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Polyethylene Bulletproof Vests Better Than Kevlar 345

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hard-wear dept.
teflonscout writes "When I think of bulletproof vests, the first word that comes to mind is Kevlar. Wired is running a story on Dynema SB61, a bulletproof material that is made of polyethylene. It is a higher grade of the plastic found in Tupperware. The story also mentions the recall of Second Chance bulletproof vests that were made from Zylon, a material that degraded slowly when exposed to moisture. At least one police officer was injured when a bullet penetrated his Zylon vest. Polyethylene is impervious to moisture. The first vests made from this new material are 5mm thick and can stop a 9mm bullet traveling at 1777 feet per second, which is slightly better than other top of the line vests."
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Polyethylene Bulletproof Vests Better Than Kevlar

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  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:29PM (#19241983) Homepage Journal

    Dynema SB61, a bulletproof material that is made of polyethylene. It is a higher grade of the plastic found in Tupperware.

    There goes my idea for a zip-tie & Tupperware bulletproof vest. It also explains why the prototypes failed in the field.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by froggero1 (848930)
      it's not really a bad idea to step away from kevlar... of course assuming that it still stops bullets.

      my question though, will it weigh less than kevlar? every chunk of kevlar that i've held (my father made vests for a while) was extreamly heavy... I'd say if this substance is lighter and allows for more agility it just might be worth it, but again, let's not jepordize safety for mobility
      • by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:45PM (#19242367)
        the density of Kevlar is 1.44, while polyethylene is 66% as dense at around 0.94 to 0.96, will actually float in water.
        • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:09PM (#19242761) Journal
          So, it's a "life vest" then? [ilovewavs.com]

          Thank you folks. I'll be here all week. Try the veal.
          • by rindeee (530084) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @03:40PM (#19244241)
            Hahahaha! Funny. :| In all seriousness, that is of real concern to some. Being a Navy Reservist, currently on deployment, on small boats (ie. the type that can be sunk with one good round and YES the Navy DOES have 'boats'), in a place where such rounds are common, (surely I can fit another comma in here some place....grammar be damned) I have a vested (pun intended) interest). Ouch. Anyway...the vests we have now are bulky as hell, and make it VERY hard to 'operate'. Also, they don't transition from waterborne missions to landward. Give me a vest that is bulletproof (reasonably) and shrapnel proof (a much bigger concern) and is of at least neutral buoyancy and you have a proponent.
          • by Samah (729132) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @09:58PM (#19247953)
            In other news:
            Ballistics scientists have developed a new style of 9mm bullet made of a stronger polyethelene form of Dynema SB61.
            During a test, at least one police officer wearing a Dynema SB61 vest was killed.
            The new bullets are expected to be available at all Walmart stores within the next 6 months.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Radon360 (951529)

          That it will.



          It won't replace a personal flotation device, however. Most PFD's provide somewhere between 11 and 22 lbs of buoyancy, depending on their type (type I having the most, though type III being the most common wearable). It'll be nice that it won't be another piece of clothing to weight you down in the water, but don't expect much help from it, either, unless other types of flotation are incorporated into its design.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ajehals (947354)

        let's not jepordize safety for mobility
        Overall saftey is a trade-off of both protection and mobility.
    • by megaditto (982598) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:03PM (#19242659)
      If you fill that tupperware with a starch solution [wikipedia.org], it just might work a hell of a lot better than Kevlar
    • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @03:57PM (#19244513) Journal
      But their salad bowl makes a great helmet. Plus it keeps your head fresh.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Paradise Pete (33184)
        But their salad bowl makes a great helmet. Plus it keeps your head fresh.

        Only if you remember to burp it occasionally.

  • The Box O' Truth (Score:5, Informative)

    by NutMan (614868) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:30PM (#19241995)
    Can't wait to see The Box O' Truth [theboxotruth.com] give it a try.
  • by HiddenCamper (811539) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:30PM (#19242013)
    After what I put my tupperware through im not surprised that it can stop a bullet
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Dragonskin was kicked out of the running due to failures with angled shots and not standing up to temperature variance.
  • Not bad... but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:32PM (#19242059)
    Or you could just get some Dragon Skin armor that will take the force of an exploding hand grenade and not allow penetration...

    http://www.pinnaclearmor.com/body-armor/dragon-ski n.php [pinnaclearmor.com]

    • Re:Not bad... but... (Score:5, Informative)

      by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:04PM (#19242671) Homepage
      Dragon Skin was recently tested by the Army and found to be deficient in many ways.

