Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Basic Guide to Buying the Right Female Body Armor

Not everyone knows everything on buying female body armor so here are few points to choosing the right gear for your needs.

  1. Determine first the level of protection you most likely will need. Evaluate the type of danger you face on a daily basis. Surveys or records of shooting history or about wars and the types of weapon (firearms, knives, etc) may also help to determine what type of armor you should buy. Usually, there is an agency that will determine the level for protection of its officers.
  2. Be familiar with the materials used to make the body armor. familiarity and know-how on the types of materials being used will be helpful for you to know what type of armor you will buy. Knowing both the advantages and disadvantages of the material being used will make your decision to buy which kind of armor easy.
  3. Buy from a verified manufacturer. Always check if the seller is a NIJ (National Institute of Justice) of HOSDB compliant and certified. In the website of NIJ, there are a list of certified manufacturers and sellers. There are standards being set by NIJ to ensure that these manufacturers only make top of the line body armor.
  4. It is best to buy brand new body armor rather than buying used ones. This is to ensure that you will get a proper fit vest. The body armor experienced wear and tear due to environmental conditions. As a consequence, they lose their ballistic properties. Do not put your life in danger just because you can spend less. It is better to save your life than save money.
  5. Reassure that everything is okay from comfort, fit down to very important thing: safety. This is a life-saving equipment therefore, always check and recheck that everything you needed for safety and comfort is there. You wouldn’t want to risk your life in an ill-made female body armor right?

Things you should know about Female Body Armor

Men and women have been at war for centuries up until now and have used different armors to protect themselves from the attacks and gunshots. From the ancient animal skin armors down to metal and now ballistic materials, there have been so many designs and forms that man can used throughout time. For someone who is new to this field, there are so many things that we need to know about this female body armor. And some of these things, you can read below.

Body armors are made with the manly physique in mind; therefore there are no original female body armor but just a tweaked armor from the usual body armor used by soldiers and policemen. This may mean lesser comfort and fit because as much as we deny, these original armors are made from the built of a man, and not of a woman.

In order to fit women’s needs in terms of body armor, manufacturers and suppliers just cut and stitch the material to form and create bust cups. This is also the reason why there are different standards when checking the male and female models even if they are made of exactly the same materials and type of the ballistic layers.

There are advancements being made by the Army and the different manufacturers of the female body armor. They “mold” the bust cups into the material, negating the need to cut and stitch and create the bust cups.

Aside from the female body armor, there are also armor which we call “unisex” vests wherein there is altering of the outside dimension of the panel, for example, enlarging the arm hole openings to cater to different builds and body types. But this unisex vest provides uneasiness to some of our female soldiers, according to a survey conducted in the army.

Importance of a Female Body Armor

Safety is an ever-important aspect of every human life. From medieval times, for both men and women, they have been in constant struggle to keep men and women safe from combats to any calamities or dangers that may come. These we call body armors are made to protect men’s body since ancient history. These are made of variety of materials ranging from leather and later on revolving to metallic and ballistic plated suits. Body armors have been even tweaked to fit and become female body armor.

These body armors refer to the protective clothing to absorb or repel attacks from wild animals and currently, gunshots in wars and combat zones. Not only men do wear this but also our female soldiers who have been in constant struggle to also defend one’s country land. These personal gears can range from bullet proof jackets, concealable vests and bullet proof helmets. The ballistic material used by these vests can protect you from any kind of attacks from the enemy. This has been used by soldiers, policemen and even body guards. To how this has been made is a long history but one thing is for sure, we should be thank them enough for a job well done on their researches.

The female body armor has had technological enhancements. One of these is that the materials they are using now is of lightweight and more comfortable although, the armor is still designed to cater to man and has just been made to tailor-fit women soldiers or police officers. When you decide to buy female body armor, check first the material being used by your manufacturer or supplier. Make sure that these are made from lightweight materials for you to easily make movements. Of course, safety comes first but keep in mind that comfort is also needed.

How to Measure For a Fit Female Body Armor

For the women out there, understanding how to measure yourself for a female body armor is very important. You will be wearing your armor for eight hours or more and you will be the one to decide if this armor will give you comfort all throughout your duty. The way an armor fits you is subjective and is different from one person to another.  Therefore this needs thorough consideration and perfect measurements to be sent to the manufacturer or supplier.

Body armor can be summed up into four things, these things are the ones be considered: better fit and comfort, appropriate range of motion, freedom of movement when maneuvering, running, driving, firing, etc, less weight and bulkiness.

