Here we collect articles about ballistic materials like Kevlar, Spectra Shield and AR500 steel, what to look out for when buying body armour, the performance of bulletproof vests, legal issues regarding body armour, details about ballistic warranty and other related information.
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Soft bulletproof vests with protection level NIJ IIIA or equivalent are the most common type of body armor vest for civilian as well as professional users. Soft body armor vests are made of para-aramid or UHMWPE fiber and common brand names on the fiber material are Twaron®, Kevlar® and. Dyneema®.
Soft body armor is good at stopping traditional lead-core pistol and revolver bullets that are relatively soft and deforms upon impact. However, a bulletproof vest of soft armor is NOT good at stopping hard bullets such as certain types of steel jackeded or steel core pistol ammunition.
For example steel core 9mm ammo has been manufactured on a large scale in several European countries and is a common threat in certain places. Handgun ammo with very high velocity like 7,62x25 and 5,7x28 are also good at penetrating soft body armor.
In the video below, you can see a demonstration of how ineffective a soft armor bulletproof vest is against steel core pistol ammunition.
Bulletproof vests with soft armor panels are also incapable of stopping rifle bullets -even at long distances. In the video below this is demonstrated with a bulletproof vest that is shot at from a distance of over 270 meters. One of the calibers used in the video is 7.62x39 (AK-47) which is commonly used by criminals all over Europe.
A soft armor bulletproof vest is a light and comfortable basic protection that often provides a large protection area, but our recommendation is that you upgrade your armor kit with hard body armor plates as well to deal with the shortcomings described above. Hard body armor plates are usually made of ceramic and PE or ballistic steel. Due to the design they can offer a much higher level of protection compared to soft armor.
An alternative is to invest in a plate carrier type vest that only carry hard armour plates. If using slim hard armor plates a plate carrier can be worn concealed. Tyr Protection offer several very slim steel core hard armor plates. In particular the multi-curved plates are great for concealment.
When handled correctly, our soft bulletproof vests / protection panels made of Twaron®, as well as our ceramic plates, have a 5-year warranty regarding their protection level. Our bulletproof vests with steel core body armor plates have a theoretically infinite shelf life. The lack of shelf life makes steel core body armor by far the cheapest option over time.
All bulletproof products with the exception of steel core armor has a specified shelf life which is usually 5-7 years. Even hard ceramic armor have a specified warranty period because the ceramic is glued to a back of fiber (often UHMWPE). Frequent use, humidity, UV radiation and extreme temperatures are factors that can negatively affect fiber-based bulletproof products.
The warranty period means that the protection during this entire period must reach the requirements set by the ballistic standard -for example the NIJ Standard 0101.06. However, this does not mean that a bulletproff vest och armor plate suddenly loses all its protective capacity after 5 years, but that the manufacturer no longer can guarantee that the product meets the requirements of the test standard. Professional users like police and military replace their bulletproof gear when the warranty period is expired.
A widespread experience among users is that quality products from established brands such as Twaron®, Kevlar® and Dyneema® does not degrade in some dramatic way by time alone - provided that the product is stored correctly and has an intact sealing on the protective cover.
If a bulletproof vest or body armor plate is used sparingly and stored at room temperature in a dry and dark location like a wardrobe, our experience and that of many others is that they seem to retain a surprisingly good protective capacity long after the warranty period has expired. With that said, we do NOT encourage anyone to use body armor after expiration of the warranty period.