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No such thing as "Bulletproof"

edited November 2016 in Gun Law Facts Posts: 2
Yes, there is a common misconception that the body armor used by law enforcement is indeed bulletproofed. The correct term is "Bullet Resistant". A high-velocity projectile such as a bullet or a shrapnel will make some form of deformation upon impact, it is Physics. Bullet resistant materials such as steel and Titanium are used by the military in armored vehicles to protect the lives of soldiers. Kevlar and Lexan are cloth fibers manufactured by chemical companies and are used in armored vests to protect the chest cavity of a person. Survivors of direct shots experience hematoma or bruising on the skin where the bullet hit on impact. What the kevlar fibers do is spread out the force of the projectile thus preventing penetration, but the force is still similar to power punch enough to leave a bruise. There is a continued research in using carbon fiber materials in order to make a perfect anti-ballistic vest where the user will not be bruised. You may not be the Man of steel but wearing Kevlar vest in a firefight might help you survive to tell the tale.   


  • Thank you very much for posting this.  It's true that this is a common mistake.  I hope they keep working to improve Kevlar and hopefully one day, make a bomb-resistant material. Also, I hope that Kevlar expands to police hats and some kind of face protection for criminals who aren't messing around.
  • I'm glad this was posted, as well. Many people think if they have it, or the police has it, it makes them safe, but that is definitely not the case. 

    @ TommiGunn, they do have face protection, at least with the riot gear. Not sure if that's bullet "proof," though. 
  • Exactly, the thing about making the metal plates too strong is that a lot of the impact energy will then transfer into the body which may then cause internal bleeding. Therefore, plates are strong enough to stop a bullet but not strong enough in order for them to shatter and spread the impact further. So, if a plate shatters, it must be replaced immediately because it will probably not handle another impact.
  • Honestly, internal bleeding is way better than the bullet, though, so there's at least that. But yes, it needs replaced immediately, and that's why taking multiple shots with a "bulletproof" vest is still highly dangerous. 
  • Posts: 22
    I strongly disagree, with a bullet the impact can cause severe damage and trauma, but the person impacted knows they've been damaged. Internal bleeding sometimes cannot be stopped and often goes unnoticed by someone who just think they have sustained a bruise. 
  • Interesting bit of information! Thanks for sharing.
  • That's true, it can go unnoticed and can be quite dangerous. Most of the time, in situations like this, it's used by a professional that will afterwards be inspected by a medical team when they get to the site. It's usually noticed. 
  • Posts: 75
    Thats an informative piece no doubt. But there is a small problem here. What would happen if more and more people decide to use such vests to protect themselves from bullets? I envisage a situation where these bulletproof vests will fall into the hands of criminals and more damage will be inflicted. Then again, some people might try to go round this by using higher impact calibre weapons. Its a game of Russian roulette.
  • guyguy
    Posts: 25
    The vest will prevent most hand gun bullets, but they don't protect against the bigger more deadly bullets that don't give a damn about how thick those vest are, they still go threw. I used to wonder why if the police know that then why wear the vest anyway, but most people don't carry around weapons that are capable of shooting threw Kevlar.
  • Wow this is a great post! Thank you for sharing. We completely agree with @remnant

    What happens if this get's into the wrong hands? Do we all just start wearing them to be safe? 
  • Im bulletproof, nothing to looose. I am TITAAANIIIIUUM!
  • This was very informative and I am glad to have read it. This is something we hardly think of as we are always so concerned about the bullets and the guns themselves. Great post!
  • I'm so happy to read your meaningful and enlightening post. I always used to think that the so-called bullet proof jackets offered complete safety. Little did I know that a person could feel the impact and get bruised.
  • Your post is very educative. I will be calling it bullet resistant from now on. I am even surprised to know that militants who used to wear it still got bruised if not penetrated by the bullet.

    So no more bullet proof. I am starting to think and agree that we should be taught about this things in school. Dummy!
  • Bullet proof or bullet resistant, it's doesn't really matter what it's called, the point of concern is that it's effective and efficient is preventing bullet penetration when get shot in a gun fight. I haven't been shot before but I have seen several war action packed movies and some of live documentary of the crisis in some parts of the world today, for example Syria. I have witnessed some military personnel and civilians getting shot at and those wearing bullet vest still felt a reasonable amount of pain from the bullet impact.

    Although I have read somewhere that there are certain bullets and guns that have the propensity to perpetrate the bullet vest and still kill the individual shot. I have seen it in some movies but I'm not sure how true that is.
  • This is definitely news to me. I always thought that bullet proof vests were the ultimate protection from bullets. I always wondered why soldiers fall far away from where they are shot and lie in pain even when wearing bullet proof vests. Of course I am talking about Jason Bourne movies. Come to think of it, some even gasp for air for a few seconds after the shot, which means the force of the bullet is spread out through their chest and the diaphram cotracts. It makes total sense now. Thank you for the information.
  • I agree with you on this explanation of the difference between bullet resistance and the misconception of calling those vests bullet proof. I always call them bullet proof, but have watched on the internet how some security agencies wearing such were killed in war front and that got me thinking. So, I'm happy to learn that there are not really bullet proof, but mere bullet resistance vests.
  • Well, I agree with you man. 
  • Totally, this post helps to get clear the way armor vests are made. But besides the fact they're not completely bulletproof, due to the materials, there's also the fact that we have lethal bullets, that can get through those like going trough butter. So basically, we are trying to help forces by making more resistant, but eventually if the bad guys have this lethal bullets, we are doing nothing. So sorry but this is real, ask around about "police killer bullets". 
  • The idea that this isn't common knowledge is scary to me. I would hope most people realize that nothing is every 100% "bulletproof," and that kevlar vests and armored cars are designed to exponentially increase your chances of surviving gunfire, not make you completely invincible to it. It's true you can still be badly injured.
  • Posts: 7
    Yeah, that is correct. Actually, the characteristic of steel alone are not enough to stop a high velocity projectile. So Most of the company that especialized in that field, are now using a composite armour which is a combination of one, two or more materials that has the ability to greatly reduce the velocity of a fast moving projectile such as the combination of steel, ceramic and aramid fiber.
  • This raises the question of what "-proof", on a less serious level, the fact that wearing a waterproof coat won't keep you dry, because your body will sweat and steam inside.
  • This is really an eye opener, all this time I thought that anyone who wears a life vest is already away from pain and very protective. Now I know that there is no one can penetrate a lot of bullets even though you are wearing a bulletproof vest. Also I want to ask why those army uses Kevlar than the bullet proof, bullet proof vest are more safer that Kevlar right? correct me if I am wrong. Is it because they need to reduce weight to move more easier in the front line? I know some of the soldiers wear bullet proof too but I noticed most of them is only wearing Kevlar, what is the reason? I will be very glad if someone can answer this.
  • This is an interesting post.After reading this I immediately google bulletproof and was very thankful because of this, I was able to understand completely how it all works.
  • Posts: 7
    I just want to add about Titanium. Titanium are more expensive than other materials they usually used so they often prefer Rolled homogeneous armour. But in most cases Titanium are being used in a Military Aircraft because they are much lighter even if it is expensive.
  • What an awesome and interesting post. good job! and this thing is totally agreeable.
  • Posts: 47
    coolyfrost There is no threat from making plates too strong. They put antispalling on the plates to stop that
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