A Guide to Bullet Proof Vests for Close Protection Specialists from Safe Guard Armour

Close protection operators (or bodyguards, as they're otherwise known) provide vulnerable clients with personal security at all times. While films, books, and television programmes have given most of us a specific idea of how bodyguards work, the job may not be quite as action-packed as we're led to believe: as well as preventing people from getting too close to their client, specialists are also required to assess & plan routes of travel, review threat reports, and scout forthcoming locations for risks.

Depending on a client's level of fame or controversy, protecting them will involve varying degrees of danger: you may be required to simply watch over people around them without physical interference, or you might need to forcibly push crowds away to clear a path; a client may have stalkers, or receive death threats, or even be attacked; you may need to drive from a location at high speed, under assault from gunfire. Every situation needs to be considered and prepared for to perform at the top of your game. Bullet proof vests play a key role in keeping you safe while protecting your client, but which is right for the level of risk you expect? Leading bullet proof vest suppliers SafeGuard, explain further.

Finding the Right Vest for Each Threat

Body armour can defend from many weapons, but not all at the same time. Protective vests are assigned levels based on the amount of defence they provide against bullets, blades, and spiked weapons, following strict tests by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB). You should choose your armour to suit the most extreme level of danger you expect to encounter.

Ballistic armour stops bullets by absorbing their energy on impact, flattening them. These are available at levels I, IIA, II, IIIA, III, and IV, separated between soft and hard armours. Levels I, IIA, II, and IIIA stop common bullets of the 9mm, .357 & .44 Magnum range, as well as 9mm sub-machine gun types; these soft designs feature multiple layers of Kevlar. Levels III and IV are hard armours, incorporating tough plates alongside Kevlar to stop rifle and armour-piercing bullets respectively.

Edged blade and spiked weapon vests are designed to stop sharp objects of various types, from daggers and needles to machetes and hypodermic needles. Stab vests feature a Kevlar weave even tighter than that of bulletproof vests, to trap spiked tips between the fibres before they can pass through. Blades used in slashing and stabbing attacks will also be repelled.

Visibility

Close protection operators typically offer discrete security, wearing smart or casual clothing instead of a uniform. To remain incognito, covert armour is essential: this is thin, lightweight protection worn underneath clothing, helping you to stay safe without exposing your role. These vests also feature breathable materials, keeping you cool and comfortable even during extensive wear.

Unfortunately, heavy-duty armour of levels III and IV are too bulky to fit underneath clothing, and so can only be worn as external vests. For security threats demanding such protection, you may be unable to maintain a low profile – your safety is too important.

How important is the Ideal Fit?

Finding the perfect vest for your shape is essential to ensure maximum protection. If your vest is the wrong size, it may still leave you vulnerable to danger: oversized armour will shift position as you move, pushing up into your throat or dropping to expose vital organs; undersized armour may prove restrictive, affecting your flexibility and agility when you need both most. Instead, the right vest should sit comfortably against your torso, and its base should reach no lower than your navel area. Be sure to measure your height and chest before you or your employers order armour, and compare your dimensions to the supplier's size charts.

Try to have a wide range of armour to choose from, based on the changing levels of risk you expect with each new client. Having one single vest will prove impractical and dangerous if worn at the wrong time – a stab vest will not stop a bullet, and ballistic armour offers no reliable defence from a knife used with enough force. While vests at the higher levels can be expensive, their value is priceless – for you and your client.

For more details or to purchase protective vests please go to www.safeguardarmour.co.uk

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