Since the Kevlar bullet proof vest was introduced, it has been instrumental in saving the lives of more than 3,000 people connected with law enforcement. Here are some accounts of these instances:
- In May 2014, a deputy along with a sergeant in Northern California was trying to serve an eviction notice ordered by the court. The eviction was served at the shelter Cove home of William Lloyd Nelson. Nelson, however, opened fire and hit the deputy in the chest. The police officers were able to return fire, and Nelson barricaded himself inside his home. He was later arrested early next morning. As for the deputy, he was released the next night from the hospital. He was wearing a bulletproof vest, and that saved his life.
- In October 2013, Officer Ann Carrizales of the Stafford Police Department pulled over a car for a traffic violation early one morning. There were three men in the car, and one of them shot her in the chest and leg. Officer Carrizales, however, was able to return fire and the car fled the scene. The officer was still able to communicate with the dispatcher afterwards. She was calm about the incident, which wasn’t surprising for a police officer who was a former Marine. Officer Carrizales was later seen walking around the emergency room, and that’s because she was wearing a bulletproof vest.
- In September 2011, Trooper Dwayne Stanford of the Tennessee Highway Patrol was shot right in the middle of his chest with a 9mm handgun at close range. Trooper Stanford, however, was wearing Kevlar body armor and was able to return fire. The assailant was killed, and he later turned out to be a wanted felon.
- The majority of police officers who are killed or injured in the line of duty were hurt or killed by incidents related to traffic. But one such incident was prevented from causing a fatality by a bulletproof vest. Deputy Ronald Lalumandier of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department was on an emergency run towards a brawl early one evening when he came around the curve and his car’s back end broke loose. The car hit a wooden plank fence, and one of the planks hit him straight in the chest. Fortunately, he was wearing his bulletproof vest. It saved his life, although not in the way he expected.
These and several thousands of similar stories perfectly illustrate the value of Kevlar body armor. Today, it has been transformed to the generic High Tensile Strength Polyethylene (HTSP), and now it is used to make Kevlar vests which offer additional protection for police officers.
Weapons vs. Armor
The concept of armor is ancient, and for thousands of years warriors have thought up of various ways to protect themselves against swords, maces, and arrows. It has always been a matter of choosing between expensive superb armor on one side, and agility and comfort on the other. Armor for fighters such as knights offered superb protection against melee weapons, but they were cumbersome and reduced the movement of the wearer. The best armor was also very expensive, and soon only the nobility could afford them.
But that all changed with the invention of gunpowder and firearms. Not even the steel armor could stop metal projectiles from going through. For much of 18th and 19th century, armor was abandoned while firearms reigned supreme.
The comeback of the armor came with the advent of Kevlar, which was developed and refined in the 1970s. By then, its use as armor became apparent.
Advantages of Kevlar Body Armor
Kevlar had characteristics which made it superior to steel:
- Kevlar is stronger than steel. In fact, it is 5 times stronger and it is strong enough to stop a bullet in its tracks which steel could not do.
- Kevlar is also much lighter than steel. This made them much easier to wear on the field. In medieval times, some armor outfits weighed as much as a hundred pounds. But a bulletproof vest like BulletSafe can actually stop a .44 Magnum and still weigh only 5 pounds.
- Kevlar is also better to wear in warm conditions. You could not say the same for steel armor, which can cause dehydration and extreme heat collection.
- Kevlar fibers are fire resistant. Some police officers who were caught in fires survived because their vests prevented them for getting burned in the torso.
Buying a Bulletproof Vest
When you are looking for a bulletproof vest to buy, here are some factors you need to consider.
- Quality. Specifically, the vest must conform to NIJ safety and reliability standards. Any vest that does not should be ignored. What you should get is a vest that can stop most handgun rounds, including a .44 Magnum.
- Price. Quality vests can range in price from $600 to $3,000. The sole exception to this is the BulletSafe, which costs merely $299.
- Fit. You need to get a vest that’s in your size and easy to adjust. The BulletSafe, for example, comes in 5 sizes from S to XXL. The straps can then be adjusted to fit your torso.
- Comfort. This is the area in which customized vests are better, since they are tailored for a specific wearer.
- Reliability. You need to get a vest which lasts as long as any quality Kevlar vests. Kevlar is effective for 5 years after the manufacture date, and it’s not a coincidence that the warranty offered by BulletSafe is also 5 years.
When buying bullet proof vests, you basically have two options. You can spend a lot more than the $299 price attached to the BulletSafe. In fact, you can spend anywhere from twice to ten times the price of the BulletSafe. But you won’t get a vest that’s twice or ten times the effectiveness, since the BulletSafe conforms to the NIJ level 3A standard. You won’t’ even get a vest that’s twice as comfortable. At best, you will get a vest that’s only slightly comfortable.
Your other option is to stick with the BulletSafe, and save money while you are still confident that your vest can save your life as well as the more expensive vests.