Survival Basics

Body Armor Buyer’s Guide

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If you think that body armor is only for police, the military and federal agents, you’re missing out on one of the most effective and inexpensive ways that you, as a prepper, can ensure you survive a violent encounter. We aren’t suggesting that you wear body armor around in public, or even under your shirt at church. What we are saying is that in a high threat situation such as a natural or manmade disaster, when you are bugging in at home and there are looters running about, it would be nice to have the added protection that armor gives you. Another scenario that it makes sense to have body armor in is a bug out scenario, where you are forced to leave your home for a safer location. In that case, body armor is cheap insurance against the sorts of undesirable people that you might encounter along the way.

There is nothing new about the concept of body armor. For thousands of years, mankind has armored his body against whatever threats have been prevalent. Body armor historically stayed one step ahead of those threats until the prevalence of firearms, which more or less put conventional steel plate armor on hiatus until newer technologies arose that countered ballistic threats. A note about terminology is in order here; we don’t ever refer to body armor as “bulletproof vests” and neither should you.

There is no guarantee that any vest, even one rated for the threat you are facing, will be bulletproof. Sometimes, low tech items can defeat armor. At the height of steel plate armor design in the 15th century, where the finest head to toe suits of armor were developed, it was soon discovered that swords were mostly ineffective against armor. It seems like for a brief moment in time, armor had won out.

Then, someone got the brilliant idea to resurrect the war hammer, a heavy hammer with a spike on one end and a two foot wood shaft. When a war hammer struck plate armor with the hammer side, it would deform the armor and give the wearer blunt trauma, and if hit in the head, usually death. The spike was just as effective, punching through even the thickest plate armor to mortally wound the wearer. Our point here is that no matter how well you are protected, there is always some way that your gear can be defeated. That’s why modern body armor is just another tool in your arsenal rather than something you hinge 100% of your bets on.

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