- Body Armor | Ballistic Protection
Body Armor and Ballistic Protection
Body armor is a type of protective clothing designed to deflect or absorb projectile attacks. While ballistic protection from firearm ammo is the primary use for body armor, the level of protection extends to absorbing stab impact from knives and from items being thrown in the direction of the wearer.
Body armor isn’t just ballistic and kevlar vests. Complete body armor systems are available, as well as armor pieces designed for specific body parts and areas. This allows more overall ballistic protection for body armor users.
Although body armor is used primarily by police and military members, there has been an increase in civilian appeal. While there are certain standards in place with the purchase of certain body armor pieces, there has been a definitive increase in body armor interest from tactical gear and home protection enthusiasts alike.
Galls.com is your comprehensive source for body armor and accessories. We feature a large variety of body armor options, including plate carriers, stab armor, ballistic armor plates, and much more from brands you know and trust.
Body Armor Levels
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) developed standards for the protection level of body armor. There are 5 NIJ threat levels, from small to higher caliber ammunition protection. A body armor’s level rating is determined by how high of a threat level the item can withstand.
Here is a breakdown of the NIJ armor level system:
Tested to stop 9mm and .40 S&W ammunition fired from short barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.
Tested to stop 9mm and .357 Magnum ammunition fired from short barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.
Tested to stop .357 SIG and .44 Magnum ammunition fired from longer barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.
Tested to stop 7.62mm FMJ lead core rifle ammunition.
Tested to stop .30cal steel core armor-piercing rifle ammunition.
Bulletproof Vest Disclaimer
It should be noted that the terms “bulletproof vest” or “bullet proof vest” is something of a misnomer. Body armor is designed to absorb projectile impact, and, depending on its rating, some body armor pieces have more effective stopping power than others. That does not mean that something is bulletproof.
In fact, body armor manufacturers avoid the term altogether when naming their products. Nothing is 100 percent bulletproof, and that includes Level IV body armor, which has stopping power up to armor piercing rifle ammunition.
Types of Body Armor
The most popular piece of body armor is the ballistic tactical vest. While vests do comprise an important component of body armor, body armor options are certainly not limited to ballistic vests. They include, but are not limited to, helmets, tactical field armor, stab armor, concealable armor, shields and more.
Ballistic vests, often referred as “bulletproof vests,” are designed specifically for firearm projectile resistance. Protection is provided by armor plating, which is already sewn into the vest or by adding ballistic plates to vests designed to accommodate armor plating.
Galls.com carries a wide variety of protective ballistic vests for police and military members who must enter a hazardous, volatile conditions while performing their duties. From plate carrying ballistic vests to stab armor designed to protect against bladed weapon attacks, we are you best choice for body armor options.
Concealable armor is designed to be worn under a service member’s uniform or duty clothing, while offering different levels of ballistic protection, including Level II, Level IIA and Level IIIA. Essentially, concealable armor is designed to protect against smaller firearms ammunition instead of the larger, higher-powered rifles. Concealable armor is normally lighter than traditional ballistic tactical vests, allowing police officers and military members more range of motion while maintaining protection integrity.
Galls carries several concealable armor pieces from trusted brands like Point Blank, GH Armor, the Galls private brand and more, including the Point Blank Alpha Elite AXIIIA Ballistic Vest with Hi Lite Carrier and the Galls G-Force Level IIIA Concealable Ballistic Vest.
Tactical armor consists of ballistic vests that are designed to be worn over a police officer or military member’s uniform. To protect the wearer, tactical ballistic vests either have ballistic plates sewn into them or are made to accommodate the addition of ballistic plates when the need arises.
Ballistic helmets are also considered part of the tactical armor family, but the primary focus of tactical armor is to protect the wearer’s torso from firearm ammunition.
Galls stocks a quality selection of tactical armor from trusted brands like Point Blank, United Shield International, Armor Express, the Galls private brand, and more, including the Point Blank Active Shooter Steel Plate Kit, the Armor Express Wolverine DM Tactical Vest, the United Shield Lightweight Level III+ Active Shooter Kit, and the Galls Active Shooter Body Armor Kit.
Stab armor offers lightweight protection against knife and other sharp, puncture-based weapons. Designed to be worn over or under the uniform and duty clothing, stab armor is more flexible than ballistic armor, allowing for more freedom of movement.
Stab armor is not meant to protect against firearm ammunition, but the durable, alloy-based protective trauma plates can withstand considerable force from a knife or blunt object attack. Much like their ballistic armor counterparts, stab armor effectiveness is based on a spike level developed by the NIJ. Their criteria for each spike rating are as follows:
- Spike 1 vests protect against low impact energy threats of 24 joules
- Spike 2 vests protect against medium impact energy threats of 33 joules
- Spike 3 vests protect against high impact energy threats of 43 joules
Essentially, a stab armor’s rating depends on how much energy from a stabbing attack it can withstand. The higher the impact resistance, the higher the spike level. The primary goal of stab armor is to prevent penetration from a stabbing attack, keeping the wearer safe while dealing with such extreme conditions.
