by Sullivan Owens November 17, 2021 6 min read
The USA has a long history of military advancements often finding their way into the civilian marketplace.Radar technology adapted by the military in WWII eventually developed into everyday products like toaster ovens, drones, duct tape, GPS systems, and so much more! We’re going to look into how military advancements in body armor have found their way into everyday carry systems of law abiding civilians.
Now because of adaptations created by the military, elite body armor is no longer exclusive to the marines, army, coast guard, air force, or navy. Any law-abiding civilian has the ability to equip themselves in self defense situations- from work, to school, to a casual outing with friends.
Changes in armor made by the military lead to more advanced civilian body armor. Similar to advancements made during the Space Race found their way into everyday life. Frank, President of Premier Body Armor, initially worked in an industry producing armored vehicles for the military. To a fault, our company often analyzes the question “What armor systems protect US soldiers?” to offer curated products for the common civilian.
Oftentimes people assume that soldiers should be decked out in full body armor. There’s plenty of films that allude to the idea of exoskeletal armor systems. These robotic armor systems look high-tech and awesome.
However there are many small, yet life-threatening details to consider in the design of military armor. These imperative, yet small factors are also heavily examined by Premier Body Armor in the design of our armor.
Here are the top 3 factors that are essential to the fabrication of our products:
Strenuous, unnecessary weight on the body from heavy military body armor plates can add long term damage to the body over time. The average weight a soldier typically carries could be more than 40 pounds.
Any unnecessary weight is equivalent to unnecessary long term pain, especially in the joints. A recent study conducted by Capt. Courtney Thompson found that only 15 pounds can hinder a Marine’s performance in combat.
Military body armor evolution consists of constantly looking for solutions that lighten the load, but provide higher levels of protection. In fact, the military recently transitioned from the Improved Outer Tactical vest to the Modular Scalable vest. This move’s intention was to lighten the soldiers’ weight load by roughly 3.7 pounds.
Every addition of armor should be filtered through the standard of helping a soldier complete their mission and preserving his/her life. At Premier, we believe in these same foundational concepts. We strive to produce armor that enables civilians to feel empowered, provide everyday protection, and maintain optimal performance. All several ounces to literally pounds lighter than offerings from other manufacturers.
There is a balance to consider regarding the technological capability and the human capability when it comes to a personal body armor system. Premier seeks to provide the highest level of protection, while also providing armor solutions that ensure mobility and comfort.
Oftentimes many soldiers are provided an armor system that isn’t fit for their body. Soldiers have reported uncomfortable armor that keeps them from completing simple, routine assignments. Instead of adjusting their body armor, they would compensate with another body part and experience repetitive injuries.
For example, soldiers have reported placing the buttstock of their gun against their bicep when firing their weapon because their rifle-rated plate was in the way of resting the buttstock in their shoulder.
Army Times reports that there have been recent changes in armor to prevent this reoccurring issue. The Modular Scalable Vest, Blast Pelvic Protector, and Shooter’s Cut plates are all improvements made in order to create comfort and prevent injuries.
Military advancements in armor have inspired Premier to create our Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene plates in Shooter’s cut. The Shooter’s Cut enables users to place the buttstock of their rifle without having to adjust their ballistic protection. This cut also allows more range of motion and maneuverability as well.
Another product that we have adapted to evolve along with military advancements would be our tactical plate carriers. Our Core Plate Carrier balances durability and high-speed performance. The integrated molle webbing and laser-cut molle sections transform carrying heavy loads to feel like you’re traveling light throughout your personal mission. Even the cummerbunds offer Level IIIA soft armor protection, as well as FirstSpear Rapid-Release Technology.
We hope to continue creating products that are the foundational chassis for every mission. Our business started with producing armored vehicles, and has transformed to now producing industry leading concealable armor options. After constantly analyzing the effectiveness of military grade body armor, we seek to constantly offer the best armor that reflects thoughtfully-designed craftsmanship.
One of the greatest evolutions to occur in the world of bullet resistance was the discovery of Kevlar. Kevlar is made of many fibers woven at a microscopic level then combined with hydrogen bonds, leading to a tensile strength 10x stronger than steel. These inter-woven fibers are designed to stop bullets, absorb, and dissipate the energy of the projectile.
Stephanie Kwolek, a chemist from DuPont is known for discovering Kevlar. The ballistic panels in our level IIIA products are sourced from DuPont. We have tested several ballistic materials and DuPont’s ballistic fibers ranked as superior.
Originally Kevlar was applied to the field of Law Enforcement. Kevlar was tested by the National Institute of Justice in 1971 for law enforcement and was adopted 4 years later. Law enforcement would wear a Kevlar vest in conjunction with steel plates over their vitals. By 1980, the US Army had incorporated Kevlar into their armor system as well.
The Army continued to evolve its ballistic protection through combining a Kevlar vest and SAPI (Small Arms Protective Inserts). As weaponry has changed from arrows, to bullets, to rifle rated rounds, armor has continued to adapt and overcome. Enough Kevlar to prevent a rifle rated round would inhibit the mobility of a soldier, thus leading to the necessity of rifle-rated plates.
The US military uses ceramic plates for their rifle-rated plates. Having a plate for protection prevents blunt force trauma and stops rounds outside of Kevlar’s certified threat level of protection. However, at Premier Body Armor, we have taken the concept of rifle-rated plates and improved the material of ceramic to UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene).
We use a proprietary, USA-made UHMWPE material in ourSTRATIS line of plates.This material is extremely lightweight and durable.Our UHMWPE material also ensures the durability of our products. Unfortunately ceramic plates can be brittle. Oftentimes once a ceramic plate is dropped, it becomes vulnerable and untrustworthy to provide protection.
Sheets of UHMWPE fibers are strong from every direction and offer enhanced ballistic protection. Which is what makes our Level IV Enhanced Plate Multi-Hit capable. Watch our torture test here:
The NIJ standard is going to be changing soon and steel plates will have to get thicker and thus heavier to make the cut. We didn’t want to sell an even heavier plate, so we made the move to a more modern material. UHMWPE will pass all the new testing and give our customers superior performance.
When a US company outsources body armor production, they have little to no supervision over manufacturing. They cannot speak to the real intent or care of the manufacturer. If something were to go wrong during manufacturing, the facility could sweep issues under the rug to meet deadlines without the US retailer’s knowledge. Our eyes stay on our materials and manufacturing through our whole process.
At Premier, we source only the best raw materials to make our products. Every fiber that goes into the manufacturing process is sourced and made in the USA. Our products are created with materials that undergo the highest level of quality control in the industry.
In summary, we can look at many factors researched and considered by the military experts. We’ve seen how weight, maneuverability, durability, and so many more aspects affect the design of body armor. Why not look to the professionals for designing the best body armor for civilians?
Premier constantly stays up to date researching improvements for body armor to offer curated products for everyone in nearly every situation. We’re an industry leader in body armor innovation. We take pride in setting the tone for high quality materials that people should be able to trust with their safety.
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