Creating stronger, lighter, and more flexible body armor is the goal of almost every body armor manufacturer. From finding new materials to developing new methods of structuring vests, this is the driving force behind the body armor industry. This is of particular importance to the Military, who have not only unique requirements, but also a pressing need for protective clothing. Military body armor, for example, must be comfortable in all environments, while at the same time offering maximum protection.

The Armor Soldiers Need
Body armor uses lightweight yet strong materials that are capable of absorbing and dispelling the energy of a bullet. These materials, like Kevlar, usually come in fabric form, and have incredible strength-to-weight ratios while remaining flexible. They are only capable of protecting up to a certain point however, and for extreme threats ‘hard armor’ is needed. It is named this because of the rigid plates it uses, which are made of materials like Ceramic or Polyethylene. These are heavier and bulkier, but far stronger.
Servicemen and women require this hard armor for protection against the threats they are most likely to face. These threats include armor-piercing ammunition and explosives, and so rigid armor is a necessity. However, the extra weight and bulk makes armor far more uncomfortable, and so manufacturers are particularly interested in making lighter and thinner armor for the Military.
Most Military branches outsource the research and development of body armor to manufacturers, thereby reducing costs, and these lucrative contracts are often hotly contested. On the other hand, the US Navy conducts its own research and development. Their focus has been on creating lighter inserts for vests, as opposed to designing an entire vest from scratch. This helps save costs, but also allows for increased protection at the same weight.

Developments of Body Armor
Increasing the protection of armor is certainly an important area of focus for military armor, but it is important also to improve the comfort of a vest. One of the major threats facing the modern soldier is explosives, which require specific protection that can make a vest heavy and bulky. Unfortunately for most soldiers working in active warzones, this extra bulk and weight can dramatically reduce efficiency and drain energy. Making a thin vest is incredibly important for those working in the heat that most soldiers have to.
It is not simply the protective inserts that need to be thinner however, and manufacturers are increasingly looking to make the carriers for vests lighter and more breathable. Moreover, many are trying to create better-fitting armor, and are offering a wider array of sizes. Armor that does not fit properly is a serious problem, for many reasons; it can increase discomfort severely, to the point that people choose not to wear their vest, but it can also leave gaps in protection that can render the vest useless.
An important aspect of this is in creating new models and sizes for female soldiers, who until now have been forced to wear vests designed for men. Not only is this an insulting oversight, women have different body shapes and may not be protected properly when wearing body armor designed for men. By offering more options for women, it can help keep them far safer.

Different Approaches to Body Armor
While Military research into body armor emphasises creating lighter and thinner vests, so too do manufacturers and outside researchers look to create lighter and thinner armor, and all are increasingly taking advantage of new technologies to assist them. One interesting example is the development of scaled armor in the style of medieval chainmail and lobstered gauntlets. By utilizing 3D printing and other modern technologies, researchers can more easily scale models of natural armors, for example those found on lobsters.
On the other hand, the US Navy emphasises more practical solutions in order to save money, and have argued that research in the vein of that mentioned above is time-consuming and expensive. They instead recommend providing immediate improvements by improving preparation, and ensuring soldiers are wearing only armor that is appropriate for the threats they will face. This means that soldiers will be less often equipped with heavy and bulky armor; indeed, Government research reported that the majority of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were equipped with armor designed to protect against much stronger weaponry than they were actually facing.
On the other hand, it is the job of the soldier to be prepared for any eventuality, and too many military deaths occur from improper equipment. Wearing appropriate armor is important, but it is impossible for a soldier to know exactly what threats she or he will face. Therefore, creating more versatile armor will help keep these brave women and men safe. Researchers have already started to test new materials for ballistic protection, and there is evidence that some of these materials have the potential to be much lighter and stronger than current materials. For example, protective materials made of graphene, cellulose, and even algae have already been shown to have excellent strength-to-weight ratios. However, the challenge is in creating these materials in large quantities. The potential for extremely light and strong armor is therefore very high, but producing usable armor for troops is still a long-term goal.

The Issues Soldiers Face Wearing Body Armor in Action

Posted by Special Forces on January 6th, 2015

When soldiers go into the field, they face many different types of danger and it is important for them to be as safe as possible at all times. That usually means that they need to wear body armor to ensure that they have protection from the possible attacks they could face. Not every type of body armor is right for use on the battle field though. Soldiers need the right level of protection for the level of danger they are approaching.

During their daily patrols, many soldiers were overt body armor that has a Level III or IIIA. This type of body armor offers protection from both small ammunition fire and larger rifle rounds. The body armor is often worn over their uniforms and is lightweight to ensure that they are able to move quickly when needed. If the soldiers wore the bulkier body armor on a daily basis, there is a good chance that they would not be able to stay safe because they would not be able to maneuver as quickly.

desert-camo-vestHigh Velocity Fire

Many soldiers face danger from large artillery from time to time. That means that body armor that offers Level IV protection is often needed. This type of body armor is heavy and usually only worn when the soldiers are going into extremely hostile environments. The armor offers protection to ensure that they are able to survive an attack, but it cannot take multiple hits. That means that once someone is shot one time while wearing the body armor, it will need to be replaced. The integrity and strength of the body armor will be compromised after the solider is hit. It will not be able to provide the same protection and thus replacement is mandatory.

