Greetings from Malaysia.
I have read your advice on body armor being useful in various situations. However, in this part of the world, the law prohibits body armor (ballistic vest) from being imported by civilians. Though there is no law against the possesion of body armor, it is impossible to deal with a local supplier as they only provide to defence, law enforcement and security entities.
The possesion of firearms is severely restricted in civilians. Normally, only those who hunt for a livelihood or require self-protection in remote plantations are issued with a licence.
Unfortunately, there were enough cases of criminal use of firearms e.g. robberies, though the majority of criminals use knives and parangs (the local version of a machete).
Would you have any suggestion for body armor besides a ballistic vest? Something that can be useful against blades. Of course, I would not want to wear it the whole time so it is only for those special situations which carry risk of bodily harm e.g. transactions involving large sums of cash.
High levels of crime and restrictions to owning guns and armor sure is a bad combination!
I would suggest looking into the surplus market or second hand sales. Sometimes police officers or security guards sell their armor when quitting their jobs or going for another line of work.
Unfortunately armor isn’t that easy to improvise. Kevlar and other BP fabrics are very specific and you need a number of layers to provide ballistic and stab protection.
If you cant get body armor, you may be able to buy armor plate carriers and then have steel plates made to fit it. You need thick steel (+1/4 inch) and you should test it before trusting your life to it. Some synthetic resins are very hard and I believe 1 inch thick plates made of harder resins will stop most handgun calibers if not rifle rounds. Again, it’s a matter of experimenting.
There’s not much you can do against attacks with machetes. Arms and head will be pretty vulnerable. While not as good as an actual stab proof vest you might want to look into getting a reinforced biker jacket. Some of the better ones are made for real protective materials, thick leather, Kevlar and hard plastic inserts. Again, this isn’t made for protection from knife attacks but it is tough material intended for skipping along the road at high speed after you fall. A good motorcycle jacket and a pair of cut resistant gloves might be a good combination.
Remember people, the second amendment does NOT cover body armor. Its getting more and more restricted around the globe. Buy new if you can afford it, or look around on ebay for used one but do get it while you can.