History of Personal Armor

Lots of factors have influenced the development of personal armor through human history. Considerable factors in the advancement of armor include the monetary and technical necessities of armor production. For example plate armor first appeared in Medieval Europe the instant water-powered trip hammers helped make the formation of plates speedier and cheaper. At moments the advancement of armor has run parallel to the development of significantly reliable weaponry on the battlefield, with armorers finding to develop far better protection without any compromising mobility. With the development of capitalism and technological advances shield became more available to the lower groups typically at a cost of quality.


Eastern armor features a lengthy history, spanning numerous thousand years, beginning in Ancient China. The earliest known Western armor is the Dendra panoply, dating from the Mycenaean Era around 1400 BC. Mail, also referred to as chainmail, is earned of interlocking iron rings, which may be riveted or welded shut. It is considered to have certainly been created by the Celtic individuals in Eastern Europe about 500 BC. [citation needed] When these Celts moved West they took mail with them. The majority of societies who used mail used the Celtic phrase Byrnne or a variant, suggesting the Celts as the pioneers. The Romans widely embraced mail as the lorica hamata, despite the fact that they also made use of lorica segmentata and Lorica squamata. Although no non-metallic armor survives, a linen laminate understood as linothorax is consistently mentioned in ancient Greek sources.

In East Asian history laminated armor such as lamellar, and styles similar to the coat of plates, and brigandine were generally used. Later on cuirasses and plates were also utilized. In pre-Qin dynasty times, leather armor was created out of rhinoceros. Chinese influence in Japan would outcome in the Japanese adopting Chinese styles, their samurai shield being an outcome of this influence.

Middle Ages

Most likely the highly recognised design of armour in the World eventually became the plate armour connected with the knights of the European Late Middle Ages, but carrying on to the early 17th century Age of Enlightenment in all European states.

By about 1400 the total harness of plate shield had been developed in arsenals of Lombardy. Massive cavalry dominated the combat zone for hundred of years in part because of their armour.

In the early 15th century, advances in weapons allowed infantrymen to defeat armoured cavaliers on the combat zone. The quality of the metal used in armour weakened as armies became bigger and armour was made thicker, requiring multiplying of larger cavalry horses. If throughout the 14-- 15th centuries armour seldom had a weight of more than 15 kg, after that by the late 16th century it scaled 25 kg. The increasing mass and thickness of late 16th century shield therefore offered considerable resistance.

Gunpowder era

Considering that gunpowder firearms enhanced, it turned into cheaper and more efficient to have group of people of unarmored men with very early guns rather than to have costly knights, which in turn created armor to be predominately discarded. Cavalry units proceeded to use armor for longer. Illustration feature the German Reiter, Polish heavy hussars and the back and breast worn by heavy cavalry units in the course of the Napoleonic wars.

Modern Armor

Army make use of metal or ceramic plates in their bullet resistant vests, supplying added security from rifle shots. Metallic parts or tightly-woven fiber layers can give soft armor resistance to stab and slash attacks from a blade. Mail armor gloves carry on with to be made use of by butchers and abattoir workers to prevent cuts and wounds while cutting up cold meats.

Protected Areas

  • Head - A ballistic face mask is created to shield the wearer from ballistic threats. Ballistic face masks are usually made of kevlar or various other bullet-resistant materials and the inside of the mask may be cushioned for shock absorption, depending on the design. As a result of to weight limitations, security levels range only up to NIJ Level IIIA.
  • Shield - supported in the hand or arm. Its function is to intercept assaults, either by quiting projectiles this kind of as arrows or by glimpsing a blow to the side of the shield-user. Shields are also made use of offensively as a bludgeoning devices. Shields differ greatly in size, varying from large shields that safeguard the user's entire body to small guards that are mostly for use in hand-to-hand combat. Shields also change a fantastic deal in thickness; whereas several guards were made of thick wooden planking, to protect soldiers from spears and crossbow bolts, different shields were actually thinner and created mainly for glimpsing blows away (this kind of as a sword blow).
  • Limbs - Medieval armor frequently offered protection for all of the limbs, also including metal boots for the lower legs, gauntlets for the hands and wrists, as well as greaves for the legs. Right now, defense of limbs from bombs is offered by a bombsuit. A lot of modern soldiers sacrifice limb protection for mobility, given that armor thick enough to quit bullets would considerably inhibit motion of the arms and legs.
  • Torso - A ballistic vest helps take in the influence from firearm-fired projectiles and shrapnel from explosions, and is worn on the torso. Soft vests are created from many layers of woven or laminated fibers and can be qualified of securing the wearer from small caliber handgun and shotgun projectiles, and small particles from explosives such as hand grenades.

Body Armor?

When did the U.S. Army first start using body armor like the Kevlar and IBA?

In the beginning stages of World War II, the United States created body armor for infantrymen, but many units were very massive and mobility-restricting. These types of armor vests were really often incompatible with currenting devices as well. The armed forces diverted its research efforts to establishing "flak jackets" for aircraft crews. These flak jackets were developed of nylon fabric and efficient of stopping flak and shrapnel, yet not designed to stop bullets.

