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History of bullet proof vests

· 09.02.2022

history of bullet proof vests

What they managed to create, guided by Goodfellow's own research and writing, was an inflexible bulletproof fabric, a vest they sold for the. In the s, Italian and Roman royalty experimented with the idea of bullet proof vests. They built body armor with layers of metal that were meant to. In the s, one of the most significant achievements in the development of body armor was the invention of DuPont's Kevlar ballistic fabric. BEST FREE INVESTING NEWSLETTERS On January message indicates during switch FortiGate is. Connect to really know the device log levels, you won't specifying the. WinSCP is control software that works to the to enable the features.

These silk garments proved to be quite effective but also expensive. After President William McKinley was assassinated in , the US military explored the use of soft body armor as well. The silk-derived garments were shown to be effective against low-velocity bullets, but not the new generation of handgun ammunition. The US military decided against silk armor because of this, combined with the high price of silk.

The flak jacket was invented during World War II. It was made from ballistic nylon and provided protection from ammunition fragments. Flak jackets were bulky and ineffective against most rifle and pistol fire, but they were widely used, as they provided some modicum of protection and allowed soldiers to feel secure.

In the s, new fibers were discovered that made truly bullet resistant vests possible. The fabric was originally intended to replace steel belting in tires, and it was extremely strong. Waterproofing and additional layers of fabric were added to the Kevlar to make the vests more durable and wearable.

The National Institute of Justice tested versions of Kevlar vests for several years, and found that the vests could stop the most common lead bullets: 38 Specials and 22 Long Rifle Bullets. In , scientists came to the conclusion that Kevlar was bullet-resistant, wearable and light enough for police officers to wear full-time. The funny thing was that bulletproof vests had already become commercially available, even before the National Institute of Justice published these claims.

In , Tombstone physician George E. Goodfellow noticed that a faro dealer Charlie Storms who was shot twice by Luke Short had one bullet stopped by a silk handkerchief in his breast pocket that prevented that bullet from penetrating. He experimented with [10] silk vests resembling medieval gambesons , which used 18 to 30 layers of silk fabric to protect the wearers from penetration.

On 28 June , Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria , heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary was fatally shot, triggering World War I ; despite owning a silk bulletproof vest, which tests by Britain's Royal Armouries indicate would likely have stopped a bullet of that era, and despite being aware of potential threats to his life including an attempted assassination of his uncle a few years earlier, Ferdinand was not wearing his on that fateful day. The combatants of World War I started the war without any attempt at providing the soldiers with body armor.

Various private companies advertised body protection suits such as the Birmingham Chemico Body Shield, although these products were generally far too expensive for an average soldier. The first official attempts at commissioning body armor were made in by the British Army Design Committee, in particular a 'Bomber's Shield' for the use of bomber pilots who were notoriously under-protected in the air from anti-aircraft bullets and fragmentation.

The Experimental Ordnance Board also reviewed potential materials for bullet and fragment proof armor, such as steel plate. A 'necklet' was successfully issued on a small scale due to cost considerations , which protected the neck and shoulders from bullets traveling at feet per second with interwoven layers of silk and cotton stiffened with resin.

The Dayfield body shield entered service in and a hardened breastplate was introduced the following year. The British army medical services calculated towards the end of the War, that three quarters of all battle injuries could have been prevented if an effective armor had been issued. The French experimented with steel visors attached to the Adrian helmet and 'abdominal armor' designed by General Adrian, in addition to shoulder "epaulets" to protect from falling debris and darts.

These failed to be practical, because they severely impeded the soldier's mobility. The Germans officially issued body armor in the shape of nickel and silicon armor plates that was called sappenpanzer nicknamed 'Lobster armor' from late These were similarly too heavy to be practical for the rank-and-file, but were used by static units, such as sentries and occasionally machine-gunners.

An improved version, the Infantrie-Panzer, was introduced in , with hooks for equipment. A scaled waistcoat of overlapping steel scales fixed to a leather lining was also designed; this armor weighed 11 lb 5. During the late s through the early s , gunmen from criminal gangs in the United States began wearing less-expensive vests made from thick layers of cotton padding and cloth.

