Firearms are one of the most dangerous threats faced by law enforcement personnel in the United States. In the last 30 years, soft body armor has saved the lives of more than 3,000 law enforcement personnel . Many officers do not routinely wear their vests, noting that the vests are too hot, too heavy and too uncomfortable. Yet, in a report published by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), it is noted that officers are 14 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury when not wearing body armor.
The average weight of a soft armor vest used by law enforcement is 6 pounds. Reducing this weight by even a couple of pounds could lead to higher usage rates among law enforcement and thereby allow
more officers to return to their families after their shift. While soft armor has dramatically improved over the years, it has still not reached its optimal form. Improvements still need to be made to create ballistic protection that is light, flexible, breathable and comfortable, allowing for all-day wear without impeding the agility of the officer.
Nanocomp has materials that can help armor manufacturers realize that optimal design. The company's carbon nanotube non-woven mats are currently in qualification for use in soft armor vests with promising results. Using only a few lightweight layers of Nanocomp's materials in a body armor vest enables to removal of other high performance materials making the resulting system 30% lighter and 20% thinner while offering equivalent ballistic performance. This means a 6-pound vest would now weigh a little over 4 pounds, while offering the same level of protection with less impedance to the movement of the officer.
Nanocomp's materials can contribute to more life-saving products than just soft armor vests. Stay tuned to see what innovations the company's non-woven mats can bring to tactical plates and other hard armor applications.