Body armour protection against edged blades and spiked weapons
SafeGuard Armour explain the advantages of different types of body armour in protecting security personnel.
Even those who have considered the importance of body armour may not realise just how many choices are available under that term. Many see body armour as synonymous with bullet proof vests, and while there is some truth to that, the reality is that body armour covers everything from Tactical bullet proof vests to Ballistic helmets. It also covers stab and spike proof vests, which can protect against edged and spiked weapons like knives. Many are not aware that a bullet proof vest, while capable of dealing with extreme threats, cannot protect against knives, and only a stab or spike proof vest will offer protection. For most Security Operatives, stab and spike proof vests will be just as if not more important than bullet resistant vests.
Stab and spike protection is available in a variety of styles, like any protective clothing, but requires specific materials in order to provide protection. These vests will usually use soft fabrics like Kevlar in their protective panels, as these strong fabrics help absorb impacts, mitigating the impact of any attack. This means that most stab and spike proof vests will also have a degree of ballistic protection, and are often marketed as multi-threat vests. The soft fabric, usually Kevlar, found in a bullet resistant vest will not be enough to offer protection however.
An edged blade is capable of cutting through the protective fabric in body armour, penetrating the vest and rendering it useless. Similarly, spiked weapons will pass between the fibers, again rendering the vest little more than expensive clothing. Edged weapons refers to anything with a sharp edge, such as knives and axes, whereas spiked weapons covers anything that tapers to a sharp point and has a thin blade. Kevlar works by absorbing and dispersing the energy of an impact. This allows it to ‘trap’ bullets within its fibers and flatten them by dispersing their energy. Kevlar and materials like it are incredibly strong, yet they only offer protection as a cohesive and unbroken panel. This is what makes them so susceptible to edged and spiked weapons, which render Kevlar completely useless once it has been damaged.
Stab proof vests will employ materials like chainmail, which provide a tough surface that will protect the soft Kevlar beneath. The Kevlar, meanwhile, absorbs the energy of impact and further decreases the likelihood of any weapon penetrating the tough exterior. Spike proof vests are very similar, but will need a solid covering of plastic laminate for example to ensure that not weapons pass through to penetrate the Kevlar beneath. Edged and spike proof vests are standardised in the same way as bullet proof vests, with different levels of protection. These levels outline the speed and strength of an attack that a vest can protect against.
Just like a bullet proof vest, stab and spike proof vests are available in both overt and covert styles. These vests are designed to be worn over and underneath clothing respectively, and have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation. This allows Security Personnel to equip themselves with the appropriate protection without wearing a vest that is inappropriate for the situation they will be working in. Whether or not the vest is overt or covert, the materials used in the vests are lightweight and thin enough to be incredibly comfortable and discreet, meaning that Security Personnel can work without any distractions from their armour, allowing them to work confidently and safely.