Need for Body Armor part 1
Don't overlook this potential life-saver
A typical bullet proof
vest, easily and quickly secured by six velcro straps.
Note this particular
illustration shows a vest with less overall coverage than
offered by some other vests. Needless to say, more
coverage is usually better than less.
Part 1 of a new series on
body armor. See links to other parts of the series on
Most people focus too much on
the 'offensive' side of firearms training and personal
protection - getting the best weapon for the purpose and
learning how to use it.
For sure this is important, but
isn't the 'defensive' side of the equation of at least equal
importance - minimizing your own risk of injury (and possibly
One of the quickest, easiest,
and best things you can do to turn the odds more in your favor
is to buy a ballistic vest (also termed 'bullet proof vest' or
Bullet proof vests are legal to
own, easy to wear, particularly if you limit your wearing of one
to only when responding to a threat at home, and typically cost
no more than another handgun.
Surviving is a Key Part of
Winning a Gun Fight
Maybe you've heard the joke
of the two doctors talking after a lengthy and complicated
surgery. The first one says 'Well, that was a very
successful operation. We did everything perfectly.'
The second replies 'Yes, a shame the patient died, though'.
It is the same when it comes
to self defense. You can train yourself perfectly, you can
have a brilliantly accurate gun with very effective bullets, you
can shoot accurately and stop - even kill - your attacker.
But he might get off a random (un)lucky shot and fatally wound you too.
What good is it to have
stopped your attacker dead in his tracks if you lose your own
life in the process, or perhaps get crippled for life?
Unfortunately, as good as
you get at shooting at an attacker, there is an unavoidable risk
that the attacker might shoot back and with a lucky shot on his
part (and some bad luck on your part) land a mortal or massively
injuring hit on you as part of an exchange of gunfire.
All the training in the
world won't protect you against a combination of good luck on
the bad guy's part and bad luck on your part. This is
where you need to think about a defensive 'counter measure' -
some type of body armor.
A Bullet Proof Vest - An
Essential Part of Your Home Defense Gear
Most people never even stop
to think about buying their own personal body armor or 'bullet
proof vest' as it is colloquially known. There is
something slightly outré about the thought of wearing a bullet
proof vest - people who think nothing about equipping themselves
with guns, tasers, pepper spray, batons, lights and lasers
somehow stop short when it comes to adding a ballistic vest to their
inventory of home defense gear.
Certainly, most people in normal walks
of life shouldn't feel the need to be
wearing body armor while they are out and about, going about
ordinary life in an ordinary manner. There's no doubt that
body armor can be bulky, heavy, uncomfortable, and also hot to
Where and when are you
most likely to have an encounter with a bad guy? At home,
So think about this
scenario. You're awakened by the unmistakable sounds of an
intruder in your house. Because there are other people in
other bedrooms, you need to leave the safety of your
own bedroom to go protect them; so you grab your gun, your flashlight, your phone,
and - what else?
Why not quickly slip a suit
of body armor on top of whatever you were wearing in bed too?
It will take you less than 30 seconds to do this, and
worst case scenario, you'll only need to wear it for five
minutes or less before you take it off again.
All the reasons for not
bothering with a ballistic vest all the time on normal ordinary days
suddenly vanish when you have a real specific event at home that you need
to respond to.
Body armor is estimated to
save the lives of 100 police officers in the US every year.
It could possibly save your life, too.
Bad Guys Can and Might Shoot
You need to think through
the possible twists of any scenario you might encounter, and
don't assume that the bad guy immediately surrenders when you
dramatically confront him.
What say the bad guy you are
a gun, too (a reasonably likely circumstance)? And what say he is as willing to use deadly
force as you - again, a reasonably likely circumstance?
Maybe he is up for the
third of a 'three strikes and you're out' law, and is willing to
use deadly force himself to escape detection and arrest.
Or maybe he is just totally drugged out of his mind and the
normal patterns of behavior are completely switched off.
The bad guy might also be a
Furthermore, some studies
suggest that the criminals who are most likely to use a gun as part
of committing their crime may actually be moderately skilled at
its use. They might even practice more regularly than you (as
regularly as every week) with the gun.
The stereotype of an armed
criminal as being a person with a mythical 'Saturday Night
Special' and unskilled in its use, being almost overcome with
panic and very reluctant to use the gun, is seldom correct - not
only is your opponent possibly skilled, but he is as likely to
have a modern 'state of the art' high powered pistol as you are.
There has been a steady decrease in reported shooting from .38
cal revolvers, and a steady increase in reported shootings from
.40 cal semi-autos (per FBI crime statistics on police who are
The bad guy might have been in
Which leads to one more
Sure, you might have done a lot of range practice, but the other
guy might not just have done what passes for range practice, but
may have been in previous live fire exchanges; may have even
killed people before.
This is the ugly reality
that is seldom completely explained to you when you take a
course of firearms training. Heck, the bad guy might even
have taken the same or a very similar course (unlikely but not impossible).
And, to thoroughly
discomfort you some more, think about your experience at a
range. How easy is it to hit a man sized target at 15 - 20
ft? Not necessarily to hit in the inner ring of the
bulls-eye, but just to get rounds landing within the target
boundaries. Reasonably easy, right?
So with 15 - 20 ft as a
likely maximum range for a home defense encounter (ie
from one side of a room to the other), even if the bad guy
isn't a highly trained marksman, it will still be easy for him
to land shots on you if he is shooting back.
Which leads to an ugly topic
- your chances of getting shot.
Part of a multi-part series
Please click the links at
the top right of this page to read through
other parts of this extensive series on body armor and the
protection it offers.
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10 Jan 2011, last update
28 May 2011
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