Bullet Proof Vests: Then and Now
Technology is ever changing. From phones to bullet proof vests, it is safe to say that plenty of things do not look or are made the same way they were some 50 years ago. It is natural for products to evolve to fit new needs and meet new the standards of industry. If a product stays stagnant, then the product will disappear. Speaking specifically of bullet proof vests, the difference between vests now and vests in the 1500’s is staggering. This article will explore the evolution of the different technologies behind bullet proof vests.
In the 1500s, Western Europe was plagued with wars and ongoing fighting. Consequently, Europeans started playing around with idea of bullet proof vests. These vests were made of layers of metals intended to deflect bullets. However, they found that these vests were unsuccessful when it came to effectively protecting users from firearms. It is important to note that this type of bullet proof vest was hard and heavy. The main downside of a heavy, hard vest is that it slows down the user which inhibits the user from going their full speed and, in turn, affects their agility. A decrease in agility can cause the user his life.
To address this problem, in the 1800s, the Japanese incorporated silk into their bullet proof vests. This led to the rise of softer body armor. The silk proved effective, however, it was quite expensive and thus this practice did not become commonplace. This, however, was a very important moment in the evolution of bullet proof vest technology because it introduced the idea of soft body armor to the world. It is also important to note that it introduced effective soft body armor. It disbanded any thoughts that just because the armor was physically softer it would be any less effective in protecting against bullets.
The practice of soft body armor made its way to the United States in the beginning of the 1900s. It utilized silk inspired from the Japanese methods. These vests had a catch. They worked well for bullets that went below 400 feet per second; however, these vests were rendered useless when presented against the newer, more lethal gun ammunition of the time. It is said that Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria was wearing this kind of soft, silk bullet proof vest when he was assassinated which was the direct cause of the first World War.
The early 1900s saw an increase in patents for an array of bullet proof vests designs. This lead to the rise of the flak jacket. These were the kind of bullet proof vests that were popular during World War II. Albeit they were made of nylon, they were bulky. In addition, they were rendered ineffective in protecting against the majority of pistol and rifle ammunition.
The bulky bullet proof vests of the 1940’s were left behind by the discovery of new fibers. In the 1960s, these new fibers were discovered and are what allow for the technology found in the vests now. It was the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) who discovered these fibers in an endeavor to create light bullet proof vests that policemen could wear at all times. The NIJ also put in a place a set of performance standards for ballistic resistant vests.
Following this development, Kevlar technology was discovered. At first it was created to replace steel belting in car tires but it soon became the new technology in ballistic fabric. Through years of trial and error, a fabric was finally developed that was light weight and wearable for long periods of time.
All of these new developments have led to the most secure vests yet which we proudly sell and distribute. To check out the best Kevlar Ceramic Composite bullet proof vests click on this link and check us out. We welcome and appreciate any feedback on our Facebook page The Best Bulletproof Vest.