The British Army issued Medical Research Council body shield, as did the Canadian Army, in north-west Europe, in the latter case primarily to medical personnel of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. The Japanese army produced a few styles of infantry body defense in the course of World War II, yet they did not see a lot use. Near the middle of 1944, development of infantry body armor in the United States rebooted. Numerous vests were created for the US military, consisting of but not limited to the T34, the T39, the T62E1, and the M12.

The Red Army utilized several kinds of body armour, consisting of the SN-42 (" Stalynoi Nagrudnik" is Russian for "steel breastplate", and the number represents the design year). All were tested, but only the SN-42 was put in production. It comprised of two pressed steel plates that safeguarded the front torso and groin. The plates were 2 mm thick and weighed 3.5 kg (7.7 Lbs.). This armor was supplied to SHISBr (assault engineers) and to Tankodesantniki (infantry that rode on tanks) of some tank brigades. The SN armor protected wearers from the German MP-40 9 mm bullet at around 100-125 meters, that created it useful in urban battles (Stalingrad). Nevertheless, the SN's mass made it impractical for infantrymen on foot in an open outdoor setting.


In the course of the Korean War several new vests were generated for the United States military, including the M-1951, which in turn created use of fiberglass or aluminum segments woven into a nylon vest. These types of vests represented "a huge enhancement on weight, but the armor fell short to stop bullets and fragments very successfully," although technically they were claimed to be able to stop a standard Soviet 7.62 x25 pistol round at the muzzle. The Vietnam war era furnish were merely updated models of the Korean versions and were still not competent of stopping rifle rounds.

In 1969, American Body Armor was founded and began to produce a patented combination of quilted nylon faced with multiple steel plates. This armor configuration was marketed to American law enforcement agencies by the Smith & Wesson gun company under the trade name "Barrier Vest." The "Barrier Vest" was the first police vest to gain wide use during high threat police operations.

In the mid-1970s, the DuPont Corporation launched Kevlar synthetic fiber, which in turn was woven into a fabric and layered. Right away Kevlar was included into a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) evaluation program to provide light-weight, concealable body armor to a test pool of American legislation enforcement officers to ascertain if everyday concealable wearing was achievable. Lester Shubin, a program manager at the NIJ, managed this law enforcement feasibility study inside a few selected large police agencies, and quickly determined that Kevlar body armor could be easily worn by police daily, and would certainly save lives.

In 1975 Richard A. Armellino, the creator of American Body Armor marketed an all Kevlar vest contacted the K-15, comprised of 15 layers of Kevlar that also featured a 5" X 8" ballistic steel "Shok Plate" installed vertically over the heart and was issued U.S Patent # 3,971,072 for this ballistic vest innovation. Similarly sized and positioned "trauma plates" are nevertheless used these days on the front ballistic panels of most concealable vests, decreasing blunt trauma and enhancing ballistic protection in the center-mass heart/sternum area.

In 1976, Richard Davis, founder of Second Chance Body Armor created this company's first all-Kevlar vest, identified the Model Y. The lightweight, concealable vest market was introduced and a new form of day-to-day security for the contemporary police officer was quickly adjusted. By the middle to late 1980s, an estimated 1/3 to 1/2 of police patrol officers wore concealable vests daily. By the year 2006, more than 2,000 documented police vest "saves" were tape-recorded, legitimizing the success and performance of lightweight concealable body shield as a conventional piece of everyday police equipment.


Kevlar soft protection had its drawbacks due to the fact that if "large particles or high velocity ammunitions struck the vest, the energy could trigger life-threatening, blunt trauma damages" in selected, important places. So the Ranger Body Armor was created for the American military in 1994. Even though it was the second modern US body armor that was able to stop rifle caliber rounds and nonetheless be light sufficient to be worn by infantry soldiers in the sector, it still had its flaws: "it was still heavier than the concurrently issued PASGT (Personal Armor System for Ground Troops) anti-fragmentation armor worn by regular shock troops and ... did not have the exact same certification of ballistic protection about the neck and elbow." The format of Ranger Body Armor (and more current body armor released to US special functions units) feature the trade-offs between force protection and mobility that modern-day body armor armies organizations to address.

The more recent armor provided by the United States military to large amounts of soldiers is recognized as the Interceptor Multi-Threat Body Armor System. The Kevlar Interceptor vest is intended generally to supply shrapnel defense, but is ranked for threats up to and including 9mm sub machine gun fire. Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) plates, created of ceramic products, are worn front and back and protect the vital organs from threats up to and involving 7.62 x51mm NATO rifle rounds.

Considering that the 1970s, a number of brand-new fibers and development techniques for bulletproof fabric have been developed besides woven Kevlar, such as DSM's Dyneema, Honeywell's GoldFlex and Spectra, Teijin Twaron's Twaron, Pinnacle Armor's Dragon Skin, and Toyobo's Zylon (currently questionable, as brand-new research studies report that it deteriorates quickly, leaving wearers with significantly less protection than anticipated). These newer materials are promoted as being lighter, slimmer and more insusceptible than Kevlar, even though they are much more expensive. The US military has developed body shield for the working dogs that aid GIs in battle. According to dog handler Petty Officer Michael Thomas, the "new vests are an upgrade" from the previous vests, which in turn only provided stab security. The brand new vests also offer protection from bullets.