Bullet Proof Vest Of A Police Officer-Is It Really Bullet Proof?

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

NYC. Court officers, like this secure woman, will now be required to wear bullet-proof vests on duty.

“ to each there stands his own day;

to all the time of life is short and irretrievable;

but to extend one’s fame with deeds,

that is the task of valor”.

(Virgil, The Aeneid X. 467-9)

In an absolute atmosphere of insanity and pandemonium, emergence of a Police Officer is a symbol of ingenuity, valor, and self-sacrifice. It promises each unnerved and astonished person that calm will triumph and valid reasoning will guide everyone to safety and security.

When the Police Officer gets dressed for his duty. He takes a long hard look at his bullet-proof-vest. He is bound to see the vest at the spots where a bullet can hit and cause utmost harm. He knows that his bullet-proof-vest is not a 100% shield. At the back of his mind there is also this thought that the offender may not aim at the vest. With so many mixed feelings of luck and apprehension he puts on the bullet-proof-vest, always hopeful of the poor marksmanship on part of the offender and the use of light ammunition by him. The reverse of this fact frightens him as it will frighten any sane human being. He sets out in the line of duty, not for the remuneration that he is handed but to uphold his promise to serve and protect, and his integrity. Nobody can put a price on that.

“All men are not created equal. The finest become the Policemen.” (Author unknown)



The statistics confirm just how perilous a Police Officer’s occupation can be. On average one U.S. law enforcement officer pays the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty every 53 hours, states the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). This detail becomes even more astounding when one considers that the number of line-of-duty deaths has been on an uphill ascent. That’s the sobering reality law enforcement officers’ face every time they don a uniform, holster their guns, and go out on the street. Some deaths can be prevented if officers wear bullet-resistant vests. According to the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), law enforcement officers who do not routinely wear body armor, risk deadly injury at a rate 14 times higher than officers who do. And as wear rates rise so does officer security. A protected officer is one who goes home at night, not one who pays the ultimate sacrifice as he/she serves and protects us.

A bullet proof vest, ballistic vest or bullet-resistant vest is an article of personal armor

High Performance Ballistic Body Armor

High Performance Ballistic Body Armor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

that aids to endure the impact from firearm-fired projectiles and shrapnel from explosions, and is worn on the chest. Soft vests are made from numerous layers of woven or plastic-coated strands and can be capable of protecting the wearer from small-caliber handgun and shotgun projectiles, and small fragments from explosives such as hand grenades. Metal and ceramic plates can be used with a soft vest, providing additional protection from rifle rounds, and metallic components or tightly woven fiber layers can give soft armor resistance to stab and slash attacks from knives and similar close-quarter weapons. Soft vests are commonly worn by Police Officers, whereas hard plate reinforced vests are worn by Police Tactical Units, and Hostage Rescue Teams. Modern body armor may combine a ballistic vest with other items of protective clothing, such as a combat helmet. Vests intended for Police may also include ballistic shoulder and side protection armor components, and bomb disposal officers wear heavy armor and helmets with face visors and spine protection.

Blunt Force Trauma (album)

Blunt Force Trauma (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The science behind the bullet-proof-vest is pretty simple. When a bullet hits the vest, it encounters multiple layers of very strong, crisscrossed fibers. These fibers slow the progress of the bullet and distribute its force, causing the bullet to flatten out and stop in the layers of the vest before it can reach the body of the wearer. Typically, the wearer experiences some blunt force trauma caused by the impact, but this is better than a bullet wound.

The Body armor can be classified into five distinct categories based on the degree of ballistic protection provided. The first three classifications represent flexible body armor designed to give protection against handgun threats, whereas the last two represent armor designed to protect officers in tactical operations against rifle threats. The five classifications and the associated threat round calibers are as follows:

  • Type 11A: 9mm Luger and .40 S&W
  • Type 11: 9mm Luger and .357 Magnum
  • Type 111A: .357 SIG and .44 Magnum
  • Type 111: 7.62 mm NATO (rifle)
  • Type 1V: 30.06 M2 AP (armor-piercing rifle)
minka kelly police officer errands 21

Police Officer on a motorbike wearing bullet proof vest
Minka Kelly & Police Officer: Beverly Hills Chat

Although often called “bullet-proof vests”, in reality the vests do not stop all rounds fired. Officers can be slain by a non-penetrating blunt force trauma to the chest. Even when the round is stopped, an officer can suffer an injury under the vest. A back-face deformity injury to the abdomen also known as behind-armor blunt trauma, were reported on the chest as early as 1978. Law enforcement officers and their departments are aware of the fact that both vest failures and back-face injuries do occur even when officers are wearing the bullet-proof vests.

