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By any measure Milipol 2013 in Paris, France, was a great success for all involved. Over 900 exhibitors had a chance to show off the very best in new ballistic protection products. Our Body Armor News reporters were exhausted but very pleased with the interviews and new product reviews they came away with at this year’s show.
The international flavor was really on display with representatives of over 53 countries on hand for the show along with a contingent from the European Commission. Mr. Manuel Valls, French Minister of Interior, presided over the opening ceremonies, a sign of the importance and appreciation France puts on hosting this illustrious event.
Attendees and exhibitors were able to choose between touring the exhibits, taking part in roundtable discussions and withdrawing to more private areas for business meetings. Those attending this year’s Milipol exhibition went home fatigued but happy with the results.
Point Blank body armor
Alpha Elite soft armor panel
Flexible soft armor panel
Mars Armor factory expansion
Beijing Defense Company
Flexible anti-stab panel
In the darkness before daybreak, German shepherd Vegas had his nose to the ground to track an armed suspect accused of shooting at a North Huntingdon police officer. The suspect moved in circles and ducked behind thick vegetation but could not elude the North Huntingdon police dog.
After years of performing tracking and confronting gun-wielding suspects, protective Kevlar vests have been donated to the dogs at North Huntingdon police department. Three police dogs — Colt, Nero and Vegas — will wear the vests while tracking and performing drug investigations.
“It’s a peace of mind,” Sgt. Kari Bauer, a dog handler with the department, said. “We have to send our dogs in. The vest is just going to be a peace of mind.”
The vests, donated by Vested Interest in K-9s Inc., based in Massachusetts, have advanced technology to protect dogs from bullets, stabbings and blunt-force trauma. The nonprofit group gets the vests at a discounted rate of $950 instead of the typical rate of about $2,100, and donates them to police dogs.
“They’re the first one sent in the line of duty, and they’re in harm’s way,” said Sandy Marcal, founder of Vested Interest in K-9s.
They need the same protection as their human officers.
North Huntington’s police-dog unit was re-established in 1991 after a brief hiatus, Bauer said. The dogs have gone without vests since 1992.
Among other pieces of equipment, the dogs have tracking harnesses used to lead handlers during searches and basket muzzles to learn how to fight without their mouths.
The dogs were given Kevlar booties for protection from shards of glass and broken metal when they were called to assist with rescue efforts at the World Trade Center in 2001, Bauer said.
Handlers and their dogs are called to track lost people and sniff out hidden drugs. Because the dogs’ sense of smell has capabilities beyond a human’s, the dogs have helped the department find bags of drugs covertly hidden in cars and homes, Bauer said.
“We’ve definitely got a ton more arrests with a K-9,” she said. “It’s a huge asset in drug work.”
Although handlers never would send dogs into a situation deemed too dangerous, Bauer said, they should be prepared to make the dogs first responders.
“If there’s a bad guy in a building with a gun, you’re never going to send your dog in there, you’re going to send SWAT,” she said. “But sometimes we don’t know, and we have to send our dogs in.” Since Vested Interest was incorporated in 2009, it has donated more than 450 vests to dogs across the country. Four departments in Pennsylvania, including North Huntingdon, have been recipients.
“We think every dog, no matter what they’re doing in law enforcement, needs a vest,” Marcal said. “Even a bomb dog. Depending on where the dog is when that happens, shrapnel could be a concern. If they’re in a certain proximity, the vest can help.”
Revision Military, the global leader in soldier protection solutions, has won the competitive bid to supply the Canadian Forces with new, lighter weight ballistic plates. This body armor will provide troops with superior, highly durable protection while lightening their in-theatre load. Initial deliveries for this contract are anticipated for April 2014. The contract also includes 5 option years.
In addition to the Batlskin® Bullet Resistant Plates, the contract calls for the supply of special training plates along with a carrier in which soldiers can readily transport this equipment when it’s not required to be worn.
“We are extremely proud that after several years of Research and Development on this program, Revision’s bid has been selected to supply Canada’s soldiers with plates that exceed the highest industry standards and the company’s rigorous Quality Assurance Plans,” said Jonathan Blanshay, CEO of Revision Military. “This contract will be fulfilled at Revision’s Composite Centre of Excellence in Montreal, providing the DND with a Made-in-Canada solution. With significant investment in facility, machinery, equipment, and state-of-the-art ballistic testing laboratories, Revision has entered an exciting new phase of our growth strategy. We expect that this contract will be a springboard for gaining additional ballistic plate business from other advanced militaries in the coming months and years.”
