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Ceramic Armor: The Bullet Stops Here

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 30 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2003 Pages: 126,128,133
Dave Brown
Date Published
September 2003
7 pages
This article discusses the Ceramic Armor on Patrol (CAP) program.
The Ceramic Protection Corporation (CPC), a manufacturer of bonded ceramic plates, has designed lighter-weight front and back ceramic plates that withstand both NIJ Level III and Level IV threats when worn in conjunction with an existing Level II or IIIA vest. The triple-curve plates are molded to follow the contours of the human body and are contained in a one-size-fits-all harness that can be slipped over existing clothes, uniforms, and jackets. Patrol officers can dive into their trunk, and in less than 10 seconds, don a front and rear ceramic plate system that will effectively protect their vital areas from just about any shoulder-fired weapon on the street. The complete CAP system, with two plates, weighs less than 12 pounds and adds about 1 inch of thickness. The ceramic plate used in the CAP product is designed to completely capture the bullet without penetrating the officer or bystanders that may be in the line of fire. Unlike soft armor, the officer will not be incapacitated and can respond effectively after being shot. There are many myths surrounding body armor that still need to be dispelled. To get the message out, CPC offers a half-day training course that covers the theory and practical application of ceramics as body armor material to any agency that requests it. One common myth is that ceramic armor is prone to ricochets. Ceramic armor is designed to sacrifice itself to protect the wearer. Another myth is that ceramic armor only has one-shot capability, but it is tested to the same NIJ standards as any other “hard” rifle protection. It is also rumored that the highest level of armor protection available, the NIJ Level IV rating, is also the most difficult rating to achieve. This statement applies to hard armor made from heavy steel plate, not ceramics. And finally, ceramics is rumored to be expensive. A system is actually less than the cost of a good Level IIIA vest.


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