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Posted: 4/26/2002 10:06:22 AM EDT
I saw one of these at the swap meet the other day and was talking to the guy about it and he said its meant to take hits of shrapnel, but I was wondering what kind of handgun rounds it can take? it looked fairly heavy so I would think it could at least stop some handgun round????
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 10:11:29 AM EDT
You would be lucky for a flack jacket to stop anything below a .38, even then it would probably just due to the thickness. Most you will find are extremely heavy and bulky, and probably years past their expiration date. My level IIIA is rated for sven years, many are only for five years.
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 10:15:57 AM EDT
I took an "extra" flak jacket out to the range a couple years ago and shot it to pieces. It stopped every handgun round we shot at it from 10-15 feet(.45 JHP, .45 FMJ, 9mm JHP, 9mm FMJ, .357 JHP, .38 JHP.) The .45 FMJ mushroomed out and actually had the crosshatch pattern of the kevlar imprinted into the copper it hit so hard. Most of the others embedded into the kevlar, but did not penetrate.

Rifle rounds, as you can imagine, were a different story. We shot it from 100 yards with 7.62x39, 5.56mm and 5.45mm - they all zipped thru the front, thru a 2x6 board the jacket was hung on, then out the back. I can only imagine they would do the same to a person wearing said flak jacket.

Anyway - they stop pistol rounds, but not rifles and they're supposed to stop fragments - unfortunately I didn't have any grenades to throw during my experiment. The army keeps track of those pesky things for some reason.

LOAD SABOT!! (I'm sure they don't stop those either...)


Tanker

Link Posted: 4/26/2002 10:21:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/26/2002 10:24:45 AM EDT by 1911greg]
M1tanker how old was that flak jacket? 5.56 FMJ's go thru everything it is no suprise that it would go thru a jacket. I think I want to pick up one just to have. are there any body armor that will stop a 223 green tip?
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 10:22:25 AM EDT

I'm surprised they stopped what they did in your experiment! We wore them for one reason (make that two reasons) only. For protection from fregments and because we were ordered to. They were also pretty good at absorbing blows to the chest and back. Hated to wear them when the weather was hot.
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 10:27:22 AM EDT
they are so thick I would be suprised if they didn't stop a handgun round.
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 11:53:59 AM EDT
The 13-ply USGI Kevlar PASGT fragmentation vests, although officially designed to “stop fragments from exploding munitions” have, in my experience, stopped most handgun bullets fired into them from close range. They stop .40 S&W, .45 and OO buck easily, and 9mm NATO ball goes about halfway through a panel but does not penetrate completely. A .22 LR from a Ruger 10/22 penetrates farther than a .45 FMJ (low velocity and large cross sectional diameter kills the .45 in these tests). The last one we tested, interestingly enough, had about 30% of .357 SIG FMJ make it through a panel. That was the first handgun round I’ve seen tested that made it through.

They’ve performed just as well as NIJ IIA vests in most cases. We’ve never bothered to fire any centerfire rifle rounds at them for obvious reasons. If an NIJ IIIA vest won’t stop them, a IIA-equivalent Kevlar vest certainly won’t (waste of ammo). You need an NIJ level III or IV for that.

A common misconception is that Kevlar, Spectra, etc. “wears out” by itself after a certain number of years, 5 being the most common. This is not the case. If exposed to UV, sweat or chemicals, ballistic fabric will weaken over time. However, ballistic vests that are rarely worn will last many, many years with no appreciable decrease in performance. TACO, if you keep your IIIA vest dry and away from direct sunlight, it will last a lot longer than 5 years. If you go to www.bulletproofme.com, they have done extensive testing on 10+ year old, used vests that perform as well as they did new. Time by itself has little to do with performance degradation.
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 12:14:44 PM EDT
well most military flaks are abused heavily, sweat, UV etc and i wouldnt be suprised if they show serious degradation after 3-5 years
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 12:44:07 PM EDT
We use Spectra suspension line on modern parachutes. 550 lb. Spectra is about the thickness of a pencil lead. They will last forever if not jumped and kept out of sunlight.
They need to be replaced after 700-1000 jumps.
I generally replace mine at 700 BEFORE they break.
They shrink and are damaged by heat generated during deployment.
We used Kevlar a few years back, but it doesnt handle abrasion well. Just packing wears kevlar.
Just some useless info for y'all.
BP
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 5:10:50 PM EDT
Make sure you’re not looking at a Vietnam era flak vest. If I recall correctly, they were made of ballistic nylon and weren’t very good at stopping any fired round.

They were plenty heavy, though.
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 6:59:36 PM EDT
1911greg-
They issue us flak jackets out of a big pile in a warehouse - unfortunately there is no way to know how old it was, sorry. It looked old, but as some of the other guys have mentioned, and I will confirm, military gear gets treated like hell both deliberately and due to mission requirements.

As for stopping green tip 5.56, I'm not sure such a thing exists - if it does I wish I had one in my line of work! The flak jackets the ranger bn's wear have some sort of ceramic (I think) trauma plates that go in the front and back. These are supposed to make them more resistant to direct fires - but likely at a few hundred yards...I don't know for sure, just conjecture.

One way to find out would be to look at some of the AAR's from Somalia and see how the body armor stood up to 7.62x39. I have read balckhawk down, and I can't remember right now if they talked about guys getting hit in the chest with the new body armor - that book focuses more on guys getting hit in the back where they had not worn their shock plates.

I will end my ballistic ramblings here. Take care.

LOAD SABOT!!

Tanker
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