Bulletproof Vests: Everything You Need to Know

There aren’t many pieces of equipment more important than a bulletproof vest for law enforcement, private security, or the military. After all, this type of gear serves as anchor sheets, providing protection and instilling confidence for its wearers. However, there are a few things to know before you begin shopping for one. And in this guide, we’ll talk about everything you need to know regarding bulletproof gear.

The term is relative

The term “bulletproof” is a misnomer, and the reality is that they’re bullet resistant. However, the vests don’t protect the wearer against every threat; even man cover holes aren’t bulletproof. In some cases, bullets can pierce through vests that are supposed to halt them. In other words, the equipment doesn’t make you invulnerable.

The purpose of body armor is to absorb the projectile’s impact. And depending on how the item is rated, it may be able to do better or worse than others. But no matter how strong or durable it is, it’ll never be completely bulletproof. This is why manufacturers and suppliers avoid this term when describing their products. They do so even if their vests are of the highest quality material or up to the best standard.

How it stops bullets

Most bulletproof vests are made of strong, woven, and/or woven ballistic fibers. These materials can stop bullets in a similar way that a volleyball or tennis ball is stopped by the net. It forces the projectile to slow down and turn by absorbing the energy it produces throughout the entire panel. It also helps that the bullet essentially mushrooms. The body armor will fulfill its purpose much easier if the projectile is slower. But, conversely, those fired from reasonably high velocity or rigid tips could go through the vest.

All guns are deadly

Many firearm enthusiasts tend to underestimate guns with low calibers. However, every bullet that goes at a high-speed rate can pierce through bulletproof vests, regardless of their size. For this reason, it’s crucial never to underestimate what any gun can do. It’s also worth mentioning that shotguns are especially dangerous because most body armor isn’t rated for its ammunition due to their tendency to have varying velocity levels.

Lifespan of bulletproof vests

The service rating of a bulletproof vest usually depends on the manufacturer or the country. For example, in the United States, body armor generally has a minimum lifespan of at least five years. But keep in mind that every time you wear a vest, its protective capability diminishes faster than if it was sitting on its shelf. So regardless of the duration of its use, it’s always a rule of thumb to look it over for any damage before wearing it—be it burns, creases, or tears.

Maintenance also plays a critical role in the longevity of the item. Much like any other equipment, how you take care of your vest can determine whether or not it lasts. Thus, reading and following its instructions is a good idea, especially when cleaning the item.

Avoid getting the vest wet

One of the worst things you can do to a bulletproof vest is to get it wet. Moisture can make body armor lose its performance because water tends to lubricate. Once this happens, it’ll make it more susceptible to penetration. But, of course, this only applies if your vest isn’t water-resistant. Some manufacturers today offer waterproof products, after all.

It’s not one-size-fits-all

Much like any other piece of clothing, there are various kinds of bulletproof vests. You’ll need to find one that fits you exactly rather than forcing you to wear body armor that’s either too small or too big for you. Additionally, when choosing a vest, you must consider functionality. Ask yourself whether you need it to be less visible or if you’re looking to get more storage features out of it. Doing so will allow you to get the most out of it and maximize its use.

They aren’t resistant to knives

It may sound strange but bulletproof vests are generally not knife-resistant. Protective clothing for stabbing is made up of a different weave and fiber from traditional body armor. However, some vests are resistant to multiple threats available. The only issues with them are that they’re usually more expensive and much heavier than a bulletproof vest.

Insert the ballistic panels correctly

Every bulletproof vest will come with ballistic panels made to fit correctly into their carriers. However, if they’re not put in the right way, the chances are that they won’t be able to protect the wearer, leading to potentially tragic results. Likewise, if the strike face and backside of your panels aren’t facing the way they should, there’s no guarantee that the vest will stop projectiles from piercing through. So don’t make this mistake.

Reviews can be helpful

Every manufacturer will make claims about the efficacy of their products to attract more customers and increase their sales. While their promises might be true, it’s never a good idea to take their word alone. Instead, try to look up what other people have to say about the selected company’s body armor first before you decide. These items serve a very important purpose, and if they fail to function as intended, you could get hurt.

Apart from helping you avoid products that don’t meet required standards and aren’t worth their asking prices, checking reviews can also help guide you to items that can provide you with the best ballistic protection you need. Some could even point you in the direction of money-saving deals, enabling you to keep your expenditure at a minimum without compromising on the quality of the desired vest.


Body armor is essential, especially for police officers, soldiers, and professionals in fields where battle-related injuries are an occupational hazard. Therefore, you must understand what bulletproof vests can and cannot do and carefully consider your options before making any financial commitments. Doing so will not only save you money, but it could save your life as well.