fun facts about bulletproof vests

15 Fun Facts About Bulletproof Vests That Will Surprise You

When talking about bulletproof vests, you may imagine amazing soldiers or action movie scenes as they give full protection from shotguns. In fact, bulletproof vests spread the energy of the round and distort the slug to reduce blunt force harm. Moreover, steel plates are used to make hard body armor. It is powerful and effective, but it is also hefty and inconvenient. However, certain projectiles can pierce steel, necessitating the use of even harder materials. Today, the most recent vests use overlapping super-strong but lightweight ceramic and titanium composites. Its soft body armor is not as robust as the hard bulletproof vest, but it is lighter and less noticeable when worn. 

As it has great protection, some civilians also buy bulletproof vests for safety reasons. If you are thinking of having one and want to know more facts about bulletproof vests, then get ready to amaze by those fun facts we collected from the internet just for you. Without any further effort, we will unveil them one by one.  

1. It’s Not Really Bulletproof

If you think that you can be an Ironman once you wear a bulletproof vest, then you may change your mind after knowing this fact. In fact, a bulletproof vest is bullet resistant rather than bullet proof. A bullet-proof vest will not always stop all types of bullets fired at it. The bullet will also cause blunt force trauma and a back face signature that can kill you. Therefore, there is no such thing as a bulletproof vest, which also applies to stab proof vests.

As study shows that NIJ 3a bullet proof vests, which are designed to block practically all rounds from small guns, will be penetrated by the bullet in extreme situations. Because 9 mm AP rounds are designed to pierce soft armor, they will be able to penetrate most soft armor vests.

2. The Born of Bulletproof Vests

Bullet-proof vests have been around for centuries, although they were not commonly employed until the twentieth century. In the 1500s, Italian and Roman royalty experimented with the idea of bullet proof vests with layers of metal that were meant to deflect bullets. Body armor was often made of a thick leather material known as a “flak jacket,” which was cumbersome and heavy. Later, a new sort of body armor composed of Kevlar was introduced in 1978, and it quickly became enormously popular. Because this material is both strong and light, it may be used by almost everyone.

Bullet proof vests are now available for a variety of applications, including personal defense, ballistic protection, tactical police enforcement armor, and many others. Not to mention, body armor has drastically reduced the number of police officers killed or injured in shootings. In today’s world, a gunshot barely penetrates body armor.

Before buying body armor as a protective item, you have to consider the laws that apply to the country. The purchasing of bullet proof vests by law-abiding citizens is lawful in all 50 states since you have the right to defend yourself and your loved ones. Therefore, you have the legal right to buy and wear body armor for personal or professional usage as a citizen of the United States.

Meanwhile, bulletproof vests as ballistic protection that is considered “for principal military use” in the European Union is limited to civilians. Moreover, there are currently no legal limits on the purchase and ownership of body armor in the United Kingdom. 

4. Lifespan of Bulletproof Vests

Did you realize that how long you wear the bulletproof vest has an impact on its lifespan? The majority of people believe that a bulletproof vest has a lengthy lifespan if it hasn’t been destroyed. However, the longer the vest is worn, the less protection it provides. In fact, the majority of bulletproof vests have a 5 year lifespan in proper maintenance. This is due to National Institute of Justice (NIJ) guidelines, which stipulate that vests must last at least 5 years. When a bullet proof vest is worn every day or every weekend, it loses its durability faster than if it is not used at all.

5. It Can Be Damaged with Water

Bulletproof vests will surely protect you from guns. However, it can be damaged with water. Water behaves in the same way as moisture and sweat. Water can damage a bulletproof vest, and it can eventually destroy it. 

As it can be weakened and destroyed by water, a bulletproof vest must be submerged in water for 30 minutes before being tested, according to NIJ standard 0101.06. As a result, waterproof fabrics are used by most manufacturers to keep the water out of the vests. However, do not test it for your own safety.

6. How They Stop Bullets

In case you are worrying about the effectiveness of bulletproof vests, then you should know how they work to stop the bullets. Body armor is based on the simple transmission of energy as its core basis. The plates are meant to distribute the energy and bend the bullet when impacted by a bullet round, considerably reducing blunt force harm to essential organs.

Moreover, strong fibers are firmly woven in a perpendicular weave to generate a solid sheet of material for body armor plates. Twisting increases the strength, density, and thickness of the fibers. In addition, the body armor plate is coated with resin, plastic, and/or other materials to make it more substantial.

7. World’s Most Expensive Bulletproof Suit

In general, the cost of concealable body armor ranges from USD 250 to USD 1250. However, there are high-end bulletproof vests made from the most sophisticated, lightweight, and flexible materials available. The Diamond Armor, created by SuitArt, is a diamond-studded, bullet-proof, air-conditioned, bespoke-tailored suit that costs US$3.2 million, making it the world’s most expensive custom-tailored suit. 

The suit’s bullet-proof fabric was designed by Croshield. Moreover, it provides level II protection, as approved by both NIJ standard 0101.0 and NATO STANAG 2920 V50>500m/s. Not to mention, nanotechnology makes the suit waterproof and dirt-resistant to prevent leaks at seams and protect the wearer from the more mundane threat of rain. 

8. Bulletproof Vests Save 3,000 Officers

Bulletproof vests have been around for nearly 50 years. In the mid-1970s, police departments began issuing them to officers. Since 1978, they have saved the lives of 3,000 officers, according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. And it is proven for law enforcement officers in the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department since body armor has come a long way in the last 25 years.

