Bulletproof vests are one of those things that we all see in action movies. Yet, very few of us actually know much about them in real life.
The way Hollywood would have you think about it, these vests are either invincible pieces of armor that can protect you from anything. Or they can be flimsy paper shields that can hardly stop bullets, let alone intergalactic laser rays!
Let’s change that and blow your mind with some of the most interesting and useful things that you didn’t already know about bulletproof vests.
Fun Facts About Bulletproof Vests
1. Bulletproof vests… Aren’t Actually Bulletproof
This one may be less unknown than we imagine, but it’s good to cover it just in case. Despite their name, bulletproof vests aren’t fully bulletproof.
Even vests that are specifically rated against certain calibers of bullets can be penetrated by rounds fired at average distances.
Instead, it’s best to imagine bulletproof vests as shields. If hit with the right bullet at the right distance, they can stop bullets from penetrating the vest and entering your body to cause damage.
This isn’t to say that they don’t hurt. They still transfer lots of kinetic energy to small surface areas on your body, leading to bruises or broken bones.
2. Bulletproof Vests Are Actually Usually Made of Fiber
Although they appear to be extremely hard on the outside, bulletproof vests are made of the same types of fabric that comprise other soft surfaces or materials.
The reason they can stop bullets is by layering fabric upon fabric upon fabric of various types of fibers, all woven together in a tight-knit way that slows a bullet before it can reach your body.
Essentially, all these layered fibers spread out the kinetic energy of the bullet and dissipate it across the surface of the vest so it can’t penetrate nearly as well.
3. Bulletproof Vests Shouldn’t Get Wet
Because they’re made of a multitude of different fibers, they don't do well whenever they are soaked.
Some bulletproof vests can actually lose their protective capabilities whenever they become too wet, since water acts as a kind of lubricant.
Thus, anyone wearing a bulletproof vest for protection needs to try to stay out of the rain whenever possible and should never go swimming with their vest and expect it to work afterward.
Some bulletproof vests are made to be used in water, however, although these are often more expensive.
4. Bulletproof Vests Last About 5 Years
If you take good care of your bulletproof vest, it should last about five years, even if you wear it multiple times per week.
This is because the fibers are naturally exposed to different environmental elements and debris over time.
They’re also worn down over time like regular clothing, which loses its structure and stability the more you wear it.
For instance, your pair of three-year-old jeans probably don’t fit as well as they did when you initially purchased them.
To make sure you get the most value out of your vest, you should take care of it every time you wear it and clean it properly, along with storing it in your closet by hanging it up.
5. Bulletproof Vests Do Let You Move After Being Shot!
Many people are too shocked or expected to be incapacitated after being shot while wearing a bulletproof vest to move.
But the truth is, you should be able to move fully even after being shot once or twice if your vest is in working condition (and provided that the bullet didn’t go through).
Use this information if you’re ever in a tough spot to escape or return fire to your attacker!
Bulletproof vests are lifesavers. However, it is important that you also learn about the gear you use. This is so you can use them properly, especially in the direst situations!
Do you have other interesting things to share about bulletproof vests? Let us know in the comments section!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 28, 2020, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.