All too often, I see the argument from both sides of the fence regarding body armor (aka: bulletproof vest, ballistic vest, bullet resistant vest, etc.) and it is that time for me to talk about it and give up my two cents.
According to the NIJ (National Institute of Justice), more than 3,000 officers’ lives have been saved by wearing soft body armor and according to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, officers who do not wear body armor are 3.4 times likely to suffer a fatal injury from a torso shot than officers who wear body armor.
Obviously, there are people who will point out that law enforcement officers are basically in a completely different role than private security officers and/or even private police officers. I will not argue that in any way shape or form because the roles between the two entities are, while similar in some aspects, a ‘horse of a different color’.
With that being said, you must also look at the different trends and also the curves associated with them. As a whole, criminals are becoming more and more brazen and some of that group have absolutely no issue what so ever committing their crimes in public. In addition, in some cases, working in a field that wears a uniform of any kind (police, military, private security, etc.) can almost instantly make you a target.
Active shooter scenarios are also on the rise in recent history for many reasons. Some may say that it is because of a lack of compassion, the disregard of human life, mental health issues or even because of instant notoriety within the mainstream media. As sad as it is, the one almost guaranteed method to capture anyone and everyone’s attention (even on a national level) is to carry out a heinous scenario like a public shooting. In situations such as this, you better believe that if you are wearing a uniform and you are spotted, you will become a target.
Now, I have seen/heard from both sides of the fence on this. On one side you’ll hear “Why even bother buying something that you’ll never use?” or “Just wait until you gain or lose weight and then you won’t be able to use it”.On the other side you’ll hear “Why not buy it just in case” or “It’s kind of stupid to be in that kind of work and not wear one”.
I will admit, I am on the second side of this fence. I am more of the person that would rather have something and not need it than need something and not have it. My experience from the military and also law enforcement instilled the concept of ‘when things go wrong, they typically do so at 500 mph’. Keeping this thought process in mind, I know all too well that there is never time to run somewhere else to grab something that I need.
My Two Cents
If you are in this profession and you are around the public then go out an purchase yourself some body armor. Don’t forget to keep your receipts and hand all of that stuff into the person doing your taxes in February.
There are many options on the market as far as exterior carriers, trauma levels, types of materials, stab resistance, etc.and it is easy to feel overwhelmed or confused by what you should or should not get. Personally, I am going to tell you to check out Safe Life Defense‘s Level iiia+ vests, that is if you are dealing with the public or any ‘soft target’ areas where you are getting fairly heavy traffic. Their Level iiia+ provides not only protection against bullets but also Level 1 spike protection and it only runs around $500.
For those who are exclaiming “$500!?!? I don’t have money for that!”…well, like most of us have had to do, find the money. Trust me, $500 is extremely cheap compared to the cost of your life and it is also a hell of a lot cheaper than the hospital bills that will pile up (if you live through getting shot in the first place). Not to mention that it is also cheaper than Point Blank and Second Chance armor that’ll run you somewhere between $700-$1500 depending on what you get and the options. You can also check out Armor Express and their line of vests. The first vest that I purchased after entering the private work world was an Armor Express Quantum Level iiia for around the $500 mark as well. It’s not a bad vest at all, I just wanted the additional spike/stab protection.
Granted, yes, in a perfect world you should never need to ‘use’ a ballistic vest but I’m not going to take my chances and just hope for the best and neither should you.
“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”
“Always Prepared, Always Vigilant, Always Professional”