Body Armour – Why is 5 the magic number
Category : News
With the ever increasing call for body armour within the security industry; either by client request or officer wants, we need to address some of the basic facts. No corners should be cut on an item of equipment that may need to save your life one day and if that time comes; you will be thankful for this article.
What can body armour protect against?
|HG1/A|| Lightweight-flexible soft armour intended for use by the unarmed officer in
very low risk patrolling situations. Suitable for both overt and covert use
|HG1||General Duty soft armour for low risk situations. May be overt or covert|
|HG2||Special duty soft armour intended for use in firearms operations.
Can be used in conjunction with RF1 and SG1 plates. Usually overt
|HG3||Heavy duty armour intended for use in firearms operations. Can be
used in conjunction with RF and SG plates. overt
|SG1||Offers protection from full-length shotguns at close range. Usually
used in conjunction with HG2 armour
|RF1||Offers protection against soft-core ammunition fired from rifles.
Usually used in conjunction with HG2 armour
|RF2||Offers protection against steel core high power ammunition fired
from rifles. Intended for use in conjunction with HG2 or HG3 armour
|KR1 & KR1+SP1|| the lowest protection level allowed and is tested at a
performance level of 24 joules of energy. It should offer maximum
periods of wear in a low risk-patrolling environment. Armour tested
to this level would be suitable for covert or overt use
|KR2 & KR2+SP2||medium protection level, tested at a performance level
of 33 joules. This should provide a general duty garment for extended wear
and may be covert or overt
|KR3 & KR3+SP3|| high protection level tested at a performance level of
43 joules. This would be suitable for short periods of wear in high-risk
situations. Armour manufactured to this level would normally be overt
Full Home Office documents can be found: Ballistic Report and Knife & Spike Report
So what do I need to know when buying body armour?
Avoid eBay! – Yes, that is right; you really need to avoid those cheap offers on eBay and resist the urge to buy second-hand armour. Many factors come in to play when talking about the effectiveness of armour and its remaining service life.
In order to explain further I will ask 3 questions:
- Does kevlar armour have a life span?
- Does usage affect its effectiveness?
- Does storing the armour have an effect?
So, in short, the answer to each question is yes; however, I will expand on each in turn.
1 – Kevlar armour has a general service lifespan of 5 years; but this is heavily affected by factors such as climate, usage and storage.
2 – Armour that is heavily used will have a significantly shorter lifespan than armour which is lightly used. Also within this aspect, we must address maintenance of the armour; something which is often forgotten in a busy work routine. Armour needs to be cleaned and only cleaned following strict guidelines. Would it surprise you to know that even body fluids such as sweat have an impact on your armours effectiveness?
3 – Body armour needs to be stored correctly and in the correct climate. Any armour that is stored hung up is at risk of a shortened lifespan and if the armour is subject to direct sunlight or a strong heat source the same applies.
Ok so now with these 3 points can you understand why I would say ‘Avoid eBay secondhand armour?’ With a general service lifespan of 5 years, the vest’s available on eBay have often already passed their service life and as a result, offer reduced or sometimes; no protection.
So where can you get trusted armour from?
(I am in no way paid or gifted for any endorsement with regards to any product)
There is a pioneering company that is bringing some very exciting products to the market with regards to body armour, PPSS.
Firstly the video below is the CEO taking a handgun round whilst wearing one of their products… now thats epic!
Their products move away from temperamental materials such as Kevlar and introduce a more rugged and less maintenance dependent alternative. Not only are their products at the forefront of the market, but the team is very friendly and approachable, even the CEO is available to speak with.
Please visit PPSS to view their entire product range.