When choosing body armor, it’s it is important to make sure that it strictly meets the specific protection levels you want. Currently, the two main standards for body armor protection levels are the UK Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and the National Institute of Justice. These are the institutions tasked to standardize body armor according to different threat levels. Each threat level will often require a specialized body armor that will protect against it. For instance, a Level I bullet proof vest will not protect against a Level IV threat. So, it is equally important to assess your threat level to establish the exact body armor to counter it.

What are body armor levels and what exactly do these levels mean?
There are different Levels body armors are categorized under and depending on the threat at hand, different body armors offer varying level of protection. The levels start at Level I that has limited protection and go up to Level IV which offer maximum protection. When looking to buy a body armor, this level system should help you make an informed decision.

If you are wondering what are what are body armor levels. Here’s what you need to know.

Ballistic Levels
If you are looking for ballistic protection, a bullet proof vest is the most suitable and common type of body armor that can offer you that. It is designed to resist bullet penetration through the vest by slowing and trapping it. However, this level of protection is determined by the type of ammunition the body armor can stop. There are two types of bullet proof vests; soft and hard. While the soft armors are built to withstand impacts of small arms ammunition, the hard armors are specially designed to protect against stronger ammunition. At level I to IIIa, bullet proof vests use soft ballistic body armor that effectively stops bullets.

Edged Blade Levels
As much as a bullet proof vest can stop ammunition, it doesn’t mean it’s safe from knife and blade threats. Bullet proof vests are designed differently from stab proof vests, particularly on the type of material used. However, you can find a multi-threat body armor clothing that can keep your safe from bullets and stab threats. Typically, stab proof vests are designed using materials like chainmail. This material limits the penetration of edged weapons while it also absorbs impacts caused by the attack.

Spike protection
The question of what are body armor levels is often confused especially when you hear about spike protection and stab protection. Well, the difference between these two is the type of weapon. The threat from spiked weapons such as screwdrivers or needles can be thwarted by stab proof vest, however, spike proof vests are the most suitable for this kind of threat. This type of body armor is built with several layers of plastic laminate to provide a strong surface against spiked weapons. For maximum impact absorption, a spike proof vest is reinforced with chainmail material, which is fitted right below the plastic laminate.

The potential threat you are likely to face will determine the type of protection you need. Whether you are protecting yourself against firearms, edged weapons or spiked weapons, it’s vital you understand each type of body armor and their limitation.

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