After the gunfire the Officers’ physical responses to being shot can vary widely as the research suggests. Irrespective of their signs and symptoms at the scene, the officers who are shot in the vest area, need a medical evaluation owing to the possibility for inexplicable or delayed wounds.

Bulletproof Vest

Bulletproof Vest (Photo credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

Occasionally, officers fall into a state of ease when working. It is often exhibited in options they take on personal safety. It is easy to become complacent and adopt a won’t-happen-to-me approach, but the truth is that it could happen to anyone. Since 1987, over 3,000 individuals working in the law enforcement profession have survived both ballistic and non-ballistic incidents because they were wearing body armor.

We, as a society have to give the Police Officer strength of our support and whatever he/she needs in doing his/her job safely and promptly. Society must give highest preference to the Police Officer’s safety. We cannot afford to lose our defenders. They are standing guard for us all, at all times. We have to stand guard for them and honor them for their valor, since without them and their valor, there is no freedom for us.

© Samina Iqbal. 2013

About samina iqbal

I am a free lance writer who loves to write on social issues in particular. I am a house wife and my husband Dr. Shams Iqbal offers all the support and encouragement so that I can pursue my passion for authorship and other cause which is dear to me. My lifelong mission in life is to offer my support for the police officers who need to be supported and protected by general public like us. My inspiration to do this comes from my personal experiences of some of the greatest police officers whom I have witnessed do great deeds for the good of humanity. I am so inspired and fascinated to support this law enforcement group. On the other hand I like music, movies specially classics, I am a fashion geek, English and American literature are my passions.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Bullet Proof Vest Of A Police Officer-Is It Really Bullet Proof?

  1. I too have read it again and again that bullet proof vests are not that safe. they only give partial safety.

    if you think of the guts of these officers who go out to control mobs! phew!


  2. Yes Sharmishtha these officers surely are very special human beings who display great valor to protect the innocent sometimes at the expense of their lives. It is very hard to imagine ourselves in their shoes. We can honor and respect them and show our gratitude at every opportunity. Thanks and take care my friend.


  3. “On average one U.S. law enforcement officer pays the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty every 53 hours.” That is an eye opening statistic, Samina. Our officers deserve the best equipment to keep them protected as they risk their lives each day for the community. Wonderful and informative post, Samina. You do great work getting the word out to your followers. Have a great week!


    • Thank you so much Jill for such kind words for me. It is a heartbreaking statistics. I did a lot of research for this article. Our Officers are the best in the world and deserve the best equipment in the world. Lots of improvements have come along the way since the bullet proof vest was first invented. These vests do save lives, this is what the improved statistics tell us. My effort is to get the proper education out to people so that they know what is happening. My passion is getting stronger and stronger as I do research in different areas of policing. God bless our protectors who protect us and keep them safe always. I pray all the time as my heart goes out to them every time I see them in person or on media. Take care my friend. God bless you and keep you safe always. Amen.


  4. Ajaytao2010 says:

    I Nominate you for A Bunch of Awards – 13 Nominations

    please choose any 2 awards out of the 13
    accept it and oblige

    there are no linkbacks for this award



    • Thank you so much my Bhai. As usual I feel very honored and delighted since the award giver is you my brother. Your didi prays for you and wishes well for you. Take care and have a lovely day.


      • Ajaytao2010 says:

        thank you so much dear 🙂 🙂
        i am blessed to have a did like you dear
        and I know I am okay because of all the blessing you and other sisters bestow upon me


  5. willowdot21 says:

    This is so wrong.


    • Yes Willow it is . Do we ever stop to think about the safety issues of our protectors? We must stop and ponder, we only expect more and more from them rather than offering them our support and confidence. Thanks and take care my friend.


  6. Very informative post, Samina. I commend you for your dedication to educate us about the officers who protect us. They do not get enough credit for all that they do for us.


    • Thank you so much for liking the post Elaine. You are so right our protectors must get the credit they deserve and much more since in protecting us they put their lives on line for us. I am so pleased with your visit. Thanks and take care my friend.


  7. Ed says:

    Great post, when you consider how many officers lives have been saved by vests its better to have one than not have one..:-)


    • Thanks for liking my post my friend. I agree with you these vests are life savors and it is much better to wear them and be protected. Take care and be safe while on your adventures on the road. God bless.


  8. “At the back of his mind there is also this thought that the offender may not aim at the vest. With so many mixed feelings of luck and apprehension he puts on the bullet-proof-vest, always hopeful of the poor marksmanship on part of the offender and the use of light ammunition by him. The reverse of this fact frightens him as it will frighten any sane human being. He sets out in the line of duty, not for the remuneration that he is handed but to uphold his promise to serve and protect, and his integrity. Nobody can put a price on that.”



