What Is Bullet Proof

Breaking Down Bullet Resistant Armor

 A step by step breakdown of bullet resistance: knowing what could save your life.

Bullets Image

What is bullet resistance?

First thing’s first, bulletproof material does not exist. All ballistic materials are considered bullet resistant. Depending on the material, they are built to stop bullets from specific gun types, not all and any bullet. So, if not all ballistic material is made equal, how do you know which one to trust your life to? It can be broken down into 2 armor types and 4 levels of resistance.

Soft and Hard Armor

There are two main types of armor one can wear to protect against gunfire: Soft and hard armor.

The most popular and well known soft armor is kevlar. It resembles a knitted material--think super strength netting. It softens the impact by spreading the force throughout the material, kind of like how a tennis net stops a ball.

Hard armor is made of layers of strong composites made of ceramic or titanium. Similar to their soft armor counterparts, they disperse the force of the bullet throughout the surface of the material to slow down and stop the bullet from penetrating. A super strength shield, these are the most protective but the heaviest and bulky.





Hard Armor

  • Can protect up to the highest level of NIJ IV
  • Steel plates can protect multiple shots in the same location
  • Strongest protection in circulation
  • Heavy and cumbersome
  • Not discrete or practical to wear for daily use,
  • Protection is generally more than necessary for the majority of weapon threat in America

Soft Armor

  • Can protect up to level IIIA by NIJ Standards
  • Can be lightweight and discrete
  • More practical to use on a daily basis
  • Does not stop past handgun level shots
  • Not suited to continue protection after multiple hits in the same area


National Institution of Justice Levels of Resistance  

NIJ, or the National Institution of Justice, has four levels of bullet resistance standards. The first two categorize the two levels of soft armor resistance. Level II protects against common handguns and Level IIIA protects against heavier and higher velocity handguns. Neither can prevent against rifles. The second two NIJ levels protect against rifles; the first protecting against common rifles and the second against steel core and tactical rifles. Hard armor is the sole type that can currently pass NIJ Level IV.

So why go with soft armor if it can only protect against handguns?

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to wear bullet-resistant protection if it can’t protect against any and all bullets, let’s put it into perspective. Police officers generally wear ballistic armor that goes up to Level II or Level IIIA if they wear any protection at all. Between the years of 2000 and 2014, over 3,000 police lives were saved by bullet-resistant vests. The majority of weapons you are likely to encounter are handguns, so it is much more practical to wear soft armor on a daily basis.

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What is Innocent Armor and UHMWPE?

The ballistic material used in Innocent Armor is ultra-high weight molecular polyethylene or UHMWPE. Basically, it’s super strength plastic. It is the strongest commercial material for its weight. It is constructed using high pressure to compress multiple individual layers into one strong sheath. Upon impact, the resin bonds between the layers break, allowing the force of impact to distribute throughout the material. The strength of the individual layers allows for the bullet to embed in the material without ever penetrating, and since it is plastic it is incredibly lightweight for its relative strength. 

The reason Innocent Armor can create everyday bullet-resistant streetwear is because of the lightweight and discrete capability of UHMWPE. It is strong enough to stop a bullet, yet light and thin enough to be concealed in our clothing. All of IA’s products are certified by the NIJ and put to the test by our Ambassadors. Check those videos out here.

Understanding what is right for your needs and uses is the first step to buying ballistic material. There is a lot that goes behind making safety equipment, the different levels of bullet resistance, material type, and maintenance. If you’re looking for lightweight and discreet armor that protects against high-velocity handguns, Innocent Armor could definitely be the choice for you.

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