Body armour is an important piece of equipment for anybody who works in the security industry. The most common type of body armour is the bullet proof vest, which provides protection against an assorted number of weapons.
Given the risky nature of the type of work that security operatives are expected to do - it is only natural that they take measures to minimize these risks while on duty. Bullet and stab proof vests as well as vests that offer ballistic protection offer considerable advantage in a potentially life threatening situation. This is the reason why most security companies require their operatives to wear body armour and many prefer a covert vest for discreet protection that doesn't give potential attackers an advantage.
The levels of protection are available from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which is recognized as the world leader in testing and standardizing body armour. The NIJ Levels outlines what a vest can protect against, with Level IV being the highest. Level IV body armour can protect against high-powered ammunition used in rifles and automatics as well as cover all lower levels, which is why it is deemed the most secure option for security operatives.
Benefits of Covert Level IV Armour
Because Level IV armour can only be achieved by using hard plates, it is more rigid and offers increased protection against all sorts of attacks. The fabric helps dispel the energy of an attack, thus mitigating any damage caused by impact and helping to keep the wearer upon his feet and fighting. As the rigid plate stops the bullet, underneath the tough materials like Ceramic or Polyethylene give the wearer the vital flexibility and freedom of movement that are crucial in such situations.
Materials used in a rigid Level IV plate are harder and heavier than Kevlar, for example, but they are still lightweight and thin. This means that security operatives can now have the protection of riot gear in a discreet and comfortable vest.
The main advantage of a covert vest, however, is the fact that it is covert. This essentially means that protection can be worn at any time without making it visible to anybody. Some security operatives prefer an overt vest in order to display authority but that can also make them an easy target for potential attackers. Overt body armour is also a good way to let the attacker know which body parts are not protected, guiding them in hitting or shooting an operative there and increasing the chance of serious injury and even death.
Covert armour has other advantages, especially in combination with Level V protection. Due to its nature of being worn underneath clothes - it is designed to be comfortable and as breathable as possible. Some manufactures use special temperature-regulating materials that draw moisture away from the skin to help the body regulate its own temperature in a more effective way. Covert level IV body armour has the same multiple applications and provides the same level of protection as the overt version without being as bulky and that is its biggest advantage.
Given the nature of the security industry and its inherent risks, making a choice about the type of protection is certainly challenging and not something that should be taken lightly. The choice as to what type of vest is most appropriate is a decision that depends on a variety of factors, although there are some basic rules that apply to all security operatives. It is important to understand that the use of body armour is vital in this line of work and higher the level of the vest - the more protection you are guaranteed, regardless of the circumstance.