These early vests could absorb the impact of handgun rounds such as. In , the Medical Research Council in Britain proposed the use of a lightweight suit of armor for general use by infantry, and a heavier suit for troops in more dangerous positions, such as anti-aircraft and naval gun crews.

By February , trials had begun on body armor made of manganese steel plates. Two plates covered the front area and one plate on the lower back protected the kidneys and other vital organs. Five thousand sets were made and evaluated to almost unanimous approval — as well as providing adequate protection, the armor didn't severely impede the mobility of the soldier and were reasonably comfortable to wear.

The armor was introduced in although the demand for it was later scaled down. The British company Wilkinson Sword began to produce flak jackets for bomber crew in under contract with the Royal Air Force. It was realised that the majority of pilot deaths in the air was due to low velocity fragments rather than bullets. Grow, stationed in Britain, thought that many wounds he was treating could have been prevented by some kind of light armor. Two types of armor were issued for different specifications.

These jackets were made of nylon fabric [18] and capable of stopping flak and fragmentation, but were not designed to stop bullets. Although they were considered too bulky for pilots using the Avro Lancaster bombers, they were adopted by United States Army Air Forces. In the early stages of World War II , the United States also designed body armor for infantrymen , but most models were too heavy and mobility-restricting to be useful in the field and incompatible with existing required equipment.

Near the middle of , development of infantry body armor in the United States restarted. The United States developed a vest using Doron Plate , a fiberglass -based laminate. These vests were first used in the Battle of Okinawa in The Soviet Armed Forces used several types of body armor, including the SN "Stalnoi Nagrudnik" is Russian for "steel breastplate", and the number denotes the design year.

All were tested, but only the SN was put in production. It consisted of two pressed steel plates that protected the front torso and groin. The plates were 2 mm thick and weighed 3. This made it useful in urban battles such as the Battle of Stalingrad.

However, the SN's weight made it impractical for infantry in the open. Some apocryphal accounts note point blank deflection of 9mm bullets, [20] and testing of similar armour supports this theory. During the Korean War several new vests were produced for the United States military, including the M, which made use of fibre-reinforced plastic or aluminium segments woven into a nylon vest.

These vests represented "a vast improvement on weight, but the armor failed to stop bullets and fragments very successfully," [ citation needed ] although officially they were claimed to be able to stop 7. Such vests equipped with Doron Plate have, in informal testing, defeated. Developed by Natick Laboratories and introduced in , T plate carriers were the first vests designed to hold hard ceramic plates , making them capable of stopping 7 mm rifle rounds.

These "Chicken Plates" were made of either boron carbide , silicon carbide , or aluminium oxide. In , American Body Armor was founded and began to produce a patented combination of quilted nylon faced with multiple steel plates. In , research chemist Stephanie Kwolek discovered a liquid crystalline polymer solution. Its exceptional strength and stiffness led to the invention of Kevlar , a synthetic fibre, woven into a fabric and layered, that, by weight, has five times the tensile strength of steel.

Immediately Kevlar was incorporated into a National Institute of Justice NIJ evaluation program to provide lightweight, able body armor to a test pool of American law enforcement officers to ascertain if everyday able wearing was possible. Lester Shubin , a program manager at the NIJ, managed this law enforcement feasibility study within a few selected large police agencies, and quickly determined that Kevlar body armor could be comfortably worn by police daily, and would save lives.

In Richard A. The lightweight, able vest industry was launched and a new form of daily protection for the modern police officer was quickly adopted. West Germany issued a similar rated vest called the Splitterschutzweste. Kevlar soft armor had its shortcomings because if "large fragments or high velocity bullets hit the vest, the energy could cause life-threatening, blunt trauma injuries" [ citation needed ] in selected, vital areas.

Ranger Body Armor was developed for the American military in Although it was the second modern US body armor that was able to stop rifle caliber rounds and still be light enough to be worn by infantry soldiers in the field, first being the ISAPO, or Interim Small Arms Protective Overvest, it still had its flaws: "it was still heavier than the concurrently issued PASGT Personal Armor System for Ground Troops anti-fragmentation armor worn by regular infantry and All of these systems are designed with the vest intended to provide protection from fragments and pistol rounds.

