Body armour is an essential piece of the safety equipment of security operatives. It has saves thousands of lives and people from serious injuries.
Since its initial discovery, it has come leaps in bounds in both design and development. Modern body carriers are lighter, more durable and stronger than they used to be. They also come in different shapes and sizes as well different levels of protection and styles. This may make it more difficult to select the right type of body armour, but doing so will ensure you receive adequate protection in any scenario. When purchasing body armour it is important to consider a variety of factors based on the threats you are likely to face.
Since security personnel often comes face to face with different types of threats, they require a comprehensive and versatile mode of protection. Working in close proximity to large crowds of people and coming in contact with volatile individuals poses a significant risk to security agents’ health and life. Unlike military and law enforcement operatives, there aren’t many benefits in displaying their protection and relying on the sense of authority it conveys as they are private employees. In many ways, they are better off choosing body armour that is concealable and offers a high degree of protection against multiple threats.
Because body armour comes in 2 main styles – covert and overt, the first choice security staff needs to make is whether the carrier should be visible or not. Covert armour is designed to be worn under your garments while overt is worn over clothes. Both styles have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the risks you are likely to face and the situations you want to use them in. There is a difference in the level of flexibility provided by Covert / Overt vests as well as the way they feel to the wearer over or under clothes.
Covert Body Armour
Typically produced in light colours, covert body armour is designed to be as thin as possible so that it is not visible when worn under clothing. Manufactures use fabric that helps absorb moisture, which means covert body vests are more breathable and allow for better airflow. This is a big advantage, especially in climates, where heat and high humidity are a problem. Covert body armour is suitable for people who are looking for comfort as well as protection and their line of work requires certain level of discretion, for example security operatives, cops and close protection officers.
Covert vests can be worn comfortably beneath a standard uniform, while retaining flexibility. Some models can even be fitted with extra SAPI plates for an extra layer of protection, should there be a danger of a high level. They are lightweight and comfortable, allowing you to wear them for prolonged periods of time. This makes them particularly suitable for security personnel protecting events and high-profile individuals.
Overt Body Armour
Designed to be worn over your clothes, overt body armour is bulkier and comes in a variety of colour for different environments. Noticeably thicker than covert vests, they are made of harder bulletproof panels and are usually preferred by people in high-risk fields, such as riot control, military operations, warzone journalism, humanitarian missions, security operations, etc.
Security personnel encounter different types of risks on a daily basis and sometimes they need to clearly demonstrate their authority. Overt body armour can be valuable in such situations and discourage people from attacking a fully equipped security operative. Overt vests tend to be favoured by those responsible for guarding buildings, such as banks and government agencies.
Close protection is a demanding job that puts a lot of pressure on the security Operative to provide a wide range of services. The most important part of the role is adequate preparation, and understanding the potential threats you will experience. Close consideration of the benefits and drawbacks of covert and overt body armour is part of this preparation as it can be life-saving in a potential life and death situation. Whatever the choice, nowadays there are many available options to ensure that security Operatives remain flexible, comfortable, and, of course, protected in their line of work.