The ‘not too distant’ future of body armor
When it comes to the technological development of body armor and bullet proof vests one struggles to find a current middle ground. You have either the kevlar vests, which offer less body coverage and less protection but more mobility, or the heavier vests which boast higher stopping power, protection and can take multiple projectile hits but at the cost of mobility, comfort and in some occasions overheating. So why hasn’t there been any new development being the vital equipment that it is. You argue it’s the greed of private companies or the bureaucracy of the government which have halted any “groundbreaking” new technology in recent years, yet some big ideas have begun to come to light that promise a revolutionary new equipment that might save countless troop and civilian lives. So, taking into consideration that an average soldier needs about 31 pounds of armor to be fully protected and even with the minimum amount of gear still totaling in at around 21 pounds, the Army is being forced to switch troops to a lighter 16.5 pound vest that offers 1/4 of the protection. The main concern all manufacturers have with tackling this problem is making heavy armor plates at least 10 to 20 times lighter than any current plating without it affecting the integrity of the armor. Apart from the obvious weight concerns, current vests have the problem of overheating in harsh climates to the point where soldiers are forced to remove them in order to avoid heat strokes. And most heavy armored vests offer limited mobility and can cause stress fractures if used for an extended amount of time; so developing a vest that that is flexible, fits tightly, offers a high level of protection and doesn’t overheat is the overall goal.
When considering the problem of weight, 16.5 pounds of body protective gear is still unreasonably heavy if you are in battlefield harsh conditions; so future vests are aimed to be 10 pounds or less in order to hit a more manageable weight. Some manufacturers are considering using a type of boron-carbide ceramic plating that can weigh up to 30 percent less and offer even higher protection than the currently used by the military, adding to this an improved construction process that is being tested to make the plates fit more comfortably to the contours of the chest and spine. All this would be useless if the vest isn’t wearable for an extended period of time; in response to this heat issue, an inner vest cooling system is being developed that allows the wearer to maintain a safe body temperature under any environmental condition involving an inner shirt with a heat exchange that uses the circulation of water to provide cooling by means of a thermo-controlled valve that self regulates accordingly. Some light armored vests, mainly ones that use kevlar, are going to be replaced by body armor made from M-5 fibers which offer greater strength and 1/3 of the weight. That, and it relies on self-adjusting plates that prevent serious bruising to the chest but allow plenty of flexibility. Other options are liquid kevlar vests, this technology is reliant on a thickening liquid called polyethylene glycol which transitions from soft to rigid when impacted by a projectile, preventing any penetration and softening the impact. This type of liquid armor may just hold the key to the future of body armor since it’s implementation in all types of vests is currently being studied. So we can say the future is bright for body armor or even more importantly is that we’ll sleep better knowing we’re better protected.
Should body armor be legal?
Is there such a thing as Overprotection?
When considering how precious and delicate life can be, one is often confronted with questions like, do I feel safe? Am I being prepared? Is there such a thing as “too prepared?” The most common conclusions tends to be that no matter how protected you are, you are not bulletproof. And nowhere less is that the case than in states like Connecticut, where state laws have been passed that directly confront the second amendment. These laws severely criminalize the buying and selling of protective body armor by any means that is not a person-to-person transactions. As a direct consequence, Public Act 98-127 not only restricts civilians’ access of life-saving protection but also directly affects law enforcement and military personnel, who depend on catalog or online bulk transactions, from acquiring an indispensable part of their gear. Why does that matter in Florida, or any other of the 49 states, you may ask. With New York following Connecticut’s footsteps and queuing up a few body armor restrictions this year the picture could not be clearer since some other anti-gun states are expected to jump on the bandwagon against self-protection for all the wrong reasons. The main drive behind these attempts to forcefully restrict the American people of their constitution given right is the general disarming of America with school shootings bearing the burden of being the excuse.
“The people intent on committing these atrocities outfit themselves with the macabre tools of their trade … and the defensive gear to ensure they do the most damage,” says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center. A D.C.-based gun control research organization.