      Read the whole article. [washingtonpost.com]

      Exerpts:

      ...in 13 of 48 shots, lethal armor-piercing rounds either shattered the discs that make up the armor, or completely penetrated the vest.

      ...the armor failed to endure required temperatures shifts _ from minus 20 degrees to 120 above zero _ which weakened the adhesive holding the discs together.
      • by MarkusQ (450076) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:17PM (#19242877) Journal

        Independent tests [msn.com] do not support the army's conclusions. Since there is already some question about the validity of the army's tests (e.g. the designer of the vest that "won" in the army's test says that dragon skin is actually better, the person who conducted the army tests left to work for a dragon skin competitor, etc.) I don't think just repeating the army's conclusions (or quoting the Washington Compost as doing so) really proves anything.

        --MarkusQ

        • Independent tests do not support the army's conclusions.

          Nor do they cleanly invalidate them. The article plainly states (in several places) that these tests were not the equivalent of the Army tests, and the Dragon Skin vests were not subjected (by the independent investigator) to the full range of enviromental tests that the Army requires.
           
           

          I don't think just repeating the army's conclusions (or quoting the Washington Compost as doing so) really proves anything.

          And repeating MSN's conclusions without (seemingly) understanding the caveats they place on each and every page proves what exactly? That sources you approve of are intrinsically better than sources you disaprove of?
           
          (Disclaimer: I don't much care about the debate either way. Not that the disclaimer will sway anyone - politics are generally more important than intellectual honesty.)
  • If it's basically like wearing a big plastic slab, isn't that going to get super hot? I'm assuming after they get a few breathable layers around it, that 5mm balloons to something much less inconspicuous. Still, any new ways to stop bullets reactively are a good thing.
    • Nah, it's not a slab. Wearable bulletproof materials are composed of interwoven fibers (occasionally with heavier armor plates backing 'em up), and if its made into a fabric, it's far more flexible and comfortable than a solid suit.

      It's probably still pretty damn hot, and heavier than one would prefer. I'd be interested to see how this performs when coupled with some of the liquid armor [military.com] tech the military has been working on.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by starkadder (819862)
      I'm sure this is not a slab of plastic. Allied Signal has a very similar product that they've been marketing for years. It is highly oriented HDPE fibers. Think about what happens to a bread bag when you pull real hard on it. The fibers become highly oriented and crystaline -- and very strong. Since the vest is made of layers of fabric woven from these fibers, it is flexible and breathes.
    • by Noxx (74567) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:05PM (#19242681)
      If it's basically like wearing a big plastic slab, isn't that going to get super hot?

      That's why you lacquer the chestplates in white to dissipate heat, and give them a black spandex bodysuit underneath...add a scary looking helmet and most of your vitals are covered. In theory it should deflect blaster bolts. Where I'm stationed we wear them all the time (I work in law enforcement).

      In practice, they don't stop crap. Like last week this scruffy-looking nutjob with a walking carpet for a sidekick breaks in to rescue his girlfriend. Next thing we know there's a weapons malfunction down in the cell block, and four of my buddies find out the chestplates don't quite work as advertised.

      I hate this posting...maybe I can get transferred before something else goes wrong.

      - TK421

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Shinmizu (725298)
        I hear Endor's a pretty easy assignment.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by TrekkieGod (627867)

          I hear Endor's a pretty easy assignment.

          You'd think so, wouldn't you? Well, let me tell you, I'm an independent contractor in a project the Empire has going on over there and even though the money is good and we get lots of benefits (it's a government contract after all), I fear for my life. Heck, a friend of mine refused to take the job because of the risk, but I'm just trying to scrape a living, I have no personal politics.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tatarize (682683)
        http://www.somethingawful.com/d/news/nardo-design - empire.php [somethingawful.com]

        Subject E-11 Blaster Rifle Calibration Still Off
        From Stormtrooper Commander 09731
        Date A Long Time Ago 3:51 PM
        To Nardo Pace

        As you know, the E-11 has come a long way since its initial prototype. Thanks to your hard work over the past three years the rifle no longer fires completely sideways, and with your latest revision, the number of casualties resulting from blaster fire being directed completely backwards has been drastically reduced.

