Letter Re: Soft Body Armor and Blunt Trauma

JWR,
I am a fan of Infidel Body Armor, and appreciated the recent review by Pat:  Pat’s Product Review – Infidel Body Armor Goes Soft.  As a member of the LE community, I always wear [Level]  IIIA soft armor on duty, and while it will stop some rifle rounds, a piece of ceramic or steel armor is definitely better as it spreads the impact over a larger area.  My reason for writing is to familiarize your readers with an aspect of all soft body armor that carries NIJ ballistic ratings.  It is very important to note that the ratings allow for approximately 44mm of back face deformation.  This means that you are going to have a bruise “to beat all bruises”, and possibly some broken ribs and internal organ damage, even when soft body armor does its job of stopping the bullet.  This is why I have a raid vest with steel plates to go over my soft armor.  If you are in the market for body armor and can afford it, get both soft and hard.  The ceramic is a little lighter and will generally stop AP better than steel, but it breaks when it absorbs the hit, so if Uncle Sugar isn’t buying you a replacement plate, I’d go for steel with an anti-spall coating.  Get on YouTube and watch the body armor tests, research the NIJ ratings and find out more than just what certain levels will stop.  If you are planning on being in a gunfight, expect to get shot, and even if you’re wearing body armor, expect a [blunt force trauma] injury from the impact. – Carl C.

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