Although Mr. Sugarmann attempts to make a solid point about how the use of protective gear can, in some situations, hinder police’s attempts at controlling a situation since the criminal can be better protected against police force. To stop the main concern, criminals being better protected from law enforcement, some states have made it illegal for a person with a criminal record ranging from a simple misdemeanor to anyone that has been incarcerated from ever attempting to own any type of body armor or weapon. While this might put a dent in most former criminals attempts at acquiring protection there are still a wide variety of known ways you can acquire bulletproof protection illegal through the internet. So are these laws really helping the public (which should be their sole intention) or are they inadvertently just making it harder for the common law-abiding citizen American to take their safety into their own hands.
Should these restrictions continue to spread across the states we could inevitably find ourselves at a point where choosing protection based on your personal needs will be a thing of the past and only an option for certain law officers and active military personnel; confining citizens to a very limited and compromising number of options for self-preservation. In a country built on the foundation of freedom, having limited options for protections seems to directly interfere with that fundamental right. So does body armor hurt people? Of course not, their invention came from the need to preserve life and minimize injuries. And taking into account that police scanners, radar detectors and night vision binoculars are still 100% legal, we can only ask ourselves; Are we focusing on the problem at hand? Or just demonizing an important life-preserving tool in order to feel a little “safer.”
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The classical definition of “bulletproof” is typically presented as an object’s imperviousness to bullets. With the variety and often overwhelming power of modern munitions, making something impenetrable to every possible munition is impractical. When it comes to wearable bulletproof armor, having something that offers maximum protection while maintaining complete mobility requires some degree of compromise. At least it used to.
The government authority that sets the standards for ballistic armor is the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The NIJ thoroughly tests every vest upon its introduction to the market using their rigorous standardized laboratory methods. The NIJ first started doing these tests to determine which vests would be good enough for police officers and other law enforcement. Since then, the NIJ rating system has become the industry standard for law enforcement, military, and commercially marketed vests. Every vest is given a protection rating which describes what kinds of cartridges the vest is capable of stopping. The ratings serve as a convenient guide to classify and quantify the ballistic capabilities of each vest model.
The chart above outlines the increasing levels of protection at each rating. Level I is only rated for rimfire and archaic cartridges, which are so rare in self-defense situations that no vests are commercially sold with a Level 1 rating. Level IIA describes a vest that is capable of stopping handgun velocity 9mm and other common slow velocity pistol cartridges such as .40 S&W. Level II offers protection against faster moving pistol calibers such as 357 Magnum and pistol calibers shot from carbines. Level IIIA is the highest rating Kevlar vests have been able to achieve thus far. These vests can stop nearly anything fired from a pistol, but they leave their wearer completely exposed to any variety of rifle calibers as well as some of the more exotic armor piercing pistol calibers such as 5.7x28FN. In the past, in order to get full Level III protection, which includes rifle calibers, one would have to spend an exorbitant amount to get hard armor capable of stopping even the lightest rifle cartridges. Because of the inferior steel used in these older vests, they would have to utilize thick, heavy plates in order to offer protection even against some of the more common rifle cartridges. With modern steel processing and hardening methods, it is now possible to get ballistic plates rated beyond Level III+, which is capable of stopping round more powerful than the .308 ball used to certify standard Level III. Level III+ exceeds the standards set by the NIJ and is vastly superior to the common vests used by law enforcement and even most military personnel.
If you’re interested in having the best available protection from a level III+ vest, the Best Body Armor is offering their “Best Bulletproof Vest” on sale now for $299; This vest is rated at NIJ Level III+ so it is more than capable of stopping any full power rifle round one might encounter. Use the Promo Code “BESTVEST” for $25 off any of their vests.
The shocking Man who has run for president 8 times!
