While the answer to this simple and commonly posed question is ‘’yes’’, it is good to look into why people are asking. Every law-abiding citizen of the United States is perfectly within their right to wear whatever body armor they wish, but it is not as accepted in all communities.
Especially when it comes to external carriers, you won’t have any problems with the law, aside from a possible ID check. But, you may have issues with other citizens that will ask why you are carrying armor somewhere it is supposed to be safe.
Generally, all body armor should fulfill three things:
- Protection against projectiles
- Comfortable and light
- Increasing tactical options
And, while any armor will do the first two, parading around in full military gear might paint a target on you in civilian situations and thus increase the chance of conflict, which is not desirable.
Those in the market to buy body armor
should weigh their options carefully and pick a solution that will work best in their particular situation. Adapting your armor to your circumstances is the best way to stay as safe as possible.
Should Civilians Wear Body Armor?
There is nothing wrong with civilians wearing body armor. Further, some jobs and regions require such protection due to the increased risk of violent crimes. Civilians in those situations can see body armor saving their life.
For instance, those working in gas stations, liquor stores, or small grocery shops and bodegas, are at an increased risk of attack from firearms. This risk is not extensive but is more prominent than working in a collective office space.
Because of that, workers in these spaces might find it prudent to have some form of ballistic protection.
Covert vs. Overt
Perception is a tactical tool as much as mobility or armaments. Having your enemy see what you want them to see and not see what you want hidden will give you an upper hand, and this is true for soldiers and civilians alike.
In most cases, it would be better to keep your body armor covert. This reduces anxiety with the public and allows you to blend into the crowd. Also, it will make the attacker think that you are not protected and thus lower their aggression and focus on yourself.
But, having a full plate carrier out can be beneficial as well, especially when protecting something with a number of other people. Something like the RPC™ Robust Plate Carrier
looks imposing and will make any assailant think twice before attacking.
Wearing Ballistic Clothes
Most civilians have ballistic clothing as an optimal solution. These are clothes that look like regular apparel, but have ballistic inserts in them that can stop any handgun round.
Models like the CAS™ Covert Armored Singlet
are light and comfortable. Also, they can be easily worn under uniforms and other types of clothes just like any other sleeveless shirt. This makes such an option ideal when you don’t want to scare the customers but still want to be protected.