It is a misconception that you need ballistic vests and armored clothing only if you work in a dangerous job. Many regular civilian jobs where you meet a lot of people have a much bigger chance of someone drawing a gun on you than many security positions.
But, the main difference is that these assailants won’t be carrying anything substantial like a rifle or similar gear. Most attacks domestically are done with a 9mm pistol, and those rounds can be stopped with even the lightest soft armor.
This is where armored clothing comes into the picture. There are four reasons why this option is better than any covert armor you can find otherwise:
- Light and flexible
- Very soft on the skin
- Lets the skin breathe
- Completely covert
And the last point is probably the most important one.
Controlling information is important in any serious situation, not only on the battlefield. If your attacker doesn’t know that you are wearing armor they will leave after the initial attack, letting you recover behind the ballistic panel.
Soft Armor Inserts
Armored clothing works by installing soft armor inserts inside what seems to be regular clothes with a regular cut. Unlike vests or plate carriers, it is not something you wear over or under your uniform. Rather, these clothes are your uniform.
These inserts are divided into the front and back parts, allowing for very high coverage. Even the simplest models, like the CAS Covert Armored Singlet, cover all of the vital organs on the torso.
As for the thickness, soft bulletproof/ bullet-resistant panels are now exceptionally thin and light, especially when using UHMWPE materials. For the NIJ Level II, it can be as little as 4mm, increasing to 6mm for NIJ Level IIIa, which can stop virtually any handgun round.
Armored Clothing and Covertness
Covertness when it comes to armor and weapons is as important for civilians as it is for police and military operators.
For instance, if you are working in a store and someone is trying to rob you, they might notice a firm vest under your uniform that doesn’t move with the rest of the garment. But, if you are using armored clothes it will only look as if your regular clothes are unnoticeably thicker.
You can even go without tucking in your shirt or singlet, giving a more natural look, especially in warmer climates where an armored shirt can be the only thing you are wearing.
Innerwear and Outerwear
While innerwear is much more common due to the fact that you can wear it under any other clothes and even at the peak of summer comfortably, that is not the only option. Many will find greater utility from having something like an armored jacket.
With items like the APJ Armored Puffer Jacket, you can relax without any additional weight somewhere safe and only wear the jacket outside where there is as much risk from the cold as from an armed attacker.
Additionally, outerwear items that have a zipper in the middle can be used to encircle another person in armor as well, such as a child or other person that you might be protecting.
Such versatility means that these items are not only excellent in civilian protection but can be used for a variety of protective services where staying covert and inconspicuous is just as important as stopping a bullet.