When anyone talks about body armor, the first thing that comes to mind is a bulletproof vest. However, they don’t stop knife and stabbing attacks. Even though a bulletproof vest can stop a fast-moving bullet, a knife can make it through them.
Therefore, in situations where people need protection against stabbings, stab vests are more common and practical. A stabbing vest is made with the same materials that are used in bulletproof vests and soft body armor like Kevlar, but they are designed differently which allows them to stop penetration from spiked and edged weapons.
In the US, bulletproof vests are more common, because guns are common and people need ballistic protection, however, in some other countries like the UK, stabbing threats are much more common, and stabproof vests are more commonly used there by police officers rather than bullet proof vests.
Is it illegal to wear a stab-proof vest?
As far as the law is concerned, a Stab-resistant vest falls under the same regulations as normal ballistic body armor. This means that under federal law, anyone who is not convicted of a violent crime can own body armor and wear it as they like. This is also true for stab-resistant armor.
According to federal law, convicted felons can legally wear body armor if they are doing a lawful job that requires them to wear armor, for instance, a security guard job. However, they do need written certification from their employer to do so.
Is there a bulletproof vest and stab-proof vest?
Yes, there are many brands that make high-quality body armor with dual protection capabilities, that work as both bullet-resistant vests and stab vests. These vests are made from Kevlar, and provide both ballistic and stab protection.
One of the best dual protection vests in the market is the Ace Link armor Apex Dual Protection Armored T-shirt. This concealable stab-resistant and bulletproof vest offers protection from calibers up to .44 magnum, which means it is a level IIIa vest. As far as stab protection is concerned, it offers protection against edged and spiked weapons used with up to 36 joules of force, which is enough to stop attacks from an average human.
The Ace Link Armor Apex Dual Protection t-shirt is made from moisture-wicking polyester and spandex, which makes it super adjustable and comfortable. Though many brands make dual protection vests, the Apex dual protection vest from Ace Link Armor is definitely one of the best.
Spike vs edge blade
One of the factors that are talked about the most when it comes to stab-proof protection products is the difference between a spike and an edged blade. You see, stab-resistant vests are made to offer protection against various kinds of improvised and manufactured weapons. They need to stop edged knives, and spiked weapons like ice picks, nails, screwdrivers, and needles as well.
Stopping these weapons is different, for instance, the old chainmail armor that does protect against slashes from edged blades does not stop stabs from spiked weapons.
These days, knife-resistant vests are tested according to the specifications of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in the US, which are similar to the standards used by the Police Scientific Research Branch (PSRB) of the UK. according to these standards, to ensure that stab-resistant vests offer both stab protection and spike protection, three different weapons are used during the testing of stab vests. These include two different knives and an Ice Pick as well.
Improvised stabbing devices
Improvised stabbing devices are a consistent threat in certain situations, for instance, in correctional facilities and prisons, the guards are much more likely to be stabbed with an improvised stabbing device of spike rather than a commercially produced edged blade or knife. Similarly, improvised spikes are also more common than guns, because they are easier to make and smuggle into prisons.
There are many everyday things that a convicted felon has access to that can be turned into an improvised stabbing device. For instance, a simple toothbrush handle can be melted and ground on the ground to make a strong spike capable of puncturing deep into the body.
This is why most correctional officers use a spike-proof vest rather than a bullet-resistant vest to keep themselves safe when they are on duty, or dealing with prison riots and such.
Can a knife go through body armor?
Now, there are various different kinds of body armor available in the market, and if we are talking about simple ballistic protection, soft body armor, or bulletproof vests, then yes, a knife can go through body armor.
You see, stopping bullets is very different from stopping knives. Most bullets are made from lead and soft armor stops them by blunting them and absorbing the energy. However, when a knife is stabbed into bulletproof vests, it can spread the tight weave, allowing the blade to pass through, this is more probably with thing spikes, which apply more concentrated force in a small area, allowing the weave of the Bullet proof vest to spread and allow the knife to stab the person wearing it.
On the other hand, the stab-proof vests are specifically designed to adsorb knife attacks, and the weave of the kevlar is made in such a way that it doesn’t spread easily, and when attacked with a knife of a spike, the blade gets caught up in the Kevlar weave and is stopped.
Realistically, bulletproof vests can stop knives and spikes to some extent, especially level IIIa bulletproof vests. However, lower ballistic protection soft body armor vests are much more likely to let edged blades and spikes pass through.
Do stab-proof vests stop shrapnel?
A stab vest is designed to prevent knife and spike attacks; however, it can also protect you from serious injury if you are in the danger zone of flying shrapnel. A stab vest works by catching the incoming blade or spike in the weave of the kevlar, and it can do the same with Shrapnel.
So, like a bullet proof vest, stab-resistant body armor can also provide protection against shrapnel.
Will hard armor plate stop a knife?
A bulletproof vest has soft body armor inserts in it, which are made from kevlar. A kevlar vest is good for stopping pistol calibers, but when it comes to rifle threats, a bulletproof vest does not cut it. You need to use hard body armor plates to stop rifle bullets.
Most military personnel and special law enforcement units use plate carriers with body armor for ballistic protection. Though body armor plates are heavier, they do protect against both pistol and rifle calibers, and to make things even better, they can stop knife and spike attacks as well.
Since hard ballistic body armor is made from hard materials, it has inherent stab protection, unlike a bulletproof vest. Most hard plates are made from either steel, ceramics, or UHMWPE Polyethylene. Steel and PE can obviously stop any kind of stabbing attack without taking any damage. However, the integrity of a ceramic plate will probably be damaged if it is stabbed with a knife or a spike. Therefore, if you are using a body armor plate, you don’t need a stab vest.