How Does Body Armor Work
How Does Body Armor Work ?
Thoughts and Facts
The first and most important thing we need to understand is that, when you wear your bullet proof armor, your chances of surviving after being shot are much greater than by not wearing it. Bullet proof armor is designed to stop the bullet and disperse the impact energy over a larger area reducing blunt force trauma depending on the level of ballistics vest that you wear. Bullet Proof Vest will protect you against a significant amount of handgun threats but law enforcement personnel, security services personnel, and all persons wearing protective bullet proof armor need to keep in mind that body armor is categorized and rated for different threat levels. All that being said, you must evaluate your own line of work, or situations that you are likely to get involved with and wear the bullet proof armor that fits your individual needs.
According to the National Institute of Justus, more than 3000 Police officer's lives have been saved by wearing their body armor and bullet proof vest since the mid 70's when the N.I.J. started testing and developing bullet proof vest and body armor performance standards for ballistic resistance. Ballistics vest have been widely available for use by law enforcement personnel for more than 30 years. The dramatic reduction in officer homicides following the introduction of body armor attests to the protection it provides. This success story extends far beyond protection from handguns—more than 3,000 lives have been spared, including cases in which body armor prevented serious injuries to officers from other types of assaults or accidents. Many of these cases have prevented officers from serious injury in automobile accidents protecting the chest area and protection from side impact accidents.
How Does Body Armor Work
When a bullet strikes bullet proof armor, the bullet is caught in a web of very strong ballistic fiber. These fibers help absorb and disperse the impact energy that is transmitted to the bullet resistant vests causing the bullet to mushroom. Additional energy is absorbed in the bullet proof vest by each additional layer of ballistic material until the bullet is stopped. Because of the strength of ballistics in each individual layer of material combined with other additional layers, it forms a larger area for the impact energy to disperse and keep the bullet from penetrating the bullet proof armor. This helps in non-penetrating injuries know as ( blunt force trauma ) to internal organs.
Currently most bullet proof armor will protect you against your smaller hand threats. When you get into a Level III-A Body Armor, your protection level increases dramatically. This brings your protection level up to .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum rounds which are serious handguns and serious bullets to be hit by. These Level III-A vest will also protect against 12 ga. shotgun buckshot and slugs. Remember, no bullet proof vest or body armor is entirerly bullet proof, but depending on the level of body armor you wear will signifinatly influence the amount of injury you receive.
When in high level situations such as Military, Bomb Squad, Swat , Law Enforcement, your protection levels must increase to a higher level of protection. By adding Type III or type IV ballistic hard armor plates to the inside of both front and back of your bullet proof armor, your protection level increases up to 7.62mm FMJ, 5.56mm FMJ, .30 Carbine, .223 renmington, and Grenade Shrapnel. Moving up to a Type IV Ballistic plate provides you protection up to .30 caliber armor piercing bullets. That is serious protection. Your level of confidence is much higher when your wearing this kind of protection, esspecially in high level situations. Your confidence is a major part of accomplishing your mission and going home at the end of the day because of these ballistic vests.
Methods of Construction
Typically, concealable bullet proof armor is constructed of multiple layers of ballistic fabric or other ballistic resistant materials, assembled into the "ballistic panel." The ballistic panel is then inserted into the "carrier," which is constructed of conventional garment fabrics such as nylon or cotton. The ballistic panel may be permanently sewn into the carrier or may be removable. Although the overall finished product looks relatively simple in construction, the ballistic panel is very complex.
The manner in which the ballistic panels are assembled into a single unit also differs from one manufacturer to another. In some cases, the multiple layers are bias stitched around the entire edge of the panel; in others, the layers are tack stitched together at several locations. Some manufacturers assemble the fabrics on their ballistics vest with a number of rows of vertical or horizontal stitching; some may even quilt the entire ballistic panel. No evidence exists that stitching impairs the ballistic resistant properties of a panel. Instead, stitching tends to improve the overall performanceof the ballistics vest, especially in cases of blunt trauma, depending upon the type of bullet proof fabric used.
