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From Chicken Legs to Thunder Thighs...and Everything In Between
By Bryan Avila, TDCJ Correctional Training Instructor - Sergeant of Correctional Officers
Published: 10/15/2012

Bullet d Hey, all of our bodies are different. Some of us work on them and some of us don't. We can tell the difference just by looking at our bodies (and those of the person next to us). We discriminate against our bodies and compare them amongst ourselves, even if we don't say anything (but boy, we sure do think it!)

There are things that do not discriminate no matter what you do. No matter what you look like, it will treat you just the same. Race plays no part in its decision. Culture plays no part in its decision. Gender plays no part in its decision. Neither sexual orientation, religion nor age plays a part in its decision. One of these non-discriminatory things is a bullet.

A bullet will tear through you like a hot knife through warm butter. Somebody shooting at you is not your main problem. Your main problem is the getting hit by the bullet. True, there are many people out in society that can shoot like its nobody else’s business. On the flip side, there are also many people that can’t shoot their way out of a wet paper bag with it tied around them or hit the broad side of a barn. With them inside it. And the barn door closed.

Law enforcement, since the early 1970’s, has had the luxury of soft body armor. It is a staple of every day life for our brave men and women protecting us 24/7. With a Level IIIa, you can pretty much stop any handgun round and with an added ballistic plate, you can even stop some rifle rounds. This is great protection if two strangers in the night meet: you are shot in the chest and you are wearing your vest.

However, what if you are unlucky enough to get shot in the leg? We normally don’t think about that one. We automatically think that if we get shot in the chest we are absolutely, positively going to die. Well, if you get shot, or stabbed, in the femoral artery you will suffer the same fate. You will bleed out within seconds if you don’t do something about it.

And this is what it can do to you…

This is where fate led me. No, not getting shot (hopefully it never happens either!) A gentleman by the name Bill Fearon and sent me a request on a social networking site and I accepted. I had never met him before but since I saw that he was a NJ State Trooper and instructor, I didn’t think twice about it.

Bill told me that as an instructor in firearms, he kept on seeing the same thing happen over and over again: people getting “shot” in the leg during training exercises. He then started to look into the frequency that officers would actually receive injuries to the femoral artery, whether it was from gun shots or stabbed. The light bulb then went off and his epiphany occurred…the Ballistic Under Garment Gear (B.U.G.G.).

It is protection in its simplest form. A pair of compression shorts that have pockets in the femoral artery region in which ballistic inserts can be placed. The biggest problem that officers have, nation wide, is that with the amount of crap that they have to wear, if it is uncomfortable, no matter how well it works they are not going to wear it.

These compression shorts are worn comfortably under the uniform and it creates no distortion to the uniform. Currently, they are rated at the equivalent of NIJ Level IIIa protection. He has shot them point blank range on ballistic gel (both 9mm and .45).

So I asked him very clearly, what, if any, application could this possibly have for corrections (I knew the answer but wanted to see how he would respond to it). He mentioned that they were also stab resistant. He told me that he had tested out a pair recently with a knife and taped it. He stabbed the crap out of them, on his kitchen table I might add, and it did not go though it at all (my wife would kill me if I did that. His probably wasn’t home when he did it…)

Inside of a prison, and depending where you are working, you may have a stab vest that you can/have to use. It still leaves you legs completely vulnerable to attack.

Ummm, no thank you. I like my legs just the way they are, intact with scarring from stupidity in my youth. The price for them, which is less than it is for either a bullet or stab proof vest, is a very small price to pay compared to what I’m going to have to go through if something that this ever happens to me.

Editor's note: Corrections.com author Bryan Avila started working as a Police Officer in 1994 while attending Norwich University in Northfield, VT. In 1999 he began working for the Vermont Dept of Corrections while still working as a Part-Time Police Officer. In 2007 he left public service until 2009 when he began working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He is currently a Correctional Training Instructor- Sergeant of Correctional Officers, at the TDCJ Region I Training Academy located in Huntsville, TX.

Other articles by Avila:



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