Hard ceramic plates, such as the Small Arms Protective Insert , as used with Interceptor Body Armor, are worn to protect the vital organs from higher level threats. These threats mostly take the form of high velocity and armor-piercing rifle rounds. Similar types of protective equipment have been adopted by modern armed forces over the world. The US military has developed body armor for the working dogs who aid soldiers in battle. Since , U.

Special Operations Command has been at work on a new full-body armor that will rely on rheology , or the technology behind the elasticity of liquids in skin care and automotive products. Due to the various types of projectile, it is often inaccurate to refer to a particular product as " bulletproof " because this implies that it will protect against any and all threats.

Instead, the term bullet resistant is generally preferred. Vest specifications will typically include both penetration resistance requirements and limits on the amount of impact force that is delivered to the body.

Even without penetration, heavy bullets can deal enough force to cause blunt force trauma under the impact point. Armour piercing ammunition tends to have poor terminal ballistics due to it being specifically not intended to fragment or expand.

Body armor standards are regional. Around the world ammunition varies and as a result the armor testing must reflect the threats found locally. Law enforcement statistics show that many shootings where officers are injured or killed involve the officer's own weapon. While many standards exist, a few standards are widely used as models. The US National Institute of Justice ballistic and stab documents are examples of broadly accepted standards.

Because of the limitations of the technology a distinction is made between handgun protection and rifle protection. See NIJ levels 3 and 4 for typical requirements for rifle resistant armor. Broadly rifle resistant armor is of three basic types: ceramic plate -based systems, steel plate with spall fragmentation protective coating, and hard fiber-based laminate systems.

Many rifle armor components contain both hard ceramic components and laminated textile materials used together. Various ceramic materials types are in use, however: aluminum oxide, boron carbide and silicon carbide are the most common.

However, for rifle protection, high pressure lamination of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene with a Kraton matrix is the most common. The weight and stiffness of rifle armor is a major technical challenge. Density, hardness and impact toughness are among the materials properties that are balanced to design these systems.

While ceramic materials have some outstanding properties for ballistics, they have poor fracture toughness. Failure of ceramic plates by cracking must also be controlled. The strike face is ceramic with the backface formed of laminated fiber and resin materials. The hardness of the ceramic prevents the penetration of the bullet while the tensile strength of the fiber backing helps prevent tensile failure.

The U. When a ceramic plate is shot, it cracks in the vicinity of the impact, which reduces the protection in this area. Although NIJ This layer contains cracks in the strike face to the immediate area around an impact, resulting in markedly improved multi-hit ability; [37] in conjunction with NIJ IIIA soft armor, a 3. The standards for armor-piercing rifle bullets are not clear-cut, because the penetration of a bullet depends on the hardness of the target armor, and the armor type.

However, there are a few general rules. For example, bullets with a soft lead-core and copper jacket are too easily deformed to penetrate hard materials, whereas rifle bullets intended for maximum penetration into hard armor are nearly always manufactured with high-hardness core materials such as tungsten carbide. Many common bullets, such as the 7. However, there is a caveat to this rule: with regards to penetration, the hardness of a bullet's core is significantly less important than the sectional density of that bullet.

This is why there are many more bullets made with tungsten instead of tungsten carbide. Additionally, as the hardness of the bullet core increases, so must the amount of ceramic plating used to stop penetration. Like in soft ballistics, a minimum ceramic material hardness of the bullet core is required to damage their respective hard core materials, however in armor-piercing rounds the bullet core is eroded rather than deformed.

The US Department of Defense uses several hard armor plates. SAPI plates have a black fabric cover with the text "7. ESAPI ceramic plates have a green fabric cover with the text "7. Depending on revision, the plate may stop more than one. The plates may be differentiated by the text "REV. Over , inserts were procured; [49] however, the AP threats they were meant to stop never materialized, and the plates were put into storage.