Beyond Bullet Resistant Plates, Revision currently supplies the DND with Ballistic Eyewear (both spectacles and goggles) as well as best-in-class helmets, all in service of protecting Canadian soldiers.
By Tom McHale – MyGunCulture
The Engarde folks sent us two sets of body armor. One to give away and the other to shoot to pieces. After all, we wouldn’t want to give our readers any untested gear, right?
Since we couldn’t find any willing, and breathing, human volunteers, we dressed up Plastic Saddam with some Engarde Exterior Body Armor and took him to the range. Most of the folks at our local shooting range thought he was a 1970s era porn star, but we knew he was a bona-fide, genuine, evil dictator that really needed to be shot. Either way, with that hairdo and cheesy mustache, dispensing of him was a service to humanity.
A quick look at EnGarde Body Armor
This specific model is similar to the Engarde Patrol. It’s an external setup with soft panels that are inserted into the carrier front and rear. The sides overlap so there is full coverage around the body. The carrier also features external pockets which are sized to house optional ceramic plates for protection against rifle and machine gun rounds. The soft panels included with the system are intended to stop pistol calibers only.
The Dyneema soft panels fill the entire space of the carrier. Soft panels insert via a full-width Velcro closure across the bottom of the vest.
The material inside the panels is genuine Dyneema SB-21. While I didn’t count exactly, there are about 40 layers of Dyneema material in each ballistic soft panel. Each layer of Dyneema feels somewhat like a cross between wax paper and plastic tarp material. It’s got a slick and waxy feel to it with a “crinkly” texture. And it’s very, very lightweight.
This specific product is rated National Institute of Justice (NIJ) IIIa. The simple description of the NIJ IIIa rating is that it’s intended to stop most pistol rounds in calibers ranging from .32 through .44 Magnum. Previous certification definitions like NIJ II would not necessarily stop .357 Sig full metal jacket or hard jacketed .44 magnum rounds.
I won’t go into NIJ specifications here, but levels are carefully documented for different type of projectiles, i.e. full metal jacket, moving at specific maximum velocities.
Strength is achieved via layering. While I didn’t count, there must have been about 40 layers of Dyneema material on each side.
The vest we tested is rated for up to four straight-on, zero-degree angle hits per panel and two thirty-degree oblique hits. As I did not want to worry about deflected shots, I only tested zero-degree deflection scenarios, so perfect performance would be defined by four stops per panel.
Did it stop bullets?
Being me, I was a bit curious about two things. First, I wanted to verify the vest met manufacturer claims. Would it stop handgun projectiles in the rated bullet type and velocity parameters? Second, could I exceed those parameters and possibly make it break? And by “break” I mean at what point would a round be able to penetrate the vest?
During the vest destruction, I was careful to move shot placement around so that no two impacts were closer than three or four inches to each other.
So let’s take a closer look at results by ammunition type.
Just for variety, I shot the vest with three different .32 ACP rounds with a Walther PP: Fiocchi 73 grain full metal jacket, Hornady 60 grain XTP and Cor-Bon 60 grain JHP. I thought perhaps the small diameter round nose of a .32 ACP FMJ might stand a better chance of sneaking through the vest undetected so to speak. The full metal jacket projectile flattened like a spoon, one hollow point somewhat self-destructed and the other flattened to about .125 inches top to bottom. If you’re covered head to toe in this material, and attacked by a horde of Walther PPK wielding evil dudes, you don’t have much to worry about, except bruises.
A Fiocchi .32 FMJ (left) and Cor-Bon .32 jacketed hollow point (right)
The full metal jacket projectile flattened like a spoon, one hollow point somewhat self-destructed and the other flattened to about .125 inches top to bottom. If you’re covered head to toe in this material, and attacked by a horde of Walther PPK wielding evil dudes, you don’t have much to worry about, except bruises.
Since I was feeling ornery, I decided to use 9mm ammunition that was designed to penetrate – Horandy’s Critical Duty. It’s a 135 grain 9mm load that is designed not to expand as easily as the standard Critical Defense load. It’s intended for law enforcement use where barriers like car doors and windshields might be encountered. And it travels at about 1,115 feet per second, so considering the heavier than average weight for 9mm, it’s moving right along. I’ve even tested this load against a giant pile of BS – The New York Times – and it performed superbly. To make sure velocity was up to par, I shot it from a Glock 17 Gen 4.
