80% of firearm threats faced by police officers everyday are from handguns. As a result, the federal government created the Ballistic Vest Partnership program to help municipal, county, tribal, and state agencies defray the costs associated with NIJ 0101.06 Level II and IIIA bulletproof vests.
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But Level IIIA tactical vests are also relevant for emergency and home defense use for the civilian population. Because of its ultra thin, light, and flexible nature, concealable body armor is more popular than ever before.
While rifle-rated body armor plates are very difficult to conceal and present a human terrain issue due to their overt nature, concealable soft armor tactical vests stand up to 80% of the potential ballistic threats you’re likely to face on a daily basis and can remain completely hidden from the public.
What Can Level IIIa Soft Armor Protect Against?
Level IIIa Soft Armor Tactical Vests aren’t completely bulletproof, but are bullet resistant. The resistance level of each body bulletproof vest is tested by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). NIJ sets standards and tests to ensure that a bullet does not fully penetrate body armor plates. For Level IIIa body armor vests, like the Contego, Protego or Virtus, that means they are capable of protecting against 9mm, .40, .45, .44 magnum and .357 sig rounds.
What is a Bulletproof Vest?
Bulletproof vests are known by many different terms – tactical vest, ballistic vest, kevlar vest and others. In fact, bulletproof vests are the most popular type of body armor due to the fact that every police officer in the United States is issued a bulletproof vest.
Bulletproof, or tactical vests are designed to be lightweight, concealable and capable of defeating many common handgun rounds.
Level IIIa soft body armor is the most common type of bulletproof vest that covers the most square inches on the wearer’s torso because it wraps around the front of the torso to cover the sides, shoulders and back. While soft body armor is designed to only defeat handgun rounds, they also disperse a bullet’s energy to decrease the blunt force trauma.
Who Should Wear Bulletproof Vests?
For those who are mostly exposed to common handguns rounds as a threat – due to your job – Level IIIa bulletproof vests are a great option. However, armor kits with a plate carrier and hard body armor plates are of the utmost importance if you are more likely to encounter rifle rounds.
While Hollywood popularized the term, ‘bulletproof vest,’ the body armor industry has shied away from this term as it defies the laws of physics. Instead of bulletproof vest, you might also see terms such as, ballistic vest, soft armor, level II, level IIIA, Kevlar, Aramid, UHMWPE, Dyneema, and a few others to describe certain aspects of these incredibly strong and lightweight body armor vests.
Level II and Level IIIA soft armor is often seen in vest format, though you can also choose soft body armor plates to fit a SAPI-cut carrier. Thanks to its ultra-thin and flexible properties, these vests are commonly worn on daily duty by law enforcement officers nationwide. RMA now offers all law abiding Americans, 18 years old and up, the same American-made NIJ-Certified Level IIIA soft body armor ballistic vests worn by law enforcement every day.
Why Should I Buy Concealable Soft Body Armor?
Be prepared for the worst with unparalleled coverage, comfort, and high-grade handgun and shotgun protection with a concealable Level IIIA certified soft armor vest that can be worn under your shirt, or overtly for rapid donning in a home defense situation.
And while we may no longer use the term “bulletproof vest”, you might find the distinction in naming of no consequence given the unbelievable performance of RMA’s Protego, Contego, and Virtus soft armor vests that can withstand dozens of strikes from a wide variety of common handgun and shotgun rounds. See for yourself, and buy your soft body armor vest here.
If you want to learn more about bulletproof vests and how to properly wear them, please check out Body Armor Guide for Law Enforcement.
How to Clean Soft Body Armor
One of the most popular questions we receive about soft armor is, “how do I clean it?” There’s no need to look dirty or stink when you’re on duty. Simply put, it’s usually not your level 3a soft armor itself that needs much cleaning. What you’ll find over time is that it is your concealable carrier that receives most of the dirt and sweat.
Just wipe your panel cover with mild soap and water to remove any dirt. You should never put your soft armor or carrier in a washing machine or drying machine. These should be hand-washed with care to avoid damage.
Since you’ve already removed your Ievel 3a soft armor panels from your carrier to do this, you can take this opportunity to inspect your heat seals for any leaks where soap, water, or other outside agents can enter and degrade your armor. If your panel cover is translucent, take a close look for any mold or noticeable change in color or pattern in your armor to ensure your panels aren’t compromised by mold or other damage.
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