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Posted: 5/12/2005 9:02:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/12/2005 12:44:52 PM EDT by Old_Painless]
We've had a lot of interest in what would Level II Armour do to stop bullets. This is commonly called "Fragmentation Armour" and is designed to stop shell fragments. While not designed as an anti-bullet armour, we wondered what it would do. My old buddy DVDTracker, of www.lifelibertyetc.com/, sent me some old Level II vests from the military, and said to give them a try.

Now, shooting vests isn't as easy as you might imagine. I had another friend, Michael, who is an expert on this stuff explain that it must be properly "backed-up" with clay to perform properly. He said that it you just hang it in the air and shoot it, most rounds will just go right through. It must have a back-up of either clay or a human body.

Now the clay I found isn't "ballistic" clay. I bought it at Hobby Lobby. Its modeling clay. I got 2, 25 pound blocks and built a frame from 2 X 6 lumber to hold it.

Here's the set-up:



Here's one of the used vests DVDTracker sent me.



I tried to talk Tman into just wearing it and letting me shoot it, but he declined. (Just kidding.)

We also had a Groin Protector and it had a warning:



"DO NOT DRY GROIN ARMOR NEAR OPEN FLAME". There's some good advice. Especially if you're wearing it.

We draped a vest over the box and decided to shoot it on the back panel.



First we shot it with a .22 LR.



The vest stopped the round and it only made a small dent in the clay.

Next, a 9mm out of my Beretta. 115 JHP.



Holy Smoke! We were surprised to see that it had penetrated the vest and punched a hole in the clay.



In fact, it had even penetrated the 3/4 inch plywood on the back of the box.



This might be a short test.

But, we had heard that the vests can lose some of their strength with age and use. The Groin Protector seemed to be brand new. Maybe it would hold up better.

We tried the trusty 1911 .45 ACP with Hydroshock JHP.



The vest stopped the bullet, and it made a bigger dent in the clay:



Since the Groin Protector worked, we decided to use it for the remaining tests. I just moved it around so as not to shoot in the same place.

We tried the 9mm again to see what would happen.



The vest stopped it, but it made a bigger dent in the clay.



How about a .40 S&W? Notice the neat pic. Tman caught it as it was beginning recoil and opening up.



Again, the vest stopped it, but look at that dent in the clay.



How about a .357 Magnum?



It went through the vest and made a nasty wound. You can actually see the bullet resting in the hole it made. It had bounced off the back board.



Just as a lark, I decided to try my Beretta Stampede, .45 long Colt, with a 255 grain cast lead SWC handload.



It was stopped by the vest, But look at that hole in the clay.



Well, it was time for the .44 Magnum. "The .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and capable of blowing your head clean off", at least according to Dirty Harry.



It went through the vest like an ex-wife through your life savings.



It bounced off the rear plywood.

Here's a line-up of the recovered bullets. 9mm, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, .357 Mag, .45 Long Colt, and .44 Mag.



Notice how the kelvar closed up the hollow points on the bullets that it stopped. Very interesting.

Lessons Learned

1. The integrity of the vests may grow weak with age. The newer vest material was stronger than the old stuff.

2. While not primarily designed to stop handgun rounds, it stopped most common rounds.

3. I will not make any guesses as to the resulting injuries caused by the dents in the clay. I will leave that to Doctors. But they looked painful. (But probably not as painful as they would have been without the vest.)

4. The .357 and the .44 Magnums were not impressed by the vest. They are still "tough" calibers.

5. It's still fun to shoot stuff.

It is obvious that rifle rounds will penetrate one layer of these vests. Would it be worthwhile to shoot multiple layers? My friend Michael sent me some Level III material. We will try it next time.

Next test, we will shoot Shotguns and Rifles. Stand by.

(Thanks to Tman for the help hauling all this stuff and for the pics.)
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:03:38 AM EDT
Your threads are the BEST
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:04:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fish223:
Your threads are the BEST




+1
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:06:24 AM EDT
Rifle round! Rifle round!
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:06:57 AM EDT
O_P is the coolest person in the world. I want to be retired too.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:09:31 AM EDT
Once again, loved it.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:10:47 AM EDT
My nuts are starting to hurt.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:12:50 AM EDT
Wow, looks like even if you were wearing the vest, you would need to make a trip to the emergency room.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:12:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:

Now, shooting vests isn't as easy as you might imagine. I had another friend, Michael, who is an expert on this stuff explain that it must be properly "backed-up" with clay to perform properly. He said that it you just hang it in the air and shoot it, most rounds will just go right through. It must have a back-up of either clay or a human body.




Gee, you mean 60 Minutes did it wrong?
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:14:39 AM EDT

Notice how the kelvar closed up the hollow points on the bullets that it stopped. Very interesting.


Indeed!
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:16:04 AM EDT
Awesome thread again OP!
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:16:59 AM EDT
I only hope I can be this cool when I become an old fart
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:18:05 AM EDT
Actually what you tested is a flak jacket, many sellers attempt to pass them off as level 2 armor but there not, there not even kevlar there ballistic nylon, they were not intended to stop bullets, as for the groin protector, these vests as far as I know were never desighned for groin protectors, so it probably was just thrown in with it, and very well could have been level 2 armor....
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:18:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By photokirk:
O_P is the coolest person in the world. I want to be retired too.



Just hang in there.

Good things come to those who wait.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:20:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/12/2005 5:39:30 PM EDT by Mr45auto]
I shot one of those old flak vests with handguns. FMJ penetrated every time in 9mm and .45acp. JHP rounds all stopped. 9mm, .45acp, .38 and .357. Try some FMJ loads from each caliber.