In 2019, a bulletproof vest saved a La Crosse police officer’s life by preventing a bullet from reaching his chest. They had an occurrence that demonstrated the value of the money we spent on our equipment. Officers demonstrate how a vest works at the La Crosse Police Department gun range. These threads are so tightly woven that they can deflect the bullet. 

9. Soft vs Hard Body Armor

Hard and soft armor are the two types of bulletproof vests available. For soft body armor, advanced woven fibers are sewed into vests and other soft apparel. Meanwhile, bullets are deflected by strong body armor, which is composed of thick ceramic or metal plates. The armor material pushes out on the bullet with the similar force that the bullet pushes in, preventing the armor from being pierced.

Overall, hard body armor often provides more protection than soft body armor, but it is also significantly more cumbersome. When there is a significant risk of attack, police officers and military people may wear hard body armor for their protection. However, for everyday use, they typically wear soft body armor, which is flexible and worn like a regular shirt or jacket.

10. Ceramics Bulletproof Vests

Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan confront risk every day, but they are protected against a variety of ballistic threats because of high-tech ceramics created since the late 1960s. In fact, these ceramics can shatter a bullet on impact, leaving the warrior with nothing more than a bruise. 

Ceramics, unlike steel, which has long been utilized as military body armor, have the benefit of being lightweight. Furthermore, ceramics also offer a high degree of hardness as well as one of the toughest materials known that make them ideal for ballistic protection. In addition, the majority of the ceramic powders used in American body armor come from Europe or China.

11. Stab-Proof Body Armor

Sometimes you wonder, can bulletproof vests stop a knife? Well, some bulletproof vests are designed to be stab-proof as well. Edged weapons, such as knives, and other sharp things, such as shattered bottles, sharp blades, or pointed weaponry, will not penetrate stab proof vests. 

Made from aramid fibers which are powerful on their own, when they are woven closely together to form a protective barrier, their protection levels skyrocket. Because of the tight weaving of the fibers, it is incredibly difficult for a weapon to pierce the cloth because it takes a lot of force to actually penetrate through it. When a person wearing a stab resistant vest tries to stab them with a knife, the knife gets trapped in the fabric and is unable to penetrate through to the flesh.

12. Spider Silk for Future Body Armor

Maybe spiders are disturbing creatures that make your room dusty. However, did you know that spider silk can produce a bulletproof material? In fact, body armor composed of spider silk is now being developed, and it is not as far-fetched as it may appear. The Golden Orb Spider of Madagascar produces one of the most successful spider silk vests. Due to a lack of supplies, the designers spent eight years and a million spiders only to build this one waistcoat.

Spider silk is made out of a protein-rich liquid that dries into a solid thread that can be molded to fit a variety of requirements. Spider silk is extraordinarily flexible, stretchy, stronger than steel, and, most critically, can be fashioned into a bullet-stopping mesh.

13. Silk Bulletproof Vest for Bomber Pilots

In the 1880s, study showed that a silk handkerchief kept a bullet from piercing one of  inspecting bodies. Later, silk was utilized to build body armor. However, it was expensive and only provided protection against sluggish projectiles at the time.

Armor was quite expensive and inefficient against heavier rifle calibers during the start of the first world war. As a result, no ballistic protection was provided to the soldiers. On the other hand, the British Army Design Committee made the first attempt at creating body armor for bomber pilots as they were vulnerable to anti-aircraft guns and shrapnel in 1915. Interwoven layers of silk and cotton were solidified with resin to create the bulletproof vests. 

14. US Military Has The Most Advanced Body Armor 

The US military’s most technologically advanced body armor, SAPI and ESAPI, are made of boron carbide ceramic with a Spectra shield backing that breaks down bullets and stops their motion. SAPI (Small Arms Protective Insert) was built of a combination of ceramic materials of silicone carbide which is also used for car clutches and igniters in pilot lights for gas heaters. Moreover, SAPI was meant to stop 7.62 x 51 (M80 BALL) rounds. SAPI body armor would be classified as level III in terms of NIJ threat protection under the existing 0101.06 requirements. 

Meanwhile, ESAPI (Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert) is the latest type of body armor created to meet NIJ level IV criteria. ESAPI plates are normally made of a high-grade boron carbide ceramic that is also used in armored vehicles like tanks. Moreover, it is capable of stopping.30-06 M2AP (Armor Piercing) bullets. In terms of size and shape, ESAPI plates are identical to SAPI plates. It’s worth mentioning, though, that ESAPI plates are around 27% heavier than SAPI plates. 

15. Shear-Thickening Fluid as New Bulletproof Vest Technology

While the technology used to keep police and military safe evolves throughout time, ammunition and other weapons technology evolves as well. As a result, scientists developed Shear Thickening Fluid (STF) which is one of the earliest, but far from the final, fundamental changes in protective, ballistic vests.

Compared with Kevlar, STF is unique as it stops a shot in a completely different way. It absorbs the impact of the bullet rather than just preventing it from piercing the wearer’s body. As a result, the wearer’s effects are reduced from 4cm to merely 1cm. The aftershock felt by a person wearing a bulletproof vest reinforced with Kevlar is practically negated by absorbing the bullet’s repercussions.

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