Today’s security industry calls for versatile and skilled security personnel. Security guards may be hired to guard people, places, or other property and items. No matter the circumstances, there is no doubt that every security guard faces potential dangers and threats and must ensure that they are fully protected from any danger which may come with their chosen line of work.
That’s why we’ve put together this extensive guide for professionals working in the security sector - so that they may make informed decisions when choosing which type of body armor is best suited for their needs.
Table of Contents
- Why Security Guards Need the Best Body Armor
- Protective Vests made for the Protectors of Security
- Edged Blade Body Armor
- Body Armor With Spike Protection
- The Ballistic Armor
- Covert and Overt Styles
- Why is it important to choose armor with the right size and visibility?
- Buying Body Armor for Security Guards
Why Security Guards Need the Best Body Armor
The field of security relies on the professionalism, dedication, and skills of thousands of brave men and women who are willing to ensure the safety of other people. Whether they are patrolling a private residential property, working in a bustling shopping center filled with large crowds, helping an A-list celebrity go on with their personal lives with unwanted attention, or offering close protection to a controversial politician, security personnel will always face different dangers and risks.
Security guards, door supervisors, and bodyguards are all likely to encounter aggressive people at one point or another. Body armor can be worn by many workers who are part of the security industry to provide them with the essential protection they need against various kinds of threats.
If you are currently working as a security guard, or you have plans to pursue this profession, it is a must that you know everything there is to know about the body armor issued by your respective company. There are also companies that do not provide bulletproof vests or other body armor and may expect their security personnel to purchase their own body armor, if they choose so.
Even if an agency provides its employees body armor, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will receive the highest quality and best bullet proof vest there is. There is a very good chance that the armor has already been put to extensive use by many guards ahead of you, and it is even possible that it will no longer give you the optimal protection you may expect.
More often than not, it may be ideal for a bodyguard to buy his own personal body armor so that he/she can be confident in its quality and that it will offer the best level of protection as expected of it.
If you are new to the industry or even if you have worked for some time as a security officer, how can you determine the best bullet proof vest for you? What are the different types and what benefits can they offer?
Protective Vests made for the Protectors of Security
Depending on the specific line of security you specialize in, you will encounter different types of threats compared to colleagues who operate in other locations.
For example bodyguards, particularly those who work with top-caliber politicians or other public figures, threats of aggressive crowds and assassination attempts could be are a very real possibility. If you work with a recognizable actor or pop star, it means that you also have to operate around frenzied crowds of fans, and may even need to keep avid stalkers at bay.
If your job is a retail-based security guard, there are possibilities of encountering armed thieves who might raid high-value shops. There might also be shoplifters with knives to fend off security personnel.
Door supervisors, on the other hand, meet and deal with hundreds of people on an average shift, with some being familiar faces, while others could be total strangers. They can also encounter aggressive people who might make a scene if they were requested to leave a club or bar, or refused entry.
In any of these situations, body armor for security guards can protect you from any forms of injury, or worse.
Edged Blade Body Armor
Stab vests, also known as edge blade armors, are manufactured using several layers of Kevlar, a type of fiber woven into tight grids that boast impressive rigidity. The kevlar material is especially effective because it causes friction against sharp blades to prevent stabbing and slicing attacks.
In general, stab vests are comfortable and lightweight enough to wear underneath your uniform or required clothes, whether it is a casual civilian clothing or a smart suit.
These stab vests are available in three levels, with each level providing a certain amount of protection from attacks of varying energy degrees. Door supervisors and security guards would most likely benefit from wearing stab vests, especially if they operate in places where knives are a known threat, or where shoplifters are known to target high-value stores.
Body Armor With Spike Protection
Blades are not the only sharp objects that can be used during attacks. There are also other domestic items like hypodermic needles or even sharpened wood pieces which may cause a threat to security personnel. In instances where a sharp point is made fine enough, it could easily pass through fibers of stab vests.
In order to protect yourself against such threats, body armor which comes with “spike” protection is a great option as it has a much tighter weave for trapping the tips of pointed objects. Even though the possibility of an attack involving a needle may be unlikely, adding this kind of protection to your body armor may save your skin in situations where attackers may use whatever objects are at hand.
You should consider body armor with spike protection as it could save you from injury or even sickness or contamination brought about by harmful substances on hypodermic needles.
The Ballistic Armor
Ballistic vests, also known as the bullet proof vest or armor, may be of best use to bodyguards, although some security guards also run the risk of encountering gunfire. Those who protect shops that sell highly expensive items like electronics or jewelry, as well as banks, may well expect to encounter professional career-thieves who are armed with firearms.
