Any bulletproof products you buy should be NIJ certified. NIJ administers a program to test commercially available armor for compliance with the standards to determine whether the vests will perform as expected.
The NIJ certification should be displayed on a company’s website. If it’s not there, you should ask before buying. Consider not making the purchase if the company does not have such a certification.
What are the different levels of bulletproof protection
There are pistol threats and rifle threats. Soft bullet resistant material stops pistol rounds and fragmentation but only a rigid rifle plate stops a rifle round. Level IIA, Level II and Level IIIA will stop the majority of pistol round plus 12 gauge and OO buckshot but no material is ever 100% ‘bulletproof’. The tradeoff between protection, wear-ability, and conceal-ability determines the level of protection and is a personal choice. The biggest difference between Levels is the amount of blunt trauma impact protection.
- Level IIA Generally ~4 mm thick- Best if thinness, comfort, and conceal-ability are the most important factors. May be worn for extended periods and allows for greater mobility. However, many prefer the extra blunt trauma protection from Level II or Level IIIA.
- Level II Generally ~5 mm thick- Often worn by police officers and a balanced choice between blunt trauma protection, cost and thickness/conceal-ability/comfort. Recommend if concealment under light clothing is a priority.
- Level IIIA Generally ~8 - 9 mm thick- Thicker, stiffer, heavier and more expensive but will stop more of the uncommon pistol threats. Tested for 9mm sub-machinegun and .44 magnum; plus it offers more blunt trauma impact protection.
Bulletproof backpacks don’t last forever
Remember to take great care of your bulletproof backpack. Take care not to leave one out in the sun or heat, and if yours gets damaged, consider replacing it. With care, your Bullet Proof Gear can last up to five years.
Be Wary of Noncertified Sellers
Don’t buy used bulletproof products, because you don’t know what they’ve been through. There’s a chance they could be worn out, and if that’s the case, they might not protect you in a dangerous situation. Remember, The NIJ certification should be displayed on a company’s website.