It’s hard being the thin blue line, especially today. Being the designated ‘good guy with the gun’ means putting yourself at risk day after day. And, with the diminishing structure support, the stress can be overwhelming at times. The gear used by the police, especially when it comes to tactical police body armor, is there to provide increased protection for those risking their lives so we could sleep peacefully at night. There are three general categories of bulletproof vests that can be used by law enforcement:
Special Tactics Plate Carriers
Covert Bulletproof Vests
Concealable Armored Clothes
Regretfully, some of the choices when it comes to using body armor as a police officer are not made because of something being practical, safe, or useful. Politics have a lot to do with the type of armor a police department might use. That is why officers must often go with covert armor because the administration doesn’t want them to seem militarized.Thankfully, with new NIJ Level IIIa soft armor, this can be sufficient protection against all types of handgun ammo. Those trying to find a good set of body armor for sale will find a wide range and competitive prices.
Do Cops Wear Bulletproof Vests?
Hopefully.While there are some tasks in a police officer’s day that don’t require a vest, such as filling out forms, it is much better to have one all the time. Even though some PDs forbid overt vests, there are light and comfortable internal carriers that can be worn throughout the day.For arrests that could be violent, or that might require special weapons and tactics, having an overt vest will be necessary. These vests can house more gear as well as concussive and tactical explosives necessary to apprehend aggressive suspects without causing harm to the officers or the suspect in question.Finally, in some areas where the climate doesn’t allow for multiple layers of clothes and you still need to wear concealed armor. In these cases, the department can opt for covert armored singlets or T-shirts that fit seamlessly into the uniform and still protect your vitals from handgun rounds.
What Body Armor does the Police Use?
Depending on the mission, the setup for a police officer or unit can differ.For individuals on patrol, even if they are allowed to wear external carriers, soft armor will be necessary. Long hours and patrols are hard on the feet as they are, and adding extra weight in these situations will bring loads of medical issues.Actions involving crowd control, especially when there are violent outbursts, need to add additional ballistic protection to the head, neck, and eyes of the officer. Hard plates are still not necessary, as individuals armed with rifles can be noticed from a distance. But, IEDs and thrown weapons can be an issue for the line, and protection against these attacks should be mandatory.Finally, there are actions that need swift and overwhelming force. Even when special weapons and tactics (SWAT) are not used, external carriers with utility additions and ballistic helmets are necessary. Although medical kits aren’t usually included as a designated medic will be waiting in the back, the gear itself must be adjusted so that a doctor can access anyone injured quickly.
What Body Armor Does SWAT Teams Use?
While a SWAT team will adjust and customize their gear to a degree depending on the mission parameters, some things will stay the same.A good external carrier with an NIJ Level 3 or 4 hard plates will be needed to protect the vitals from suspect carrying rifles or shotguns with buckshot ammo. Ideally, a SWAT team will have geared up vests with NIJ Level IIIa that have pockets to slide in hard plates. This way a team can increase their level of protection quickly if the situation demands it.Additionally, a high cut ballistic helmet will be used as a compromise between protection and agility. These helmets are light and don’t obstruct hearing, while they offer head protection from both handguns and explosives.
What Is The Best Body Armor for the Police?
Because police departments differ so much when it comes to policy, the best armor will always be the one offering an optimal balance between protection and maneuverability, while staying compliant to that policy.Regardless, a police officer should always wear their internal concealed vest while on the job, even if there is nothing forcing them to do so.