  9. AinaBalagtas says:

    This is highly informative, Samina. Thanks for sharing! 😊


    • Thank you so much my friend. Despite being so busy I highly appreciate your visit. Good luck with your studies and jobs. Best wishes and prayers for your success. Take care and have a lovely day.


  10. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    A very very interesting post – definitely. I did think bullet proof meant bullet proof absolutely. As for complacency/won’t happen to me – I can see that very clearly going on.

    Really great post.


    • Thank you so much for such kind words of appreciation. The more research I do for my posts, the more eye opening information I come across. I am passionate to share it with my blogger friends so that we may stop and ponder about things we otherwise take for granted. I had also thought bullet proof meant bullet proof absolutely. But with the kind of armament in the hands of criminals, simple vests are not enough. I am very happy you likened my post. Thanks once again my friend and I have yet to browse through your blog. Take care and have a lovely day.


  11. totsymae1011 says:

    I think they really do work. I wouldn’t wanna have to wear one for a living to test that theory though. Seems it all depends on the power of what type of weapon the shot is coming from.


    • I do agree with you my friend that these vests do work and do save lives of officers as mentioned in my post. But you are so right the effectiveness of he vest depends upon the kind of ammunition that is used. That’s the reason why different armor is used by police officers tackling different situations. However, the sad part is that these vests are not absolute protection. Thanks for the visit and your input. I highly appreciate it. Take care and have a lovely day.


  12. melanie says:

    Bonjour Samina! 🙂 Extremely interesting post, merci for sharing! Yes, it’s true: without valor, freedom dies…
    – – –
    Have a great week, my very best and good luck in all your endeavours… Respectful regards, Mélanie NB, Toulouse, France.


  13. Hi Melanie. Thanks for such kind words of appreciation. You too have a lovely week. You have a beautiful blog. I enjoyed reading your lovely posts. Best wishes forv more success. God bless.


  14. Amy says:

    Wonderful informative post! We do need to give them support and respect. They are standing guard for us all, at all times — well said! Thank you so much!


    • Thank you so much for such appreciative and nice words Amy. It is my pleasure to share these posts with my blogger friends. You are so right we must support and respect them since they put their lives on line every day so that we are protected.


  15. reocochran says:

    I would never be brave enough to wear a bulletproof vest and stand in front of a flying bullet. I am not brave enough. Definitely, all people who defend their country either in war or as officers in the police, fire and other security departments deserve our respect and honor! Great idea for a post and very informative!


    • Thanks for liking the post Robin. When we really understand what our protectors do for us despite the dangers to their lives we do appreciate their valor and respect them for it. Thanks for a lovely comment and my aim is to make my blogger friends aware of the superior role of our protectors in our lives. Take care and have a lovely, restful weekend my friend.


  16. reocochran says:

    I am glad you are informing so many people and would like to add a “p.s.” I would like to see a Superhero who does wear a bullet proof vest, so kids would know we are not invincible!


  17. Ajaytao2010 says:

    How are you didi
    Wish you are the and healthy
    with your blessings I am fine
    Just to say hello didi


    • How nice to hear from you. I swear since yesterday I was thinking of asking you about how is everything and look you have contacted me yourself. You will have a very long life, since the wise say that if you remember someone and he calls right away that person has a very long life. I am just fine and healthy. Praying for your health and happiness my brother. May you get in life whatever you ever wish for. A sister prays sincerely for you. Take care and God bless you.


  18. McGrath says:

    I work for A US body armor company. Hand Gun rated armor is now better and lighter then ever before. It is will stop all the common hand gun rounds. We say bullet resistant for liability reasons. Armor is an energy sink – it can only adsorb some much energy. Once the sink is full then that is it.
    That is why soft armor cannot stop a rifle round – more energy then a hand gun round.

    Armor works but it has to be worn every day.


  19. Sophie says:

    Thank you for this! It helped my research project. (don’t worry, i didn’t copy directly, i just wrote a few words down on aa note card or two):D:D:D:D


  20. Trackforce says:

    Bullet proof vests are the most demanding equipment of police because in the duty of police risk and uncertainty is always involved and they have to wear bullet proof vests for security.


  21. Enjoyed this post. In my last novel, I referenced a prototype material developed at MIT and being tested by the DEA.


    • Thanks for visiting my blog and I feel good that you enjoyed the post. Bullet proof vest is a very important part of life saving equipment for police officer and MIT is doing a great research on it and that’s awesome. Take care.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s