Is there a need for protection to travel?
In this modern day and age filled with advanced monitoring and securing technology, a civilian should feel safe to travel freely. America was founded on ideals of freedom and inalienable rights for all people, however, there has been a statistical spike in domestically incubated attacks, the most recent being the Ft. Lauderdale airport attack on the evening of January 6, 2017. According to police and civilian testimony on the evening in question, the suspected shooter, Esteban Santiago, was able to get a loaded weapon into the airport and quickly open fire on a crowd accumulated at the baggage claim, resulting in 5 innocent civilians that were killed and 8 were drastically injured. In a post 9/11 secured airport, a lot of the population are forced to wonder, “How it was possible that Santiago was able to infiltrate with a loaded weapon?”. According to TSA security standards, fire arms can be transported in a checked bag while contained in a locked, hard shell box that can only be opened by the owner. In addition, all bullets must be in carry on, this is to assert the idea that because the ammunition is separated from the fire arm then one cannot use the firearm on flight. This clause, usually used by hunters, has not been exploited for an attack since the 1972 shooting by Japanese Red Army in Tel Aviv. With the misuse of this stipulation has caused a surge in questions of national security in airports. The alleged shooter is a veteran who was relieved from the National Guard in 2011. He also had a recent and increasing history of domestic violence with in the year prior to shooting. The suspect has even been reported to have contacted authorities in April, stating that he was suffering from terroristic thoughts and was seeking help. Following contact with Alaskan FBI agents, he was put on a 72 hour psych hold, then he was released; with the stipulation of follow up appointments and medication. He also had a recent and increasing history of police encounters and domestic violence. After all these red flags, security stipulations, and evaluation, he was still able to gain his fire arm back from the agency.
Surge in Uncertainty
This causes a lot of uncertainty to the idea that we all are protected and shielded from these types of attacks. We often see it in other countries, but never think it could or would happen to us for we are the land of the free. But the reality is, we are living in a time where no one person can guarantee safety, for you or your loved ones. So why not take matters into your own hands, by investing in preventative measures. By investing in your own safety standard, you can gain a sense of peace in these turbulent times. Purchasing a bullet proof vest is a precautionary measure that could one day be the difference between survival and death. Not just any vest, you should invest in one that ensures quality, adheres and exceeds to government NIJ standards.
Rhino Body Armor: Your solution to safety assurance
Rhino Body Armor is a company that strives to guarantee safe and excellence in every aspect of our vests. Our vest are complied with quality AR500 hard armor with one of a kind tactical plate carriers, all American made. You can also feel safe in knowing that all vest are lab tested and field tested to ensure safety. Each is a shooters cut plate which, unlike standard square plates, capitalize on coverage and mobility. With an array of colors and plates ranging from NIJ I to NIJ III (Max), we have the ability to customize your vest to your safety specifications. Our vests also provide stab, spike, and edged blade protection for each user. The best part about our vest is that each comes with a 10 year warranty! You can rely on our vest technology to provide an added sense of protection during this surge in insecurity. Remember, it is your right to ensure the safety and protection of your loved ones and yourself.
Advanced ceramics took the materials industry by storm in the early 90’s as the wave into the future. They are often lightweight, strong, and impervious to rust or other common forms of degradation. Ceramic plates are currently used by the United States military because of their marginally higher level of protection compared to more traditional materials. Yet despite their often high-tech reputation, when it comes to applications in ballistic armors, they have a few pronounced drawbacks.
While ceramic ballistic plates can have tensile strengths and hardness levels surpassing hardened steel, they do so at a price. In order to achieve their extreme hardness ratings, ceramic plates become very brittle as a result. In this way, their hardness actually becomes their greatest weakness. In their initial condition, ceramic ballistic plates offer one cohesive strike surface to catch incoming rounds, as the round impacts, the hardness of the ceramic deforms the soft lead, typically aerodynamic bullet into a much flatter mush of semi-molten lead. This now un-fluid dynamic projectile will have a much harder time penetrating through the inner layers of the vest now, so the vest can function and stop the round. As a result of the impact however, the ceramic often cracks under the great force delivered by the projectile. For each subsequent hit, the ceramic plate has less and less strength to counter the force of the bullet and stop it from penetrating. Ceramic plates have a finite number of rounds they can stop effectively, and typically they must be replaced after each hit.
