Since the 1970s, law enforcement officers have increasingly donned protective gear, from vests to helmets and shields, and for good reason. Evidence indicates that body armor makes a notable difference in lessening the impact of job-related injuries. According to a study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police Center for Officer Safety and Wellness along with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, officers wearing body armor reported missing fewer days of work as well as spending less time in rehabilitation treatments after sustaining injuries on duty compared with those who hadn’t added the protective layers. What’s even more encouraging is that new designs incorporate advanced materials and user-friendly technology for greater efficacy and comfort. Here are a few examples of how the latest generation of body armor can keep officers safer on the job.
Angel Armor RISE 2.0 Armor System
Proper Weight Distribution
Body armor shouldn’t have to feel as if you’re lugging around a heavy load. In updating RISE, Angel Armor designers used a ballistic suspension system to distribute the armor’s weight so that it provides comfort, too. The adjustable QuadCore Attachment System allows for a more custom fit. RISE can be worn externally, with optional low-profile PALS/MOLLE or Velcro chest and back sections, and is intended to be paired with the company’s Truth SNAP rifle plates. It also accommodates multiple plate sizes for concealed use. The outer shell materials resist abrasion, tearing and stretching. MSRP $679–$899.
Point Blank Enterprises K-9 Tactical K-9 Operations Vest
In Defense of Dogs
The K-9 Operations Vest by Point Blank Enterprises provides police dogs with extensive coverage via a body, chest and tail outer shell constructed from a durable, abrasion-resistant material. The split collar allows for a full range of motion. Handlers will appreciate the built-in harness guides and oversized mil-spec D-ring readied for quick lead attachment. The vest also can be put on and taken off quickly. MSRP unavailable.
BlueRidge Armor Vengeance IIIA Ballistic Shield
Crafted with input from experienced federal law enforcement professionals, the BlueRidge Armor Vengeance IIIA Ballistic Shield puts up a strategic barrier between officer and offender. This product line is distinguished by a patent-pending Vengeance Viewport, which permits a wide field of view, including greater peripheral vision to help users identify tripping hazards. The shield is made in the United States out of materials sourced from the U.S. MSRP $3,499.99.
DFNDR Level IIIA Backpack Body Armor
Packed and Ready
Although it only weighs a pound, the Level IIIA Backpack Body Armor by DFNDR, made with the highest grade of ballistic materials, earns top grades. Tested to meet NIJ 0101.06 Standard, the armor has proven to defeat multiple rounds of .357 SIG and .44 Mag SJHP. Plus, the hard-plate system is engineered with trauma-reduction technology to mitigate spall and deflect projectiles. The Backpack Body Armor fits most backpacks. MSRP $150–$215.
Spartan Armor Systems Elaphros Plate
In Greek, elaphros means light, quick and agile, all qualities considered essential to body armor worn in physically challenging situations. Tipping the scales at only 3.5 pounds — half the weight of traditional body armor — the Elaphros Plate by Spartan Armor Systems is produced from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene hybrid fibers. It meets Level III standards, such as qualifying as stab-resistant and multi-shot rated. It measures 10 inches by 12 inches and has a half-inch profile and a multi-curve ergonomic design. MSRP $649.99.
Armor Express Traverse Overt Patrol Carrier
Polished, Put-Together Protection
For a more uniformed appearance, try on the Traverse Overt Patrol Carrier by Armor Express. Available in black, LAPD navy, tactical gray and tan, the vest blends in with several uniform options. In fact, two dress pockets with faux button-down flaps and a pen slot, as well as the zipper concealed by faux buttons, class it up for a professional appearance. Protective plates placed into internal pockets or front and rear pockets enhance the heavy-duty outer shell. Utilitarian features include hidden identification and badge tab attachment points, adjustable shoulders with mic tabs and a camera mount. MSRP unavailable.