What is Body Armor 

Body armor is protective garments designed to absorb or deflect physical attacks, specifically those involving firearms or knives. By using layers of strong, high tech fabrics and materials body armor can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury or death when a person is shot or stabbed.

What is Female Body Armor

Female body armor is body armor specifically designed to fit women. Given the physical differences between men and women, a well fitted piece of body armor is essential to ensure optimal protection and comfort. Remember the two rules, if body armor is too uncomfortable the person will not wear it, and second, ill fitting armor will not stay in place where it needs to be to provide protection.

Body armor only covers a small area, especially hard armor plates, which are designed to cover from an inch below the collar bone downward. If armor slides around or does not remain in place the vital areas will be uncovered. 

Women now make up 12% of law enforcement officers, and they need vests that fit properly for protection and comfort on long shifts. Further, women make up 20% of the military, and have always served in our armed forces since the inception of our nation.

Smiling female police officer in full uniform - Tacticon Armament

Now it is more important now than ever, threats are more dangerous, and women are actively serving our nation in combat roles. As a result, companies have developed body armor that better suits the female physique, taking into account factors the difference in body shape between men and women.

How is Women’s Body Armor Different

The design and fit of body armor determines how effective it will be. Women’s body armor is specifically tailored to accommodate the anatomical differences between men and women. The primary difference lies in the shape and contouring of the armor. Women’s body armor is designed to fit the curves and proportions of a woman’s body more closely, taking into consideration the chest area..

The contouring of women’s body armor allows for a better and more secure fit, ensuring that the armor stays in place during movement. In addition to the shape, women’s body armor also takes into account the comfort and mobility needs of female users. Special attention is given to the placement of straps, fasteners, and adjustment mechanisms to ensure a secure yet comfortable fit.

The goal of women’s body armor is to provide protection while addressing the unique shape and comfort needs of female users. By offering a more uniquely ergonomic design, women’s body armor ensures that female professionals in law enforcement, military, and other occupations have access to reliable and comfortable protective gear.

Female body armor strikeface plate - Tacticon Armament

Can Women Wear Men’s Body Armor

Yes, but there are better options. In general body armor for the military comes in four closely differentiated sizes, where civilian armor comes in only three. There isn’t a one size fits all armor, but there is a one size fits most idea in the civilian sector. This is why multicurve armor has increased in popularity. Multi curve body armor plates are more comfortable and tend to stay in place better.

Men’s body armor may not fit properly on a woman’s body, leaving gaps or causing discomfort, which can reduce the armor’s effectiveness and the wearer’s performance.

Armor Type and Threat Levels

Body armor comes in various types and threat levels. The most common is soft body armor, made from layers of woven or laminated fibers, offering protection against pistol caliber firearms and knives. Hard body armor, which includes ballistic plates made from steel, ceramic, or polyethylene, offers protection against rifle calibers. 

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has developed threat levels for body armor, with Level IIA being the lowest offering protection against smaller caliber handguns, and Level IV being the highest, protecting against armor-piercing rifle rounds. Female body armor is available at all these threat levels. 

Female Plate Carriers & Vests

Female plate carriers and vests are specifically designed to hold ballistic plates that can stop higher caliber rounds. There really isn’t a large variety of carriers specifically designed for women, there are a lot that are unisex because on many plate carriers it is the plate itself giving the carrier its form.

They also come with features such as adjustable straps, MOLLE systems for equipment attachment, and breathable materials for increased comfort.

Tailored Protection and Enhanced Comfort

There are various types of female body armor available, each with their features and benefits. For instance, concealable body armor is lightweight and can be worn under clothing, providing discreet protection. Tactical body armor is heavier but offers more protection and the ability to carry equipment.

One key feature of female body armor is its adjustable design. This allows the wearer to adjust the armor’s fit to their body, ensuring maximum comfort and effectiveness. Additionally, female body armor is designed to distribute weight more evenly across the body, reducing fatigue.

Benefits of Specialized Female Body Armor

  1. Improved Fit: Female body armor is designed with contours and sizing that better accommodate the shape of a woman’s body. This customized fit ensures better coverage and protection while allowing for greater freedom of movement.
  2. Enhanced Comfort: The design considerations for female body armor take into account the unique anatomical differences and comfort requirements of women. This results in increased comfort during prolonged wear, reducing fatigue and allowing for better performance.
  3. Increased Mobility: Women’s body armor is designed to provide optimal mobility, allowing for unrestricted movement in critical areas. The tailored shape and lightweight construction of female specific armor contribute to agility and flexibility, essential in demanding operational scenarios.

It’s worth noting that the benefits of female body armor may vary depending on the specific design, materials used, and intended purpose of the armor. When selecting body armor, it is important to consider factors such as comfort, mobility, and the level of protection required for the intended application.

Future of Female Body Armor

The future of female body armor looks bright with ongoing advancements in technology and design. NIJ certification classification under the upcoming .07 actually includes a category for female body armor. 

Wherever there is a need and opportunity companies will begin readjusting to the new demand. 

There is an increasing emphasis on creating body armor that provides optimal protection while being lightweight and comfortable. With more women serving in the military and law enforcement, the demand for high quality female body armor is expected to rise.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between male and female body armor? 

The main difference between male and female body armor is the design and fit. Female body armor is contoured to fit a woman’s body more closely, ensuring maximum protection and comfort.

Why is body armor illegal? 

Body armor is not illegal for most civilians in the United States. However, convicted felons are federally prohibited from possessing body armor.

Yes, it is legal for civilians to wear body armor in most parts of the United States, although certain states and cities may have their restrictions.

Why are bulletproof vests so short? 

Bulletproof vests are designed to protect the wearer’s vital organs in the torso. A longer vest will hinder movement and be uncomfortable.

Are bulletproof vests stab proof? 

Some bulletproof vests are designed to be stab resistant, but not all. It’s important to check the specifications of the body armor.

Can you wear body armor under clothes? 

Yes, concealable body armor is designed to be worn under clothes for discreet protection.

How heavy are bulletproof vests? 

The weight of a “bulletproof vest” depends on its type and the level of protection it offers. On average, they can weigh between 3-5 pounds.

Are bulletproof vests unisex?

While some bulletproof vests are unisex, it’s generally recommended for women to wear female body armor for a better fit and protection.

Can an AR 15 penetrate a bulletproof vest? 

Yes, if we consider that what is typically referred to as a “Bulletproof vest” is soft, pistol rated armor designed to be worn by law enforcement. These are not rated for rifles. For protection against rifles, AR15 or otherwise, seek rifle plates, SRT, level 3, or level 4 armor to be worn in a plate carrier. 

Can body armor stop any bullet? 

No body armor can guarantee 100% protection against all types of bullets. This is why the NIJ has a rating system. However, higher levels of body armor can protect against a wider range of threats.

Final Thoughts on Femal Body Armor

Understanding body armor is crucial for anyone in need of protective gear, whether for professional or personal reasons. Given the unique physiological differences between men and women, it’s important that women have access to body armor specifically designed for their body shape to ensure optimal comfort and effectiveness. Female body armor, including vests and plate carriers, is designed to offer the highest level of protection without compromising on comfort or mobility.

However, the wearer’s safety ultimately depends on choosing the correct body armor type and threat level for their specific situation. Therefore, the decision should be informed and mindful of the user’s personal needs, their anticipated threats, and their comfort. The future of female body armor appears promising, with technological advancements aiming to provide even better protection levels and fit.

As always, personal safety should be the top priority. Whether you are a woman serving in law enforcement or the military, or a civilian seeking protection, knowing and understanding the features, benefits, and limitations of female body armor is invaluable.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Tacticon Armament.