Recently I decided to research third party candidates running for President. Since many Americas seemed to be dissatisfied, with both Democrat, and Republican nominees, I thought it would be beneficial to learn more about third party options. The third party candidate that is probably the most likely to be noticed, is Presidential candidate Vermin Supreme. I decided to look into a topic that is widely debated by all politicians, and that is The Second Amendment, particularly Mr. Supremes views on the second amendment. Mr. Supreme is a very flamboyant character, both in appearance, and in political policies. Mr. Supreme can typically be seen wearing a boot on his head, match that with his scraggly beard, he is sure to be noticed. The easiest way for me to describe Mr. Supremes views is in his own words, quote” * * *Happiness is a warm gun(Bang bang, shoot shoot)* *[ Some people say we cannot afford both butter and guns .] * *When I hold you in my arms(Oh yeah)* *[ I say, we can take the butter, if we have the guns .]* So, is Mr. Supreme for the second amendment? I would say yes, while the way he goes about describing his feelings on the second amendment may seem controversial, I believe that the important thing is he is for the right to bear arms, and recommends perhaps a change in mindset of the human race towards violence, in other words people kill people not guns, and maybe what everybody needs is a bullet proof vest. While Mr. Supreme would like to give everybody a pony, if he is elected, perhaps to keep the honest law abiding gun owners safe, he should give us body armor.
What you don’t know about your handgun
What do you do when you purchase a new product? You probably take out the product and toss all the contents that was in the package. The manual may be the most important piece of your new product. The manual holds all the information you NEED to know about the product. The information is there for your safety and for the quality of the product. How does this relate to your new handgun? The first thing you should do when you purchase a new handgun, IS TO READ THE MANUAL! This will help you get to know your new handgun. Each handgun is made a little differently with varying responses. What you think you may know, may not always be the best information. Reading the manual can help with your safety and the maintenance of your new handgun. The manual holds the proper way to assemble and dissembling your gun. Without the proper knowledge of your new equipment, you could potentially hurt others or yourself. You also could ruin your new equipment. On top of maintenance and the proper use, you should also think about how to keep yourself safe. You would need to think of other safety equipment you may need, for example ear plugs or bulletproof vests.
Gary Johnson: Pro 2^nd Amendment
Amongst the Presidential candidates, Gary Johnson is heavily pro 2^nd Amendment. Johnson states, “Americans would be much safer if guns were easily accessible, not restricted.” The majority of the mass shootings that have happened in the US, have been in gun-free zones. Johnson believes that if “law-abiding citizens” were able to carry weapons, that they could have helped the situation. Another stance that Johnson has with the 2^nd amendment, is that there should not be a list banning people from buying guns, without real evidence. Johnson made this stance in response to an opposition party leader’s tweet stating, “the US should ban all gun sales to people on the terrorist list.” Johnson believes that some people on that list are on there erroneously. Although Gary Johnson is pro 2^nd Amendment, he wants the people know that he has an open mind when it comes to gun laws. Johnson believes that the US would be safer if we had guns readily available. But, Johnson also believes we should have some restrictions when it comes to the mentally ill. Johnson is for the people, and wants to make sure they are safe. Our Co. does not formally endorse any candidate but Mr. Johnson is certainly one to keep an eye on as he he has gained the 15% support he needs to be on the national ballot.
Ballistic Body Armor: An alternative to firearms
The growing fear of firearms in our country is something to take notice upon. It is affecting various community groups such as our veterans, friendly gun enthusiasts, and even the hard working parents wanting to protect their families from the upcoming outrage of today’s society. Many are beginning to believe that Anti-gun lobbyists are starting to catch the ears of those in power. Already, gun laws and gun free zones are becoming more and more restricting. What seems to be a way to control firearms in America is becoming a national outrage from our patriotic Americans. As a result, a growing number of civilians are considering a non-lethal alternative to firearms. Civilian body armor is a growing market for those looking for protection without owning a firearm. Body armor can also be the perfect accessory for veterans and gun enthusiasts alike. While it may not be a perfect alternative for personal protection such as a firearm, it is understandable why many have turned to ballistic vests as a means of safety. The image of violence is heavily portrayed when civilians notice the presence of a firearm while a bullet-proof vest seems to be an ultimate tool for true “self-defense” in the ballistics world.
Bulletproof armor: An Introduction
Bulletproof armor is the type of protection most commonly used in all occupations made hazardous due to encounters with firearms. Bulletproof vests protect people by dispersing the energy of a round and deforming it in order to minimize blunt force trauma.
