When handled correctly our soft bulletproof vests / protection panels made of for example 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 or 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®, Gold Shield®, 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.