        That said
    • by sonoronos (610381) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:15PM (#19242839)
      This is one of those cases where allegory is truly misleading. The article makes the comparison to shopping bags and tupperware in order to emphasize the "everyday" nature of the material. The truth is that they have similar basic components, but the exact composition and processing differences cause one material to be good at resisting bullets and another at storing food (or selling at parties.) Unlike Tupperware, Dyneema vests are composed of woven and laminated fabric.

      Dyneema is actually a trade name for a thread derived from Ultra High Molecular Weight polyethylene. The intrinsic strength of the material comes from the ability to increase the length of the polyethylene chain to extreme lengths. Since the structure of UHMW derives its strength mostly from the intermolecular Van-der Waals forces, the longer the polythethylene chains get, the stronger the forces holding the material together become. When the processing of the polythylene allows the length of the chains to become uniform, then you can engineer it into useful forms, such as a fiber which eventually be formed into fabric, then laminated and put on your chest.

      Of course, being UHMW, Dyneema has a weakness: Its melting point is about 300 degrees Fahrenheit, or about the temperature of a hot light bulb. Which means that while your body heat might not harm the vest, carelessness in storage might.
  • Will this protect you from a spilled drink moving 3 feet per second while playing Quake?

    ~S
  • by kammat (114899) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:33PM (#19242081)
    Do they burp when they're hit?
  • I'll trust it as soon as the guy who invented it straps on a set, and stands about 20 years in front of me ....
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by daivzhavue (176962)
      well, if he is standing 20 years in front of you, I'm sure weapon advancements would nullify any protection it gives today.
    • so much for "preview"
    • Re:I'll trust it ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:48PM (#19242423)

      I'll trust it as soon as the guy who invented it straps on a set, and stands about 20 years in front of me ....

      If you haven't heard about the history of "second chance" one of the very first commercial vest manufacturers, that is basically how they sold it. Walk into a police station, pull a gun, shoot oneself at point blank. Put the gun, vest, and business card on the front desk and walk out. As I understand they arrested the founder (Richard Davis) for firing a pistol within city limits, and placed a huge order. He eventually had to quit doing it because all the bruises from the gunshots were starting to give him heart problems.

      • Second Chance (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kadin2048 (468275) *
        I've never heard that story, but I have seen a video clip of Davis doing that. Basically put on a set of the armor, took a little snubby .38, held it out at arm's length, and shot himself in the sternum.

        Looked pretty unpleasant -- he immediately fell down, and it took a few seconds before it was clear that he had not, in fact, been shot -- but damned impressive.
      • by Bearpaw (13080)

        If you haven't heard about the history of "second chance" one of the very first commercial vest manufacturers, that is basically how they sold it. Walk into a police station, pull a gun, shoot oneself at point blank. Put the gun, vest, and business card on the front desk and walk out. As I understand they arrested the founder (Richard Davis) for firing a pistol within city limits, and placed a huge order.

        What kind of idiot would walk into a police station and pull a gun? (And what kind of police force w

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          What kind of idiot would walk into a police station and pull a gun?

          In the early 70's, guns were not as big of a deal in the US and were not treated with quite the same hysteria they now are. Mr Davis was a former marine and a pizza shop owner who had been shot several times while working. He was one of the pioneers of the bulletproof vest market. There are plenty of videos of him online, shooting himself while wearing a vest, usually with a .38. He did it at conferences around the country. I have little doubt he knew the legal implications, but was willing to suffer them

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by smellsofbikes (890263)
        While we're on about history, traditionally speaking this has always been the case for armor. Medieval armors usually have a nice dent or two that is integrated with the armor decoration, because after finishing the breastplate (in the case of plate-type armor) the armorer would put it on and the prospective buyer would test it with any weapon he cared to use. Armorers literally stood behind their work, and the buyer proved it worked (hence, I believe, the etymology of 'bullet-proof' -- the proof was the
  • bullets capable of penetrating this new body armor are on the way in

    3.... 2....