Used Body Armor

Body armor is usually passed down from soldier to soldier because the military doesn’t have the funds to be able to replace every vest. It is important to make sure that the body armor is regularly inspected to ensure that it has not been compromised. If someone is working as a soldier, there is a good chance that they may want to invest in their own body armor from a reputable ballistic body armor manufacturer. Most soldiers are able to invest in their own body armor as long as it meets the specific standards the military requires. It is important to get permission to wear privately owned body armor before going into the battlefield though.

Body Armor Care

It is also important for a solider to take proper care of their body armor. The armor needs to be kept as dry as possible at all times. The carrier can be washed in the washing machine but the plates or panels need to be removed before the carrier is washed. Also, the plates and panels need to be kept out of direct sunlight. The carrier can be placed in the sun to dry as drying it in the dryer can cause it to shrink. Learning how to take proper care of the body armor is important if a soldier wants to get as much protection from it as possible.

From Military Use to Fashion: Combat Boots Through the Years

Posted by Special Forces on September 4th, 2013

Military boots have been sharpened and honed into the tough cookies they are today over generations of combat and warfare in almost every imaginable war-front. They are crafted to endure all types of treacherous terrains, everything from hot sands to deep, dense jungles. Read the rest of this entry »

Survival Gear Packing Essentials: Food You Must Bring

Posted by Special Forces on September 4th, 2013

The zombie apocalypse might not be the most likely catastrophe to hit the streets in the foreseeable future, but it’s a known fact that many people are subjected to similar situations where they must fight for their survival. Scenes like crash landing in a vast jungle without any sign of civilization for miles, or getting trapped in a city devastated by earthquakes, hurricanes, or war aren’t just in the imagination of movie producers; they do happen in real life. Read the rest of this entry »

Five Examples of Military Clothing Used in the US Military

Posted by Special Forces on September 4th, 2013

In combat, the function of camouflage is simple: it’s meant to hide a soldier and his equipment from the enemy’s sights. Ever since the beginning of human civilization, people have used camouflage in one form or another. However, it’s only in the past 100 years that this military clothing type has played its biggest role yet in most countries’ military operations. An article from Modern Survival Blog reveals five types of camouflage being used by various branches of the US military today. Read the rest of this entry »

Tips on Selecting the Perfect Survival Knife from Military Surplus Catalogs

Posted by Special Forces on September 4th, 2013

A survival knife will be your most important possession in a wilderness survival situation. Although you can always fashion a knife out of bone or stone when you’re out in the wild, nothing can ever compare to a steel blade in terms of strength and versatility. However, when it comes to choosing the right steel knife in a military surplus store—knowing what you need out of it is just as important as finally having one. Here are tips on what to look for in a survival knife, based on an article from Read the rest of this entry »

What to Know About the US Marine Corps Military Clothing

Posted by Special Forces on July 23rd, 2013

In an article published on June 7 in, a ConVal Regional High School senior and a future Marine, Brandon Garabrant, was prohibited from wearing his Marine uniform in his Peterborough, New Hampshire high school graduation in lieu of a graduation gown. Garabrant’s request and the principal’s decision had drawn different reactions from students and their community. Read the rest of this entry »

High tech night vision goggles proved their value in law enforcement operations for two NYPD officers last May. As reported at, the cops on routine nighttime helicopter exercises stumbled upon horseshoe crab poachers on a beach in Queens, New York. They held their chopper in a 200 foot high hover, and with the use of their special tactical eyewear, spotted the perpetrators who were loading their two boats with their haul. Read the rest of this entry »

We’re Slashing Set Up Costs for Our Personalized Off-Duty Clothing

Posted by Special Forces on July 23rd, 2013

Special Forces is renowned for being a trusted supplier of tactical gear, weapons accessories, combat boots, and military uniforms. But our company is more than that. We also understand how important it is to have the proper gear and attire. This is why we are offering our extensive line of off-duty clothing and apparel—and have lowered the set up costs to make our products accessible to more people. Read the rest of this entry »

Upgrade Your Combat and Survival Gear with Our New Knives

Posted by Special Forces on July 23rd, 2013

As a one-stop-shop for military, law enforcement, survival, and tactical equipment and accessories, Special Forces strives to deliver high-quality products that help you face the toughest and most unpredictable situations. In line with that, we have expanded our knife selection to better suit your preferences and needs. From hunting knives to multi-tool options, we have all the knives you need to upgrade your combat and survival gear. Read the rest of this entry »