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Five Facts About Bullet-Proof Armor

Aug 17, 2007
The importance of bullet-proof armor has made it a key component to many police and military operations. Important questions to ask are, "Can my life be protected by such armor?", "Will the weight outweigh the safety value?", and "What types of armors were used successfully in the past?"

1) What armor was used in World War II? There was some German use in the First World War, but it was deemed too bulky and generally ineffective at stopping bullets. The steel helmet was the only widely used personal armor used in the Second World War. Some B-17 and B-24 flight crews had plating in their flight suits. On the west allied side (USA & Great Britain) we have the light tank M3 Lee, the Grant, the medium tank Sherman & the heavy tank M26 Pershing. Of course there were a lot of other models but these where the most famous. Especially the Sherman that was the backbone of the armor fleet. Russia received a lot of tanks from the US but also produced their own like the famous (and very good) T-34. Other models where the JS-2 & KV-1, both heavy tanks. Germany had models like the panther, the tiger & king tiger.

2) Describe the first known armor used by man. That would probably be an animal skin thrown about the body of some long ago living ancestor that could shield him from scrapes and sores and bites from animals and enemies. Processed skins, leather, increased the armor rating since it is more resistant to cuts.Chainmail was the first armor. It was effective against edged weapon.

3) What armor was most efficient during medieval times and how well did it protect its user? A combination of chainmail and plate armor was used. It was highly effective at the time. Full articulated plate armor was the most effective at protecting its wearer. However, this made them slow and often hard to move. Weapons did eventually take away its advantage.Plate armor was effective against both slashing and some blunt weapons, but was susceptible to arrows, crossbow bolts, and other piercing weapons (such as military hammer which was specifically designed to penetrate plate armor.). During medieval times Tou had different kinds of armors like leather, iron ring and plate armors. The biggest plate armors protected the entire body, even the knee and elbow joints since it had a ring mail under the plates. It was very cumbersome and heavy and made its user very sluggish in the saddle.

4) Are bullet-proof vests really bullet-proof? Yes, and they save police and soldiers and marines every day. There are varying degrees of protection - there are some soft, light vests which protect against pistol bullets, and there are heavier vests with plate inserts that protect against rifle and machinegun bullets. A basic vest can stop low caliber bullets like the 9 mm pistol ammunition but it cannot stop the high velocity bullets fired from rifles like the M4 carbine (5.56mm) or AK-47 (7.62mm). Vests can be fitted with ceramic tiles that weigh a couple of kilos that make them resistant to those bullets as well but at the same time it limits that agility of the user.

5) When was the first bullet-proof armor? What was it called? Its medieval plate armor. The makers of suits would fire a bullet at the breast plate. The dent was proof it would stop a bullet. Kevlar (DuPont name for the ballistic fiber) vests were the first effective bullet-proof vests.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for http://www.CombatCloth.info/. CombatCloth.info carries the best selection of combat clothing, gear, and accessories on the market.
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