One of the most important parts of preparing for the end of the world, the breakdown of society, or simply surviving is understanding all the different skills and equipment you may need. There are many guides available that explain the different skills you need to master in order to survive in any number of environments, and situations and scenarios come with long lists of equipment that is deemed vital for survival. However, hardly any of these lists or scenarios even mentions body armor, let alone emphasise just how important it is and exactly why you should be wearing it.
The skills and equipment regularly espoused by all manner of Survivalists and Preppers are undoubtedly helpful, and will set you in good stead to survive any sort of situation. However, all of this preparation will be for naught if you are not protected against attacks, and it is not enough to be armed to the teeth; all it takes is one bullet, bolt, or blade to ruin all of your hard work. When body armor is as accessible and protective as it is now, it becomes a vital piece of equipment that anyone facing a potential attack should utilise.
Bullet Proof Vests
The most important protection for Survivalists is a bullet proof vest. Body armor can refer to a wide range of protective clothing, including bullet proof vests, and it is important to understand the distinctions and specifications of each. However, a bullet proof vest should be considered a necessary piece of equipment. Bullet proof vests provide protection not only against bullets, but their ability to absorb energy from impacts means they can protect you in a variety of scenarios
The materials used in bullet proof vests are made of plastic fibers that have an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio, meaning that when arranged into a fabric, they can absorb and disperse huge amounts of energy. This is what allows them to trap and slow bullets to a complete stop, but also means that in situations like a car crash or if you are hit by falling debris the vest can potentially save your life. DuPont, the makers of Kevlar, regularly honor US Police Officers whose lives were saved by their products, and many of these were involved in otherwise fatal transport accidents.
Bullet proof vests come in a variety of protection levels however, and it is important to know what each level of protection can defend against to ensure you have the right bullet proof vest. For example, it is important to have a vest that can protect against the ammunition you will use in your weapons. While it may seem paranoid, the threat of someone using your own weapon against you is one that needs to be prepared for; according to the FBI the last decade saw 33 Police Officers murdered with their own weapon. Therefore, if you are going to be carrying a handgun, you will need a vest that can protect against handgun ammunition. Level IIIa bullet proof vests can stop the vast majority of ammunition used in handguns, and is still available in both covert and overt styles.
How to Wear Your Vest
In addition to deciding on what level of protection is most appropriate, it is also important to choose the right style of vest. Body armor can usually be worn over clothing in an overt style, or under clothing in a covert style. While this won’t affect the protection it offers, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Imagine that society as we know it has ended, and those left are forced to scavenge and scrape to survive. You, on the other hand, exist in relative comfort thanks to your foresight, and the skills and equipment you have mean you can survive for a good while longer. This makes you a rarity in this post-apocalyptic world, and soon those who didn’t prepare will come looking for you. If you’re facing a group of attackers intent on taking your provisions, the sight of you in overt tactical armor may be enough to deter them completely, and will certainly make them think twice about their next decisions.
Overt armor is not necessarily the same thing as tactical armor however, and tactical armor will not be necessary for all. Overt armor is simply armor that is worn over clothing, and in situations where you need to quickly equip and remove your vest, it is ideal. Tactical armor on the other hand can be augmented with additional protection for the neck, throat, groin, and upper arm, as well as pockets for extra equipment, and even space for rigid plates capable of stopping extremely powerful ammunition. For those who need complete protection, tactical armor is a necessity. However, for all others it will simply be a hindrance, and unnecessary.
It is impossible to know exactly how society will collapse, if indeed it will, and preparation means being ready for a variety of situations. Just as many advocate carrying a handgun at all times for just such an occasion, covert body armor is designed to be worn comfortably for extended periods, and offers complete discretion. This means that you can wear a bullet proof vest at all times and stay secure in your protection; even if the apocalypse never happens, a protective vest can protect you from an attack, which are still rife in our ‘civilized’ society.
Bullet proof vests are important to anyone who may face an attack, and are a comfortable and convenient piece of equipment that can and should be invested in. However, it is not only firearms that threaten people, and other weapons can be just as deadly and often more accessible. Edged and spiked weapons are not only easy to find, but are easy to make, and even in unskilled hands can make for a life-threatening weapon.
Many do not realize that bullet proof vests cannot protect against edged or spiked weapons because of the materials used. The soft fabric in bullet proof vests can absorb large amounts of energy, but can easily be cut by edged weapons like knives or axes. Similarly, spiked weapons like needles or screwdrivers can pass through the minute gaps between the fibers, again rendering the protection useless. These weapons require their own protection, which uses materials like Chainmail and/or plastic laminate over ballistic materials to provide a tough surface to stop these weapons.
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