Ceramic plates are extremely hard to manufacture and often times fail quality control during the production process. Due to the exotic materials required and the failure intensive manufacturing processes, the cost of ballistic ceramic plates is the highest in the current bulletproof vest market. Per plate, ceramic plates cost at least 200% more than their steel alternatives. To put our military’s current ballistic plates in perspective in regards to cost, a NIJ Level III+ steel plate typically costs around $150, a single Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert plate used in the US Army’s IOTV (Improved Outer Tactical Vest) can cost up to $600. To put that into perspective, a steel vest with two full AR-500 plates and carrier can be found for only $300.
The combination of their fragility and high cost makes ceramic plates impractical for civilian purposes. While advanced ceramic plates are rated half a step higher on the NIJ rating scale, the negatives associated with using ceramic as a bulletproofing material become more pronounced on the consumer level. While the US military has a vast supply network to replace damaged vests on the field, the civilian does not have this option. Should there be a WROL situation, there is no supply line to get you a new vest should you take a hit, and you would have to work with what you have. The second issue also becomes more pronounced when individually financed. Unlike the military that has the law of large numbers working on their side, an individual that takes a round to a ceramic vest must pay to replace that vest. If working in dangerous environments, the odds of being hit with a second round increases drastically. Your likelihood of getting shot increases the more times you have already been shot.
In terms of consumer-level practicality, the durability and cost of traditional steel plates wins compared to the still new ceramics. While this may change in the future, for right now, the simple AR-500 steel plate makes the most sense for bulletproof protection for the everyday civilian.
While many people mark up the cost of vests made with AR500 steel, thebestbodyarmor.com offers these vests for only $299 right now so that you can afford the protection you need. You can even get $25 off your vest by using promo code “bestvest” at checkout. Unlike a vest that uses ceramic, these vests will protect you against multiple hits and provide the maximum protection for the wearer.
Prepping has unique and particular characteristics that make choosing tactical gear a little bit more complicated. For the typical “operator”, price is of secondary importance to performance. Take for instance the wild success of Sig Sauer and HK pistols in the U.S. The same goes for plate carriers and ballistic plates. Ceramics offer the highest performance, but are also fragile and expensive, typically 3-10 times more than an equivalent AR500 steel or Kevlar plate. Yet, for the prepper, that money could be better spent on other things and infrastructure that would be of more utility. Every dollar of a particular prepping budget needs to be appropriately and efficiently allocated to maximize utility and ensure a breadth of needs covered.
The second consideration is time. Prepping is all about having affairs settled and stored away for when they may be needed. Many people do not consider that Kevlar bulletproof vests have a very short shelf life of only a few years before the fibers start to decay, even when unworn. Exposed to UV radiation and heat, they can become ineffective in only a few months. Adding in their inherent inability to stop even lightweight rifle calibers like 5.56×45 (the cartridge utilized by the most popular rifle in the US, the AR-15) it becomes clear that a Kevlar vest is not an effective nor long lasting solution to personal ballistic protection in a prepping situation.
Why not Ceramic then?
Ceramic plates suffer from an equally disastrous fault in their nature. Keeping in mind the already exorbitantly high price of ceramic plates, they also have a tendency to crack and fracture when tossed around. While this may seem silly, a simple task of throwing your carrier into the bed of a truck can compromise the integrity of a ceramic plate. The worst part of this is, there is typically no visible signs that this has occurred. Ballistic ceramic plates are typically constructed of a few different layers sandwiched together. As it has been shown in real world testing, the inner layers can crack, while the outer ones remain visibly fine. This results in a constant state of uncertainty and given that they are so expensive to replace, most choose not to as frequently as they should.