There are many different types of bulletproof vests designed for encounters with certain firearms and situations. For example, there is soft-body armor designed to be more lightweight and concealable as well as tougher body armor that can protect people in intense combat situations.
This report will detail the different types of body armor available, the materials used in the creation of body armor and how armor is categorized according to the National Institute of Justice on Body Armor (NIJ).
National Institute of Justice on body armor: A history
Firearms are one of the most dangerous threats faced by law enforcement officers in the United States, according to the NIJ. During the past three decades, ballistic-resistant soft body armor has saved the lives of more than 3,000 police officers.
Body armor is critical safety equipment that law enforcement and corrections officers need for personal protection. The NIJ establishes and updates performance standards for body armor, conducts testing against these standards to ensure that body armor complies with the standards and sponsors research to improve body armor.
Due to this rigorous testing, police body armor is one of the best-known products resulting from NIJ-funded research. The NIJ’s police body armor performance standard for ballistic resistance is the only national standard for police body armor.
The NIJ standard is known worldwide, and it is the performance benchmarkfor ballistic-resistant body armor.
NIJ on Different types of body armor
Protective vests for law enforcement officers include ballistic-resistant and stab-resistant body armor that provides coverage and protection primarily for the torso. Different kinds of armor protect officers against different kinds of threats.
Ballistic-resistant body armor protects against bullet penetrations and the blunt trauma associated with bullet impacts. This type of armor includes soft body armor that protects against handgun bullets and less flexible tactical armor composed of soft and hard components that protect against rifle bullets.
Also available to officers is stab-resistant body armor that protects against knives and spikes. This type of armor works better for corrections officers.
Manufacturers also create combination armor that protects against both bullets and stabbings.
When purchasing body armor keep in mind what situations one will encounter before choosing.
NIJ body armor levels: General overview
The official U.S. National Institute of Justice Body Armor Classification ranks bulletproof vests and other body protection (made of Kevlar and other materials) on a scale from I to IV for its ability to protect against bullets fired from weapons of different power.
For example, at the low end of the scale, type IIA armor has the ability to protect against smaller handgun bullets; one needsat least 16 layers of Kevlar for this armor. Higher up the scale, type IIIA armor can protect against more powerful handgun bullets such as .44 Magnum; one needs at least 30 layers for this.
It is important to note that even Kevlar has its limits. For protection against rifle bullets (ordinary or armor-piercing), which travel much faster with considerably higher kinetic energy, Kevlar is not enough. Kevlar needs to be combined with steel and ceramic plates for these situations.
Type iia (9mm; .40 s&W)
Type IIA armor that is new and unworn is tested with 9mm Full Metal Jacketed Round Nose (FMJ RN) bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 373 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1225 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .40 S&W Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) bullets with a specified mass of 11.7 g (180 gr) and a velocity of 352 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1155 ft/s ± 30 ft/s)
Conditioned type IIA armor is tested with 9mm FMJRN with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 355 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1165 ft/s ± 30 ft/s)and with .40 S&W FMJ bullets with a specified mass of 11.7 g (180 gr) and a velocity of 325 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1065 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Type ii (9mm; .357 magnum)
Type II armor that is new and unworn is tested with 9 mm FMJ RN bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 398 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1305 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .357 Magnum Jacketed Soft Point (JSP) bullets with a specified mass of 10.2 g (158 gr) and a velocity of 436 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1430 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Conditioned type II armor is tested with 9 mm FMJ RN bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 379 m/s ±9.1 m/s (1245 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .357 Magnum JSP bullets with a specified mass of 10.2 g (158 gr) and a velocity of 408 m/s ±9.1 m/s (1340 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Type iiia (.357 sig; .44 magnum)
Type IIIA armor that is new and unworn is tested with .357 SIG FMJ Flat Nose (FN) bullets with a specified mass of 8.1 g (125 gr) and a velocity of 448 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1470 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .44 Magnum Semi Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP) bullets with a specified mass of 15.6 g (240 gr) and a velocity of 436 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1430 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Type IIIA armor that has been conditioned is tested with .357 SIG FMJ FN bullets with a specified mass of 8.1 g (125 gr) and a velocity of 430 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1410 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .44 Magnum SJHP bullets with a specified mass of 15.6 g (240 gr) and a velocity of 408 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1340 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Type III (Rifles)
Type III hard armor or plate inserts shall are tested in a conditioned state with 7.62 mm FMJ, steel jacketed bullets (U.S. Military designation M80) with a specified mass of9.6 g (147 gr) and a velocity of 847 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2780 ft/s ± 30 ft/s)
Type III flexible armor is tested in both the “as new” state and the conditioned state with 7.62 mm FMJ, steel jacketed bullets (U.S. Military designation M80) with a specified massof 9.6 g (147 gr) and a velocity of 847 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2780 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
For a Type III hard armor or plate insert that will be tested as an in conjunction design, the flexible armor is tested in accordance with this standard and found compliant as a stand-alone armor at its specified threat level.
