Body Armor during the Modern and Industrial Era
The Modern and Industrial Era were where body armor first was developed. Created out of the necessity to protect people, mainly kings in the beginning, from new projectile based weapons. Starting in Europe, the earliest accounts dates back to 1538 in Italy where a “gun-fire” resistant vest was made for the Holy Roman Emperor during the two year war that raged between the Romans, King Francis I of France and King Charles V of Spain . Around the same time in England Sir Henry Lee developed a plated armor, as Queen Elizabeths I’s champion, that allegedly could stop gun fire; yet it’s actual testing wasn’t fully documented. Nearly a hundred years later, during England’s Civil War in 1645, special equipment was fitted to one of the English Parliaments cavalry which consisted of a three metal plate layered cuirass armor that protected the torso and back. It relied on the outer plate as a shock absorber and the inner plates protected any fragment from penetrating the vest.
Two hundred years after the first attempts at bulletproof vests and society faces new problems. No longer are most people being slaughtered by war between kings but now some european countries face violence internally in the form of crimes and assassinations. In Dublin, the problem got so overwhelming it drove the country to have the first manufactures and sellers of bulletproof vests in history. Now, body armor would be available to anyone for the first time in an effort to reduce violence and disgraceful murders. Other forms of ballistic armor came during the 1860’s, when a defensive Korea ordered the development of a cotton based bulletproof vest after being threatened by a potential invasion from the United States. After invading a fort, based on an uncalled-for attack on U.S. ships seeking diplomacy, American troops retrieved various specimens of the vests and took them back for further research. The development of bulletproof armor wasn’t limited to only governments, the famous Australian outlaw Ned Kelly and his gang developed a plated armor made out of plough blades used in farming equipment. In their efforts to fight the government, Kelly’s gang would be fully protected with home made chest plates, helmets, shin and arm guards. These makeshift platings could be struck multiple times and deflected any firepower they were threatened with but, the exposure of the legs and hands made this armor eventually useless. Other outlaws, like the american Jim Miller, were known for wearing plated vests under-neath their coats which proved to be highly efficient in deflecting pistol and shotgun rounds.
Ultimately, bulletproof vests have been around for many years and their development has seen a steady rise in technological advancements. Body armor, even in its most primitive of forms, has proven itself time and again as a game changer when it comes to safeguarding and protecting people from gunfire; nowadays thankfully companies like Rhino Body Armor can offer vests that can protect you against anything ranging from large caliber handguns to high powered rifles.
If you’re looking for a vest visit gorillaarmor.com and use promocode: BODYARMOR
Bulletproof vests and ballistic armors have been in development since the 1500s, but they did not reach their true potential until the modern era. Since the introduction of firearms into warfare, the elite have always been interested in developing armor capable of stopping this firearms. In its first iterations, “bulletproof” armor was simply high quality 16th century battle armor that was sturdy enough to stop the weak firearms of the day. Eventually, bulletproof vest would become both inexpensive and capable of protecting their users against even modern high-powered rifles.
Bulletproof armor and clothing remained the plaything of the social elite for most of its history before the modern period that followed industrialization. Before the availability of synthetic alternatives, silk was woven in multiple layers, sometimes with thin sheets of steels mixed in, to catch pistol rounds. Silk was found to be effective because of its high tensile strength, meaning it can withstand a lot of stress acting toward stretching it without breaking. When individual silk fibers are woven together into silk cloth and then stacked in large bundles, the strength of the individual strands is multiplied giving the vest the ability to stop the black powder pistols of the day. The addition of thin steel plates into the layers of silk only added to this early armor’s effectiveness.
The Modern Era
With the invention of Kevlar, the bulletproof vest market exploded. Kevlar has an extremely high tensile strength for its density, meaning it is extremely strong for its weight. Kevlar when it is manufactured is actually just small individual strands of material. On their own these small fibers are very weak, but when woven together in deep interconnected layers their collective strength is enough to stop pistol fire. Because of their light weight, Soft Kevlar vests became the standard for police and military units throughout the world. Eventually Kevlar became easy enough to produce that it proliferated the market. Soft Kevlar vests are what most people think of when they hear bulletproof vest, but Kevlar is no longer the best material available. With advances in steel hardening, less steel is required to make a vest bulletproof. As a result, bulletproof vests made with steel ballistic plates are now light enough to wear while offering superior protection to Kevlar.
Steel in Ballistic Armor
Traditionally, older milder forms of steel were vulnerable to high-speed rifle cartridges when made light enough to wear. Thus, steel armor was relegated to vehicle use as a bulletproofing material. Mild steel and Kevlar offer essentially the same ballistic protection, but Kevlar is significantly lighter and more flexible. Yet, this balance has shifted. Now thin plates of extremely hard steel are able to stop the vast majority of rifle rounds, a feat impossible for a Kevlar vest to replicate. Ballistically hardened steel plates (typically rated at AR-500 or a similar hardness) are tough enough to be used as pistol range targets. Pistols have little to no effect on the integrity of these plates, and it takes a very fast rifle round to cause even minor damage and a very powerful round to ever penetrate all the way through. AR-500 steel plates will handle magazine after magazine of the most common and deadly rifles in the world like the AK-47/74 and AR15/10 variants.
The future of Bulletproof Vests more than likely lies in the development of Graphene, a newly discovered super-material that has a tensile strength to weight ratio higher than Kevlar or even Carbon Fiber. As of now though, and for the foreseeable future, graphene’s utilization is restricted due to its inability to be produced in quantities greater than a few grams. Until it becomes commercially viable and battle-tested, the time proven humble hardened steel plate will continue to be the best ballistic protection available.