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The Vulnerability of Zip-Up Stab Vests

Written by: Ethan Blin

In the realm of personal protective equipment (PPE), the vulnerability of zip-up stab vests often goes unnoticed. These vests, also known as ‘stab proof vests’, play a crucial role in safeguarding frontline professionals, providing a vital layer of defence against life-threatening situations. However, within the landscape of protective gear design, a significant vulnerability persists, one that demands closer examination: the zipper closure system.

Identifying a Critical Flaw in the Zip-Up Stab Vests

At PPSS Group we prioritise safety, through extensive research and real-world feedback, we uncovered a critical flaw inherent in zip-up stab vests. While convenient for donning and doffing, the zipper mechanism introduces a vulnerability that could compromise wearer safety.

Instances have been documented where assailants exploited the zipper mechanism to gain access to vulnerable areas of the wearer’s body. This posed a significant risk, as these areas, once exposed, are life-threatening if stabbed. In fact, this undermines the fundamental purpose of the stab vest in providing reliable protection in high-risk scenarios. Recognising this threat, we decided to eliminate the zipper from our stab vests.

The Alternative to a Zipper Closure System

By removing the zipper closure system, we aimed to eliminate any susceptibility to exploitation by opportunistic attackers. This strategic decision aligns with our mission to provide frontline professionals with the highest level of protection, without compromise and weakness.

In place of zippers, we have implemented alternative closure systems designed with enhanced security in mind. These closures prioritise wearer safety, eliminating potential weaknesses that attackers could exploit in confrontational situations. To don our stab vests now, we use fully adjustable side and shoulder fastenings.

Commitment to Continuous Improvement by Eliminating Weaknesses

In late 2019, at the International Security Event in London, we launched our Carbon Fibre Fortiply Body Armour. This release boasted our innovative “security pockets” as a superior alternative to zippers. These specialised pockets enhanced our certified body armour as they prevent attempts by individuals to breach the vest’s integrity.

By dragging a sharp object across zippers, attackers could compromise the Zip-Up Stab Vest’s causing them to burst open leaving front line professionals vulnerable. However, with our reinforced security pockets, such breaches are effectively prevented.

Additionally, our stab vests feature double Velcro side straps strategically concealed beneath the liftable pockets. This strategic design choice prevents attackers from forcibly opening the side straps, a tactic attempted frequently by attackers. By securing the straps in place, we ensure that the vest remains firmly attached to the wearer, providing continuous protection in high-risk scenarios.

PPSS Zip-Up Vest Alternative Security Pockets

At PPSS Group, innovation and continuous improvement are at the core of what we do. The removal of zippers from our stab vests reflects our unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and security of those who rely on our protective gear. While some believe zippers are more convenient for donning and doffing, our stab vests can be put on just as quickly or even quicker. Our primary goal is to provide reliable protection without compromise. Eliminating potential weaknesses, such as the vulnerability introduced by zippers, could be the one thing that saves a life in a critical situation.

View our Stab Vests


About the Author

Ethan Blin is the Social Media & Digital Marketing Executive at PPSS Group. His mission is to ensure security and high-risk industry professionals are well-informed about the exceptional protection provided by our carbon fibre stab vests, cut resistant workwear, and slash resistant clothing. Through this knowledge, he hopes to empower individuals to make informed decisions to safeguard both their teams and themselves effectively.

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