How Much Does A Bulletproof Vest Cost: Real Retail Data

With a lot of people having access to guns, there are frequent gun-related attacks happening every day, with a lot of them leading to serious injuries, and even death. Whether you are a security employee or simply a civilian looking to stay safe, you might be wondering what the price of a bulletproof vest might be.

How Much Does A Bulletproof Vest Cost? The cost of a high-quality bulletproof vest ranges from about $250 to over $1000. Factors that determine the cost are the cloth material, plate type, level of protection, and retailer brand.

In a paper on the improvement of bulletproof vests, Naveen Kumar, a researcher at JIET, India, mentioned that the most popular materials used in the production of bulletproof vests are Kevlar, Spectra Shield, Twaron, and Bynema.

How Long Does A Bulletproof Vest Last?

Depending on individual quality, a bulletproof vest lasts between 5 to 10 years. The durability of a bulletproof vest depends on the conditions under which it is stored.

The essence of a bulletproof vest is to provide protection to its user from penetration by bullets and fragments from explosions. You might need a bulletproof vest for a tactical exercise or in case of an emergency while you’re away from your home.

Like all products, bulletproof vests are not eternal. At some point, the quality of a bulletproof vest begins to wane. For most bulletproof vests expiration is at least 5 years after production, depending on its management and materials.

During the manufacturing process, bulletproof vests undergo a series of evaluations to test the resilience of the fibers (Kevlar, Twaron, or Dyneema), which are the core materials used in the production of a bulletproof vest.

These tests are done to determine the durability of the materials used during production and what happens when these materials lose their efficiency.

A few days after expiration does not render your bulletproof vest totally useless; however, the chances of this vest coming to your rescue begin to reduce. When a vest passes its expiry date, the level of protection might reduce, leaving its user at risk.

Apart from the age of a bulletproof vest, how you use it and where you store it can affect its durability. The fibers and other materials that make up a vest will begin to get worn out after constant use, so you should inspect your vest regularly.

When storing your bulletproof vest, you should keep it away from excess heat, sunlight, and humidity, as they can shorten the lifespan of your vest.

Once a bulletproof vest loses efficiency, it leaves the user vulnerable to bullet attacks or shrapnel from an explosion, causing a lot of harm. It is best not to take a risk by using an expired bulletproof vest and just get yourself a new one. 

How Much Does A Bulletproof Vest Weigh?

A bulletproof vest weighs around 4.4 pounds to 6.6 pounds. The weight of a bulletproof vest is determined by the kind of materials used in its production and its plate coverage.

Bulletproof vests vary in weight because of a difference in the protective materials used. For regular civilian bulletproof vests, the average weight is between 4.4 and 6.6 lbs (2 kg to 3 kg). Light bulletproof vests are made possible by the invention of lightweight composite armor.

The ballistic panel is a standard determinant of a bulletproof vest’s weight, and the material differs depending if it is for a Hard or Soft-armored bulletproof vest. It is only logical for the hard-armored vest to weigh more due to existing materials like components from ceramics and other bullet-resistant fibers like Kevlar.

A hard-armored vest has a high resistance to rifle calibers and even impact from grenades. However, their weight makes them uncomfortable to wear around, unless you are a highly trained professional.

A soft bulletproof vest, on the other hand, consists of lighter ballistic plates. Of course, you don’t expect it to be as light as cotton candy, but it is a lot more comfortable than a hard-armored vest.

The use of lightweight bulletproof vests has increased recently due to their success rate in high resistance and lightness compared to older, heavier versions. The weight of a bulletproof vest also varies depending on the purpose it is worn to serve.

Whether it is for a tactical assignment or personal protection, you should consider the vest weight that suits your convenience or assignment. Choosing a wrongly weighted vest can be as dangerous as being naked to bullet attacks or shrapnel from an explosion.

Some disadvantages of using an improper vest include:

  • Slow and uncomfortable movement
  • Embarrassing appearance
  • Posture deformity
  • Critical injuries
  • Death

You do not have to look like a RoboCop before protecting yourself. The right vest weight can make you look smart, move smart, and save your life.

What Caliber Does Body Armor Stop?

The caliber that body armor stops depends on the level of the armor. Soft body armor (levels IIA, II, and IIIA) can protect against most handguns, while hard body armor (levels III and IV) can protect against sniper and assault rifles.

A bulletproof vest does not necessarily serve as a wall that makes you completely immune to bullets. In some cases, you might still get killed from a bullet attack while having a vest on.

Body armor serves as a layer of resistance to penetration from bullets. Body armor is classified into protection levels based on a standard imposed by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

If the bullet is fired at a close range or if its caliber is much higher than the NIJ protection level of the armor, the bullet is likely to penetrate the armor.

Here is a breakdown of the body armor protection levels and the corresponding caliber that they can protect you from.

  • NIJ protection level IIA:

This armor level protects against ammunition from short barrel handguns. Its caliber protection covers 9mm and .40 Smith and Wesson ammunition.

  • NIJ protection level II:

Level II armor also protects from short barrel handguns and can prevent 9mm and .357 Magnum ammunition from penetration.

