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Do You Know the Threat Level of Your Body Armour?

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In the battle between criminals and law enforcement, sometimes the only thing protecting those in the line of duty from harm is the vest that they’re wearing. Sadly, too often we see that police officers were not aware of the threat level of their body armour. This could lead to dire consequences. Knowing what you are protected against is the first step in carrying out the job safely, so how do you know?

What is threat level?

Body armour is made to international standards called threat level. It was introduced as the standard within the armouring industry by the United States Department of Justice back in the 1970’s. Although the definitions and standards themselves have evolved, much remains the same. By knowing the threat level of your body armour, you can tell which type of ammunition you will be protected against. The higher the level, the more secure your vest is.

The different levels of threat

The standards are divided into different levels, 1-4. There are also in-between steps such as IIA. Here is a brief overview:

Level I - the first level is for light ammunition and has been rendered virtually obsolete in modern times with the rising sophistication of ammunition.

Level IIA - the next step up is designed for low and medium-velocity projectiles, and despite being once the most popular level, it is also becoming obsolete.

Level II - the most common threat level body armour, level II is designed to protect against common projectiles used by criminals. Normally worn covertly underneath a uniform, it is capable of handling higher velocities than IIA such as 9mm 124g.

Level IIIA - the highest level of soft body armour, IIIA is a small step up from II, and is designed mostly for covert use. Designed to handle sub-machine gun velocity and 44 magnum 240gr.

Level III - the threat level increases at level III with the introduction of hard armour. Usually used in conjunction with soft armour, level III is designed to handle high-speed projectiles.

Level IV - this threat level is designed to hold up against even the toughest armour-piercing ammunition, and is worn overtly.

Each level has been rigorously tested, and the more information you have about your armour, the safer you will be.

Ranger Tactical understands how dangerous enforcing the law can be, and we don’t like hearing that an officer was hurt in the line of duty because they didn’t know the threat level of their body armour. Understanding what you are protected against could help save many lives.

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