"Dyneema ballistic material takes multiple hits."
Point Blank Alpha Elite Body Armor Demo
By: Jim Weiss and Mickey Davis
Point Blank Enterprises (PBE) introduced their state-of-the-art Alpha EliteTM Series Ballistic System at IACP 2013. A few weeks later, they demonstrated the new soft body armor at a shoot during the 31st Annual SWAT Round-Up International in Orlando, Fla.
The demo was held at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office’s training range during the Round-Up competition. It began from behind a table containing various firearms, factory-loaded ammunition, and a chronograph to measure bullet velocity. If spectators wanted, they could submit a weapon and ammunition to be tested.
The first shot at the BPE’s Alpha Elite ballistic vest-wearing mannequin was fired from a Thompson Contender with a 16-inch barrel. The ammunition was 9 mm 124-grain, the same round as the NIJ uses for certification. The chronograph measured the bullet’s speed at 1337 feet per second. The vest was then handed to the spectators to inspect. The blunt trauma to the panel appeared to be very small and was certainly compliant to NIJ standards for backface deformation.
By the end of the demonstration, 91 rounds had been fired at the vest, including special threat rounds. The distance for these shots varied from 15 feet away to “point blank” range. The bullets used were of varying sizes, and fired from a variety of different guns with different muzzle velocities. This is compared to the National Institute of Justice when it does evaluations of ballistic protection at one round at a time, or about six rounds total.
According to Point Blank, the Alpha Elite Series body armor was created when the company’s engineers began searching for a ballistic material that would meet the rigorous demands of U.S. Special Operations forces deployed in the world’s most dangerous regions. They wanted something better in regard to weight, flexibility, and thickness—a ballistic vest that would give protection and comfort, and reduce trauma.
The Alpha Elite Series of soft body armor is the first high-level ballistic protection system designed around Dyneema® Force Multiplier Technology developed by DSM Dyneema. DSM made headlines when the company created Dyneema, the world’s strongest fiber. Now, as shown, company engineers have made it even stronger.
Dyneema is a synthetic, multi-filament fiber with extreme strength and minimal weight. This is made possible through the fusion of polymer science, fiber technology, and uni-directional engineering. Yet as strong as the fiber is, laminated sheets of Force Multiplier Technology ballistic material are extremely light and flexible. That said, the ballistic vest has been demonstrated to have incredible stopping power, taking multiple hits.
Thanks to this technology, NIJ Level IIIA performance is now available with comfort levels more typical of Level II body armor. Compared to Point Blank’s previous lightest Level IIIA vest, the Alpha Elite Series is a full 12 percent lighter.
Jim Weiss is a retired lieutenant from the Brook Park, Ohio Police Department and a frequent contributor to LAW and ORDER. Mickey Davis is a California-based writer and author.