How does a bullet proof vest work? Understanding this is important, particularly if you will be putting your life on the line and depend on your vest for protection against threats. First, a bullet proof vest is usually what is considered soft body armor.
Understanding this is important, particularly if you will be putting your life on the line and depend on your vest for protection against threats.
First, a bullet proof vest is usually what is considered soft body armor. Hard body armor is made of metal or ceramic plates, while a bullet proof vest is usually made of Kevlar. How does something soft actually stop a bullet, though? A vest made of Kevlar or Gold Flex is essentially a very strong (but light) ballistic net of fiber that resists the force of a bullet. When a bullet hits the “net,” the strands of netting material stretch enough to absorb and disperse its energy, keeping it from penetrating straight through the material.
However, a vest has to do more than just protect you against penetration by a bullet. Blunt force trauma is also a concern here. Simply keeping the bullet from going through the vest is not enough. The force of the bullet is enough to cause severe injuries even though the vest keeps the body of the bullet from going through. A modern vest can protect the wearer from this threat, as well allowing them to return fire.
The way these vest work to stop blunt force trauma is much the same as the way it stops the velocity of a bullet. It dissipates that energy through the netting material. However, this requires that the fibers of the material be twisted very tightly, and woven together correctly. Resin and plastic film are also used to help give a vest more resistance to blunt force trauma.
The effect of these designs is that, while the impact is still felt, the force is spread out over the entire surface of the vest, rather than being concentrated in one spot, which could break bones or even damage internal organs. In testing where a vest is strapped to a clay mannequin and shots fired at the vest, the results show that the handgun rounds were stopped, but when the vest is taken off the mannequin, shows an indentation in the clay where the round hit the vest. The vest has done what is was designed to do, stop the bullet. Some bruising and soreness on the wearers body in the area where the bullet hit the vest are much better than being shot without a bullet proof vest, which could prove fatal.
Bullet proof vest designs are designated into one of seven categories by the National Institute of Justice. Each of these categories has a specific protection rating (the caliber of bullet they can stop). Hard armor ballistic plates can also be added to increase the protection threat level of the vest to Level III and Level IV which are designed to take hits from high caliber rifle rounds. Therefore, it’s important that you choose the right category of bullet proof vest for the threats that you will face before making a purchase decision.
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