Originally designed to protect soldiers from shrapnel in WWII, flak jackets were first made from nylon with steel plate lining. Initially mean to protect soldiers from shrapnel, they weren’t bulletproof and too heavy to be worn by troops on the ground long-term. Now made of specialty ballistic nylon, flak jackets are worn by everyone in law enforcement, military and target shooters.
Flak jackets and body armor offer protection of the torso, chest and stomach. They act as an extra layer of protection from bullets or projectiles. But since they only cover the torso, bullets and shrapnel can still hit and penetrate other parts of the body. And though flak jackets protect from any bullet penetration, it’s not uncommon for the shooter to experience cracked ribs and severe bruising in the even of a shooting. Wearers are also not protected against very close range threats.
body armor and jackets also only have a full service of five years. After that amount of time, the devices start to become warn and torn. Creases, tears and burns in the vest compromise its integrity and put the wearer at increased risk. Naturally, the more a vest is worn, the quicker it will wear out. But the quality of the jacket should be evaluated after five years and checked for any damages.
Flak jackets and body armor can be advantageous in keeping wearers safe. However, their disadvantages are important to know as well. Taking both the pros and cons into account is the best way for wearers to use them appropriately and most importantly stay safe. And no matter where you are shooting, if there are people around you shooting firearms, extra protection is never a bad idea.