NIJ-approved hard armors and plate inserts must be clearly labeled as providing ballistic protection only when worn in conjunction with the NIJ-approved flexible armor system with which they were tested.
Type IV (Armor Piercing Rifle)
Type IV hard armor or plate inserts are tested in a conditioned state with .30 caliber armor piercing (AP) bullets (U.S. Military designation M2 AP) with a specified mass of 10.8 g (166 gr) and a velocity of 878 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2880 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
Type IV flexible armor is tested in both the “as new” state and the conditioned state with .30 caliber AP bullets (U.S. Military designation M2 AP) with a specified mass of 10.8 g (166 gr) and a velocity of 878 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2880 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).
For a Type IV hard armor or plate insert that will be tested as an in conjunction design, the flexible armor is tested in accordancewith this standard and found compliant as astand-alone armor at its specified threat level.
NIJ-approved hard armors and plate inserts must be clearly labeled as providing ballistic protection only when worn in conjunction with the NIJ-approved flexible armor system with which they were tested.
Soft Armor Vs. Hard Armor
There are two types of body armor: Hard and Soft armor. Each type has their own strengths and weaknesses. Hard body armor is made of ballistic steel or ceramic or other similar, inflexible material. Soft body armor is made from Kevlar, Spectra, Twaron, or any other fabric-like ballistic material. Hard body armor is much stronger than soft body armor – only hard armor is capable of defeating rifle caliber ammunition and some types of armor-piercing ammunition.
Soft armor is only capable of stopping low-velocity projectiles like handgun bullets, shotgun pellets and fragmentation from explosions. Hard armor is capable of stopping all the aforementioned threats, but it can also defeat high-velocity projectiles from rifles and shotgun slugs.
Soft Armor is strong but relatively light. The specific tensile strength of both Kevlar 29 and Kevlar 49 is over eight times greater than that of steel wire, and unlike most plastics, it does not melt. Kevlar is reasonably good at withstanding temperatures and decomposes only at about 450 degrees Celsius (850 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike its sister material, Nomex, Kevlar can be ignited but burning usually stops when the heat source is removed.
Very low temperatures have no effect on Kevlar: DuPont found, “no embrittlement or degradation,” down to -196 degrees Celsius (-320 degrees Fahrenheit).
Kevlar can resist attacks from many different chemicals, though long exposure to strong acids or bases will degrade it over time.
In DuPont’s tests, Kevlar remained “virtually unchanged” after exposure to hot water for more than 200 days and its super-strong properties are “virtually unaffected” by moisture.
Whereas with Hard armor, there is no fear that it is going to melt on the wearer, or degrade after long term usage and ownership. The wearer knows that it is strong, and can last them a lifetime of use.
Bulletproof armor is essential for those working in occupations that expose them to firearms. Most Americans are having the growing realization that owning body armor is now important, and can be the difference between life or death. Body Armor can be made in a varied set of ways for different situations and types of firearms encountered. Through careful consideration and analysis, law enforcement agencies and other security personnel can acquire the vest best suited to their needs, which would be Hard Armor. It is the strongest, and most durable out of all of the choices, and will never let the wearer down when it comes to protection.
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Stab Resistance of Personal Body Armor, NIJ Standard-0115.00
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Ballistic Resistance of Body Armor NIJ Standard-0101.06
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