Here are 10 things you need to know about body armor

InVest USA by is licensed under
Police officers across the country don their body armor just like any other piece of issued equipment. But too many officers don’t truly understand the fine details of body armor.

Such as:

Is it properly fit?

How long will it last before it loses its effectiveness?

How should I properly maintain it?

If you’re a police officer, don’t rely solely on your department to stay on top of the details. Most departments are inundated with work, and it is quite easy to lose track of body armor functionality.
LET and InVest USA, a nonprofit organization that donates vests to police and first responders, put together some facts you need to know to help you get a better understanding and more appreciation for the body armor you have on. 

1.    3000 police officers’ lives were saved by body armor in the last three decades. That’s roughly .5% of all police officers in America. And given that most police officers work for at least 20 years, that’s a bit of a scary number.

2.    By not wearing ballistic armor, officers have 14 times the risk of dying of an injury, according to the Police Executive Research Forum. That’s a major jump!

3.    Most bulletproof vests last only five years. Some people believe a vest will last forever if it’s not being shot at. However, the fibers that make up the vest break down over time, resulting in reduced functionality. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

4.    There are different ratings of body armor strength. According to Body Armor News, “Vests with ratings II and IIIA offer protection against handgun rounds. Plates that rate Level III stop non-armor piercing rifle rounds while hard armor plates that rate Level IV also offer protection against armor-piercing rifle rounds.”

5.    Kevlar is only one type of bullet-resistant material. There are other types of material in use today that are effective. DuPont Kevlar, DSM Dyneema, and Teijin Twaron are among the most commonly used today.

6.    Level IV is the most powerful body armor available. It's designed specifically for military applications and can withstand .30cal steel core armor-piercing rifle ammunition, according to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). 

7.    It is recommended to use a vest rated for the type of weapon you carry. A common tactic suspects use is to attempt to disarm an officer and use the weapon against him. There is also the threat of “friendly-fire” incidents that can occur during the chaos of a gun battle.

8.    Some body armor types are more water resistant than others. Consider the area you are in when choosing body armor. Beach towns or rain-prone areas will have an impact on how much water contacts the body armor, which could accelerate the wear and tear process. 

9.    Register the vest. Like an appliance, vests come with a warranty card. Several years ago, a recall of vests occurred but the manufacturer had difficulty reaching owners because they didn’t register the vests. Ensure you register the vest so you don’t miss any important updates.

10.    Use a sponge to wipe and clean the vest panels. Tossing them in the washer and dryer can cause significant damage to vest panels. Secondly, don’t iron them either. The heat could cause the fibers to melt. 

InVest USA

Nonprofit organization InVest USA has been donating thousands of vests to police officers across the country and even internationally. But they also understand that there is an ever-changing landscape when it comes to criminal behavior. 

“We’re in an epic violent crime spike increase across this country. Our officers are more at risk now than they have ever been. They are targets,” Michael Letts, CEO, president, and founder of InVest USA said. 

“The criminal element over the last few years has gotten more adept at making sure that they fulfill their mission of eliminating as many officers as possible and making our communities as unsafe as possible. They are using long-range rifles which will go right through a concealable vest. So we had to create new technology called an active-shooter vest with titanium plates. We want to make sure officers have the newest technology,” Michael said.

InVest USA is committed to ensuring police officers are equipped with the knowledge and gear to give them the best chance for survival if they are caught in a worst-case scenario. 

To learn more about InVest USA visit their website


Writer Eddie Molina is a veteran and has over 25 years of combined LEO/military service. He owns and operates the LEO apparel and supply company 

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The opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of LET
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