History of Body Armor
Ever since the first battle of the very first war mankind has been using weapons to harm one another for anything from religion to the politics. With the creation of these weapons came body armor, from the basic shield and bronze the Greeks and Romans utilized all the way to present day highly sophisticated light yet very effective bullet proof vests. Over the course of history we have seen as there is one big development in either body armor or weaponry the other area must make advancements to try to be better then the other. As we go further into this article we will see real examples of this and will see how body armor has advanced in relation to weapons over the course of history.
We will start with the Greeks and Romans who reigned when the weapons at the time were simply swords, javelins and arrows. This meant that combat was always held at a close distance and was very violent. As a result the soldiers carried a shield and wore very thick heavy bronze and iron body armor. This armor was made to take and deflect heavy blows from their enemies who were typically the barbarians. The barbarians on the other hand noticed the bulkiness in their armor made the soldiers much slower and therefore wore body armor made of leather and mail which was much less protective but far lighter and allowed them to be much more mobile which allowed them to attack their enemies from their horses and run hoping that they could avoid a fatal blow. Now we move onto the medieval period, as weapons advanced from the previous era the body armor had to catch up in order to be effective. So one major development in this era was the development of chain mail. Chain mail is a series of rings interlocked together that was very effective against defending from weapons that either stabbed or slashed. The reason why this body armor is a huge improvement over the Greek and Roman armor is because it was far lighter and therefore made the soldiers a lot more mobile. Despite the effectiveness against these weapons chain mail was not very useful against maces, hammers or any other weapon that used brute force as a way to get through the armor. Over time as a way to at least absorb some of the damage taken by these weapons the soldiers would wear a type of advanced leather or jerkin over or underneath the chain mail to provide a bit more protection or as a means to occasionally deflect blows from the enemy. While this did provide a bit of extra protection it was still not very useful against weapons such as crossbows, or maces. As a result solid iron or metal plates were slowly beginning to be wore which provided much more protection. These became much more commonplace as we see eventually soldiers wear body suits entirely out of metal plates. This would be what most people know as knights in shining armor in present day. While this armor was effective at receiving and absorbing blows it was also very heavy. With some suits wearing over a 100 pounds, this extra weight made the soldiers far less mobile.
With the discovery of gun powder in China in the 9th century which led to the creation of guns made all body armor before it obsolete. It took over a thousand years for the first modern bulletproof vest to be invented by polish engineer Casimir Zeglen. Before this many people experimented and found ways to stop or slow down bullets with layers of metal or soft body armor crated by the Japanese, but these methods proved to be far too ineffective (the metal armor) or far too expensive to be wildly produced (the Japanese softer body armor). This early vest provided protection against low caliber guns of the era and the weight of the material he wore was only half a pound per square foot, so it was extremely lightweight. This was just the beginning of a new revolutionary form of body armor that would forever change the way body armor was looked at.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that new fibers were discovered that made truly bulletproof vests as we know it today. With this Dupont’s Kevlar ballistic fiber was invented. This vest had the ability to stop much higher velocity bullets and higher caliber bullets then previous vests. There is also another alternative to kevlar in present day vests known as AR500 armor. This armor can withstand bullets fired from anything to a handgun to an assault rifle. Now with the AR500’s higher stopping power comes the fact that it is heavier then any kind of kevlar vest. Both of these vests are now considered the best body armor available today
As we have seen the development of armor over the course of history we have seen great advancements in the field. It only leads one to wonder what could future armor be like. The trend for body armor is for it to be cheaper, lighter and higher stopping power. Is it possible that someday there will be whole body suits that could be activated with a press of a button that protects the user from any type of harm? The possibilities are endless and the sky is the limit for the development of body armor as researchers and billions of dollars are being poured into in the military to find more effective weapons and defense systems.
As for now if you are interested in getting your own set of body armor, Pick your style and at the checkout use PROMO CODE: vests4life for $50 off your purchase. Check us out at:
The Best BulletProof Vest