The Bulletproof Era: Bulletproof Items and Their Uses

When 19-year-old Nicholas Cruz went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s day last 2018, he took the lives of seventeen innocent people. He also left seventeen other people injured. In a span of six to seven minutes, he killed and hurt people with an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. 

This tragedy sparked various reactions from people, most notably to worried parents who send their kids to school. 

No one can ever question what sorts of protection a parent could ever give to his or her offspring. It’s in human’s nature to take care, worry, and sometimes become anxious about your children’s safety and well-being. A parent will do whatever it takes to safeguard their children. 

Hence, the rise in the demand for items such as bulletproof vests and ballistic backpack for kids boomed.

The Gun Control Issue in the US

Although it’s alarming, the United States took the highest homicide-by-firearm rate compared to other developed countries. However, despite the numerous shootings recorded in US this 2019 and from the previous years, the gun control issue remains unresolved. 

It seems as if no one can find the balance between gun rights and public safety. Even Congress takes this issue cautiously, and sometimes also overlooked. Since it’s like a hot issue no one wants to tackle or handle, it’s safe to say that you can expect this problem to continue even after the next election.

Hence, in the wake of these shootings, the era for bulletproof items have arisen.

The Bulletproof Myth

Whenever we say bulletproof, it’s already a constant idea that if ever you own a bulletproof item, a bullet can never hit you. You feel like you’re invincible. However, the truth is that nothing is bulletproof. The effectivity of a bulletproof item lies in its ability to absorb the kinetic energy of a bullet. 

So if a bulletproof item has an outstanding performance in energy absorption, the better protection you’ll get against the weapon itself.

Bulletproof Items: Material and Function

1. Bulletproof Helmet 

Helmets are commonly known for people who are working in a construction area, motorcycle and bicycle riders, and many more. But there are also bulletproof helmets already available in the market. 

Most bulletproof helmets can protect you from 9mm and .44 magnum with a minimum distance of at least 15 meters. However, some specialized bulletproof helmets can also resist rifles with a minimum distance of at least 50 meters.

UHMW-PE (Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene), Kevlar and Bulletproof steel are the common materials used in creating a bulletproof helmet.

UHMW-PE (Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene)

This high-performance organic fiber creates high stability and low-temperature resistance. Thus, it is essential to note that one should not wear helmets designed with UHMW-PE to high-temperature environments.

Kevlar

This lightweight, durable synthetic fiber can resist intense heat, unlike UHMW-PE. Because of its lightweight property, it guarantees comfort to people who wear helmets made from Kevlar. Unfortunately, Kevlar doesn’t work well with ultraviolet lights. The continuous exposure to UV will cause the kevlar to deteriorate.

Bulletproof steel

Bulletproof steel is the weakest material compared to UHMW-PE and Kevlar. Although it’s weak, when it comes to production, this material costs cheaper. Unfortunately, this material is also heavy and can cause discomfort to the people who wear it. But since it’s relatively inexpensive, several countries are still utilizing steel helmets.

2. Bulletproof Vest/Armor

Upon the discovery of new fibers in the year 1960s, bulletproof vest came into the picture. This wonder product protects the torso once worn. As far as everyone knows, people wear a bulletproof vest or armor to prevent a bullet from penetrating. However, the truth is these vests deform the bullet and absorb its energy. The vest’s many layers then entangle the energy.

Commonly, a bulletproof vest contains a panel and a vest-shaped sheet. This sheet is composed of advanced plastic polymers. There are sixteen to twenty-four layers of nylon cloth of a heavy weave in a bulletproof textile vest. These weaves are carefully stitched together like a quilt. 

As of this day, the weight of a level IIIA bulletproof vest is around 5.5 pounds. This kind of bulletproof vest can make the wearer impenetrable from almost all handgun rounds. 

Even though the development of bulletproof vest took some time, its effectiveness has been proven efficient. The International Association of Chiefs of Police revealed that this bulletproof item already saved more than 3,000 officers’ lives since 1987.

3. Ballistic Backpacks

Most parents in the US invested in ballistic backpack after the Florida shooting. The sales increase in ballistic bags and inserts spiked to 200-300%. Compared to bulletproof vests, ballistic backpacks are highly fashionable and may come into inconspicuous form. If ever faced with a shooting incident, anyone with this item can use this as a mobile cover due to its Level IIIA ballistic panels.

Ballistic backpacks have built-in panels created from a Kevlar fabric. These built-in panels make these bags efficient against handguns and shotguns bullets. Bags designed with Kevlar fabric and its strong thread are soft and lightweight body armor.

However, everyone should consider the fact that a ballistic backpack can only protect the person from handguns and pistols. Rifles can still penetrate this item. Since it’s designed to be lighter, it’s no longer crafted with stronger ballistic-resistant hard plates.

4. Ballistic Shields

Back in the days, the original ballistic shields used to have a thin, unprotected eye slot so that their users could peak through them. Originally, the shields are very heavy, hard to wield or shape and the insides had poor hand grips. Despite its effectivity, the problem with vision, weight, and gripping options made it hard for people to utilize it in tactical situations.

Ballistic shields come in different shape and size, depending on its intended use. The standard square shape is for advancing on a dangerous situation only. If the person intends to return fire, they should pick a square-shaped base, with indentations on one or both sides through the upper area. The indentations let the shooter return fire while still having the maximum coverage of the shield available to their head areas.

Ballistic shields are portable, so it’s easier for the person in possession to carry it into dangerous situations. They’re made from the most modern ballistics materials. The broad view port is made of bulletproof glass for safety and maximum visibility. 

Clinging into these kinds of options to ensure one’s safety is somehow disheartening. Everyone deserves a world free from violence and fear. But in this modern world where anything can happen, you must be informed and ready.

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