We’re living in an increasingly dangerous world, and it’s better to be prepared than to be caught off-guard. Body armour has become a necessity for not only today’s soldiers, but also law enforcement officers and security forces in the civilian sector.
What is the personal protection market?
The personal protection market is another word for the body armour market. The terms encompass more than soft armour vests and hard armour plates; they include ballistic helmets, protective shields, carriers, and other similar products. We recommend a combination of products to maximize your protection and survival chances in any violent encounter.
Key trends and growth areas
Here’s what our professionals at Hardshell are seeing and anticipating in the body armour market.
- Emerging economies need up-to-date armour
The military segment holds the largest share of the body armour market, and that share is anticipated to get even bigger over the next five years. However, law enforcement is expected to grow by 5.9%, a high compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the body armour segment, and as a result should not be discounted.
North America holds the largest market share internationally—bolstered by investment from the military, law enforcement, and federal funding—but other regions are on the rise. The Asia-Pacific region is experiencing the highest growth rate worldwide currently. Countries like China and India have massive active military populations to outfit, and other nations are trying to catch up in both recruitment and equipment.
Most of the major industry players are based in North America, but as other regions grow, more localized companies may see an advantage. Using a local manufacturer allows you to get the best gear possible for your needs and take advantage of professionals’ industry knowledge and recommendations.
- Technological advances lead to more investment
New innovative products have created demand. Major manufacturers of all levels are investing in R&D to find more and more advanced materials. Improved survivability is a consistent customer interest, but newer technologies allow customers to get better or equal protection for fewer trade-offs, such as weight, comfort, and coverage.
Liquid armour is one new popular material in the body armour industry. Made notable by the United States Army Research Laboratory, liquid armour uses shear-thickening fluids (STFs) that harden into a solid when forcefully agitated. This allows a flexible material like Kevlar to have the qualities of solid plates when being struck or slashed.
- Lightweight armour is on the rise
In part made possible by new technological advances and in part driven by the US Army’s commitment to equipping soldiers with lighter body armour, lightweight armour is becoming more and more popular.
This is not the same as from soft armour, which is also rising in interest among customers. Soft armour is fabric-based and holds up best against knives, pistols, and shotguns. Hard armour tends to use literal hard plates — either made of steel or ceramic — to offer more significant protection in vulnerable spots.
Soft armour shouldn’t be discounted though: not only is it lighter and more comfortable for long-term wear, it covers more of your body and retains your agility. Most law enforcement officers stick to soft armour for daily wear. However, hard armour offers the best protection against a wider range of threats when a user doesn’t know what to expect. Customers expecting their wearers to face military-grade threats are best off using hard armour.
Regardless, in both cases, more and more militaries, law enforcement agencies, and civilian markets are looking for lightweight options in both soft and hard armour. The ideal armour maximizes protection, agility, and comfort for whatever scenarios users find themselves in. Convenience is another factor that more customers are demanding, hence the rise of tactical vests.
Looking to the future
It’s always a good time to invest in your protection. More and more militaries are updating their gear to face asymmetric global threats, and they want a balance between safety and easy wear. To meet these trends, body armour manufacturers need to be nimble and adaptable to their customers’ needs, working to develop materials that offers the best protection and performance for a variety of scenarios.
Working with a company that offers custom solutions ensures that you get the best armour for your needs. As one of the top contract manufacturing companies in the world, Hardshell offers top-of-the-line body armour and accessories to militaries and police forces globally. Our manufacturers are based in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, making us easy to find and talk to no matter where you are in the world.
Contact us today to talk about your personal protective needs.