I did this at least 14 years ago so the vest was probably that much newer. I wonder how much age effects them?
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:20:39 AM EDT
Thanks for another fine test, Old_Painless!

Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:20:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/12/2005 5:38:11 PM EDT by Mr45auto]
doubletap
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:21:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:22:24 AM EDT
Awesome thread O_P!

That's a lot o'groin shootin' there.

Great stuff, good to know.

(One interesting side note: I just finished an excellent account of a battle during Vietnam (on Amazon here) at a forward base called "Ripcord". There were two, if not three accounts of bullets the NVA shot at our guys, being stopped by mags the troops carried on their web gear... I am glad the NVA didn't have the "Mags O'Truth" test you did a while back to read... Sorry for the digression, back to your thread... )
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:23:13 AM EDT
WooHoo! GJ OP!

Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:23:24 AM EDT
Very good stuff as usuall!!!!! Thank you very much!!!!
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:23:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/12/2005 9:24:34 AM EDT by DesertRat66]

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:

It went through the vest like an ex-wife through your life savings.




That quote is so true!!!

Wait, that's what my ex did to me!
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:24:54 AM EDT
I wonder if the back is more or less resistant than the front?
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:25:17 AM EDT
Outstanding. One of the best tests.
Thanks.

DanM
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:26:47 AM EDT
the tests you do never cease to amaze me.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:29:16 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:29:34 AM EDT
Thanks! I love these BOT threads!
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:29:37 AM EDT
Another great one O_P. FMD had a similar type vest thing and was shooting it with different hand gun rounds and we found the same thing with regards to 9mm and 45ACP. The 45 was stopped and the 9mm cut right through. I wasn't there for the 45 but the 9mm was shot out of my beretta(the first tiemit got shot in 6months) we shot it with 115gr FMJ(PMC bulk pack) 124gr +P gold dot HP. and a 115gr HP federal clasic IIRC. All three went right on through like it was cardboard.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:29:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SteyrAUG:

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:

Now, shooting vests isn't as easy as you might imagine. I had another friend, Michael, who is an expert on this stuff explain that it must be properly "backed-up" with clay to perform properly. He said that it you just hang it in the air and shoot it, most rounds will just go right through. It must have a back-up of either clay or a human body.




Gee, you mean 60 Minutes did it wrong?



Was that when the LEO was shooting a vest he hung up with an FN Five seveN?



Excellent read Old_Painless!!!
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:30:14 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:30:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Helldog40:
Great thread as always O_P

Just a note to the techies in the crowd: these vests and the "flak-jockies" are of 1950s-preVietnam 60's vintage. I forget the model number, but they were soft like modern body armor, not full of "plates" like the VNera stuff. So, any tests were being done material that is 40-50 years old in design.



That is correct.

As I stated in the thread, they are actually labeled, "Fragmentation Armor". They are designed to stop fragmentation, not bullets.

We were simply interested in what bullets would do to them.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:30:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:
5. It's still fun to shoot stuff.




All I needed to know, but that was great
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:30:48 AM EDT
Once again another great thread.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:31:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SavageSlackie:
the tests you do never cease to amaze me.



That makes at least two of us. No, forgot Tman, make that 3 of us.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:32:12 AM EDT
+2


Originally Posted By Lockedon:

Originally Posted By fish223:
Your threads are the BEST




+1

Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:35:48 AM EDT
Good job.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:39:30 AM EDT
Good work O_P, Thanks!
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:49:28 AM EDT
Another great thread!! Thanks, these are my favorite!!

Shawn
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:50:00 AM EDT
Man....I love these test OP. It's like dissecting a frog in Science class.

Great work!
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:51:01 AM EDT
Man! I blocked from AR15.com at school, have to wait until I get home to see the pics.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:52:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By srv656s:
Another great thread!! Thanks, these are my favorite!!

Shawn



Thanks.

Mine too.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:55:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Robbie:

Originally Posted By SteyrAUG:

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:

Now, shooting vests isn't as easy as you might imagine. I had another friend, Michael, who is an expert on this stuff explain that it must be properly "backed-up" with clay to perform properly. He said that it you just hang it in the air and shoot it, most rounds will just go right through. It must have a back-up of either clay or a human body.




Gee, you mean 60 Minutes did it wrong?



Was that when the LEO was shooting a vest he hung up with an FN Five seveN?



Excellent read Old_Painless!!!



Yup.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 9:57:37 AM EDT
vey good post
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 10:00:34 AM EDT
OP, you're better than R. Lee Ermey.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 10:03:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ARKAN_the_Tiger:
OP, you're better than R. Lee Ermey.



May be.

But he makes more money.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 10:07:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 10:07:32 AM EDT
Great thread!

coburn
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 10:18:45 AM EDT
Great post Old_Painless

The clay backing material really made the test interesting

I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of this "Clay" guy in the future.


GM
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 10:20:03 AM EDT
Great Thread. We did some very unofficial testing prior to our last deployment and got pretty much the same results. I wear a Point Blank Level III w/ plate under my Interceptor flak vest. It cost a bunch but I have no desire to make my wife and kids rich upon my demise.
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 10:20:47 AM EDT
As always, that was awesome. Thanks for sharing!
Link Posted: 5/12/2005 10:20:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By goodmedicine:
Great post Old_Painless

The clay backing material really made the test interesting

I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of this "Clay" guy in the future.


GM



ha

I dub him "Clay Achin'"
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