Protection matters a lot for law enforcement professionals because they face danger every single moment on duty. Wearing protective gear, therefore, does not remain a choice. When it comes to the right body armor, you need one that is capable of stopping everything that is fired at you. At the same time, there are some more factors like comfort and coverage that determine the suitability of the protective gear. It is best to bear in mind these factors while investing in body armor for keeping safe even in the most dangerous situations. Here are some common-sense standards that you must absolutely consider.
Performance is the key
When you buy body armor, performance should be a top priority. To start with, you need to understand the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standards because these indicate the safety ratings for such products. You can trust these ratings because they are given only after thorough testing of the body armor designs.
NIJ has approved only five independent testing laboratories that are allowed to officially test and certify body armor.
A higher rating indicates greater protection but does not guarantee that you will not be injured at all. Still, you can expect significant protection by wearing these pieces and that is what makes a difference between life and death.
Mobility matters as well
While the performance of body armor has a vital role, you cannot ignore the mobility factor. Obviously, ones that have high safety ratings are thicker and heavier. Wearing such a piece can hinder your mobility to a considerable extent, which is a matter of concern for law enforcement agents. Choosing your body armor, therefore, is about finding a perfect balance between performance and mobility because you cannot overlook either of these.
Comfort is equally important
Besides mobility, comfort is something that you should consider while buying body armor. You will probably have to wear it for long hours, which is the reason why comfort matters the most. You can try engarde body armor because the brand relies on superior engineering and ergonomics to craft vests that offer comfort even in the hottest climates and long wear situations. The idea is to stay safe without compromising comfort!
A good fit is vital
Comfort is not just about the right material and ergonomics; it is also about a good fit. A well-fitted vest not only keeps you feeling easy but also provides all the coverage you need when in danger. Body armor comes in standard sizes such as small, medium, large and extra-large and you should pick one that is right for your build. Ideally, you should look for one that covers you from shoulders, both on the front and back. The bottom of the vest should be at belly button height. This prevents problems when sitting (in a car). If the bottom of vest comes lower it could bounce against holster etc.
Don’t forget your budget
When it comes to the common-sense standards in choosing body armor, you cannot forget the cost. After all, every law enforcement agency has a budget that it cannot overstep. At the same time, you cannot overlook the safety of the agents just to save a few dollars. Your best bet is to look for optimal protection that comes within budget.
A rule of thumb is that the thinnest, most flexible and most lightweight body armor is most expensive. The top tier raw materials used to produce this kind of body armor are very expensive resulting in a higher vest price. A side effect of these comfortable vests is that the “wear-rate” among officers is much higher than bulky, uncomfortable vests.
A balance between these common-sense considerations is the key to finding perfect body armor according to your needs. No matter what, the quality and performance of protective gear should be on top of your list because they can save lives.