A bulletproof vest, sometimes called a bulletproof vest, is a protective item of body armor which helps absorb the hit and prevent penetration to the upper torso of a fired projectile. It is often used by law enforcement personnel to defend themselves against potentially lethal force against attackers. Since police officers are charged with protecting the public from unlawful and dangerous behavior on the streets, they also may require armor protection in some instances. Bulletproof vests like the ballistic helmets and vests which incorporate bulletproof inserts can help meet these requirements.

Body armor has been available for law enforcement use since the 1950s but has gained popularity with the public over the last decade or so. Vests like the M.A.S.S. (Medical Response Suspension System) vest which features a medical release buckle to provide a second layer of protection for the wearer and comes with an attached retractable flap which prevents the shell from impacting any interior surface. Other vests such as the bulletproof vest made with a stretch material, which has Lycra material in strategic areas that is able to stretch during use and return to its original shape after use. These vests are often used by football and baseball teams as protection for players during practice and games.

Bulletproof vests for law enforcement use are often used by those in protective detail such as security guards and bank tellers. Those in this line of work require high amounts of protection against handgun calibre fire. Police officers and those in military agencies are especially vulnerable to being shot while doing their duty and may require armor of some sort. Currently, there are no federal standards regarding armor for police officers, but many cities and municipalities around the country have installed bulletproof vest covers for their police officers.