Buying Body Armor is a lot like Hiring a Bodyguard…
When you hire a security officer there are a few things to consider.
To say the least, you would put some thought into who’s got your back. You're putting your safety in someone else's hands, and you want to feel confident in their skills. What you wouldn’t do is pick the first person you see in a dark suit and sunglasses, but we do this all the time with products we buy (and books we read). We choose the first website that pops up in our search engine or on our Instagram advertisements. Throw 4.5 stars in the ring and we are sold. A ravioli maker and bacon scented candle are one thing, but we’re talking about YOUR safety. When you make the decision to purchase bulletproof gear for yourself or your family, there are a few things you should consider:
Let's break this down into why these things matter for your ballistic protection.
Body armor, just like any product, can be made domestically or imported from another country. When it comes to your personal protection, it's important to know why this is important. To keep costs down, many manufacturers us imported fibers or target-grade steel for their body armor. If a company sells product manufactured overseas, it removes the oversight and makes monitoring the production extremely difficult, if not impossible. This loss of control means a breakdown in a machine, for example, could go unnoticed, resulting in a sub-par product.
At Premier Body Armor, Made in the USA isn't just a tagline. It's our promise that we are only using the highest quality material to create your product. Not only are our products made in our Miami factory, but they are Berry Compliant, which means the domestically sourced raw materials used in our body armor are also 100% Made in the USA.
Your ballistic protection can be made with a variety of material, many times depending on the level of protection you're looking for. Soft body armor is typically made with layers of fabric, which uses tightly woven fibers that create an extremely strong, yet lightweight material. For example, Premier's backpack panels are constructed with a para-aramid ballistic core with a CORDURA® outer shell to create a flexible, lightweight and extremely thin insert with Level IIIA protection.
When it comes to hard armor, bulletproof plates can be made of materials like steel, ceramic, and polyethylene. While steel body armor may be cheaper, it's a very heavy material, which can be cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear. When you consider the hard armor inserts combined with a rigged out plate carrier, you could be looking at 10+ pounds. This is why many companies have transitioned to using polyethylene. Premier, specifically, uses an ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) in the construction of our Level III+ rifle-rated plates, providing a higher level of protection in a lightweight solution.
has set standards for evaluating body armor. Certification standards provide different levels of protection, so make sure to choose the right level for your needs. Without getting into all of the the specific ammunition each standard protects against, here are a few general notes:
*keep in mind descriptions of the levels above are not exhaustive of the type of rounds or firearms each level protects against. We recommend visiting the NIJ's website to read the full standard descriptions before deciding which level is best for you.
When purchasing body armor, you should first consider the threat level you are trying to protect against. For most standard civilian use, level IIIA is sufficient.
Let's face it, you don't want the process of purchasing body armor to be frustrating, and you certainly don't want any confusion. Transparency and reliability are important when it comes to products that could save your life. Are they willing to share where their products are manufactured and what materials they are constructed with? If you contact customer service, are you getting a real human who can be informative and answer your questions, guiding you on correct sizing and which product would be best based on your needs and budget? Does the company have experience, and the customer reviews to support it? All of these factors are important when making a decision about body armor.
At Premier, we have 20 years of experience creating armor for tactical vehicles, which translated into the law enforcement and the security sector. With this knowledge and experience, we've developed armor solutions with civilian situations in mind. From our bulletproof backpack inserts for school to tactical vests and plate carriers, each product is thoughtfully designed.
As part of our warranty, we also have an incident guarantee. If your Premier Body Armor vest or panel saves your life, we will replace it for free, as long as an official police report of the incident is provided. You can learn more about our warranties and policies on our website.
Still not convinced?
So what's next? When you decide it's time to purchase body armor (or hire a bodyguard), take the time to dig a little deeper, because YOUR safety matters.
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