Need for a Ballistic (Bullet Proof) Vest part 2
It could save your life
This is a NOT
recommended example of body armor.
See the gaps on the
sides? Especially if you're in some type of Weaver
stance when facing your adversary, you're presenting your
unprotected side directly to any incoming fire.
Part 2 of a new series on
body armor. See links to additional parts of the
series on the right.
Life is unpredictable, and
never more so than when you're in a potentially deadly
confrontation with an adversary in your own home.
You can't rely on the usual
concepts of logic and common sense to predict what your opponent
will do, and no matter how well trained you are, he might be
similarly well trained, and willing to use deadly force if
necessary to complete his burglary and to make good his escape.
Or he might just get lucky, and
shoot a round that hits you first, disabling or potentially
Unless, that is - unless you
are wearing a bullet proof vest.
Your Chances of Getting Shot
If there is to be an
exchange of fire between you and a single bad guy, statistically
it seems you're about 50% likely to be hit yourself.
Statistics can be misleading
- the average family in the US has 2.5 children, but have you
ever seen a half child?
specific case, the 50% chance of being shot will go up or down based on how
tactically skilled you are and how tactically skilled the other
person is, the type of cover you are sheltering behind (what's
that - your pistol class didn't include any courses on shooting
from behind cover?) and the actual scenario in which the confrontation
You can control your own skills, but you have
no control over the other guy's skills, and only a little
control over the scenario in which the confrontation occurs.
In addition there will also be a massive random factor of simple
good luck or bad luck (depending on your perspective).
If you're going prepared to
confront a bad guy, you have to be prepared to accept the
reality that he may be armed too and that he may start shooting
at you as soon as he sees you (and he might even see you before
you see him).
The bad guy might not
We touched on this before,
but it is a vital consideration to keep in mind, so it is worth
If you 'get the drop' on the
bad guy and order him to 'Drop
Your Weapon!' he is as likely to shoot at you as he is to drop
it. If you order him to 'Freeze! Don't Move' he is as likely to
leap to cover/concealment, or spin around and again start
shooting, or rush at you with a knife or even bare hands.
Do not relax just because
you think you've got the bad guy at a disadvantage. Just
because you think he is at a disadvantage does not mean he also
thinks the same way, and even if he does, he may or may not act
rationally in response.
Just because you shoot at (and
the bad guy doesn't mean he won't (continue to) shoot back at
Even if you fire off the
first shot, you might miss. If you do hit, your round very
likely will not take him out of the fight.
Even if you shoot
him square in the heart, it will take about 20 seconds for
the blood pressure to drop to a point of incapacitating him and his fighting effectiveness will
slowly decline rather than stop instantly.
If he is high
on drugs, his body's response to a bullet wound will be even
less - sure, after the 20-30 seconds or however long and loss of
blood and blood pressure, he'll lose
consciousness the same way as if he were completely normal, but
20 seconds is an eternity when he is across the room from you,
with either a gun, knife, or even just his bare hands.
Some criminals will
surrender as soon as they see your gun. Some will flee.
But some will choose to fight it out. If they choose to
fight it out with you, expect incoming rounds in your direction,
and expect to be hit.
'Heroic' responses once hit
When hit, some criminals
(and some good guys too) will panic and faint from the terror of
being shot. Others will respond 'rationally' as a doctor
But others will ignore their wounds,
even if mortally wounded, and continue to fight until the last
drop of blood drains from their body.
If a good guy, such actions
brand him a hero, and in wartime, will win him a medal.
But if a bad guy, it instead makes him a nightmare 'zombie' and
makes you appreciate your choice of a 17 round semi-auto rather
than a 5 round revolver. Hopefully you can get most of
those rounds effectively in his direction before he in turn
somehow neutralizes you.
Murphy's Law Increases the
Randomness Factor Further
What say the bad guy has
a partner with him - that is a far from uncommon occurrence.
Your odds of coming out the other end of the fight, unscathed, have just
Add further to that another
random roll of the dice, caused by probably operating at night, and the
fact you are mobile, moving around your house, rather than
stationary, behind cover and concealment, in a preferred
location. It is hard to know, for sure, who will end up
ambushing (or at least surprising) who in such a night-time
An instructor at Front Sight
makes an interesting and eye opening suggestion. He
suggests you invite in a neighborhood kid and tell him to hide
anywhere in your house at night. His job is to surprise
you before you surprise him. You then go looking for him, and
see if you can find him before he surprises you.
Even though it is your
house, and you are familiar with it, the chances are that the
neighborhood kid will end up surprising you every time.
There's a very ugly bottom
line here which most of us don't consider carefully enough :
If you choose to go roaming around your house at night in
pursuit of intruders, you need to accept there is a 50% chance
you'll get shot. Hopefully you'll just be wounded, but you
could be killed.
How to Respond to these Risks
The best way to respond to
these risks is to not put yourself in harm's way.
If you live in your
residence either alone or with only a partner who sleeps in the
same room as you, harden your bedroom door and protect your
bedroom windows, and keep a cell phone in your bedroom with you.
If you hear something in the
rest of the house, call the police and have them come and
investigate. Take up a defensive position so that shots
fired through the door are unlikely to reach you, and of course,
equip yourself with a defensive weapon in turn with which to
repel any attempt to break into your bedroom/fortress/safe room.
Hopefully the police will be
at your place long before the bad guys are battling to enter
your bedroom (ask your local police what sort of typical
response time you should expect).
If circumstances mandate you
have no choice but to leave your bedroom, then if you have a
partner in your bedroom with you, make sure they are similarly
skilled and both of you go together. Two people have a
much better chance of survival than only one.
And now, at last, we get to the
theme of this
article - equip yourselves with bullet proof vests.
Please read on to the next
and subsequent parts of this series for detailed information
about what body armor is, the different types available, how to
shop for it, what to look for, and how to care for it.
Part of a multi-part series
Please click the links at
the top right of this page to read through
other parts of this extensive series on body armor and the
protection it offers.
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10 Jan 2011, last update
21 Jul 2020
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.