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Body armor consideration

Anytime the subject of mass shootings and body armor come up there is a call for head shots. Again, I hate to break the news to you, but you are not that good.

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

Yes, some folks might be able to make heads shot, but at what range. Is it realistic to expect everyone be able to deliver a head shot at extended ranges on demand. I’m not saying it is not, what I’m saying is the average person fails to put in the minimum work to be proficient with a standard defensive response. Do you think it is reasonable to make a head shot at an extreme range under stress. I feel like this is wishful thinking at best, recklessness at worst. I’m all for the immediate stop to a deadly threat. How you do so will be dependent on the situation, but more importantly you’re skill. Should you fail, the consequences may be more than you bargained for in the first place.

Hard Versus Soft

Wearing body armor is not an end all be all. It doesn’t mean the head shot is the only available shot. You can still hit the torso covered with armor to great effect. Let’s look at what history has shown us from the recent mass shootings. Has any of the armor been more than level IIIa protection. Most of the news does not indicate the suspect was wearing hard armor, or rifle grade ballistic plates. Most if not all accounts indicate it was soft armor only. Still, it is capable of stopping some ballistic threats. Here is the key, you have to realize any armor, no matter how advanced is degradable. Even the best armor can only sustain so much damage before it is compromised. Most are designed to stop multiple projectiles spread out over a large surface area. Concentrated in an area and multiple shots have a better chance of penetrating the armor.

Getting Punched in the Gut

A real outcome to torso shots is blunt force traumaIf when wearing soft armor only. While the armor may stop the projectile from penetrating the body, it does nothing to stop the projectile’s energy. This energy has to be absorbed somehow and while spreading it across a wider surface area armor can dissipate the energy, it is still a tremendous amount of force. I have been around armor most of my adult life. When you wear it to save your life you take a vested interest in learning how it works. The part they don’t tell you is the back face deformation can still kill you.

Effective Fire Gets Results

Back face deformation is the energy transmitted through the armor into the body. It is generally measured against molding clay with a minimum depth to be acceptable. While we were so busy making awesome armor to stop threats we forgot to worry about the projectile’s energy and where it was going. Many of the hard armor is referenced as conjunction armor, meaning it must be used in conjunction with soft armor to minimize fragmentation and back face deformation. So, stop worrying about the head shot and direct your fire at the largest target zone you have with rapid and repeated hits. You are going to get a response, you may not get penetration, but you will get a response. This response may or may not stop the threat, but it may slow the body movement down or allow you the time necessary to make the more precise head shot.

Bad guys wearing armor is not as big a game changer as some people might believe. Rapid, repeated and accurate hits on the torso will have an effect.

Author: Jeff Gonzales