level protection vests, since they’re lighter and less bulky. Some kevlar bulletproof vests are specially designed so that they can be worn underneath clothing without being conspicuous.
In the end, it comes down to your specific reasons for purchasing a bulletproof vest, and which factors are important to you. As stated before, the chances of an average person needing protection from gunfire are extremely low. However, if you have the extra money, and would like some “peace of mind” insurance, a kevlar vest might be the best option for your personal security.