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2008 Body Armor Round-Up, Part I

Written by Jennifer Gavigan

Today's tactical officers face many different kinds of threats. SWAT teams need ballistic protection that can withstand harsh environments and dangerous scenarios. Body armor technology has advanced in the past few years to meet the demands of today's tactical personnel. Many of the top body armor manufacturers now offer stealthy yet reliable body armor to operate more effectively in the field. The following is a look at some of the high-performance tactical vests and accessories that are becoming standard in agencies worldwide.

ARMOR EXPRESS INC.
 

The Wolverine DM™ from Armor Express™ is a tactical jacket that offers protection with options to customize to individual needs. Featuring full over-the-shoulder ballistic coverage and a front closing system, the Wolverine DM also has additional side protection and a streamlined throat protector. Other features include: rifle sling retention system; solid front-side opening; external side straps adjust with Velcro® under front flap; external front and back plate pockets; rear drag strap; mic wire guide; heavy-duty Poly Duck fabric.

Additional options for the Wolverine DM include: back ballistic split collar; snap and Velcro® attachment system; 1-inch or 2-inch MOLLE webbing attachment system; Uncle Mike’s® pockets; Uncle Mike’s hydration system; pull-down groin guard (GG); pull-down rear / tail guard (AG) and pocket; ballistic sleeves (upper arm); non-skid yoke with ambidextrous butt stops; customized ID tags; flex cuff pockets; front and back cool pack pocket; hidden front drag strap; removable “C-wing” for extended front shoulder / underarm protection; and “J-clip” (allows single-handed release of flash bang pin).

BAE SYSTEMS PRODUCTS GROUP
 

BAE Systems Products Group manufactures several leading brands of security products exclusively for law enforcement, corrections, military and licensed security professionals.

Bianchi Body Armor
 

The Bianchi Body Armor LAWMAN™ Series from BAE Systems Products Group is a new line of concealable body armor designed to protect law enforcement officers, EMT and security personnel with body armor that is available off the shelf in standard sizes and colors. Made of 100% Dupont™ Kevlar ballistic fiber with breathable, waterproof GORE-TEX® panel coverings, the LAWMAN Series is available with Level II and Level IIIA ballistic packages and is NIJ compliant. The LAWMAN is available in black, navy, tan and white in eight different sizes.

PROTECH Tactical
 

PROTECH®, part of the BAE Systems Products Group, introduces the First Responder Kit, with all the necessary equipment to neutralize active shooter situations. The kit includes multiple layers of body armor, including a Level III plate, a tactical plate harness, the Delta 4 Combat™ Ballistic Helmet and a Level IIIA Patroller™ Shield all packaged within a PROTECH Cruize duffle.

The new Fast Attack Vest (FAV™) from PROTECH features several built-in components, including an internal wire channel, magazine pouches and a 360-degree MOLLE attachment platform. A DEA-approved vest, the FAV features adjustable shoulders, and the MOLLE closure system provides increased adjustability and flexibility for quick responses in high-risk situations. The T2 carrier includes six built-in long-arm magazine pouches.

Safariland Armorwear

The Mantis™ concealable carrier ballistic vest from Safariland® Armorwear®, part of the BAE Systems Products Group, is lightweight and low profile for both male and female officers. Designed for street teams, undercover agents and regular duty patrol officers, the Mantis employs adjustable and ported shoulder straps. Featuring an anti-microbial mesh interior and exterior front mesh vents, the Mantis incorporates a two-or-one waist strap, allowing officers to secure the vest without sacrificing ventilation. Low-profile, recessed zippers and hardware provide less wear on clothing and prevents snagging on accessories and duty gear. The Mantis offers a combination front plate pocket and a back pocket.

SAVVY Body Armor
 

SAVVY™ is a new line of body armor designed for women by BAE Systems Products Group to provide precision fit, bullet-resistant vests for female officers. SAVVY offers two concealable options, the RETRO™ and the FLAIR™. Both vests feature all-woven aramid materials for added flexibility and incorporate SAVVY’s four-point cup positioning for an exact bust (apex) alignment. Made of soft ballistic and carrier materials, the vest drapes a woman’s individual shape, conforming to her body. SAVVY’s vests are protected by waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex® fabric and have an interior lining of Anti-Microbial Yarn (A.M.Y.®), to reduce bacteria, mold and fungi micro-organisms. Each vest features Level II and IIIA ballistic packages that meet NIJ .05 standards.

Second Chance Armor Inc.
 

