Body armor that is meant to protect a wearer from various types of bullets may not provide this same protection from other types of incidents. Specifically, if a person was to be stabbed with an object , then the bulletproof vest may not provide the protection that is required.
This is all too common in jails and prisons where inmates will create shivs and other ‘ice-pick’ like devices to injure the officers. In order to properly protect themselves against these types of attacks, individuals should purchase stab-resistant vests. This is because the points on these weapons are much smaller and can pierce the protective layers of regular bulletproof vests.
The National Institute of Justice has two rating levels for body armor and they are Edged Blade Class and the Spike Class. Edged Blade resistant body armor resists of weapons such as kitchen knives, hunting knives, whereas Spike Class vests stop weapons made in prison systems.
For each class mentioned above, the Institute has three levels of protection. These levels were developed based on the impact the body would sustain from the impact, which ix expressed in joules. Below are listed the levels with their associated amount of joules (where 1 joule is equal to 1 foot-pound of energy):
- Level 1 – can defeat 24 joules of energy and is the lowest level of protection and concealable
- Level 2 – can defeat 33 joules of energy
- Level 3 – can defeat 48 joules of energy and is considered the highest level of protection
Purchasing Stab-Resistant Armor
When shopping for the right body armor, you need to make sure that you select a vest that fits your body correctly. If the vest is too big, it may not fit you properly and the movement of the vest may allow the blade or object to enter your person. In contrast, if the vest is too small, it may leave vital organs exposed resulting in injury.
If you are purchasing the vest online, you should be aware that some manufacturers create standard sized vests. You may not fit exactly into one size, so you should make sure that you can find a company that offers the ability to purchase a vest that fits properly.
There are some bulletproof vests that offer the ability to insert extra panels into their carrier. This would effectively transform the vest from a bullet-resistant vest to a stab-resistant vest.