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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi GB,

Bullet resistant vests are illegal in many localities. Can you give us your thoughts on making a home-made vest? Maybe something that can resist the 9mm, 357 mag and Sig and maybe the 45acp and 460 Roland. Doubt many BG's will carry the 44 mag.

Thanks

RIKA :)
 

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RIKA, I'm suprised to hear that the vests are still illegal in some places. I know that they used to be illegal in some places, but their safety advantages for store clerks, bank employees and executives have caused some laws to be rescinded. I checked just now and found laws pertaining to "Bullet Resistant Vest-Commission Of Crime While Wearing". Some states also restrict convicted criminals from possessing vests.

Most of the "laws" against bullet resistant vests have actually been a refusal of some vest manufacturers and retailers to refuse to sell to the public. I would check websites that list laws.

As for home-made, I don't want some bozo to read our discussion and test his vest while his buddy wears it.

With that in mind...

There are several factors to consider such as the velocity of the round, the area of the bullet as seen from the front, the hardness of the bullet, and the "pointy-ness" of the bullet. Aside from specialty rounds, the .22WMRF and the 9mm were traditionally the two hardest handgun rounds to stop. Ultimately, you have to consider the ease of home manufacture and that leads us to readily available fabrics.

Nylon used to be used in vests, but it required about twice the number of layers. The downside of the nylon vest was largely its stiffness because it had to be made so thick. So, in the absense of weaving machines and specialized fabrics, I would use nylon. Before kevlar the design of the vests were basically the same but with twice the layers.

Let me share one of my favorite stories from the old west:

There was a clever gentleman who sewed overlapping pockets on the inside of his duster. Inside these pockets he placed crushed glass. He would make bets about his "bulletproof coat". To the best of my knowledge his coat always stopped the bullets.
 

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As for the .44 Mag, it's not so hard to stop. The bullet noses are almost always soft, exposed lead. Additionally, the frontal area is large. Nine millimeter bullet jackets, as used by many militaries, are quite hard and the velocity high, so they present more of a problem. Twenty-two WMRF's have such a small area is why they're toughies.
 

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Something else to keep in mind. Even if a vest stops a round, you're still getting the full brunt of its impact. In the case of a soft vest, that can still mean broken/splintered ribs. I remember a case where a guy was shot with a 405-gr. .454-70 bullet. The bullet shattered the trauma plate and drove a 5" deep divot into the guys chest, dragging the armor with it. It never penetrated the armor, but the guy was just as dead. In any case, getting hit with armor on still hurts like hell.

Anyone know of the documented effects on women? I mean, let's face it, a woman is going to have her boobs crushed by the impact. Can't be much less pain than a guy getting hit in the nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Magnum says: "Anyone know of the documented effects on women? I mean, let's face it, a woman is going to have her boobs crushed by the impact. Can't be much less pain than a guy getting hit in the nuts."

OUCH! You bring up a very important point (no pun intended). Maybe we can dig up some info. Wonder if those trauma plates are shaped for a woman's chest?

RIKA
 

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From the earlier post about bullet resistant glass I wonder about scrounging some of that polycarbonate from "bullet resistant" windows used in stop-in-robs to use as a "trauma plate"?The stuff is quite thick IIRC about an inch +/- also,as it doesn't have the glass glued to it it would be comparatively lightweight.I know it would be awkward,but the pieces needed don't have to be that big.Also,when I say scrounged I was meaning if/when SHTF.
I expect if the clerk @ the local 7-11 saw you walk up to his window w/a Sawzall & an extension cord he might get concerned. :dgrin:
 

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Magnum88C said:
...Anyone know of the documented effects on women? I mean, let's face it, a woman is going to have her boobs crushed by the impact. Can't be much less pain than a guy getting hit in the nuts.
Only one I know was a state trooper; forget which state. Smaller woman, 110-120 lbs, iirc. Wearing a 2A Second Chance vest (same model I wear), was shot in the chest at 10 feet with 6" .44 magnum. I would have thought she would be unconscious or at least out of the fight, but she pulled her weapon, returned fire, found cover, cleared a malfunction, and continued firing, eventually killing her attacker. IIRC, only injuries was bad bruising, but can't recall for certain; may have cracked a rib or such.

