5 Myths About Body Armor

The “bulletproof vest” has tricked many people into thinking that body armor can stop bullets dead in their tracks. Most body armor vests, depending on the levels of protection and different properties, may not be as bulletproof as—say, for example—bulletproof glass. Here are 5 myths surrounding body armor.

1. Vests Stop Rounds

“Bulletproof” vests are made from Kevlar, material that protects wearers from being killed by rounds. While most body armor does not stop rounds, it is hard for most rounds to penetrate the typical Kevlar vest. This means that they are not “bulletproof”, but they are a bullet resistant. Knives are a different story – it is easy for knives to penetrate some vests, depending on the force of the knife that the attacker used. Each vest has a variation of stab proof levels – with 3 being the highest level. Even so, remember that there are some knives that can penetrate stab-proof (or stab-resistant) vests. All threat scenarios should be treated with caution, regardless of the body armor.

2. No Damage

If you’ve been shot by any bullet while wearing body armor, you know first hand that body armor isn’t bulletproof. You know the agony of a nasty bruise and/or swelling in the area that you got shot in. Almost like being whacked straight across your ribs – which are likely to be broken, if shot. This means that you will undoubtedly encounter some physical trauma when being shot by a caliber – whether it’s small or large.

3. Movies

Sadly, a lot of people believe into the Hollywood blockbuster hype that, if you wear body armor, you can run towards a shower of bullets and stay standing. Reality could not be farther from the truth. Being shot by any caliber may result in internal injuries – which make it hard for you to stay on your feet, let alone keep running towards gun fire like the movies predict.

4. No Difference

There are two types of body armor: overt and cover vests. The myth here is that, as long as the armor is hidden, there is no difference between either type. This is false. Covert vests can be worn underneath clothing (up to level IIIA),, as covert body armor is extremely lightweight – at the expense of offering limited protection. Overt vests are impossible to hide beneath clothing – unless you’re buying XXL shirts. It is not advisable, however, as buying such large shirts will make it painfully obvious to anyone that you’re trying to hide something underneath those XXL clothes.

5. All The Same

There will be times when you may not be wearing the right body armor suitable for the threat scenario. To keep this from happening, lighter threat scenarios generally require level IIA to IIIA body armor. They resist 9mm rounds and can be hidden underneath plainclothes.  When large caliber firearms are involved, level III or IV body armor is more suitable. The downside to the armor that protects against larger caliber firearms is that they are also weigh much more and are largely uncomfortable. Expect protection against up to .308 Winchester Full Metal Jacket (6 rounds) fired at 2750 feet per second.


Now that we have those myths out of the way, ask yourself if the body armor you’re wearing (or about to purchase) is the right one for you. There are certain things that this protection can do, and cannot do. Unfortunately, what it cannot do has gained popularity during the past few years. Always seek the truth – and trust industry experts rather than second-hand “know it alls”.

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