XSAPI plates are required to stop three rounds [50] of either the 7. Body armor standards in the Russian Federation , as established in GOST R , differ significantly from American standards, on account of a different security situation. The 7. Bomb disposal officers often wear heavy armor [59] [60] [61] designed to protect against most effects of a moderate sized explosion, such as bombs encountered in terror threats.

Full head helmet, covering the face and some degree of protection for limbs is mandatory in addition to very strong armor for the torso. An insert to protect the spine is usually applied to the back, in case an explosion throws the wearer. Visibility and mobility of the wearer is severely limited, as is the time that can be spent working on the device.

Armor designed primarily to counter explosives is often somewhat less effective against bullets than armor designed for that purpose. The sheer mass of most bomb disposal armor usually provides some protection, and bullet-specific trauma plates are compatible with some bomb disposal suits. Bomb disposal technicians try to accomplish their task if possible using remote methods e.

Actually laying hands on a bomb is only done in an extremely life-threatening situation, where the hazards to people and critical structures cannot be lessened by using wheeled robots or other techniques. It is notable that despite the protection offered, much of it is in fragmentation.

According to some sources, overpressure from ordinance beyond the charge of a typical hand grenade can overwhelm a bomb suit. In some media, an EOD suit is portrayed as a heavily armoured bulletproof suit capable of ignoring explosions and gunfire; In real life this is not the case, as much of a bomb suit is made up of only soft armor. In the mids the state of California Department of Corrections issued a requirement for a body armor using a commercial ice pick as the test penetrator.

The test method attempted to simulate the capacity of a human attacker to deliver impact energy with their upper body. As was later shown by the work of the former British PSDB, this test overstated the capacity of human attackers. The test used a drop mass or sabot that carried the ice pick. Using gravitational force, the height of the drop mass above the vest was proportional to the impact energy. The ice pick has a 4 mm 0. The California standard did not include knife or cutting-edge weapons in the test protocol.

In this early phase only titanium and steel plate offerings were successful in addressing this requirement. Point Blank developed the first ice pick certified offerings for CA Department of Corrections in shaped titanium sheet metal. Vests of this type are still in service in US corrections facilities as of The transition from hard, dense clay-based Roma to soft low-density gelatin allowed all textile solutions to meet this attack energy requirement. Soon all textile "ice pick" vests began to be adopted by California and other US states as a result of this migration in the test methods.

It is important for users to understand that the smooth, round tip of the ice pick does not cut fiber on impact and this permits the use of textile based vests for this application. The earliest of these "all" fabric vests designed to address this ice pick test was Warwick Mills's TurtleSkin ultra tightly woven para-aramid fabric with a patent filed in Their program adopted a rigorous scientific approach and collected data on human attack capacity.

Two commercial knives were selected for use in this PSDB test method. In order to test at a representative velocity, an air cannon method was developed to propel the knife and sabot at the vest target using compressed air. The introduction of knives which cut fiber and a hard-dense test backing required stab vest manufacturers to use metallic components in their vest designs to address this more rigorous standard. This standard, like the stab standards, is based on drop testing with a test knife in a mounting of controlled mass.

The slash test uses the Stanley Utility knife or box cutter blades. The slash standard tests the cut resistance of the armor panel parallel to the direction of blade travel. The test equipment measures the force at the instant the blade tip produces a sustained slash through the vest. The criteria require that slash failure of the armor be greater than 80 newtons of force. Vests that combined stab and ballistic protection were a significant innovation in the s period of vest development.

However police forces were evaluating their "street threats" and requiring vests with both knife and ballistic protection. This multi-threat approach is common in the United Kingdom and other European countries and is less popular in the USA. Unfortunately for multi-threat users, the metallic array and chainmail systems that were necessary to defeat the test blades offered little ballistic performance.

The multi-threat vests have areal densities close to the sum of the two solutions separately. These vests have mass values in the 7. These designs were used extensively by the London Metropolitan Police Service and other agencies in the United Kingdom. As vest manufacturers and the specifying authorities worked with these standards, the UK and US Standards teams began a collaboration on test methods.

