✎✎✎ Body Armor History

Friday, November 26, 2021 2:44:36 AM

Body Armor History

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The Evolution of Crime Fighting Tools Ep 11 - Bullet Proof Vest

Chain mail was used to create armor for legs and hoods as well. If you lived in ancient Greece, you would have probably worn plated armor. In those days, that would have most likely consisted of something known as a cuirass. In Ancient Greece, that meant bronze armor. While mail body armor was the main source of protection for both the torso and limbs back in western Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries, plates made of steel finally made their way into the 14th century.

Instead, steel armor was more of additional coverage for joints, such as the knees and elbow, as well as shins. Around the 16th and 17th centuries, something happened that made it necessary to improve body armor, and that was the improvement of firearms. Unfortunately, this equated to thicker and much heavier armor. But, as you might expect, this was impractical as it significantly hindered mobility. As a result of this and cost all that material is expensive , plate armor started to disappear, at least from the infantry. More sophisticated armor was needed because weapons became more advanced. Wars went from swords and other hand tools to firearms. Kind of like David and Goliath, it made more sense not to wear body armor at all when facing gunpowder weapons.

Armies decided to forgo the heavy suits of armor because they wanted their troops to have the capability of fighting long wars and maintaining stamina throughout. Because of WWI and the horrendous outcome of artillery damage to our brave warriors, combat helmets made of metal were finally employed. And in WWII, bomber crews had flak jackets. And then, there was the Korean War. If you thought seven layers of ox hide was a lot, during the Korean War, the Amy has something known as the M armored vest with 12 layers of laminated nylon.

This laminated nylon was a step in the right direction when it came to flexibility. And since it gave some ballistic protection against shell fragments, it stayed in use during the Vietnam War as well, with some minor changes later on. Since the Vietnam War, there have been a lot of changes to the materials used in body armor. The first protective clothing and shields were made from animal skins.

As civilizations became more advanced, wooden shields and then metal shields came into use. Eventually, metal was also used as body armor, what we now refer to as the suit of armor associated with the knights of the Middle Ages. However, with the invention of firearms around , metal body armor became ineffective. Then only real protection available against firearms were stone walls or natural barriers such as rocks, trees, and ditches. One of the first recorded instances of the use of soft body armor was by the medieval Japanese, who used armor manufactured from silk. It was not until the late 19th century that the first use of soft body armor in the United States was recorded.

At that time, the military explored the possibility of using soft body armor manufactured from silk. The project even attracted congressional attention after the assassination of President William McKinley in While the garments were shown to be effective against low-velocity bullets, those traveling at feet per second or less, they did not offer protection against the new generation of handgun ammunition being introduced at that time. Ammunition that traveled at velocities of more than feet per second. This, along with the prohibitive cost of silk made the concept unacceptable. Silk armor of this type was said to have been worn by Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria when he was killed by a shot to the head, thereby precipitating World War I.

The U. Patent and Trademark Office lists records dating back to for various designs of bulletproof vests and body armor type garments. One of the first documented instances where such a garment was demonstrated for use by law enforcement officers was detailed in the April 2, , edition of the Washington, D. The next generation of the anti-ballistic bullet proof vest was the World War II "flak jacket" made from ballistic nylon. The flak jacket provided protection primarily from ammunition fragments and was ineffective against most pistol and rifle threats. Flak jackets were also very cumbersome and bulky. It would not be until the late s that new fibers were discovered that made today's modern generation of cancelable body armor possible.

The National Institute of Justice or NIJ initiated a research program to investigate the development of lightweight body armor that on-duty policemen could wear full time. The investigation readily identified new materials that could be woven into a lightweight fabric with excellent ballistic resistant properties. Performance standards were set that defined ballistic resistant requirements for police body armor. In the s, one of the most significant achievements in the development of body armor was the invention of DuPont's Kevlar ballistic fabric. Ironically, the fabric was originally intended to replace steel belting in vehicle tires.

The development of kevlar body armor by NIJ was a four-phase effort that took place over several years. The first phase involved testing kevlar fabric to determine whether it could stop a lead bullet. The second phase involved determining the number of layers of material necessary to prevent penetration by bullets of varying speeds and calibers and developing a prototype vest that would protect officers against the most common threats: the 38 Special and the 22 Long Rifle bullets.

By , researchers at the Army's Edgewood Arsenal responsible for the bulletproof vest design had developed a garment made of seven layers of Kevlar fabric for use in field trials. It was determined that the penetration resistance of Kevlar was degraded when wet.

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