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Body Armor

History

  1. Spans millennia, from ancient civilizations to contemporary advancements. Let’s explore its journey:
  2. Ancient peoples, including those in Egypt and China around 3100 BC, pioneered early forms of body armor to protect warriors from projectiles.
  3. Plate armor, worn by knights from the 5th to 15th centuries, offered comprehensive protection against swords and arrows.
  4. The Industrial Revolution, occurring from the late 18th to early 20th centuries, facilitated the development of stronger ballistic protection through refined metalworking techniques.
  5. World Wars I and II, which took place in the early to mid-20th century, witnessed significant advancements in ballistic armor technology, leading to the introduction of vests fortified with steel or ceramic plates.
  6. In recent decades, there have been groundbreaking strides in body armor technology, focusing on lightweight, flexible designs and advanced materials like Kevlar and Dyneema.
  7. In the United States, body armor undergoes rigorous testing and certification by the National Institute of Justice, ensuring adherence to stringent standards for ballistic protection, as outlined in the NIJ 0101.06 standard.

Today

  1. Not all armor can withstand multiple hits, and repeated shots in the same location can compromise its effectiveness.
  2. Being shot while wearing armor can still cause significant harm, such as broken ribs, internal bleeding, or bruising.
  3. Armor varies greatly in price, materials, and quality.
  4. Armor is designed to defeat specific rounds and calibers, not all threats.
  5. Steel plates alone are ineffective and can cause harm due to bullet fragmentation.

Factors to consider

  1. Ballistics, cost, and weight are key factors in choosing armor.
  2. You can prioritize two out of three factors: cost, weight, or ballistic performance.
  3. For most civilians, cost is a primary consideration.
  4. Weight is crucial, as heavy armor can impair mobility and increase the risk of injury.

Types of armor

  1. Soft armor is made of ballistic fibers like Kevlar or UHMWP and is concealable and flexible. Suitable for everyday wear but will not stop rifle rounds. It is preferred by police officers and security professionals, made of thick layers of tough fabric to spread impact
  2. Hard armor consists of plates made from materials like UHMWP, ceramic, or steel and requires a carrier. It offers better protection against projectiles & is popular among civillians but is bulkier and less concealable. It is heavier and less flexible than soft armor, suitable for real combat scenarios with high NIJ protection ratings.

Threat considerations

  1. Different armor levels protect against specific threats, with soft armor mainly for pistol rounds and hard armor for rifles.
  2. Ballistic armor levels vary, and it’s essential to familiarize yourself with each level’s capabilities.

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