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A bulletproof vest, also known as a ballistic vest or a bullet-resistant vest, is an item of body armor that helps absorb the impact and reduce or stop penetration to the torso from firearm-fired projectiles and fragmentation from explosions. The vest may come in a soft form, as worn by many police officers, prison guards, security guards and some private citizens. Prison guards and police may wear soft vests designed to resist stabbing attacks, using metallic or para-aramid components. Soldiers, SWAT teams, marines and special operations forces wear hard armors, either in conjunction with soft armor or alone. This allows for protection against rifle ammunition or fragmentation.
Kevlar ballistic vests are designed to offer protection against level II and level IIIa types of ballistic threats. According to NIJ and HOSDB standards, level II ballistic vests must offer protection against 9mm handguns with up to .357 magnums. Level IIIa ballistic vests offer protection against 9mm handguns with up to .44 magnums. However, level IV threats are not protected by the normal Kevlar bulletproof vests. In other words, Kevlar body armors are designed for protection against firearms that are easily found within the general population.
Hard ballistic plates are used to offer protection against level IV threats. These plates can stop large, high velocity bullets such as those fired from rifles and submachine guns. The plates can be inserted into the pouches at the back or front of vests so as to increase protection to vital body organs such as the heart.When purchasing a body armor there is no need to spend so much money on hard ballistic plates if you are not going into a war zone. Just buy body armor that can protect you from the threats you are facing.
The most popular hard ballistic plate carrier is the Cordura vest. The vest contains SAPI plate pouches at the back and front. The pouches can accommodate a 10 X 12" ballistic plate. Therefore, the bulletproof vest is often equipped with Bulletproof Plate(choosing Level IIIA Bulletproof Plate, Level III Bulletproof Plate, Level III+ Bulletproof Plate or Level IV Bulletproof Plate according to the situation) and Bulletproof Shield(Level IIIA Bulletproof Shield, Level III Bulletproof Shield, Level III+ Bulletproof Shield or Level IV Bulletproof Shield) while using.
Ballistic plates are made of hardened ceramic materials or dyneema polyethylene. These materials can withstand the impact of high velocity bullets. The plates are widely used by tactical police teams and in war zones. With hard ballistic plates, soldiers can easily penetrate into the enemy territory without having to worry about being shot. Hard ballistic plates come in different sizes and weights depending on the materials used in the fabrication process. Lighter ballistic plates are usually more expensive due to the advanced technology required to fabricate them. Although expensive, lighter ballistic plates are very efficient and easy to use as they allow the user to move freely.
Heavier ballistic plates are cheaper but can restrict movements. This means that they should not be used in war zones because soldiers must be in a position to move quickly when required to do so. It is also advisable not to wear heavy ballistic plates for prolonged periods as they can be very cumbersome.
Apart from the materials used to fabricate ballistic plates, their size also determines the total weight. Thee smaller ones weigh less than the larger ones. Light ballistic plates weigh as little as 2.4 kilograms while the heavy ones weigh 6 kilograms. You can also get a composite one that weighs 3.6 kilograms. When choosing the kind of ballistic plate to wear, there are several factors that you have top consider. These include the size of the user and the total duration he/she will be using it.
The larger ballistic plates are suitable for bigger, stronger people. On the contrary, small ballistic plates are suitable for smaller people. For smaller people, the light plates will offer the same protection as that offered by the heavy plates to the larger individuals.
The composite hard ballistic plates are not too heavy or too light and therefore they can be used by anybody. They are also cheaper since they're made of several materials. So as to effectively use ballistic plates, soldiers and tactical teams must be well trained and familiarize themselves with the plates. If not familiar with the plate, a soldier can find himself in a position where he feels very uncomfortable in the plate. This will hinder his/her performance and can lead to lose of lives as the enemy would be at an advantage.