Another brand from BAE Systems Products Group, the Second Chance® MicroLite™ Series features all-woven Twaron® ballistic panels, which consist of patented lightweight, aramid microfilaments that protect against a wide variety of rounds. The concealable, full-wrap design of the MicroLite offers coverage over 360 degrees of the torso, providing overlapping protection for vital organs without inhibiting movement or sacrificing comfort.

Laser-cut vents and sonic-welded mesh inserts work with natural body movement and changes in air pressure to provide ventilation. The ballistic panels are covered with breathable, waterproof GORE-TEX® fabric, which evaporates humidity from the body and protects against external moisture. Lined with X-STATIC® technology, which employs the power of a permanently bonded layer of silver, the MicroLite series also features antimicrobial and anti-odor qualities that do not diminish in performance through continued use or washings.

FIRST CHOICE ARMOR INC.

First Choice Armor’s new Viking Enforcer™ tactical vest features a 360-degree MOLLE attachment system for load-bearing capabilities. The vest comes standard with adjustable and removable ballistic collar and throat, and a choice of three different Level IIIA packages. Additional features include: accommodates ballistic side plates; front and back hard armor plate pockets; contoured cut across the chest; front-to-back, overlapping side protection with secondary Velcro® attachment system; short-waisted for maximum mobility; ambidextrous butt retention system; nylon interior carrier; 500 Denier Cordura® exterior; internal wire channels; internal bellyband; adjustable shoulder straps; rear drag strap.

The First Response ZF vest from First Choice can be configured between multiple sizes with its two-point adjustment system in the back of the vest. Features include: MOLLE attachment system; front zipper opening; full overlapping side coverage; nylon interior carrier; 500 Denier Cordura exterior carrier; ambidextrous butt-retention system with built-in mic tabs; adjustable, overlapping ballistic shoulders; contoured and removable ballistic collar; built-in wire channel; front and back hard armor plate pockets; rear drag strap; attachment system for biceps and IDs; removable NIJ Level IIIA ballistic panels.

GH ARMOR SYSTEMS
 

Exclusive to GH Armor Systems, the DELTA FIVE™ modular tactical body armor system offers a combination of coverage, mobility and configurability for tactical units. Side-entry configuration with an integrated quick release enables the wearer to remove the DELTA FIVE in less than 5 seconds. Separate medical release capabilities allow the system to be quickly opened or removed for treatment and easily reassembled for emergency transport.

The DELTA FIVE can be equipped with the following optional equipment: GH Armor Level IIIA ballistic protection to the neck, throat, upper torso, groin, upper / lower arm, upper / lower leg and buttock. Equipped with a universal MOLLE™ attachment system, the DELTA FIVE is compatible with all modern equipment and is adjustable at the waist and shoulders. It also accepts NIJ Level III and IV hard armor plates for added protection to vital regions and optional spike protection to the upper torso.

MSA PARACLETE

MSA Paraclete’s Releasable Assault Vest (RAV) sports a patented, single-point release feature for instant removal. When in use and fully loaded, this modular tactical vest is removable with a single cut-away handle. It was designed with a drop-down front flap and increased load-bearing capacity without sagging. Activation of the RAV’s cut-away system separates vest into five individual pieces: internal cummerbund, external cummerbund, vest panel, back vest and cut-away pillow. Once activated, the vest can be quickly and easily reconfigured for wear.

The RAV vest’s design accommodates a full modular system of add-on pouches and accessories, including: internal front and back plate pockets; internal side plate pockets; works with MSA / Paraclete patented pouch attachment system; compatible with all MOLLE / PALS-style pouches; military specification materials; drag strap sewn full length of vest; hook-and-loop closure on internal armor plate pockets and soft armor accessories; zip-off back panel; and low-profile shoulder routing for wired communication channels and hydration tubing.

POINT BLANK SOLUTIONS INC.
 

The ThorShield™ from Point Blank Solutions, in partnership with G² Consulting, is the first electroshock weapon protection system. It provides protection against less-than-lethal weapons such as TASERs and electric stun guns for officers in the event their weapons are turned against them. The ThorShield material is sewn into the lining of an officer’s protective vest. It is available exclusively in Point Blank and PACA Body Armor products.

ThorShield works by providing a highly conductive specialized layer of fabric that ensures that the electric current discharged from the weapon flows through the lining rather than the body. The protective material can be applied to officers’ garments and equipment such as body armor, shirts, jackets, training suits, gloves and hats. The lining is breathable and provides for greater flexibility at less weight without compromising protection. The protective solution is made available in a body armor carrier that is marketed and sold only to law enforcement and military professionals.

Published in Tactical Response, May/Jun 2008

Rating : 7.0


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