The first Bulletproof Vest
There were multiple bulletproof vest made in the early modern era. The first commercially sold bulletproof vest was a soft armor vest and was produced in Dublin, Ireland in the 1840s. The second soft armor vest was invented in Joseon, Korea in 1860s. The Koreans received numerous threats so they made this bulletproof vest to protect their army form the western army. This soft armor bulletproof vest was made of 10 layers of cotton fabric. The United States Navy captured a vest when the Koreans used them in war against the US. During the 1880s, an Australian gang made a ballistic vest from plough blades. Plough blades are used to farm various crops. These blades loosen the soil so that new seeds can be planted. This armor that the Australians used was almost 100 pounds! However this armor did not cover legs and hands. This was important because their mobility while wearing this armor was very minimal. American outlaw & gunfighter Jim Miller would wear a steel breastplate over his coat for protection. This plate saved his life on 2 different occasions and was proven to deflect handgun and shotgun bullets very easily. In 1881, physician George E. Good fellow noted that a self handkerchief stop a bullet from penetrating a faro dealer. Good fellow started to experiment with layer silk fabric 18 to 30 times to protect from bullets.
World War 2 body armor
During the second World War in 1940, Britain’s medical research council proposed that lightweight armor should be used by infantry. If some individuals were in more dangerous positions , then they would use a heavier armor suit. In 1941, trails started about the body armor made of steel plates. The armor provided great protection but restricted the mobility of a soldier. In 1943, the British released that most pilots died because of low velocity fragments rather than bullets. The British company began to produce flak jackets for bomber crew under contract with the Royal Air Force. The jackets that they manufactured for pilots were made of nylon fabric to stop shrapnel from impaling the pilots. The body armor that was designed for infantry in the early stages of World War II was considered to heavy for the soldiers because it restricted their mobility. The United States decided to manufactures body armor using Doron Plate. Doron plate was a fiberglass-based laminate. These vest were still heavy but provided more mobility for the soldiers.
In the 1980s, the US military produced Kevlar vest for infantry soldiers to wear. These vest were rated at NIJ level IIa. These vest were not as strong but would stop small handguns and fragmentation. These vest were great for mobility but not very effective because high velocity guns or large fragments would be life threatening. The bullets may not of pierced the armor but the energy of bullet would cause damage to the body. After being shot by a high velocity gun, the soldier could have internal bleeding, broken ribs, or even an exploded kidney. In 1991, ranger body armor was invented. This body armor would stop rifle caliber rounds. This vest was stronger and still light weight so the solider had the mobility they needed. Since the 1980s, several new innovations have been made to bulletproof vest. In 2017, The Best Bulletproof Vest, invented a new proprietary blend NIJ level IIIa plate that is only 4 lbs. This plate is very light compared to steel plates but still protects from higher velocity guns such as sub machine guns. Bulletproof vest have come a long way since the 1840s! Body armor is still being redesigned to this day to provide better mobility and better protection.