United States -(AmmoLand.com)- Bulletproof vests come from a long lineage of body armor that stretches back thousands of years.
From furs and leathers to plate metal, the industry has continued to evolve and develop to match the advances in weaponry and warfare. The advent of aramids and Kevlar in the 1960s signaled the start of ‘modern armor’, and has been the basis for bulletproof vests ever since.
Many do not realize, however, that the industry is continuing to develop and innovate, resulting in some exciting improvements to bullet resistant vests.
The benefit of Kevlar, for example, over traditional materials like Steel and Titanium is that it remains flexible and lightweight, while also being incredibly strong. This makes it ideal for body armor as it can be worn comfortably for long periods. However, higher levels of bulletproof vest still utilize heavy and bulky materials, and efforts to make vests lighter, thinner and more flexible remains the main focus of body armor research.
A related area of development is in temperature control. One of the problems of wearing a bulletproof vest is the increase in temperature that occurs whenever more clothes are worn; just as wearing a normal vest will make the wearer warmer, so too will a bulletproof vest. In cold climates this is actually a benefit, and with Kevlar and Dyneema (another common bullet resistant material) retaining their protective qualities even at low temperatures, a bulletproof vest can be used to keep the wearer warm. Of course, when it is not cold a bulletproof vest will increase the temperature of the wearer to the point that it may become uncomfortable. To this end, some manufacturers have integrated new technologies into vests to help regulate temperatures; the Stealth vest from SafeGuard Armor for example uses CoolMax technology to draw moisture away from the skin, keeping the wearer cool.
There are a number of other products available that have followed this trend in the industry, ranging from the helpful and understated to the complicated and conspicuous. For example, some methods of dealing with temperature involve fans that can be plugged into cars and circulate air throughout the vest, whereas others like the CTAV from Cortac use bumps and ridges to create a surface that naturally stimulates airflow and can be inserted easily into armor. This and other similar products also have the benefit of redistributing weight across the body better, further improving the comfort of the vest.
Improving the Fit
These improvements have focused on the carrier, as opposed to the plates. Many may not realize that a bulletproof vest is made up of the carrier – the vest itself – and the ballistic plates that are inserted into it. It is these plates that make up both the weight and the protection, with the carrier serving only to hold them and make them comfortable and easy to wear. Improvements to the carrier have often been overlooked by manufacturers, but improvements to the plates are of specific interest to manufacturers like DuPont and DSM.
Nevertheless, improvements to carriers remains an important part of the industry as uncomfortable and difficult-to-wear vests are the biggest problem for those needing a bulletproof vest.
This is especially true for women, who have long had to wear vests designed for men. Apart from being inconsiderate, a vest designed for a man will likely not fit a woman properly, making it at best uncomfortable, and at worst potentially fatal. A vest that does not fit properly will not offer proper protection, and so manufacturers are increasingly offering vests specifically designed for women, in a wide variety of sizes.
The benefits of these improvements can be felt immediately by those wearing body armor, and there are useful applications in the creation of new vests. Bulletproof vests will not protect against edged and spiked weapons, and while multi-threat vests exist these are naturally heavier and bulkier. Making the materials involved thinner will help make vests more protective in terms of the weapons they can defend against.
This, in addition to the other improvements mentioned, will help continue to make SafeGuard Armor body armor comfortable and protective for all who wear it.
About SafeGuard Armour
Leading body armor manufacturers and premium body armor designers www.safeguardarmor.com & www.safeguardclothing.com has been established online for about 7 years. They specialize in combining soft Kevlar armor with hard armor plates to their carrier designs.
For more information, visit: www.SafeGuardArmour.co.uk.