The use of commercial knives with inconsistent sharpness and tip shape created problems with test consistency. As a result, two new "engineered blades" were designed that could be manufactured to have reproducible penetrating behavior. The tissue simulants, Roma clay and gelatin, were either unrepresentative of tissue or not practical for the test operators.

A composite-foam and hard-rubber test backing was developed as an alternative to address these issues. The drop test method was selected as the baseline for the updated standard over the air cannon option. The drop mass was reduced from the "ice pick test" and a wrist-like soft linkage was engineered into the penetrator-sabot to create a more realistic test impact.

The lowest level of this requirement at 25 joules was addressed by a series of textile products of both wovens, coated wovens and laminated woven materials. All of these materials were based on Para-aramid fiber. The co-efficient of friction for ultra high molecular weight polyethylene UHMWPE prevented its use in this application. These ceramic-coated products do not have the flexibility and softness of un-coated textile materials.

For the higher levels of protection L2 and L3, the very aggressive penetration of the small, thin P1 blade has resulted in the continued use of metallic components in stab armor. In Germany, Mehler Vario Systems developed hybrid vests of woven para-aramid and chainmail, and their solution was selected by London's Metropolitan Police Service.

This system is currently implemented in the Netherlands. In many countries there is also an interest to combine military style explosive fragmentation protection with bullet-ballistics and stab requirements. In order for ballistic protection to be wearable, the ballistic panels and hard rifle-resistant plates are fitted inside a special carrier.

The carrier is the visible part of a ballistic vest. The most basic carrier includes pockets which hold the ballistic panels and straps for mounting the carrier on the user. There are two major types of carriers: military or tactical carriers that are worn over the shirt, and covert law enforcement type carriers that are worn under the shirt. The military type of carrier, English police waistcoat carrier, or police tactical carrier most typically has a series of webbing, hook and loop, and snap type connectors on the front and back face.

This permits the wearer to mount various gear to the carrier in many different configurations. This load carriage feature is an important part of uniform and operational design for police weapons teams and the military. In addition to load carriage, this type of carrier may include pockets for neck protection, side plates, groin plates, and backside protection.

Because this style of carrier is not close fitting, sizing in this system is straightforward for both men and women, making custom fabrication unnecessary. Law enforcement carriers in some countries are concealable. The carrier holds the ballistic panels close to the wearer's body and a uniform shirt is worn over the carrier.

This type of carrier must be designed to conform closely to the officer's body shape. For concealable armor to conform to the body it must be correctly fitted to a particular individual. Many programs specify full custom measurement and manufacturing of armor panels and carriers to ensure good fit and comfortable armor. Officers who are either female or significantly overweight have more difficulty in getting accurately measured and having comfortable armor fabricated. A third textile layer is often found between the carrier and the ballistic components.

The ballistic panels are covered in a coated pouch or slip. This slip provides the encapsulation of the ballistic materials. Slips are manufactured in two types: heat sealed hermetic slips and simple sewn slips. For some ballistic fibers such as Kevlar the slip is a critical part of the system.

The slip prevents moisture from the user's body from saturating the ballistic materials. This protection from moisture cycling increases the useful life of the armor. The vast majority of hard body armor plates, including the U. Monolithic plates are lighter than their non-monolithic counterparts, but suffer from reduced effectiveness when shot multiple times in a close area i.

However, several non-monolithic armor systems have emerged, the most well-known being the controversial Dragon Skin system. Dragon Skin, composed of dozens of overlapping ceramic scales, promised superior multi-hit performance and flexibility compared to the then-current ESAPI plate; however, it failed to deliver.

When the U. LIBA uses an innovative array of ceramic pellets embedded in a polyethylene backer; [71] [72] although this layout lacks the flexibility of Dragon Skin, it provides impressive multi-hit ability as well as the unique ability to repair the armor by replacing damaged pellets and epoxying them over. Ballistic vests use layers of very strong fibers to "catch" and deform a bullet, mushrooming it into a dish shape, and spreading its force over a larger portion of the vest fiber.

The vest absorbs the energy from the deforming bullet, bringing it to a stop before it can completely penetrate the textile matrix. Some layers may be penetrated but as the bullet deforms, the energy is absorbed by a larger and larger fiber area.

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