This Hornady Critical Duty round hit within ½ inch of the edge, yet still was stopped in the first five to eight layers (of 40) of Dyneema
Again, no luck. And I noticed something really interesting that would appear a few shots later with the .357 Sig testing. All giddy with excitement and curiosity, I yanked one of my shots a bit off target, so it hit within ½ inch of the right hand side of the vest. I expected the projectile to take the path of least resistance and deflect away from the vest altogether. Contrary to my assumption, the round traveled inwards towards the center of the best and got tangled up in the Dyneema material. It’s almost as if the edge hit encountered more resistance than less.
Keep in mind, by this point, the front panel had been shot 5 times, or one more than it’s rating. As the panels are shot, the Dyneema sheets start to separate as projectiles dump energy into the vest. As the layers separate, penetration is more likely.
Although I didn’t really plan to be unfair from the start, that’s kind of what happened. Shots six through eight, or double the vests rated capacity, were done with a smoking hot round – the .357 Sig. The projectiles are the same diameter as 9mm at .355 inches, but velocity is cranked way up. The two rounds I shot, Georgia Arms Gold Dot and Winchester PDX1 Defender both use 125 grain bonded projectiles at 1,400 and 1,350 feet per second, respectively. I used a Glock 31 with a 4 ½ inch barrel to get every possible bit of velocity advantage.
The .357 Sig Georgia Arms Gold Dot flattened completely – even though it was the 6th shot at the front vest panel – two over rated capacity.
Shot six was the Georgia Arms Gold dot. It flattened completely into a nickel-sized blob of lead. Like the previous projectiles, it was stopped cold in the first ten layers of Dyneema material.
Next up were shots seven and eight, which exactly doubled rated capacity of the vest. These were both Winchester PDX1 Defender .357 Sig rounds. The seventh shot didn’t flatten, but tumbled and got caught up about half way through the vest panel – another complete stop.
The eight shot, or double the rated capacity of the vest, passed through the front panel, but didn’t even penetrate the mesh of the back panel. It was clearly out of gas.
The eight shot found how much punishment the vest could take, as it passed through and was immediately stopped by the back panel. At this point, having absorbed eight hits, the vest was done. It had blimped up to approximately eight inches thick as the panels expanded more and more with each subsequent hit.
As the rated standards call for up to four “straight on” hits, I would certainly say it did it’s job absorbing eight – three of which were from very hot .357 Sig rounds. Now let’s look at the back panel, where I tested the ”heavier” and larger caliber rounds.
.40 Smith & Wesson
I had no doubt the Engarde vest would stop a relatively slow 180 grain .40 S&W projectile, so I decided to try a lighter weight and higher velocity round – the Speer Gold Dot 155 grain bonded hollow point. I clocked this specific round at 1,168 feet per second from a Beretta PX4 Storm.
Both the Hornady Critical Defense 125 grain FTX .357 Magnum (left) and Speer Gold Dot 155 grain .40 S&W (right) were stopped cold.
I’ll let you guess what happened. With the first hit on a fresh Engarde panel, I observed full “splat” with virtually no penetration into the vest.
Next up was .357 Magnum shot from a Ruger LCR. I used Hornady’s Critical Defense 125 grain FTX round. As expected, the second shot on the fresh back panel yielded the same result – a flattened bullet caught in the first several layers of material.
Getting bored by all these stopped bullets, I decided to try a couple of different things. First, I had to try one of my favorite carry loads for my Springfield Armory TRP 1911 – Remington Golden Saber 185 grain +P. It’s a jacketed hollow point that I’ve choreographed at 1,167 feet per second from this particular pistol.
It penetrated exactly two of the 40 Dyneema layers before flattening completely. Yes, two.
So it was time to try a different option. I recently picked up a box of DoubleTap .45 ACP +P hard cast ammunition. It features a solid lead, semi-wadcutter projectile that’s designed for hunting thick-skinned critters like wild boar. Surely this would do something dramatic right? It was also the fourth shot at the back panel – the last shot within the performance rating of the vest.
The DoubleTap 255 grain hard cast and Remington Golden Saber 185 grain +P .45 ACP projectiles.
Well, the 255 grain hard cast projectile did manage to penetrate a bit further. One layer. That one passed through two and stopped at the third, making a small tear in layer three. Only 37 more layers and it would have gone right through.
I know, there aren’t many .44 Magnums on the streets, so testing body armor against that isn’t really practical. But it did sound entertaining. So I dug out a box of Magtech 240 grain semi-jacketed soft point ammunition and launched one from a Ruger Super Blackhawk.
