When it comes to ballistic protection, it has always been considered to be meant for military personnel and law enforcement officers. Certainly, it is important for them because they constantly face threats in the line of duty. Proper protective clothing offers them safety against penetration and impact caused by weapon attacks, which can make a difference between life and death.
However, it would be apt to consider that civilians need as much protection, considering the dangers they face nowadays. But before you buy body armor, there would be some questions on top of your mind, right from legal permissibility to the type suited best for you, and more. Let us state some key facts you need to know in this context.
Civilians are legally permitted to buy body armor
Civilians in the country can legally buy and use body armor, though the laws and regulations may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and state to state. Generally speaking, you can easily pick a bulletproof vest unless you are a convicted felon or your state or jurisdiction has some restrictions in place. While many states have already allowed civilian use of these protective clothing pieces, others may do it in the near future. It is recommended that you check the regulations in your jurisdiction or state before going ahead with the purchase.
Some civilians need to go to extra mile with safety
Although safety is important for all, there are some civilians who need ballistic protection more than the others. The decision whether you genuinely need protection with body armor depends on the daily situations you face as a part of your job or lifestyle.
Firefighters, emergency responders, and journalists come on top of the list. Judges and attorneys, forest rangers, shooting range personnel, couriers, bank officers, convenience store owners and clerks, pawnshop and jewelry store owners, and ATM repairmen need to ensure ballistic protection. Similarly, going the extra mile makes sense for people living in high crime and dangerous and abuse or stalking.
The difference in protection levels
Since the threat situations that civilians and defense personnel face are different, you cannot expect the same levels of protection to work for both. Obviously, body armor for the military is meant to protect them from deadly situations. For example, a light covert vest which would normally provide protection against handgun bullets will not be enough. Military vests, therefore, have additional protective features that cover more areas and provide more resistance to attacks with high powered bullets. They come with additional hard armor plates that are effective against level III and level IV threats such as rifle rounds.
The main difference between Level III and IV is that a Level IV hard armor plate also stops armor-piercing rounds. However, a Level IV plate can be three times heavier in comparison with a Level III plate.
Conversely, civilian body armor uses lighter ballistic plates made of Aramid materials such as Kevlar and Teijin Twaron and PE materials such as Dyneema and Spectra. The protection level recommended for them is between level II and level III. Additionally, the vests meant for civilians are comparatively more comfortable as well, but they still offer an optimal level of protection for them.
Some states also have specific laws and regulations which limit the protection level that civilians are allowed to wear. It is advisable to do some research before you go ahead and order your vest.
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