Stab Proof Vests for Close Protection Work

Wearing the Right Stab Proof Vest for Close Protection Security Work

Close-protection operatives (otherwise known as bodyguards) provide a vital service to many people across the globe. To help their clients stay as safe as possible, bodyguards must be prepared for anything: depending on the profile of their client, the dangers of the job will vary from low to high.

Guarding an A-List movie star or singer can be an entirely different process than, say, protecting a politician: the majority of celebrities hire bodyguards to keep them safe from overzealous fans when out in public, whereas politicians may be at serious risk of assassination or kidnap. In these high-risk cases, assassins or kidnappers are likely to use firearms, either from a distance or up-close – yet knives may also be a threat, particularly when ushering a client through a densely-crowded area.

Which stab proof vest is right for close-protection operatives, and why?

The Stab Proof Vest – Level by Level

Most of us will recognise stab proof vests as worn by police officers, door supervisors, and retail-based security guards. Bodyguards also wear this armour, either as a single-purpose precaution or added to a bullet proof vest: knives may be used in slashing and/or stabbing attacks when engaging an individual in close quarters, and stab proof vests provide reliable protection to the vital organs. Data collated by suggests bodyguards have a requirement for their stab proof vests to be spike proof as well.

Stab vests are made with a commonly-used protective material known as Kevlar: this is tightly-woven into grids, which are then arranged into multiple layers to form a vest. This creates friction against blades of various types – from pocket-knives to machetes – and prevents them from penetrating. These are available in three levels (KR1, KR2, KR3) which offer protection against blade-attacks made with varying amounts of energy (measured by joules): KR1 protects up to 24 joules; KR2 up to 33 joules; and KR3 up to 43 joules.

Close-protection operatives should always wear armour at KR3, to protect against possible attacks of the highest severity; as mentioned earlier, stab protection can be added to bullet proof vests for more comprehensive defence. Manufacturers today make stab proof vests lightweight enough to fit comfortably underneath clothing: with bodyguards required to wear smart or casual attire, and maintain a low profile, such discreet protection is essential.

How Important is Proper Fit and Comfort?

When wearing stab proof vests, finding the right fit is vital to ensure maximum protection: choosing armour which is either too tight or too loose can still leave the wearer exposed to harm and prove distracting when concentration is key. Most stab proof vests are made with adjustable straps, so they can be tweaked for improved comfort, but as a general rule, they should sit comfortably against the torso and reach no lower than the navel area. Temperature-controlling breathable fabrics also feature in many of today's vests, for greater comfort during periods of prolonged wear.

As close-protection operatives wear armour underneath other layers, getting the right fit is doubly as important: they cannot remove their shirts at regular intervals to adjust it. Taking time to measure-up and seek advice when in doubt can mean all the difference in a challenging situation.

For more information please contact Safeguard Armour at


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