.44 Magnum versus Engarde Body Armor
The result? Yet another deformed bullet, this one caught in the first four layers of the vest’s material. Add “magnum” to the mix and you get one more layer of penetration. Only 36 to go!
This was enlightening and a little bit shocking. After shooting each side of the vest, I cut it open to examine the results. As described earlier, the Dyneema material somewhat resembles wax paper. Heavier and stiffer, but not something you would think capable of stopping a bullet. Even though I understand the science behind it, it’s still mind-boggling when you feel how light the panels are.
This vest worked beyond what is advertised. I had to shoot the front panel to double the specification before it failed. The rear panel was shot five times – all with some insanely powerful handgun loads and never failed.
There was no deflection. All bullets were caught up in the material and stopped cold. Two shots hit on the very edge of the vest, yet were still trapped.
Watching the target stand and vest “jump” with each shot, I quickly decided I would prefer never to be shot, vest or not. While these have saved hundreds and maybe thousands of lives, getting hit with a supersonic projectile will still leave a mark. Ouch.
The model tested, identical to the one we’re giving away, is a great “emergency” option for civilian use. It slips over your head, outside of your clothing, and can be put on in seconds. Engarde makes lots of other models with some designed to be concealed, so check them out.
A slew of really messed up bullets.
Houston Police Department
A Stafford police officer is in serious but stable condition after she was shot during a traffic stop early Saturday.
According to the Stafford Police Department, the incident happened after Officer Ann Carrizales pulled over a silver Nissan Altima for traffic violations in the 12700 block of Murphy Road just before 4 a.m. One of the three men in the car shot her in the chest and leg.
Carrizales was still able to get back in her cruiser and chase after the car, police said. The pursuit ended in the area of Woodfair and Club Creek in Houston. Units from the Missouri City Police Department assisted Stafford PD with establishing a perimeter and helping detain the suspected shooter.
Police said Carrizales was then taken to the Memorial Hermann Hospital. Her ballistic vest without a doubt saved her life.
Anyone with information that would aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact Det. A. Mutchler at 281-261-3961.
Stafford is 15 miles southwest of central Houston.
The police union has called on the commissioner to urgently approve Victorian-style protective body armour for officers in the wake of new threats from an outlaw motorcycle gang.
The Queensland Police Union first requested body armour from Police Commissioner Ian Stewart two weeks ago, but received no reply. Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said he had written to the commissioner again on Friday morning, seeking an answer by the close of business.The Victorian-style body armor would protect officers from rounds shot from all weapons, except high-powered weapons, according to the union.
However, an internal notice sent to Queensland police officers this week warns the Mongols are stockpiling automatic weapons including M16 and AK47 guns.
A member of the Black Uhlans CMG [criminal motorcycle gang] was previously confirmed to have sought to obtain automatic firearms (M16 and AK47) on behalf of the Mongols and Finks CMG,
the alert reads.
The “Officer Safety Bolo” [Be on the Lookout] also warns that the Mongols have said they would rather kill officers than be arrested and face the government’s new laws.
Under the new laws, an office-bearer of an outlaw motorcycle gang caught in possession of marijuana would receive a mandatory 25 years jail on top of any sentence, Mr Leavers said.
“That puts police at a significant risk and that is why I have asked for them to be armed appropriately,” he said.
Mr Leavers said Police Minister Jack Dempsey had already backed the call for protective body armour.
“I know the Minister has said that if he gets a request from the commissioner, he will grant it,” Mr Leavers said.
“I am asking the Commissioner to make a decision that will protect Queensland police today, because I would hate a tragedy to occur which could have been prevented.
“Victorian police have got it, Queensland police should have it.”
Fairfax Media understands it would cost about $5 million to purchase the body armour.
Mr Leavers said the armour, weighing about a kilogram, was ballistics and knife resilient.
“It would stop a round. If a police officer was shot, it would very well stop a round,” he said.
“It will not stop a round from a high-powered weapon, I know that, but it will give a very general protection.”
Mr Leavers said threats to police officers, like those made by the Mongols outlaw motorcycle club, were very real.
Comment is being sought from the police commissioner’s office.
Mr Leavers said senior police were refreshing their weapon’s handling skills, on the instructions of commissioner Ian Stewart.
“And as at [Thursday], the commissioner has requalified in the use of his Glock,” he said.
“The commissioner has re-trained so obviously there is a risk out there.”