Armored vest fabric is available from a number of manufacturers in various styles and compositions, each type having unique ballistic resistant properties. The body armor manufacturer may construct a given model of ballistic panel from a single fabric style or from two or more styles in combination. The location and number of layers of each style within the multiple-layer ballistic panel influence the overall ballistic performance of the panel. In addition, some manufacturers coat the ballistic fabric with various materials. For example, the manufacturer may add a layer of nonballistic material for the sole purpose of increasing blunt trauma protection. Even composites of two or more different ballistic materials are available. As a consequence, it is impossible to compare one product with another based solely on the number of fabric layers in the ballistic panel.
Bullet Proof Armor intended for routine use is most often designed to be worn beneath the normal uniform shirt. Again, manufacturers tend to design different methods of attaching bullet proof armor to the body. Hook-and-pile fasteners are common, as are "D" ring tightening straps. With the exception of metal fasteners of any type (which can deflect a bullet on impact and pose a hazard), the method of attachment is a matter of personal preference.
Several manufacturers have been involved in developing and refining materials used in bullet proof armor.
Kevlar 29, introduced in the early 1970s, was the first generation of bullet proof fibers developed by DuPont for body armor which help to make the production of flexible, concealable bullet proof armor practical for the first time. In 1988, DuPont introduced the second generation of Kevlar fiber, known as Kevlar 129. According to DuPont, this fabric offered increased ballistic protection capabilities against high energy rounds such as the 9mm FMJ. In 1995, Kevlar Correctional was introduced, which provides puncture resistant technology to both law enforcement and correctional officers against puncture type threats.
DuPont has developed law enforcement body armor products for more than 25 years. Its Kevlar brand fiber, first developed in 1965, was the first material identified for use in the modern generation of concealable bullet proof armor. Kevlar is a man made organic fiber, with a combination of properties allowing for high strength with low weight, high chemical resistance, and high cut resistance. Kevlar is also flame resistant; does not melt, soften, or flow; and the fiber is unaffected by immersion in water. This is also used for the Flak Vest used by the military.
The newest addition to the Kevlar line is Kevlar Protera, which DuPont made available in 1996. DuPont contends that the Kevlar Protera is a high-performance fabric that allows lighter weight, more flexibility, and greater ballistic protection in a bullet proof vest design due to the molecular structure of the fiber. Its tensile strength and energy-absorbing capabilities have been increased by the development of a new spinning process.
Spectra fiber, manufactured by AlliedSignal, is an ultra-high-strength polyethylene fiber. Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene is dissolved in a solvent and spun through a series of small orifices, called spinnerets. This solution is solidified by cooling, and the cooled fiber has a gel-like appearance. The Spectra fiber is then used to make Spectra Shield composite. A layer of Spectra Shield composite consists of two unidirectional layers of Spectra fiber, arranged to cross each other at 0º and 90º degree angles and held in place by a flexible resin. Both the bullet proof fiber and resin layers are sealed between two thin sheets of polyethylene film, which is similar in appearance to plastic food wrap. According to AlliedSignal, the resulting nonwoven fabric is incredibly strong, lightweight, and has excellent ballistic protection capabilities. Spectra Shield is made in a variety of styles for use in both concealable and hard armor applications.
Another manufacturer, Akzo Nobel, has developed various forms of its bullet proof aramid fiber Twaron for bullet proof armor. According to Akzo Nobel, this fiber uses 1,000 or more finely spun single filaments that act as an energy sponge, absorbing a bullet's impact and quickly dissipating its energy through engaged and adjacent fibers. Because more filaments are used, the impact is dispersed more quickly. Akzo claims their patented Microfilament technology allows maximum energy absorption at minimum weights while enhancing comfort and flexibility.
AlliedSignal also uses the Shield Technology process to manufacture another type of shield composite called Gold Shield. Gold Shield is manufactured using aramid fibers in place of the Spectra fiber. It is also arranged with a 0º and 90º cross stitched manner and then sealed in a thermal plastic film which helps in bullet resistant properties. Gold Shield is currently made in three types: Gold Shield, LCR, and goldflex, which are used in concealable body armor; and Gold Shield PCR, which is used in the manufacture of hard armor, such as plates and helmets.
Gold Flex is a synthetic ballistic fiber manufactured by Honeywell, gold flex is lighter then Kevlar, Twaron and other Ballistic material, yet offers outstanding bullet proof protection. Gold Flex is used in all our bullet proof vest and body armor at the Bullet Proof Shop. Gold Flex being one of the lightest and more flexible ballistic materials provides you with a more mobile comfortable bullet proof vest for extended hours of wear.
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