At Galls.com, providing effective protection for our service members and police officers is a primary goal. Our comprehensive selection of stab armor helps make us a top choice for body armor styles that protect against different types of threats. Point Blank offers stab armor vests that protect against each Spike level. We also carry Paca’s highly-rated Tactical Stab Vest and more.
Ballistic Armor Carriers and Ballistic Gear
When it comes to ballistic protection, a lot of the focus is on various types of vests, however, ballistic protection does not only include the upper torso. A full ballistic armor set can include a ballistic helmet and shield, to maximize the amount of protection against firearm discharge for the user. Ballistic plates and plate carriers are also included in the ballistic armor family, which features a great deal of flexibility when it comes to protecting the user against various threats and hazards.
Ballistic plates provide the “bulletproof” part of a “bulletproof vest.” Without the armor plating, the vests would simply be tactical vests without the benefit of ballistic protection. Designed to be used with plate carriers, ballistic plates are added to the vest when the situation warrants. While some ballistic vests include the plates already sewn into place, the plate carrier/ballistic plate design gives the user more movement flexibility until the ballistic speed plates are added.
Galls.com has the best selection of NIJ leveled ballistic plates from trusted brands like Paraclete, United Shield International, KDH, and more. Designed for rapid deployment into the wearer’s plate carrier, we feature styles like the Paraclete Speed Plate & Speed Plate Plus, United Shield’s Zeta 10x12 Ballistic Plate, Paraclete’s Female Speed Plates, and many more.
Ballistic Plate Carriers
Plate carriers are designed to hold ballistic plates, turning them from a traditional lightweight tactical vest to a ballistic vest capable of protecting the wearer from firearm ammunition. Because of their tactical nature, many plate carriers come with MOLLE compatibility, giving them multifunctional use beyond just ballistic protection. Most carriers can accommodate all NIJ Levels of ballistic plates, making them even more versatile for users when facing hazardous scenarios.
At Galls.com, we have a complete selection of plate carriers from well known brands like 5.11 Tactical, Point Blank, Armor Express, the Galls private label and many more. With choices like 5.11 Tactical’s TacTec Plate Carrier, Flying Cross’ Aeroshell Armor Cover, Condor’s Gunner Plater Carrier Vest, and many others, Galls offers unmatched ballistic protection for the military, police officers, and other users.
Ballistic helmets are made with the same material as ballistic plates and offer the wearer increased protection from firearm projectiles. While standard body armor focuses on the torso, protecting the head area is also important. Normally worn with a ballistic vest, ballistic helmets come in both low-cut and high-cut styles.
Low cut ballistic helmets extend their protection to wearer’s neck and ear area. Traditionally, low cut helmets are heavier than the composite high cut styles. While the level of protection is decreased, high cut FAST helmets can carry tactical accessories like head lamps and communication devices.
Shop Galls.com for a top selection of ballistic helmets in both high and low cut styles from trusted brands like Paracelete, Avon Protection Systems, Protech and more. With styles like the Paraclete PAGST Style Ballistic Helmet, the Avon Combat High Cut Ballistic Helmet, and the United Shield Sprint IIIA Operators Helmet, Galls is your best choice for high-end ballistic helmet protection.
For further protection from firearm discharge, ballistic shields provide yet another level of safety when facing such hazardous conditions. From police officers entering a volatile situation or tactical military members who are entering an area with active firearm use, ballistic shields extend the user’s protected area and allow them to enter high-risk situations with more control.
As with all ballistic items, the term “bulletproof” is not accurate when describing ballistic shields. They are, like other pieces of body armor, designed to slow a firearm projectile down. They are also graded on the NIJ body armor performance scale, with Levels ranging from II to IV.
Galls.com is committed to providing complete ballistic solutions for police officers, military members, tactical operators and more. We carry a wide selection of ballistic shields, including the Protech Defender Ballistic Entry Shield, the Paraclete ASPIS Bellator Ballistic Shield and their Phalanx Ballistic Shield, and many others.
Because stab armor is designed to stop sharp objects from penetrating the user’s body, they use a different kind of armor plating than ballistic armor. Instead of ballistic plates, stab armor uses trauma plates to defend against knife and blunt object attacks. Because of the lighter material used in anti-stab armor plates, the vest used to carry trauma plates is more lightweight than the ballistic models. While the level of protection may not be the same, having increased mobility in environments where ballistic armor is not required can be beneficial to the operator, giving them a faster reaction time.
At Galls.com, we carry a comprehensive selection of trauma plates, designed to give maximum protection against stab-based attacks, including the Soft Trauma Pak and the Hard Shock Plate from the Galls private label. We also carry the Armor Express SAP Soft Armor Pac, Paca’s line of Blade Plates, and much more.
Body Armor Accessories
If ballistic armor is a required part of your duty description, Galls.com has body armor accessories that will make cleaning, storage, temperature control, and overall comfort easier to manage. We carry a variety of items designed to clean, deodorize, and protect the integrity of body armor.
Selections like Odor Crusher’s Ozone Armor Clean total armor cleaning case, Underwater Kinetics’ Body Armor Hanger, Armorpur’s Body Armor Deodorizer, and Cool Cop’s Body Armor Air Conditioning unit help provide comfort and cleanliness to police officers, military members, and personnel required to wear ballistic armor while on duty.
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