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Shock Absorbers

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 26 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2002 Pages: 36,38,40,42,43
Date Published
August 2002
5 pages

This article discusses the use, effectiveness, and standards of high-tech cloth in the development of law enforcement soft body armor.


The advancements in weapons have been accompanied by advancements in methods designed to defeat the new and advanced weaponry, specifically body armor. Today, bullet-resistant cloth body armor is used by police officers as an effective means to protect themselves against bullets. The basic principle behind bullet-resistant cloth body armor is basic physics. The soft body armor acts as a very strong net with the entire net working to absorb the bullet’s inertial energy. Due to the cloth’s tight weave, the soft body armor spreads the blunt trauma out over the entire area of the material reducing serious internal injuries. The body armor is heavy due to its’ composition of many layers of bullet-resistant cloth. Multiple layers of material are used with each layer to slow the bullet down progressively. The woven fibers, such as kevlar, spectra, twaron, and zylon cause the bullet to deform and spread out at the tip after impact. However, soft body armor is not bulletproof just bullet resistant. It is dependent on the construction and layering of the fabrics used in the process. The National Institute of Justice rates body armor based on meeting set performance requirements under specified standards. These standards are reevaluated annually.

Date Published: August 1, 2002