    Guess I'm just cynical.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Shooting at a cop is already illegal. If you're going to fire a bullet at a cop, then the legality of the bullets isn't going to stop you.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AP2k (991160)
        Regardless, you could take down a police officer if he was wearing inch thick steel plating by just hitting him in the face. Might not be quite as mortal as a shot to the heart, but he is at least out of the fight. Alot of good modern kevlar does against headshots, huh? Not to mention you can do it with any gun and a rock if you throw it hard enough.
        • by Bearpaw (13080)
          Dick Cheney notwithstanding, it's harder to shoot someone in the face than in the torso. Smaller target, you know. That's why training for human targets tends to emphasize torso shots.
    • They're already out there. Most high powered rifles are capable of penetrating body armor that isn't backed by plates. They hint at it in the summary...Fast bullets are more of a concern than slow bullets, which is why it's a big deal that this one will stop a 9mm. It still probably won't stop a high powered rifle, which includes common hunting gear, and most assault weapons.

      The big deal with this stuff isn't how effective it is...There's not much difference between it and kevlar...But kevlar weighs a hell
  • It mentions how well it compares on stopping a bullet, but what about other factors like weight, or maneuverability while wearing the vest.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Timesprout (579035)
      And more importantly how does it compare with the secondary injuries caused by the impact of the bullet. One of the issues with modern vests is that you can still receive substantial injuries when the vest hits you after the bullet hits it.
  • One word. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Palmyst (1065142) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:35PM (#19242125)
    Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
    Benjamin: Yes, sir.
    Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
    Benjamin: Yes, I am.
    Mr. McGuire: Plastics
  • On body armor... Israeli researchers at one company, ApNano Materials Inc. in New York, have shown off a breastplate of nanometals said to be five times as strong as steel. (source source [businessweek.com])

    One of the coolest thing I recall seeing - I forget if it was on the Military Channel or Discovery - was body armor made from a material (sorry forgot what it is/was might have been spider silk) that would act as a body of water and ripple off the impact of a bullet to reduce the point of entry thereby leaving the target
    • by minion (162631)
      One of the coolest thing I recall seeing - I forget if it was on the Military Channel or Discovery - was body armor made from a material (sorry forgot what it is/was might have been spider silk) that would act as a body of water and ripple off the impact of a bullet to reduce the point of entry thereby leaving the target (person wearing the armor) safe. I personally think we are maybe 10 years away from finding an impenetrable body armor solution. My wonders are, how much will it cost when it does come out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by petermgreen (876956)
        I personally think we are maybe 10 years away from finding an impenetrable body armor solution.
        I somewhat doubt it.

        on the one hand you have companies developing armor on the other you have companies developing weapons. Armour manufacturers will reasearch what the weapon manufacturers are doing and vice-versa and attempt to counter it and users of the equipment will just adjust what proportion of thier weight or financial budgets they spend on each so that the armour on the battlefield stays balanced with th
    • Re:Etcetera (Score:4, Informative)

      by RsG (809189) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:55PM (#19242549)

      I personally think we are maybe 10 years away from finding an impenetrable body armor solution
      Impenetrable to what?

      Most current suits of body armor can stop a pistol caliber bullet. Rounds designed to pierce armor, or designed to be fired from a more powerful gun, are another story. Armor that will stop a small, soft bullet will still be penetrated by a faster, or less malleable one.

      For civilian or police protection, we have nearly impenetrable suits now; increasing their coverage, or decreasing their weight would be more practical (both of which can be achieved by making them out of lighter materials). For something like military protection, well, we may never have impenetrable body armor. Whenever defensive technology gets good enough, the military turns their attention to piercing those defenses; see for example the death of the battleship as a viable class of warship.

      Apart from that, conservation of momentum applies. There is an upper limit whereby body armor would remain intact, while the flesh beneath is reduced to a pulp. Though admittedly conservation of momentum also applies to the shooter, and to the recoil of their gun, so there is a similar upper limit for muzzle velocity per unit of projectile mass.
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:37PM (#19242185) Homepage Journal

    It is a higher grade of the plastic found in Tupperware.
    Good thing they mentioned this. I had already put a bowl on my head and was about to test it out.
  • Dynema? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:37PM (#19242189) Journal
    I think maybe they should rethink the name of the material ("Dynema SB61")when/if it goes into production.

    I, for one, would rather not have my bulletproof vest sound like it's a cross of high explosives and bowel cleansing kits.
    • by Incadenza (560402)

      I think maybe they should rethink the name of the material ("Dynema SB61")when/if it goes into production.

      Dynema (aka Dyneema or Dynex) is an established brand name already, at least in mountaineering. The best [mammut.ch] climbing [mammut.ch] gear [blackdiamo...ipment.com] uses Dynema. 22kN break strength on a light 8mm wide nice and flexible ribbon that hardly gets wet - super stuff.

  • Tupperware? (Score:2, Funny)

    by DrivingBear (931124)

    It is a higher grade of the plastic found in Tupperware.
    The vest will also keep you fresh for weeks.
  • Tin foil hat... check! Tupperware shirt... check! Zip-lock underwear... check!
  • The correct term is bullet-resistant.
    • by avronius (689343) *
      Reminds me of a Corner Gas episode.

      Something to the effect of:
      "Where'd you get the money to buy that tazer?"
      "I bought it with the money that I saved from buying these bullet resistant vests."
      "Bullet resistant?! The shirt is wrinkle resistant but see this [wrinkles vest] - still gets wrinkles!"
  • http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/dragon-skin-bu l letproof-vest-repels-ak47-rounds-203003.php [gizmodo.com]
    Dragon Skin bullet proof vests are light weight but can stop (multiple) armor piercing rounds. That's rather impressive.

    They use silver-dollar sized "scales" of ceramics. If it's as light and flexible as advertised, this is far better for soldiers and law enforcement.
  • If it's the same dynema used for rock and ice-climbing gear, I'd be worried about it melting. The stuff traditionally has a negative reaction to UV (as most synthetics do) and it melts pretty easily. I'm sure they've figured that out though.
  • by NearlyHeadless (110901) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @01:58PM (#19242587)

    It is a higher grade of the plastic found in Tupperware.
    That could explain why Ice-T was heard saying [tv.com], "Go buy Tupperware now, it's O.G., it's real 'hood."
  • Why don't they just make the bullets softer?
  • Back in the days of yore (199something), I remember some technology show (C|Net or something), showing off some bulletproof plastic that was gone over with a blowtorch, hit with AK-47s, Axes, Bazookas, etc, for a few minutes (one piece through it all), and eventually 20 minutes (or an hour, or "some non-immediate length of time") later, they eventually got a 15" hole in it through sustained torching while hitting it with an axe.

    And then I never heard another thing about it. I assume there's some /reason/ we
  • by im_mac (927998) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:05PM (#19242689)
    Perhaps it can be combined with the liquid body armor [discoverie...roughs.org] for extra protection.
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:07PM (#19242717)

    The first vests made from this new material are 5mm thick and can stop a 9mm bullet traveling at 1777 feet per second, which is slightly better than other top of the line vests."

    Are there any other benefits? Not to underscore the vest's foremost job (stopping bullets) but if there is only a "slight" improvement over existing vests I don't find this all that newsworthy.
    1. Are the vests lighter in weight than these "top of the line" vests we're comparing it to? That would be important for foot soldiers and types that must travel long distances while wearing them, possibly carrying other equipment as well.

    2. Are these vests thinner? This one is 5mm but I don't know how thick a traditional vest is. That would allow better maneuverability while wearing it.

    3. Are these vests cheaper to produce (perhaps once production ramps up)? Generally I expect the new hottness tech to be more expensive than old'n'busted.


    Without answers to these questions, these vests will be nothing more than a "slightly better for a lot more money" niche solution.
  • by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:11PM (#19242775)
    Found this and it looks like a court found enough evidence to say the vest failed due to heat, moisture, and light. Also, the vest was made of Zylon and the company stopped using it 4 months after the cop was killed.

    http://www.whistleblowers.org/Cop_s_widow_wins.htm [whistleblowers.org]

    LoB
  • by Steve Hamlin (29353) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:21PM (#19242925) Homepage

    As with anything, the devil's in the details. From a previous trip around the web in re: bodyarmor.

    It's not Tupperware, but 'Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene' [wikipedia.org].

    See also:
    Spectra [honeywell.com]
    Dyneema [dsm.com]
    Aramids (from "aromatic polyamide") [wikipedia.org]
    - Example: Twaron [twaron.com]

    Kevlar [wikipedia.org], of course.
    Also Nomex [wikipedia.org] - known for it's heat-resistant attributes, also strong. It's an "aromatic nylon, the meta variant of the para-aramid Kevlar."

  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:28PM (#19243039)
    Of course, it is great marketing to show that your body armor can stop all rounds up to a 30mm A-10 round, but what LEOs really need is something a bit less.

    If I could invent two types of armor, one that worked against a 30mm round, but looked like the bomb disposal suit, and a piece of armor that only worked against 22 caliber rimfire, but looked and felt identical to a cotton T-shirt; the Tshirt-like armor would be the real success.
  • by toQDuj (806112) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @03:07PM (#19243675) Homepage Journal
    My Ph.D. project happens to be on super-fibre materials, nice coincidence.

    As it happens, dyneema is highly stretched polyethylene. As such, it melts at a fairly low temperature (and performs less well before reaching such temeratures. Temperatures around 80 degrees centigrade would do...). Twaron and Kevlar are aramids. They decompose at around 400 degrees, and hardly any change in performance is seen.

    Now, 80 degrees C is a quite high temperature, but with a (desert) sun baking on a vest, I would rather wear the slightly heavier aramid vest.

    B.
  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @03:21PM (#19243899)
    I had occasion to work with Dr. Dusan Prevorsek, the original inventor of ultra-high strength polyethylene fibers on a different project. The original patents on this material date to the early 1980's.

    Since it's commercialization it has been in wide use throughout the world, and has had performance advantages over aramid fibers like Kevlar. In addition to great performance it is also significatly less expensive, and the manufacturing process has much lower environmental impact.

  • by JeffSh (71237) <jeffslashdot@m0MOSCOWm0.org minus city> on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @04:00PM (#19244579)
    I'm from the small town in Michigan in which second chance was founded, and I know the entire history of the "incident"

    The officer in that shooting was shot 6 or 7 times. *ONE* bullet penetrated the Zylon, and it was on the periphery of the vest. The edges of *ANY* vest are vulnerable and not as strong as center-mass.

    Second chance has 960+ confirmed saves with their body armor.

    What they've done to the second chance business as a result is, on the whole, a travesty. They were/are one of the few american manufacturers, and they did nothing wrong at all.
    • by Archr5 (1097341) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @05:54PM (#19245907)
      The bottom line, however, is the shelf life on a zylon vest being used by a person who sweats is incredibly low (life span warranty of 30 months?) and police departments simply do not have the budget to cycle their vests that often. Zylon is an inferior choice for body armor, and is not to be trusted in current applications. Which is why it was de-certified. Toyobo (the company that makes zylon ) has produced data on it's own that says the conditions zylon is subjected to on a daily basis during wear by an officer are enough to reduce the lifespan and effectiveness of a vest containing zylon. When the company that MAKES zylon is basically saying "Don't use zylon as part of a garment exposed to heat and moisture" that should tell you something. and it's very much NOT a travesty, these vests being out of circulation and replaced by kevlar is saving lives. what Second Chance did wrong was put their money on the wrong pony, they don't deserve to continue hawking inferior wares simply because they are an "American manufacturer".
  • Not surprised (Score:4, Informative)

    by chroma (33185) <chroma&mindspring,com> on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @04:01PM (#19244583) Homepage
    I've been using polyethylene armor on my fighting robots [slashdot.org] for years. It's extremely tough, lightweight, and relatively cheap. There was a fashion for using polycarbonate (Lexan) on fighting robots for a while, and while it looks cool (it's clear), it just can't take impact like UHMW polyethylene.
  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @10:26PM (#19248115)
    Which is how my tired morning eyes read that headline.

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