Body armour should be considered an essential piece of equipment for anyone who faces an attack or injury, whether or not the attack involves a weapon. Body armor has myriad benefits which many do not consider, and is not just for those working in extremely dangerous environments. Indeed, in any situation the threat of attack or injury, particularly involving weapons, can be high. This is why everyone should consider body armor.
Body armor covers a wide range of protective clothing, and offers many different solutions. The most common and well known example is the bullet proof vest, which many assume is not necessarily the only body armor, but the most appropriate. However, there are many situations where a bullet proof vest is not appropriate. For example, bullet proof vests are only capable of stopping bullets. This seems like an obvious statement, yet many don’t realize that a bullet proof vest cannot stop knives or needles. Therefore, it is important that people understand exactly how stab and spike protection are achieved.
Stab and spike protection is used in the same way that bullet proof protection is, with a lightweight vest that will often use soft fabrics found in bullet proof vests. Stab and spike protection is usually achieved in addition to ballistic protection, as the soft materials like Kevlar have useful properties for any protective clothing. For example, the soft fabric is incredibly strong and flexible, and so can absorb and disperse large amounts of energy. This is what gives it its bullet resistant qualities, and allows for lightweight protection. This also means that any impacts will be mitigated to some extent, reducing the impact of an attack with handheld weapons.
However, this soft fabric is just that, and will not stand up to attacks with edged or spiked weapons. ‘Edged weapons’ usually refers to knives, broken bottles, and weapons like axes and machetes. The sharp edges of these weapons can cut through fabric, even strong fabric like Kevlar, and injure the wearer. For these weapons a stab proof vest is needed, which will usually use chainmail and/or plastic laminate to create a tough surface that can stop the weapon from penetrating.
‘Spiked weapons’ usually refers to needles, screwdrivers, or stilettos, which are capable of passing through the minute gaps between the fibers in a bullet proof vest. This again renders the protection useless and potentially injures the wearer. For protection against these weapons a spike proof vest is needed, which is usually only found in conjunction with stab protection, and can only use plastic laminate in order to stop the spiked weapon from penetrating.
Both stab and spike protection is usually found in conjunction with ballistic protection, because of the protective qualities inherent to the Kevlar. However, this will also afford some protection in a variety of other situations. For example, DuPont- the makers of Kevlar- regularly honor Police Officers who have been involved in otherwise fatal incidents but were protected by their body armor. A significant proportion of these Officers were involved in transportation accidents, in which their body armor mitigated the impact and saved their life.
A stab or spike proof vest is important for anyone who wears body armor to consider. While a bullet resistant vest can provide a great deal of protection in variety of situations, edged and spiked weapons are just too accessible and potentially deadly not to consider. Wearing a vest that is designed to stop weapons like knives and needles is a simple way of ensuring that you stay safe and can perform to the best of your ability.