Are you beholden to the thought that body armor is only for police or military operatives? Unfortunately, in post COVID 2020 America, body armor for the average person isn't just possible - it's a great idea. Consider that random shooting and even threats of violence are happening more and more, and body armor does something no other piece of kit doesn't - it gives you a second chance.
Even a direct hit on modern body armor leaves you slightly sore......versus dead. Sounds like a prudent idea to at least keep a bulletproof vest on hand, yes?
WHAT KIND OF BODY ARMOR SHOULD YOU HAVE?
Overwhelmingly, most of the firearms threats you will face in America today are going to be handgun threats, primarily since handguns are the first choice of thugs and criminals. This means you're most likely to be shot by 9mm, .45ACP and .38 Special handgun rounds. Body armor has several categories for levels of protection, but for all intents and purposes there are two main ones:
Level IIIA: This is an NIJ (National Institute of Justice) rating and covers 9mm, .45ACP, .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, and 9mm rounds fired from submachine gun.
Level IV: Rifle level protection for .30-06, .308, .223 and other rounds.
At this time, Level IIIA armor is primarily what is called soft armor, meaning that the armor is made of varying layers of aramid and kevlar. Level IV armor is what is called hard armor, meaning that you need ceramic or steel plates to provide that level of protection.
The good news about the overwhelming majority of soft armor vests is that you can add hard armor plates to them, meaning that you can upgrade the level of protection after the fact.
WHAT WOULD I DO WITH A BULLETPROOF VEST?
For starters, keep it handy. No one suggests wearing one 24/7 unless your job or immediate security requires it. Simply having an option for protection in your car, front door closet, or campsite would give you a lot more options than having nothing at all.
Secondly, you could have one or two more on hand to protect vulnerable family members and loved ones that otherwise couldn't defend themselves. A vest gives you critical moments to defeat an attacker that you otherwise wouldn't get without protection.
Body armor isn't just for security professionals and soldiers. It's for everyday Americans who want an extra level of protection.