Chris Taylor

Communications director, Safeguard Armour

Author Bio ▼

Chris Taylor is communications director for Safeguard Armour, the Premium Body Armour Manufacturer and Supplier In The UK.
September 20, 2016

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‘Secure by default’ in the age of converged security

Covert versus overt body armour: pros and cons

Body armour is available in different shapes and sizes as well different levels of protection and styles.

Tactical body armour

Tactical body armour

Choosing the right type of body armour is critical to ensure you receive adequate protection that can save your life. When purchasing body armour it is important to consider a variety of factors based on the threats you are expecting to face.

Body armour is made in two main styles: covert and overt. Covert armour is designed to be worn under your garments while overt is worn over clothes.

Both styles have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the risks you are likely to face and the situations you want to use them in. There is a difference in the level of flexibility provided by covert and overt vests as well as the way the feel to the wearer over or under clothes.

Covert body armour

Typically produced in light colours, cover body armour is designed to be as thin as possible so that it is not visible when worn under clothing. Manufactures use fabric that helps absorb moisture, which means covert body vests are more breathable and allow for better airflow.

This is a big advantage, especially in climates, where heat and high humidity are a problem. Covert body armour is suitable for people who are looking for comfort as well as protection and their line of work requires certain level of discretion, for example security operatives, cops and close protection officers.

Covert vests can be worn comfortably beneath a standard uniform, while retaining flexibility. Some models can even be fitted with extra SAPI plates for an extra layer of protection, should there be a danger of a high level.

Overt body armour

Designed to be worn over your clothes, overt body armour is bulkier and comes in a variety of colour for different environments.

Noticeably thicker than covert vests, they are made of harder bulletproof panels and are usually preferred by people in high-risk fields, such as riot control, military operations, warzone journalism, humanitarian missions, security operations, etc.

Security personnel encounter different types of risks on a daily basis and sometimes they need to clearly demonstrate their authority. Overt body armour can be valuable in such situations and discourage people from attacking a fully equipped officer.

Close protection is a demanding job that puts a lot of pressure on the security operative to provide a wide range of services. The most important part of the role is adequate preparation, and understanding the potential threats you will experience.

Close consideration of the benefits and drawbacks of covert and overt body armour is part of this preparation as it can be life-saving in a potential life and death situation. Whatever the choice, nowadays there are many available options to ensure that security operatives remain flexible, comfortable, and, of course, protected in their line of work.

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