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Ballistic Vest - Stab and Spike Levels

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STAB AND SPIKE PROTECTION

Spike attack is an attack by an assailant carrying a sharp pointed object such as ice picks, needles and long, thin nails.These sharp objects usually penetrate through the micro spaces between threads in regular fabrics. This is very different from bullets and knives which normally penetrate fabrics by tearing the threads in the fabrics.

An edged blade attack is an attack by an assailant carrying cutting objects such as knives and broken glass bottles. Spike and edged blade attacks usually occur where the target is in close proximity with the attacker. 

Before buying any body armor, it is important that you consider the kind of threat you are likely to encounter, so that you are adequately protected without paying for a protection level you do not need. 

Whereas edged blades cut fabrics before reaching the target, spikes pass through the micro spaces between threads that make up the fabric.   Body armors designed to offer protection against edged blade attacks are therefore very different from armors designed to offer protection against spike attacks. As a matter of fact a sharp object can still penetrate body armor that is designed to protect against edged blade attacks. This means that you have to be extra cautious when purchasing body armor so as to obtain one that will protect you against the threats that you are facing. Even though ballistic body armors can stop high velocity bullets, spikes can still penetrate such armors. If you want to be fully protected against spike attacks, then you must ensure that you are using spike threat protection body armors.

The most widely used material in the manufacture of body armors is the Kevlar®. The Kevlar® is basically an extremely strong and light synthetic material. Since its launch in the early 1970s, the Kevlar® has always been used in the manufacture of edged blade and spike protection body armors. However the processing of the Kevlar® to be used in spike protection is very different from how edged blade protection Kevlar® is processed.

Who needs spike threat protection body armors?

Spike threat protection body armors are normally used in places where the victim is likely to get into close contact with the source of the threat. For instance, maximum security prison guards have to wear spike threat protection armors before entering cell blocks. Needles and other sharp objects can be very dangerous to the guards especially in instances where they are attacked unawares. 

Edged blade and spike protection armors can be used by bodyguards, bouncers and security guards in places where bottles can be broken and then used for edged blade attacks.  

EDGED BLADE LEVELS

While the NIJ is considered the world standard for ballistics testing, stab-proof vests are standardized by the CAST. Many assume that if a piece of body armor can stop a bullet, it can stop a knife. This is not the case however, and stab proof vests are different in make up to bullet proof vests. It is possible to find multi-threat vests that can protect against both, but these still need to be graded according to the protection they offer against both bullets and edged/spiked weapons. The threat levels for stab proof vests are standardized by the CAST as follows:

SPIKED WEAPON LEVELS

There is also spike protection to be considered, which was first introduced into CAST’s standards to address the additional threat faced by Prison Officers. Spike protection can be added to stab and ballistic vests, neither of which will ordinarily protect against spiked weapons. CAST will only certify spike protection in addition to stab protection. The threat levels for spike proof vests are standardized by the CAST as follows: