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What is New in Body Armor

Officer safety is a critical aspect of law enforcement, and body armor is a key element of that protection. Chiefs, sheriffs, and high-ranking police administrators from across the country attended the 2005 IACP convention in Miami to check out the latest advancements in ballistic protection. Here are some of the new and newly announced body armor products.


ArmorShield USA, a leading manufacturer of body armor for military, law enforcement and homeland security, introduced its new line of ballistic protection, the Trauma-Lite™ Blunt Trauma System. This blunt trauma reduction system keeps the officer in the fight by distributing impact forces over a much larger area of his vest.

ArmorShield® vests are designed to keep the officer comfortable while keeping him safer. Wide, padded, breathable soft mesh shoulder straps ensure comfort by reducing tension on the shoulders. ArmorShield® ballistic panels are designed and shaped for maximum ballistic protection and comfort, preventing bunching while promoting freedom of movement. The carrier shell slides easily against the uniform shirt, allowing the armor to keep its position against the body.

Soft as silk, the new low-abrasion, snag-resistant nylons are comfortable, lightweight, and breathable. The ballistic insert envelope is sonically welded to keep the ballistic materials enclosed and dry, eliminating any worries about degradation due to exposure. This also eliminates mold and mildew, the prime cause of body armor odor.

Armor Express

The new Evolution Carrier System from Armor Express offers maximum comfort, breathability and wearability with TRAPTEK™ technology. Activated carbon embedded within TRAPTEK™ yarn pulls moisture away from the skin, improving the perspiration process, and brings it to the fabric surface for rapid evaporation.

This powerful evaporative cooling process provides a 50% increase in moisture transfer when compared to standard polyester. Officers will be happy to know that the activated carbon absorbs a wide range of odor molecules as well.

The Evolution also features a lightweight Microfiber outer shell with double front plate pockets and eight points of adjustment. The interior suspension system stabilizes ballistic pad, and the tapered lower front corners make for an overall better fit.

Armour of America

The new LEGUARD™ Tactical Leg Armour from Armour of America is specially engineered with rubber/foam pads that provide maximum impact protection by absorbing energy. The flexible knee and ankle joints on the LEGUARD™ make it easy to kneel or run, and it weighs less than four pounds per leg. The “Quick-Release” U/L approved plastic fasteners make for a comfortable yet secure attachment to officers’ legs, and the Quick-Release buckles reduce any secondary fragmentation damage. The LEGUARD™’s hard shell surface can withstand multiple hits, three inches on center, or four hits. The available color is commercial aircraft “walk surface” flat black.

Be Safe International

Every Be Safe International protective vest comes with a Deluxe Carrier. This cutting-edge design features an internal retention system that keeps the ballistic panels in place. The Deluxe Carrier is made of a slippery synthetic fiber engineered to reduce the friction between the carrier and the uniform shirt to maximize the freedom of movement for the user.

The inside of the vest and the underarm area are manufactured with a special liner fabric that allows body heat and moisture to be released away from the body. To eliminate any contact with seams or closures, the panels are inserted by the front; shirt tails maintain the vest in place even when the wearer makes sudden movements or sits and stands up. The wide Neoprene straps distribute the weight of the panels and expand with the officer’s torso when breathing or sitting.

Bryte Technologies Inc

Bryte Technologies’ patented CeraFlex® technology offers a fully flexible armoring system that meets the small arms protection needs of police, military, special forces, and civilian applications. The CeraFlex® personal protection plate provides extreme durability and increased comfort in a lightweight solution.

It encompasses the lightweight benefits of composites and the advanced performance of ceramics with the added feature of flexibility. The protection level is NIJ III+ in conjunction with NIJ IIIA vests. CeraFlex® features include: multi-hit capability, resistance to environmental factors, and easy vehicle and aircraft installation.

First Choice Armor

First Choice Armor, Inc recently introduced its Synergy line of body armor. This latest innovation by First Choice is available in both NIJ level II and level IIIA, and offers the lightest Non-Zylon concealable vest with a unique Evercool built-in cooling system.

The Evercool inserts feature a temperature reactive technology that absorbs excess heat to keep the officer cool when his body starts to warm up and can even release stored heat to warm him up if he begins to chill. This regulation effect lasts the life of the product. Plus, the inserts are made specifically so that they can easily slide in and out of any of the concealable vest. Still more advantages exist with the Evercool inserts. They are unaffected by compression and are washable.

Force One

With the Second Generation Aramid Shield™, ForceOne is now in full production of bullet-resistant vests for the law enforcement segment. Tried and true, Kevlar™ fibers by DuPont are once again taking on another form. This advancement in technology accomplished through Aramid Shield™ has allowed ForceOne to certify and manufacture lighter, stronger, and less expensive ballistic vests.

The first new product that was certified by the National Institute of Justice was a LIV rifle plate, a plate that utilizes a combination of Aramid Shield™ and Ceramic. The Excalibur®, Front-Opening Tactical Vest and the new Aramid Shield™ Concealable Vest with the Comfort Cooler Carrier made their debut at the end of last year.

Gator Hawk Armor

The K-9/Raid Vest is Gator Hawk’s latest entry in the body armor market. The new Tactical K-9/Raid Front Opening vest was specifically designed for the K-9 officer. Worn over the uniform and designed for easy access to the officer’s gun belt, the K-9/Raid Vest allows the officer to perform his duties while having quick access to all his gear.

The Front Opening K-9/Raid Vest offers the benefits of an outer Tactical Raid vest without all the bulk. Constructed of durable Nylon, the K-9/Raid Vest includes two 6-inch x 6-inch pouches, one penlight, and one radio pouch. The rear compartment has a 10-inch x 12-inch hydration pouch built in. A 3-inch x 8-inch Velcro ID Patch is on the front and a 4-inch x 10-inch Velcro ID Patch is on the rear. An optional 10-inch x 8-inch ID Patch is available below the standard 4x10 ID Patch.

K-9 handlers often have a large K-9 ID Patch here. RAID or SORT team members may also use this space to identify their team. Adjustable Shoulder straps and mic tabs are built into both the left and right front shoulders. Ballistic coverage is available in Gator Hawk’s Gator-Lite series.

Glacier Tek

Glacier Tek, Inc, a manufacturer of body cooling products, has been making body cooling vests for 10 years. Glacier Tek uses a patent-pending RPCM™ Phase Change Material Technology, which is an all-natural, bio-based thermal energy storage material that absorbs heat generated by the wearer without using hazardous chemicals often found in older vests.

Their new product made exclusively for law enforcement, Cool Armor™, is the solution to heat stress created by wearing body armor. This unique body cooling product maintains 59°F for several hours and recharges in minutes. Designed to fit comfortably under all the major brands of body armor without modification, Cool Armor™ weighs two pounds, is only 0.75 inches thick, and provides active cooling.

It contains no hazardous ingredients, which means that the cooling formula is harmless if accidentally ingested into the blood stream. The RPCM™ Cool Pack inside the Cool Armor can be replaced with a recharged pack in less than a minute. Cool Packs can be recharged indefinitely in ice and water, a refrigerator or a freezer.


MSA, the world’s leading manufacturer of sophisticated safety products, unveiled a new line of advanced ballistic body armor at the 2005 IACP. The new line of ballistic vests will be marketed and sold under the brand name ForceField™. The ForceField™ Body Armor line will feature two concealable ballistic vests and one over-the-uniform tactical vest designed for SWAT applications.

The MSA line will feature vests made of DuPont Kevlar and Honeywell GoldFlex Aramid products, two proven and highly reliable ballistic materials. Other differentiating features include an innovative concealable carrier design that enhances user comfort and stability, a Tri-T™ Comfort System that pulls moisture away from the body to improve comfort, and a patent-pending Armor-Latch™ Closure that provides reliable front-to-back overlap while allowing one-handed adjustment.

The ForceField™ line of ballistic body armor complements MSA’s already broad range of products geared for law enforcement applications. In addition to ballistic vests, MSA offers a law enforcement version of the Advanced Combat Helmet, thermal imaging cameras, hand-held and transportable hazard detection instruments, as well as a broad range of respiratory protective equipment—including the first gas mask to receive government approval for protection against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents.

PACA Tactical Armor

The new SMART SVII vest from PACA is certified for NIJ .04 Ballistic Packages. Dual, low-profile wire channels are ideal for communication devices. The SVII also features concealed plate pockets in the front and rear. Its unique "gridlock" Webbing Pouch Attachment System has a removable side opening design.

Other standard features include: heavy-duty officer rescue strap, custom removable ID patches and internal cummerbund. The SVII is available in black, navy, OD green, woodland and desert camo. PACA also offers the S.M.A.R.T.SVII Plus, with increased protection to the collar, bicep and femoral artery/groin regions.

Pacific Safety Products

New to the PROTECTED BY PSP™ family, the Sigma Six™ Body Armor uses cutting-edge design and technology for maximum comfort, concealment, fit and protection. The Sigma Six™ features six superior design distinctions: 1) Ergonomically Superior Design, 2) Patented ProTect™ Ballistic Panel Protection System, 3) 12-point Adjustable Carrier, 4) CoolMax® Extreme Carrier Lining, 5) ProLoad™ Panel Access, and 6) ProFit™ Sizing Program.

State-of-the-art carrier materials such as Supplex® Nylon, CoolMax® lining and low-profile Velcro® make the Sigma Six™ body armor one of the most comfortable, low profile and high-quality vests on the market today. The patented ProTect™ Ballistic Panel Protection System includes desiccant technology, which safely removes moisture from inside the ballistic panels, preventing degradation from moisture, heat or light.

The ProLoad™ System offers an innovative front and back opening approach for easy panel access and removal. It eliminates uncomfortable seams inside the carrier and allows for easy insertion of a Trauma Pad/Plate. Combine all of these features with the exclusive ProFit™ Sizing Program to ensure an accurate fit, proper coverage and maximum comfort.

Published in Tactical Response, Mar/Apr 2006

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