  • NIJ protection level IIIA:

Unlike its counterparts above, level IIIA armor is better suited for handguns with longer barrels, withstanding .357 SIG and .44 Magnum ammunition.

  • NIJ protection level III:2

Considerably stronger than the three previous levels, level III armor provides protection against .762 mm FMJ ammunition fired from rifles.

  • NIJ protection level IV:

This is the most powerful armor level, and it is perfect for safeguarding wearers against .30 caliber ammunition from armor-piercing rifles.

The first three levels above are classified as soft armor, while the last two belong to the hard armor categorization.

You should note that the NIJ protection level I is the oldest armor level. It is no longer in use since its technology is outdated, making it ineffective for proper protection. Using a bulletproof vest can grant you a certain level of confidence, knowing that you are mostly safe from bullets that might be fired at you.

However, a bulletproof vest’s function is only significant when you are aware of its NIJ protection level, so you can know what types of ammunition caliber you are protected against.

Using the wrong body armor is as bad as bringing a knife to a gunfight, and you might just get yourself injured or killed.

Can A Bulletproof Vest Stop A Knife?

No, a bulletproof vest cannot stop a knife as the components of a bulletproof vest are specifically designed to be resistant to bullets. Rather, you should get a stab-proof vest since it is better suited for stopping knives.

A bulletproof vest is manufactured to absorb the impact of low and high-caliber ammunition using specific materials and fibers. Unfortunately, their action is limited, and they cannot perfectly repel attacks from sharp-edged objects like knives and broken bottles.

This handicap of the bulletproof vest led to the invention of the stab-proof vest. A stab-proof vest is specifically designed to block attacks from sharp-edged objects, and it would conveniently protect you from knife attacks, unlike an average bulletproof vest.

The material used in the production of a stab-proof vest is known as Aramid fiber or Dyneema, and they both have properties that prevent objects with sharp edges from penetrating through to the user’s skin.

Although it has been concluded that a bulletproof vest will not protect you from knife attacks, some tests have proven that body armor with higher concentrated properties might just save you from a knife.

NIJ level III and level IV vests consist of steel properties designed to stop armor-piercing bullets, and this can work to a considerable extent in trapping the penetration of a knife attack.

Can I Buy A Bulletproof Vest?

Yes, you can buy a bulletproof vest. It is legal for a civilian to own a bulletproof vest for protection against attacks. The aim of body armor is to protect you against gun attacks.

Defense is a priority and the only thing stopping you from owning a bulletproof vest is your choice. It is legal to own a vest in most places, and it is even considered the right of a citizen to own one.

In the US, over 45,000 people died from gun attacks in the year 2020; there might have been a decrease in the statistical analysis of the death rate if these people had a bulletproof vest on. This further justifies the safety precaution, claiming that all citizens must have at least a vest of body armor at arm’s length in case of emergencies.

However, there is a federal law that prevents convicted felons from owning a bulletproof vest without permission from their employer. Unlike acquiring a gun, owning a bulletproof vest doesn’t require lots of paperwork. Any NIJ-certified store should provide you with a high-quality vest within a short period.

As important as it is to own a bulletproof vest, it is also mandatory to understand the kind of body armor that suits your need. There is no need to purchase bulky body armor if you are looking to protect yourself from an environment surrounded by minimal caliber risk from handguns.

It is advisable to carry out research before purchasing a vest and also look out for the store you are buying from; to avoid getting yourself an expired vest that won’t be of any help to you.

Profession or lifestyle is not a criterion that determines your need for a vest. Everyone needs protection, so you do not have to be a top combatant in the army before owning a bulletproof vest, you can purchase your vest for your household protection.

Reasons to Buy Bulletproof Vest

Reasons as to buy:Explanation to why:
Buying it for intrudersDepending on where you live, having protection against any house intruders can be incredibly good in high crime-rate cities.
Prepping for future situationsWithout ever knowing if the world can go to hell in a handbasket, its good to prepare ahead of time. Riots can start in the case of civil unrest along with raiding. Its good to remember that anything can happen at a moments notice.

What Level Body Armor Can Civilians Own?

Civilians can own any protection level armor of their choice. There are different levels of body armor depending on their ballistic properties and coverage, and there is no restriction on the level of body armor that can be owned by civilians.

Based on the NIJ’s standards, there are five different protection levels of body armor (Level IIA, II, IIA, III, IV); and they are graded based on the quality of materials used for production and the kind of caliber they protect the wearer against.

It is not always necessary to purchase a level IV body armor when a level IIIA can serve you just fine. Regardless of choice, there is no law stopping a civilian from acquiring their preferred body armor as long as the purpose of purchase is not for criminal activity.

Some manufacturers prefer selling higher graded levels to the government instead of civilians, understanding that bulletproof vests of a higher level would be more useful on the military field or for other tactical exercises.

Of course, you need to understand what the protection level of bulletproof vests means before deciding to walk into a store to grab yourself one. There are factors to consider, like your environment, budget and usage.

You don’t want to be that clueless civilian who purchases a level IV armor just to store it in a room or is discomforted by its bulkiness. That being said, the decision solely depends on your choice. If you want to acquire the highest level of body armor, then go for it.

Recent Posts