The Science Behind Bulletproof Vests

Published: 21st June 2010
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If you have ever watched a television show or movie, you have more than likely seen a character being shot in the chest. Many survive as a result of wearing a bulletproof vest. In reality, there are hundreds of law enforcement and military personnel that are surviving gunshot attacks thanks to the body armor that they are wearing while on duty.

Body Armor Overview

There are two types of materials that are commonly used to create bulletproof vests, which are:

• Kevlar and

• Spectra

Kevlar is a product that is made by weaving Kevlar yarn together to make a cloth that can be used to create protective body armor. Spectra are created by aligning fibers parallel to each other and then boding those threads together with a resin. Each type of cloth is then layered to create the level of protection required.

How it Works

The science of protecting the individual wearing the vest from an impending attack of a bullet, lies in the strength of the fibers that are used to make the vest. The weaving pattern of the Kevlar yarn and the layering of the cloth into a vests design, allow the bulletproof vest to provide the protection required. Spectra is created by taking sheets of the aligned clothing and alternating the design by staking them against one another at right angles. Merging this with the resin and polymer sheets that are sandwiched in between the staking, help create the body armor.


The design and amount of layers of the vest will determine what type of bullet or piercing the vest can withstand. This fact is very important because if you were to choose a vest that is rated for a small caliber bullet, it may not stop a larger caliber bullet that could result in a fatal injury. The trade off to having a bulletproof vest that can stop of high caliber bullet, is its weight. The more layers that are used to create the vest, the heavier the body armor will be.


In order to make sure that the vests meet the requirements of protection, the vests are tested and rated accordingly. The test is completed both in wet and dry conditions. It consists of shots being fired in a specific pattern at a clay mannequin that is wearing a bulletproof vest. In order to pass a test, there must not be any type of bullet or body armor fragments on the body. Once the vests have been verified, they are then certified for a specific rating based on its design.

A bulletproof vest is a great way to protect yourself from injury. Your chances of surviving a gunshot greatly increase when wearing a bulletproof vest while on duty. To purchase one today visit

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