When choosing a ballistic, edged blade and/or spike resistant vest from STS, you should consider the following:
What Style of Vest?
Do you want your vest to go under your clothes (and be covert), or be worn over your clothes (and be overt)? Do you have any special requirements; for example, do you require the ability to use SAPI plates, or want the vest to open with a front zip? From these answers, you can decide which vest style will suit you best.
What Threats Will You Be Facing?
Assess your threat situation; will it be ballistic only, or is there a threat of attack from spiked or edged weapons? What is the highest caliber weapon you will face? When you have considered this, use our NIJ Levels page to see which level vest you need.
As important as it is to have enough protection, it is also important when choosing a vest that you don't over-estimate the levels of protection you need, especially if you will be wearing the vest for extended periods of time. Higher level vests will be slightly heavier than lower level vests, and will often be slightly stiffer too. Regardless, though, all of our panels are as lightweight and flexible as possible.
What Size Do You Need?
To increase the likelihood that your vest will fit you well, we encourage our customers to provide 3 or 4 of these critical measurements:
Firstly, your overall standing height (this will help us ensure your vest is long enough, and also not too long).
Secondly, include your chest size. You should also match this to our chest size guide.
Thirdly, include your sternum length (the distance between the top of the chest bone and the belly button). This specialist measure is the most relevant, and should ensure the vest is the best length.
Finally, female customers should provide their cup size.
This information should be entered in the 'Comments' box at the checkout. Include in this box any other information relevant to sizing.
As shown in the image on the right, the vest should extend down to your naval (belly button) area.
Some people believe that body armor should reach the waist; however, this would not be ideal. If a vest goes past the naval, it becomes unnecessarily heavy at the cost of protecting non-vital organs. An over-long vest will also restrict freedom of movement; a vest that extends past the naval will restrict comfort, and affect the ability to even sit or bend down.
Although these considerations may take some time initially, we recommend that customers carefully consider these factors before purchasing; they will ensure that you receive the ideal vest for you and your circumstances.