Both ceramic and kevlar plates suffer from yet another common disadvantage, though this one is a bit more drastic. Both kevlar and steel plates need to be replaced after every hit. While a Level IV ceramic plate may stop a tiny 5.56 round equally as well as an AR500 steel plate, each hit significantly compromises the integrity and ballistic ability of the ceramic plate. In comparison, AR500 steel can take tons of hits, even in the same area depending on the loading. At intermediate ranges, even rifle rounds can be stopped near indefinitely. AR500 steel is the most common and effective target steel, and is used throughout the world in shooting ranges for both pistol and intermediate range rifle. AR500 steel is chosen because it lasts the longest of any material subjected to the kind of continuous ballistic trauma a gun range has to offer. As an added bonus, AR500 steel does not deteriorate in the sun and is relatively rust resistant, so it can be kept out in the range without having to be brought in constantly. This kind of reliability and ruggedness is what makes AR500 perfect for use in prepping bulletproof vests. It can be stored basically indefinitely and can take punishment for years without needing to be replaced, the kind of attributes that make it invaluable in a prepping scenario where it may be impossible to buy another vest later down the road.
Thebestbodyarmor.com offers only the best solid state bulletproof vests made of AR500 steel in order to provide the best, longest lasting protection available at a cheaper cost. You can receive $25 off your vest at checkout by using promo code “bestvest.”
When it comes to bulletproof vests, Kevlar is the most widely used material in the US. However, Kevlar isn’t the most effective material on the market anymore. Soft Kevlar vests are only effective against pistol rounds. No Kevlar vest on the market today reliably passes NIJ Level III certification and therefore is not effective against rifle calibers. Kevlar is susceptible to the high speed, small diameter projectiles used in modern rifle calibers. The small, fast rounds slip right in between the fibers and pass through the vest barely slowed down. Steel on the other hand is a homogeneous material; it is one solid piece of material of constant composition. 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.
The AR-500 steel used in hard bulletproof vests is also used at gun ranges for steel targets. AR-500 armor is capable of withstanding thousands upon thousands of pistol rounds even at short range. The soft lead and low energy of pistol rounds does not cause the steel to deform or deteriorate. Kevlar vests are not capable of withstanding a lot of rounds, especially in the same areas. With each shot, the fibers around the area of impact are stretched and oftentimes break. As this occurs, the effectiveness of the vest overall is reduced. This is why Kevlar vests must be replaced every time they are shot.
A Kevlar vest will never last a lifetime. The ballistic Kevlar used in soft vests only has a shelf life of about five years, and that decreases dramatically when actually worn, exposed to heat, or UV radiation. While this is not an issue for large police departments or military units, for the individual, replacing an overt vest that is likely sitting in a closet as insurance every five years is not only tedious but also expensive. Coated AR-500 ballistic steel will last indefinitely and retain its effectiveness.
Soft Kevlar vests have a major disadvantage compared to hard vests in preventing trauma. While a soft Kevlar vest will stop some bullets, it still transfers most of the energy of the projectile into the wearer’s body in a localized area around the point of impact. This energy causes the Kevlar to deform and push into the wearer, affecting his or her internal organs. In the best-case scenario, this energy transfer does not do any harm. At the worst case, being shot results in broken ribs, internal organ damage, and possibly even internal bleeding and trauma that can still result in death or hospitalization. Steel vests, due to their rigid nature, spread out the force of bullet impact over the entire surface area of the plate and is therefore much less likely to cause serious internal damage to the user.
Rifle-rated Level III+ steel vests are no longer much more expensive than their Kevlar counterparts. Adding in their longer shelf life and repeated hit abilities reducing their need to be replaced, a one-time purchase of an AR500 steel vest can offer decades of rifle protection whereas a Kevlar vest will only last 5 years even unused while offering minimal protection. While steel vests are still slightly heavier than Kevlar vests, their enhanced protective capabilities and rugged durability more than make up for their slight weight disadvantage.
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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.