What is a bulletproof vest?

A body armor is a means of personal self-defence capable of protecting the body against bullet and fragmentation wounds. A modern bulletproof vest is most often shaped like a sleeveless jacket, sometimes with a stand-up collar. The bulletproof vests can either be a part of the soldier's equipment or sold separately. Waistcoats are made of different materials, the main thing is that these materials can stop a bullet.

Any modern bullet-proof waistcoat consists of three main elements, two of which are indispensable. The first element is the sheath, which does not provide any protection. The pouch is needed to enable the wearer to wear the individual protective equipment. The second element is the bag, consisting of ballistic fabric and constituting the first level of protection. The third element is the slab, which constitutes the second level of protection. The third element may consist of a solid plate, or it may consist of special plates. The latter may be metallic (steel alloy, titanium), ceramic, polyurethane, or high-modulus protective fabrics.

Often the flak jackets have additional protective parts covering shoulders, groin, waist, have additional elements such as accessories, pouches, contain internal channels for communication cords.

What to look for when choosing a bulletproof vest

First of all, a bulletproof vest is designed to protect the soldier against pistol and submachine gun shells and to cope with grenade fragments during explosions. When selecting a bulletproof vest, first of all you must pay attention to:

  • Class. It is the class that determines the type of weapon a bulletproof vest must protect against.
  • The type of body armour worn: it can be concealed and of the external type.
  • The effectiveness of the area of protection. Minimal is 18 dm2 and maximal is 42 dm2.
  • Effective wearing time: from 1 to 12 hours.

The only parameter allowing for the selection of a bulletproof vest is the protection class. The protection class includes all other parameters. The higher the class, the better the level of protection against a hit by a bullet of a certain calibre, mass and velocity level.

What are the protection classes of body armour

There are 10 classes of body armor, namely, special, 1, 2, 2a, 3, 4, 5, 5a, 6, 6a. The special class includes protection against knives and class 2a includes protection against hunting rifles. Class 1.2,2a body armour is not in demand.

Class 1 body armour is the lightest, weighing up to 3 kg, and consists of fabric layers and protects well against pistols only.

Class 2 body armour weighs up to 5 kg and features metal plates in the fabric base at the most vulnerable points. Can protect against 9 mm bullets. Class 1 and class 2 flak jackets are predominantly concealed waistcoats.

Class 3 waistcoats have more fabric layers and metal plates on most of their surface area. They also have a damper ball. The average weight of such a body armour is 9-11kg.

From Type 4 onwards the flak jackets offer good protection not only against pistol bullets, but also against automatic weapons like AKs. These are the personal protective equipment used by army and police units. These waistcoats contain lightweight and durable metal plates made of aluminium or titanium alloys.

Class 5 body armour is the optimum protection against machine gun bullets. They can cope with 7.62x39mm bullets weighing up to 8g fired from an automatic rifle.

The most popular waistcoats today are those of protection class 6. They can protect against bullets from any automatic rifle, sniper rifle or machine gun.

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