Bulletproof Vests: Protection from Gunfire, Explosions and Shrapnel

bulletproof vests
Learn how bulletproof vest protect from gunfire and shrapnel.

What is are bulletproof vests?

Bulletproof vests are like a sleeveless shirt that is worn on the upper portion (torso) of the body. The protective bulletproof vests serve as a piece of personal armor that helps absorb the impact from bullets, projectiles and shrapnel from explosions.

How are Bulletproof Vests made and used?

Soft bulletproof vests are made from many layers of woven or laminated fibers. Metal or ceramic plates (often called trauma plates) can be used in conjunction with a soft vest to provide additional protection from higher caliber gunshots, such as those from rifles or automatic weapons. The plates are usually sewn into the fabric in key locations.

These types of jackets are capable of protecting the wearer from small-caliber handgun fire and shotgun projectiles, as well as small fragments from explosives such as grenades. In most situations, hard-plate reinforced vests are mainly worn by combat soldiers, police tactical units (SWAT Teams) and hostage rescue teams.

In addition to protecting from gunfire and small explosion fragments, metallic components or tightly woven fiber layers can give soft armor additional resistance to protect against stab attacks from knives or swords.

A full-body approach to body armor may combine a ballistic vest with other items of protective clothing, such as a combat helmet, steel toe boots, and Kevlar gloves. Vests used by police officers, tactical units and military personnel may also include ballistic shoulder and side protection armor components to prevent bullets from entering through openings.

Persons who wear such devices should not feel completely safe and invulnerable. A person wearing such protective gear may still be injured or even killed. A bullet or other type of projectile may hit the person’s body in an area that is not covered. Also, the shot or blast may occur at such close range that it is impossible to provide adequate protection.

In situations where a bullet or shrapnel hits a protected area, the person will still feel the impact. The impact alone may cause serious bodily damage such as broken ribs, bruising and other ailments. Many officers report being knocked to the ground and having their “wind knocked out” after being shot.

The protective vests are also known by other names such a bullet-resistant jackets, Kevlar, safety, and life vests.

Who Needs a Bulletproof Vest?

As mentioned above, they are most often used by military personnel. Many standard, battle-ready uniforms have protective gear built directly into the suit. Meaning they are sewn into the fabric. In some cases the metal portions are removable, in others they are not.

In addition, the gear is used by police officers, mainly those who serve on the streets. However, detectives often wear the gear when they enter dangerous or unknown areas where they may be particularly vulnerable. In addition, the gear is worn by security guards, bodyguards and personal protection specialists. In some cases, private investigators may use bulletproof vests to protect themselves from gun fire in the line of duty.

Where to Purchase Bulletproof Vests

CHIEF Supply has an extensive selection of bullet proof vests, tactical vests, softshell clothing, ballistic panels, pouches and other protective clothing and accessories. Chief Supply offers free shipping on orders over $79.00. In addition, they often run discounts for multi-item orders and discounts for new subscribers.

Bulletproof Backpacks

With school shootings reaching the level of an epidemic, some companies are developing tactical gear for students. In fact, Amazon has a variety of bulletproof backpacks for sale. Also known as “tactical backpacks”, the backpacks can also be used by military, law enforcement and outdoor enthusiasts. They are made of 100% 500D Cordura fabric and are lightweight and durable.

Additional Information and Resources

Bulletproof Body Armor Headquarters  – This website provides an extensive selection of protective gear and body armor that has been designed with the lightest, highest quality, most comfortable materials. The armor and accessories have been rigorously tested to meet and or exceed the highest levels or standards required by the NIJ for certification.

What do private investigators need to know?

Depending on the case, private investigators may find themselves in dangerous situations. Following a suspect, serving a warrant or performing surveillance could easily turn into a dangerous situation. In addition, an investigator may provide personal protection, security or bodyguard service to their client. An investigator may decide to wear a protective vest to protect themselves and/or their client from being shot or stabbed. In some situations, they may encourage their client to wear a vest as an added layer of security.


Buyers must be at least 18 years of age to purchase bullet proof products. Also, it is considered to be illegal and unlawful to purchase protective vests, protective body armor or other ballistic products if you have been previously convicted of a felony crime, have a criminal record, or if you are currently a fugitive from the law. The unlawful purchase and possession of such materials can lead to criminal prosecution. Please check your state and local laws prior to making a purchase.

Spy Gear Products & Surveillance Equipment – Check out our wide selection of other spy equipment and electronic gadgets for law enforcement and private detectives.


    • Vests that are available to the general public generally run from around $200 to over $1000. The more expensive vests generally offer more protection.


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