Body armor is a useful product that can provide protection in a range of circumstances. It will seem obvious to most that personal protection is important to consider when preparing for the end of the world, and all preppers should at least be aware of the options available to them in body armor. For example, most will consider a bullet proof vest for the benefits it can provide even before the SHTF. However, many will not be aware that there are a variety of threats and weapons that a bullet resistant vest cannot protect you against.
As any good Prepper knows, a weapon of any kind can be fatal in the right hands, and many can be fatal even in the wrong hands. Without considering the end of society and the associated problems that may come with it, there are numerous threats that should be considered when choosing body armor. It is important to be prepared for the worst, and below are just a few examples of the unique threats you may find yourself up against and what protection you will need, whether it is a bullet proof vest, stab proof vest, or spike proof vest.
Sticks and Stones
It may seem unlikely, but even a single solitary rock can kill you- just look at David and Goliath. Even without divine intervention, stones, rocks, and fists can cause a great deal of damage, and require little to no skill to wield. While it may take more than one to kill you, and their range and power are solely dependent on the thrower, they can still kill you. When dealing with the difficulties of post-apocalyptic society you may not see them coming either. This is why you will need body armor, which can absorb and disperse the energy from the impact, keeping you safe from the attack.
Swords and Shields
Even shields can damage you if used correctly, but the real danger here is from swords. These and indeed any edged or spiked weapons like axes and pikes have proven to be exceptionally deadly. They will need some degree of skill to wield, but anyone can get lucky and cause you a potentially fatal injury. After the inevitable decline of firearms after the SHTF these weapons may become more and more common, and a bullet proof vest cannot protect you against them. There are options available however, and both stab and spike proof vests use Kevlar and additional materials like chainmail and/or plastic laminate to stop edged and spiked weapons, keeping you on your feet and able to fight back.
Bows and Arrows
These weapons are very similar to swords and axes, both in deadliness and reliability. Of course, these weapons require far more skill than any other to use properly, but even a lucky shot can kill you. In fact, even improvised paper crossbows have been used to deadly effect. Just like the previous category, you may not see an attack with these weapons coming, and a bullet proof vest will not protect you. The Kevlar in the vest will mitigate some of the damage, but you will still need a spike proof vest for complete protection.
Teeth and Claws
In the most extreme scenarios, particularly judging on popular films, you might not only be facing human attackers. It is important for Preppers to be prepared- hence the name- and it may be worth anticipating attacks involving animals, or even more exciting reanimated creatures. Animals have spelled doom for a great many people, and protecting yourself against teeth, claws, and horns is very important. Again, a bullet proof vest cannot stop weapons like these, but spike proof vests can help with their tough surface and energy-absorbing aramid layers.
Before going any further, it should be noted that there is no guarantee of protection against an explosion, particularly above a certain level. Of course, the same can be said of any threat, and body armor is never a guarantee of protection, and should never be a substitute for proper awareness and preparation. Nevertheless, the damage of a reasonable explosion can be mitigated with body armor; the chainmail and/or plastic in a stab/spike proof vest can help deflect fragmentation and debris common to IEDs and grenades, whereas the Kevlar in the vest will absorb the energy of the explosion and impact, potentially saving your life.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are many threats that you may come across after the SHTF. Your research and preparation has to reflect the threats you are likely to face, and only then can you decide on your personal protective equipment. Nevertheless, body armor should be considered as an accessible and effective option in protection against a wide range of threats.