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Tait P25 Repeaters Extend Coverage in High Rises
Why won’t some officers wear soft body armor? We have heard all the same old reasons. Armor is too hot; too bulky; too restrictive and too obvious, you know, the dreaded “armor line.” If these ever were true, and that is arguable, they are not true any longer. Today’s armor is thinner and more flexible, cooler and more breathable, better fitting and tailored…and overall, simply more comfortable than ever. If you haven’t put on soft body armor lately, you haven’t tried it at all.
It was unlikely that I would need soft body armor while sitting in my cubicle at Hendon Publishing in the suburbs of Chicago typing this article. But my editors and I thought it would be educational for me to wear a bullet-resistant vest to work for a few days so I could understand the issues more thoroughly.
I ordered a new Comfort XLT from U.S. Armor ballistics vest in October from U.S. Armor. General Manager Georg Olsen made sure the threat level was representative of today’s needs. We went with a Level 2.
Mickey Lagger of LPS Tactical performed the extensive measuring process to ensure that it fit. For three days, I wore it during my bus and train commute to and from work, and I wore it all day long while doing my regular office duties. I wore it to the grocery store, in my car, to the gas station and out to lunch.
I won’t say that it was like donning a T-shirt exactly, but there were hours on end that I would forget that I was even wearing the vest. It was lighter, cooler and much more comfortable than I ever thought it would be….and that is the real lesson. The perception some officers have about soft body armor is either flat wrong or comes from armor produced 5, 10 or even 20 years ago. I know.
In preparation for this series of articles on body armor, I looked at older soft body armor. I took the chance to examine the original soft body armor worn by the Editorial Director, who has worn armor on patrol since 1986. This Threat Level 2A armor was the very state-of-the-art 20 years ago. The lightest, coolest, thinnest, most flexible. By today’s standards, however, it does seem a little thick, heavy and not so flexible. This has changed.
The bottom line is that every officer—no matter what his or her position or what the day’s work will entail—should wear a ballistic vest. Obviously, that means patrol officers. However, that also includes those that divide their time between the desk and the street…shift supervisors, sergeants, detectives, trainers, i.e., those who set the example and establish the culture of the department.
Give today’s armor a chance. Not only does it fit better than ever, you can move up one or two threat levels in protection and still have more comfortable armor.
Try wearing armor one time. Or if it has been more than five years, try it again. Every armor company tries its best to make its armor more comfortable and wearable than the competition…and those officers who wear armor are the ones who benefit from this intense competition. For those who complained that armor was too hot or too bulky, your voice has been heard. Now it is time you experience the advances in armor since your last experience with it.
Candy Buster is the managing editor of LAW and ORDER magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in Law and Order, Nov 2006
Rating : 10.0