Manufacturers will give guidelines and instructions on how to measure yourself. Here are some of these. These can be found on some of the manufacturers or suppliers’ manual.

  1. Do not attempt to measure yourself. You need a companion or a buddy to measure you up. There might be some glitches in your measurements if you prefer to measure yourself. You might not get the correct result.
  2. Wear a light shirt while being measured and the type of bra that is used when you are on duty. This would provide the best fit for your body armor.
  3. Do not over measure. Instead use the “1/2 inch” rule. Round down to the nearest ½ if there is a need to do so. You might want to inhale more rather than be out of breath, right?
  4. Follow the instructions on getting the right measurements found in your supplier’s manual. Or better yet, go to the suppliers and let them take your measurement. In that way, too you can go see a sample of the body armor they are selling and can examine the materials being used and all other properties to consider when buying a female body armor.

The Future of Female Body Armor

Female body armor has always been a problem in the military in the very sense that there has not been a female suit that female-specifics measurements are in mind. Most body armors are made out of cuttings and stitches of the same material in the body armor used by male soldiers. In other words, our female body armors are just tweaked from the male counterparts.

Today, in this year alone, there have been developments and a push to innovate a gender-specific suit that would fit women in terms of their vital statistics and comfort although, our female soldiers are still using those suits that are men-specific.

Some manufacturers are also considering other objectives and studies such as body surface exposure as a function of the armor size and shape. In this area, they intend to make advances as to the vital organs vulnerability in accordance with the product.  

Another study that should be conducted though is to determine the characteristics of the armor that restricts movements of the wearer. This is very important for our female soldiers because an issue with difficulty in movements due to the un-fit body armor is one of the primary issues raised by female warriors. Many are complaining that they cannot control more on their movements because the armor is either too loose or too tight. Reduce in casualties of our army can be achieved if this problem can be eliminated, as well.

Many people are hoping for more improvements on our female body armor since more and more women are joining the army. With this, definitely there should be equal opportunity for every suit, every material or utility used in the military. Developing an exclusive female specific body armor design will provide an equal protection and comfort for both our men and women soldiers.

Materials being used to make Male and Female Body Armor

Body armor can save lives and contribute to a much greater performance of our military. Thus body armor should be made with the finest of materials. The lives of the wearer depends also on these body armors. There are a number of materials used to make male and female body armor which is similar in type. These materials can be woven or non-woven. Below are some of the materials used in making the body armor.

1.       Kevlar - One of the first fibers used for modern ballistic-resistant material was Kevlar. This research by Stephanie Kwolek on high performance chemical compound paved the way for the advancement of a synthetic fiber, now called Kevlar. This new material also paved way for the bulletproof vests now used by the military. Casualties in the army are prevented, if not lessen with this development.

  1. Spectra fiber – after manipulation of this fiber, the resulting nonwoven fabric is strong and at the same time lightweight which is a good material for female body armor in which weight is one of the main problems of women soldiers. The weight could stop them from great movement maneuver. Excellent ballistic function is also a property of this fabric.

  1. TWARON – Akzo Nobel developed this kind of material. This material significantly reduces the overall weight of the finished product thus making the body armor more comfortable. Stitching is no longer necessary, according to Akzo. This will make the product have a lighter weight without affecting much of its protection to the wearer. I believe this material will also be a good fiber for female body armor and because of its lightweight property; movements can easily be done by our female soldiers without causing much uneasiness and trouble. No matter what the female body armor is made up of, what matters most is that it provides maximum protection and comfort to the wearer. Choosing the right kind of body armor is easy so as long as you understand the materials used and its advantages and disadvantages.

Issues with Female Body Armor and the Solutions Done

Many kinds of armor being made today do not fit very well on women. This has been the problem and issue of most of the female soldiers in the army. This female body armor that is made with the physique of man in mind may danger the lives of these female soldiers that are being brought on-board to fight in combat zones. Some are being sent to hostile and dangerous areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq to fight or to help wounded soldiers. To ensure their safety, one of the things that the military officials have did and are currently doing is to provide these women soldiers the best of their female body armors that can protect them from harm in the combat zone.

The military is now calling for female-specific body armors. These mean that the body armor shall include shorter sleeve lengths and adjusted knee positions for females who often have shorter arms and legs than males. Other special considerations are also being made like narrower shoulder width, thinner waistlines and the bust area. If the body armor is too loose, it can be difficult for movement. If the body armor is too small, it would be too painful for women, too. Correct sizing and fit of the uniform must be considered in the army for females who are brought on the combat zones. 