Level 2A vest isn't rated for the round she was hit with, but it still saved her. Story is probably available somewhere, as Second Chance uses it as one of their "saves" stories.
 

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Magnum88C said:
Something else to keep in mind. Even if a vest stops a round, you're still getting the full brunt of its impact.
True. When I have tested armor samples, I have placed modeling clay behind them. After shooting the armor with the test gun, I measured the indentation left in the clay. Less indentation is better, desiring less than 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches.

It's easy to make strong armor if it's rigid. It's a lot tougher to make soft armor that stops a high penetration bullet.
 

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thanks G-BULLET

for the clay dent info!

i 'drag' a flack vest home every chance,[for the motor home] when i find them![suround sound in the 'bunk']




thanks.
 

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GBullet is absolutely right about the clay-dent approach; that's how they actually "determine" the rating of a given vest. Not whether the bullet actually penetrates it, but how much "backface deformation" there is in the clay when shot by a given load at a given vest. Don't recall what the maximum indentation to "pass" is, but I believe it's something like 2 - 2 1/2 inches. (Sounds like a big "dent" in your chest, but remember that the Red Cross teaches to use 3 1/2" of compression when doing adult cpr, so it's less than that...)

Say a load doesn't penetrate a vest, and leaves a 2" dent in the clay behind it, the vest is rated for that load. If it doesn't penetrate, and leaves a 3" dent in the clay (assuming I'm remembering the 2.5" rule correctly), it FAILS the test, even though it stops the bullet, and the dent is still shallower than a cpr application. The vest would then NOT be rated for that load.

That female trooper story I mentioned - her vest "failed" that government-decreed test, even though it not only saved her life from the bullet, it actually kept her in good enough shape to stay in the fight.

That's been one of the complaints about vest ratings for years; that bureaucrats won't purchase or allow vests that aren't "rated" for a certain level, and to meet this arbitrary "level" (that has little bearing on effectiveness) the vests have to be so thick, stiff, and cumbersome to meet these ratings, that many people won't wear them. I know several guys who carry theirs in the back seat and say they'll "grab it if they need it". My response is that "since you'll need it anytime you need your gun, why not leave your gun in the back seat as well?" (Can't understand why I piss people off... :cool: )

The point of this rambling is that even if a vest isn't "rated" for a given load doesn't mean it's defenseless against it. It's a relative scale, based on an arbitrary testing formula that was originated by a bureaucrat with his kid's Play-Doh. (I kid you not; he chouldn't think of any other way to test a vest's function, so that's where this "backface deformation" premise came from...)

[/rant off] :duck:
 

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John in AR, the 2A armor is soft armor yes? Perhaps that has less "crush" effect than would even a properly shaped trauma plate on some of a woman's more pleasant parts?
 

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Mag, the better quality vests for women have a shape to fit a woman's contour.

Some of the older vests were made only for men and mashed womens' breasts in an uncomfortable way.
 

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Rich Davis has a good rant about backforce bs in

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. Most hits are probably not at a nice 90degree angle of impact, and so, there's a LOT more armor to pierce(relative to a 90 degree hit) and a lot more deflection of the impact forces. Your 30 Ak bullet might pierce 3/8" steel at a 90 degree angle, but it won't do so at a 45 degree angle, cause it's got both 50% more material to pierce, and the forces involved tend to deflect the bullet. rather than" dig in" and penetrate. A mere twic can deflect a high powered rifle bullet you know, especially if the impact occurs close to the muzzle, where the bullet is still not fully spin-stabilized.
 

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andy said:
Most hits are probably not at a nice 90degree angle of impact, and so, there's a LOT more armor to pierce(relative to a 90 degree hit) and a lot more deflection of the impact forces.

...A mere twic can deflect a high powered rifle bullet you know, especially if the impact occurs close to the muzzle, where the bullet is still not fully spin-stabilized.
Excellent points, andy.
 
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