Throughout the course of recorded history, men have used different types of material to shield their bodies against injury in instances of war and similar violent situations. One of the first items to be used for making a protective cover for warring men was animal skin. As time passed and technology made significant strides, sturdy materials such as wood and metal began to be used for making such shields. By the middle ages, metal armors became very prominent. However with the invention of firearms, the creation of bullet proof vests became inevitable as metal protection was not effective against the potency of bullets. Follow the article to know the fascinating history of bullet proof vests and know how they came into existence.
Interesting And Amazing Information On The Origin & Background Of Bullet Proof Vests
Before the invention of bullet proof vests, stone walls were the only protection sought against bullets. The Japanese were one of the first to wear a bullet proof shield, which was a soft body armor made of silk. Tests conducted on these vests revealed that they were quite effective against the low-intensity bullets that traveled at a speed of 400ft/sec or less. At the same time, it was also realized that these silk manufactured vests were not effective against the new generation handguns being invented at that point of time.
Some records found in the US Patent lists, dating back to 1919, mention about the manufacturing of certain bullet proof vests and body armor designs. However, the first well recorded evidence of a bullet proof vest being confirmed for use by the law enforcement officers has been found in a newspaper named Evening Star in Washington D.C., on 2nd April, 1931. The paper mentioned that the members of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington were presented with bullet proof jackets.
The Second World War saw the development of the next generation of anti-ballistic bullet proof jackets. These were ‘flak jackets’ manufactured by using ballistic nylon. The flak jackets were mainly developed for the aircraft crew. While they provided good protection against the ammunition fragments, these jackets failed miserably against most of the pistol or rifle threats. Another drawback that made the flack jackets practically unusable was that they were very bulky and restricted mobility. As such, it was difficult to carry them in tough situations.
Eventually, new fibers were discovered in the late 1960s that made the creation of modern day bullet proof vests possible. The Justice department of the U.S initiated a research program to materialize the development of a light weighted bullet proof jacket for on-duty policemen. The new vests were made using Kevlar and ballistic steel, which have highly resistive properties. They proved to be greatly effective and soon companies manufacturing body armors began to use advanced technologies to create bullet proof vests, not only to provide protection against bullets, but also against explosives and other sharp objects.