Another key advancement is a type of flight suit that allows women to urinate without taking their uniform off. This has been one of the challenges of women on planes who cannot easily urinate compared to their male counterparts. The consequence is that women tend to hydrate themselves to avoid urinating problems in-flight. These problems are quite considered to be consequence of ill-fitted female body armor though this has also been a problem of the males.

Difference between Male and Female Body Armor

Women in the US Army are facing great dangers especially that the many female soldiers are being put first in line when there are combats in the field. This will require however, aside from emotional and physical strength, something that would protect them from harm – female body armor.

But is there really a difference between female and male body armor? Yes there is. The most common and obvious difference between the two is that the manufacturers cut and stitch the material to provide bust cups for women.  The female vest is stitched with bust cups. The concealed undergarments for female officers conform to the female anatomy which is clear. 

Since as of the moment, the body armors are just tailored-fit to fit women’s body shape and size, there have been issues that these body armors (which is based from the male body armors) produces uneasiness and doesn’t fit well on the ballistic shape on the part of the females, there are developments being made by the army which one, is to study materials to form armors with female-specifics geometries.

But there have been advancements to some manufacturers (aside from only cutting and stitching the material) to cater to the needs of the female soldiers. One advancement is that some are determining more the characteristics of armor shape and size that hinders movement of women. If the study produces good results, then it appears that there is still hope to have better female body armor.

Other than that there is not quite much of a difference between the two. As a consequence of this, it should appear that the female body armor is just tweaked from the male ones. Thus it is but right that the standards of checking the armor are different. This should be done to ensure that these armors can provide the best combination of comfort, fit, protection capability, as well as accessories and features.

Female Body Armor: Current Status

Military gear has been made with man in mind. This is the reason why most our female soldiers have difficulty when it comes to their combat uniforms. This female body armor which women wear causes fewer movements due to discomfort. This is why the Army are doing its best to produce a more descent and more fit uniforms for the female soldiers.

When your gear does not fit right, it's going to make you more vulnerable and less effective. Women are smaller than men, this cause the issue of body armor causing performance degradation. If the armors are too loose, it is difficult to move around and maneuver. When it is too small, it can be painful for women. Better-fitting body armor would also make it easier to position a rifle or machine gun for shooting. Over the last 20 years, developments are being made and pushed through for new materials and fabrics that will give greater protection and more comfort for both men and women. The manufacturers of these body armors are also making advances in design technology for armors that has high ballistic protection capabilities, as well as more flexibility and less weight.

 The Army of the United States is studying the “unisex” combat armor. This unisex body armor was primarily designed for men but in women’s sizes while the Air Force is developing new gears with female-specific geometries. The body armor system currently has been very good at protecting soldiers but offers less comfort and best fit to our female warriors which comprise the military’s 14% force. However, more and more developments on female body armor are being made and pushed through. Performance of these female soldiers in combats will improve if the uniform of these soldiers will be taken in to consideration. This will surely pave way for a better military force.

Guidelines on buying Female Body Armor

In the history of military combats, military gear has been made with the male physique in mind. This leads to different issues considering that females today make up more or less 20% of the country’s military troops. Female body armor when not properly done and chosen can lead to uneasiness on the side of the women. Some can even lead to functional struggles such as firing a gun. Here are several guidelines before buying female body armor to help you in choosing the perfect body armors for your needs, comfort and style. 

1.       Protection and Comfort. In buying any body armor, may it be for be for male or female, the very first thing to consider is protection and comfort. Body armors when not perfectly fit will give you trouble and uneasiness. On the other hand, body armors with no perfect protection can put your life in danger. That is why there should be balance in both maximum protection and comfort. Such armor should defeat high levels of threat while maintaining low weight and providing the wearer easiness of moving around. Female body armors are different from male body armors. There should be greater comfort around the chest and hip area for a female wearer and should produce a highly flexible armor with a permanent contoured shape that forms around the female frame and bust area

2.       Materials Used in the Armor. In 1970s, materials used in making body armors have been improving. Ballistic fibers have become stronger. This enables manufacturers to produce body armors that are lighter and more flexible thus achieving that contour shape needed by a female warrior. When choosing armor, know first the material used to produce it. Knowing the kind of material will help you decide on what armor should be used.

3.       Fitting. When purchasing any kind of armor, you can measure yourself by following the manufacturer’s instructions or visiting the dealer to be correctly sized and thus ensure that a proper fit, comfort and maximum protection are insured in your female body armor.