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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Wanted: Body Armor

Yury said his body armor was under the bed, lying there unused — not protecting, not being shot at, doing nothing. “Perhaps the white body armor, with a few flaws here and there, can help someone,” he thought and stuck up an advert for 7,000 rubles.

There is plenty of secondhand body armor out there for sale. One ad from an ex-security guard boasted that it had only been worn seven times. The armor was sold within a day or two.

Yury talked of the layers and layers that are supposed to protect you from attack, muttering a few words on their poor condition but remaining ever-so reassuring as he spoke in a voice so jolly you could tell that he has Humor FM on the radio all the time.


Body armor isn’t hard to find if you look around you, too. It is on the security guard who waves his gun round on its strap as if he has forgotten it is there or the bodyguard who is ready to take one for the team.

There are at least 10 factories that make body armor all over Russia, and in a few years when the day comes when every second workingman is a security guard/bodyguard protecting every first workingman, there will probably be more.

Body armor has its own gradation system that shows what it can actually protect you against. There are different systems in different countries, as you are protecting against different weapons. For example, you don’t really expect to face a Makarov pistol that often if you are in the police force in England, but a month without the sight of a Makarov in Moscow is like a day without a grimace from the metro ticket lady. Rare and somewhat unnerving.

If you do face a Makarov, then a Class 1 body armor is fine. An AK-47 requires Class 3 or above.

Back in 1983, two soldiers in the Urals decided to have a duel using their body armor to protect themselves. They stood about 20 meters apart from each other. One fired and missed. The other fired and hit. The results were not pretty, and the soldier died three days later.

The word most often avoided when talking about body armor is “bulletproof.” Bullet resistant is the better term, as the armor will resist, but it still may yield enough to slam into your body and cause severe damage.

One military historian worked out the force of the bullet according to this formula: E=mV2/2, which he also put in plain language, saying the bullet had the force of a 2 kilogram weight dropped from a 2 meter height.

Add in the armor hitting against your chest or ribs, and the results aren’t good.