What is Kevlar Bulletproof Vest
Bulletproof vests designed to stop the penetration of a bullet and prevent harm to the wearer. Several layers of incredibly strong fibers as Kevalr fibers, stop bullets from penetrating the vest, the vest act as a net by catching kinetic energy from the ballistic bullet. As a bullet attempts to pass through the vest each layer twists to create a barrier, slowing the bullet until it is completely stopped. This process deforms the bullet by flattening it into the shape of a dish and spreads the force of the impact over a large portion of the vest. The impact of the bullet is massive and although the bullet was stopped, the bullet’s energy will be absorbed by both the vest and the wearer.
Is the Purchase of a Bulletproof Vest Legal?
Generally, it is legal to purchase and wear a bulletproof vest for safety; however, individual countries and states have specific laws, so it is always better to verify this information with a local attorney. In some areas special permission can be requested in some locations if you can show proof that a bullet proof vest is necessary for your work or your safety.
Why Kevlar Vest
Kevlar is a lightweight, strong and flexible fabric that is commonly utilized to make bulletproof vests. Invented in 1965 by Du Pont, Kevlar was initially used in tires. Currently several companies choose Kevlar when making body armor and protective clothing. Classified as a para-aromatic polyamide synthetic fiber, Kevlar consists of several inter-chain bonds that help to make it extremely strong. Kevlar forms flat sheets, similar to silk, as its structure consists of quite rigid molecules.
Kevlar remains as a leading anti-ballistic material as it takes a tremendous amount of energy to make a bullet pass through it. The fibers of polymer molecules are tightly woven, making it extremely hard to move apart, meaning it takes a great deal of energy to separate them. The energy from a bullet reduced as it trying to penetrate through the vest. If either of the threats manages to penetrate the material, the speed is reduced considerably, resulting in far less damage. Kevlar is stronger than steel and approximately 5.5 times less dense making it flexible and light enough to wear for longer periods.
Choosing a Bulletproof Vest
When purchasing a Kevlar bullet proof vest, take into consideration two main factors which are the situations you will be wearing the vest in and the level of protection that you will need. Bulletproof vests that manufactured for higher levels of protection are not typically suitable for daily use as they tend to be heavy and bulky.
Determine the Level of Protection Needed
The protection levels assigned to specific body armor are regional, causing variations throughout the world. The US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is considered to be the world leader in ballistics testing of body armor related to the full range of tests that are performed. They provide details of the testing results in their body armor standards. The body armor standards reveal the range of protection offered by specific pieces that have been tested. Testing results range from low powered hand guns to armor piercing rifle rounds.
Body armor is designed to offer protection against 3 types of threats, including bullet, spike and stab. Protection offered by a bullet proof vest will be dependent upon its ballistic material and is clearly labeled on each vest. When determining which bulletproof vest can provide the higher level of protection, refer to the clearly labeled rating on its tag. The higher the number on the protective equipment, the higher the level of protection it can offer. For example, when comparing two bullet proof vests, the vest labeled as NIJ Level IIIA protection will provide you with a higher level of protection than the vest labeled as NIJ Level IIA and II protection.
Determine the Number of Kevlar Layers Needed
When referencing the previous information in this guide about the ability of Kevlar to reduce the energy that come from bullet, it is easy to determine that a greater thickness of Kevlar related to more layers will provide more protection. Ballistic charts can be referenced on the official site of NIJ that can help you determine the number of layers needed to offer your specific level of protection. The chart illustrates that the more layers you have, the bigger kinetic energy the bullet needs to have to penetrate through the armor. The chart ranks body armor made of various materials on a scale from I to IV related to its ability to provide protection against bullets that were fired from weapons of different power.
To determine the correct number of Kevlar layers in a bulletproof vest first identify the power of the weapon that can be most dangerous to your specific situation and take note of how many Kevlar layers are needed to provide necessary protection, then reference a separate chart to double check if the best protection is offered by type IIA/II or type IIIA armor, etc. The information label on a vest is of importance because not only does it clearly identify the protection rating but it also gives complete details as to model, style, care instructions, date of issue, lot number, a serial number, an indication to which side should face out and a note indicating it meets NIJ approval standards for its specific protection rating.
Quality Control and Testing
To ensure bullet proof vests can provide the level of protection for which they are labeled for, they undergo several tests. The fiber and yarn tensile strength is tested by the fiber manufacturer and the tensile strength of the resultant cloth is tested by fabric weavers. The panel material is tested by the vest manufacturer and quality control requires inspection of the vests after panels are sewn and the vest is completed by trained observers. Testing also includes the vests response to live ammunition to verify level of protection and rating.
Care and Maintenance
The weave of the fabric is one of the main contributors to the level of protection that Kevlar provides. A weave can be interrupted by a spinning bullet causing the force to extend over a large area. Also, over a period of time, the fibers in woven Kevlar begin to separate which reduces the ballistic protection provided by the vest. Therefore, it is highly recommended that Kevlar bulletproof vests be replaced regularly with the majority of US police forces replacing their vests every 5 years.
Kevlar bulletproof vests need to be kept as clean as possible; a cover can be purchased for your vest if it is worn outside of your clothes. Should your vest get dirty you should clean it as soon as you are able. Also, keep in mind that the life of your vest can be shortened if it is worn in hot environments.