Bodyguards that protect clients who may receive death threats or widespread hatred might well face assassination attempts. Even if you’re guarding prominent clients that do not face obvious opposition, you need to be prepared for the worse.
Ballistic vests are categorized into different levels of protection against various ammunition forms. There are 5 levels total (from II to IV) which offering protection against ammunition fired at set velocities - from easily accessible 9 millimeter rounds to armor piercing, high powered .30 caliber bullets from rifles.
Ballistic Vests are crafted to stop such bullets by absorbing the impact’s force and causing friction against bullets as they pass through the top layer of Kevlar. However, swelling and bruising are still common due to the speed of the bullet when it strikes.
Vests deemed level IIA, IIIA and are created with different layers of Kevlar while others feature ceramic and steel plates to stop high velocity gunfire. Typically, ballistic armor offers protection to the back, sides, and front.
Covert and Overt Styles
Body armor come in 3 various styles which include covert, overt or a combination of covert and overt. This categorization of overt or covert refers to whether the armor is worn beneath or on top of clothing.
Overt armors are worn externally and are highly visible. More often than not, overt armor offers high levels of protection and may serve as a deterrent in volatile situations, especially if aggressors are aware that personnel are equipped to handle trouble. Commonly, overt armor is employed by the military or police.
Likewise, covert armor is normally thin so that it may be concealed beneath clothing. Covert armor provides vital protection without alarming individuals and is ideal for situations where you do not want to attract unnecessary attention. Covert vests are also made to be worn comfortably for an extended period of time and are a popular option among personal body guards and door staff.
Dual purpose covert/overt armors are the middle ground between the two choices. Thicker than the majority of covert armor and thinner than overt, these hybrid armors may be worn either on top of clothes or underneath clothing. Without compromising protection, such are a great choice if you like versatile armor for a variety of situations.
Aside from selecting a vest that suits on your circumstances, it’s also essential to make sure that your vest fits your body well. Armors that are too large can be cumbersome and might leave vital areas exposed, while armor that is too small can be restrictive and might not provide total cover.
Many people don’t realize this but it is vital that your armor DOES NOT extend past your navel. Vests that reach the belly button will protect one’s vital organs without limiting your movement. Depending on the brand, several bullet proof vests are gendered so women may need to order a different style than male vests (made to fit based on one’s height).
Also, when buying body armors, you must consider these measurements:
- Females must give their cup size.
- Sternum length
- Chest size
- Overall standing height
In regards to maintenance and care, body armors should be stored in dry places and can be cleaned using a soapy sponge if needed. It is not advised that you submerge your vest in water, as it could cause damage.
Why is it important to choose armor with the right size and visibility?
When selecting body armor, you must consider key factors like sizing and visibility level. Depending on your assignment, you will have to pick a covert, overt or dual purpose vest.
For instance, security guards working at shopping centers may need to required to wear a uniform, in which case covert armor worn underneath might be the only choice, while for others there might not be such a strict requirement. Also for those whose job requires dressing in civilian clothing, you will need a covert vest to maintain a low profile.
Generally, door supervisors and bodyguards wear their armor underneath smart clothing. Many covert vests today are manufactured with breathable fabrics to provide greater comfort during prolonged wear and even highly protected level III and IV ballistic vests might be lightweight enough for the concealable use.
When it comes to fit and size, it is vital that you search for armor best suited for your body shape or else you could leave parts of your torso exposed or they may could cause discomfort. Security guards will have to move around with ease and having vests that fit properly is important. Vests that are big might ride a bit low in the torso that could make it hard for them to turn or bend.
Buying Body Armor for Security Guards
Whenever you are buying body armor, it is crucial for a guard it is also wise to check with employers to know what types of armor is accepted for use. For instance, companies may not allow guards to wear overt vests while on duty as they might might prefer covert vests for discretion.
Most celebrities and politicians, on the other hand, hire security guards so they can remain safe while on the road or out in the public. Such guards may also be required to wear covert vests to prevent themselves from sticking out like a sore thumb.
Security guards working at a certain company may also need to select a vest of a particular color. Several companies need all personnel to match and may not allow vests that are of a different color than their uniform. Checking first with your superiors is the safest bet for you to know the requirements and what is allowed in terms of which body armor you can wear when on duty.
In short, security guards, officers and personnel are often at risk in a variety of dangerous situations and may be subject to attacks from knives, pointed objects or even guns. For these professions, it is wise to find some body armor that could very well protect you and even save your life in such dangerous scenarios. It is also imperative that take some time when selecting body armor so you may find one that allows you to do your job as efficiently and safely as possible.