Over the past few decades, ballistic-resistant body armor has saved more than 3,000 police officers’ lives. Unless you’re a felon, it’s legal for civilians to buy and wear modern body armor in the United States.

When buying armor, you’ll need to make sure you buy the right one.

Keep reading to find the different types of body armor, a bit of information about each, and scenarios where each of the body armor types would benefit you.

Edged Blade Protection Armor

You’ll need this armor if you need protection against cutting weapons and tools. In most scenarios, this armor will protect against stabs and trap the attacking blade within the armor’s fibers.

Some edged weapons this armor will protect you from include axes, knives, broken bottles, and swords. What are the materials used in edged blade armor? Manufacturers will make this type of armor from chain mail.

Spike Protection Armor

On this armor’s surface, you’ll find layers of laminated plastic on the surface. Below, you can find chain mail and Kevlar. These materials help absorb the impact of a spike attack. Spikes refer to these objects:

  • Ice picks
  • Screwdrivers
  • Stilettos
  • Long nails
  • Needles

With almost all types of body armor, these objects can pierce tiny spaces between threads. That’s not the case with spike protection armor.

Ballistic Protection Armor

Ballistic protection, which many refer to as bullet-resistant armor or a bullet proof vest, will protect your body from bullets depending on the vest’s level. Here’s a breakdown of the various levels you can find and their protection:

  • Level IIA: helps protect against .40mm Smith and Wesson ammunition and 9mm
  • Level II: potentially stops .357mm Magnum and 9mm ammunition
  • Level IIIA: better against longer barrel handguns like .44 Magnum and .357 SIG ammunition
  • Level III: best for protection against lead core rifle ammunition like 7.62mm
  • Level IV: tested to stop some armor-piercing ammunition

Bullet resistant armor using these materials is known as ‘soft armors.’ These can help stop slow-moving bullets.

Multi-Threat Armor

The future of body armor has brought us to multi-threat armor. Instead of solely stopping bullets, spikes, or stabs, this type of armor can protect you against various weapons. If you don’t know what type of weapons you’ll go against, you will want this armor type.

You will find some multi-threat armor that has stab-proof materials stuffed with Kevlar plates. To add spike protection, they will then laminate this armor. Due to the combination of protection, you will find this armor type has a higher price.

Choose Your Preferred Body Armor Types

Out of all body armor types, multi-threat armor will give you the most versatility regarding threat protection. If you don’t want to have the budget, you will need to determine what threats you’ll encounter.

When facing guns, use ballistic protection. Edged blade armor will protect you from stabs from larger sharp objects. To protect yourself against thinner spikes, you’ll need spike protection armor.

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