The area of the body encompassing the heart and other vital organs, also known as the cardiac box, is highly significant yet susceptible.

During hazardous occurrences like bomb explosions or active shooter attacks, harm or fatality can befall the cardiac box.

To safeguard this region and prevent loss of life, body armor is a crucial asset. Advancements in materials and design have significantly improved body armor, making it lighter and more comfortable to wear, while still providing optimal protection.

The Cardiac Box | A Vulnerable Target, and How Body Armor Can Help

In this blog post, we will explore the significance of body armor in safeguarding the cardiac box, which is the vital region of the human torso. The discussion will include its mechanism and the various available types.

Regardless of whether you are a first responder, law enforcement officer, or an individual who values personal safety, understanding the advantages of body armor is vital.

What Is The Cardiac Box and Why Is It Important

The thoracic region, also referred to as the cardiac box, encloses the heart and lungs, making it a critical area of the body responsible for crucial functions such as the respiratory and circulatory systems.

However, during violent encounters, this area becomes vulnerable to injury from bullets and other projectiles, often resulting in severe harm or fatality.

For this reason, it is crucial for law enforcement officers and first responders to utilize body armor that provides dedicated protection to the cardiac box. Moreover, proper training on the appropriate usage and maintenance of body armor is imperative to ensure maximum protection.

The Cardiac Box | A Vulnerable Target, and How Body Armor Can Help

Protecting The Cardiac Box

Understanding the two primary fundamentals of human targeting is crucial in protecting the cardiac box.

Timers and switches. A timer is started as soon as a bullet impacts the human body. Depending on where the bullet impacts and the number of impacts will determine how fast that timer will expire.

A kill switch is a specific area of the human body when impacted by a bullet, will dispatch the threat immediately. There are two primary areas of the human body that are considered a kill switch. Those two areas are the head and the spine.

For the sake of this blog, we’re going to focus on the timers, which encompass the organs that reside within the cardiac box.

A timer is started as soon as a bullet impacts the human body. Depending on where the bullet impacts and the number of impacts will determine how fast that timer will expire.

Once the timer expires so does the threat. So where on the human body will start the said timer?

The most common is the high chest area (high A zone) otherwise known as the cardiac box. By putting rounds in this area you are in effect hitting the lungs and possibly the heart.

Targeting the heart and lungs is a common practice as it is the most significant area of the human body. However, it’s worth noting that blowing out the heart or lungs does not immediately eliminate the threat, as the human body can still survive for around three to ten minutes.

Protecting the cardiac box at all costs is essential for military, law enforcement, and other security personnel. The best way to achieve this is by wearing appropriate body armor and ensuring it is correctly positioned to cover the cardiac box.

Different types of body armor

Soft body armor

With soft body armor, you’re basically looking at a level 3a insert that goes into some type of specialized shirt, vest, or plate carrier.

Level IIIA protects against common handgun rounds and is rated to stop .357 Sig and .44 Magnum. Level IIIA is usually a soft plate but can be made into a more rigid board as well.

ShotStop offers this in both a rigid plate and a soft plate, giving you a choice that helps customize how your insert will carry in your backpack. This is definitely solid protection against the most likely threat faced by civilians.

  • ShotStop IIIA Backpack Insert- Rigid $298
  • ShotStop IIIA BackPack Insert- Soft $258

While level 3a soft body armor is lightweight, comfortable, and covers the cardiac box area of the torso, the level of protection it offers is not quite there for law enforcement considering the threats that they face.

Hard body armor

The most popular hard body armor comes in the form of level 3 hard plates.

The ShotStop Duritium® Level III+PA Plate is the lightest, thinnest, and most durable Level III plate available today.

For starters, the Duritium® Level III+PA Plate comes in both SAPI and Shooters Cut plates with 5 sizes for each cut. The ability to customize your body armor for your own personal body type is a very underrated feature.

They offer 8×10”, 8.75” x 11.75”, 9.5” x 12.5”, 10″ x 12″, and 11″ x 14″ to fit every officer and soldier from small to large, male to female, skinny to robust.

All of their Duritium® Level III+PA Plates are no more than 0.7” thick and are multi-curve plates to accommodate female officers and men with larger upper bodies. This added feature makes a huge difference in the level of comfort and ShotStop builds it standard with it’s Level III plates.

The Cardiac Box | A Vulnerable Target, and How Body Armor Can Help

Once you pick up our Level III+PA plate, you’re never going to want to go back to pistol-caliber armor. When you consider the number of bullets officers are facing per incident (11.1 in 2020), the higher calibers from smaller platform guns, and the advancement in ballistics, it makes a lot of sense to make the switch to Level III+ armor.

Additionally, ShotStop also offers a free 15-year warranty with the purchase of any of it’s Level III plates. This warranty is at least 3x longer than any of their competitors.

Choosing Duritium® Level III+PA plates gives you the added protection of stand-alone hard plate armor and the durability to stop multiple strikes from rifle-caliber bullets.


Protecting the cardiac box with body armor is a critical aspect of ensuring the safety of law enforcement officers and first responders.

The cardiac box, also known as the thoracic region, is a vulnerable area that is at high risk of injury during violent encounters. Body armor specifically designed to protect the cardiac box can greatly reduce the risk of injury and death.

It is important for agencies to invest in high-quality body armor that is tested and certified to meet industry standards. Furthermore, officers and first responders should be trained on how to properly wear and care for their body armor to ensure maximum protection.


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