A new type of body armor might be 10 times more effective than standard Kevlar vests many law enforcement officials wear, according to Steve Kelly of the Tacoma-based company Moor Innovative Technologies (MITgel).
“There’s no comparison really,” Kelly told KTTH’s Todd Herman.
A body armor rating system developed by the National Institute of Justice establishes a scale of zero to 100. The closer to zero, the more bulletproof the body armor is.
“Nobody has ever achieved a zero rating, which means that if you shoot the thing with small arms, it will deflect every round,” Kelly said. “No one’s ever achieved a zero rating and in fact they wouldn’t give one even if they believed it achieved it because they need to have some room for that one error.”
The vest created by MITgel has achieved a V05 rating, Kelly said. That means that only about five percent of all bullets fired at the vest will actually go through it.
“The Kevlar product that everybody is wearing all over the world, is a V50 rating. Basically that means that 50 percent of the time when that thing is fired upon, it will be penetrated as if you were not wearing a vest at all,” Kelly said.
Even when body armor does stop a bullet, the force of the bullet can still harm or even kill the person wearing it.
Imagine that a standard Kevlar vest on a clay torso-shaped dummy is fired upon, Kelly said. If a round is stopped by the vest, there will be a dent in the torso behind the vest about the size of half a lemon.
“Our product does not do that,” he said. Instead, the MITgel vest absorbs the bullet, reducing the harm to the body behind it.
Another way MITgel’s body armor differs from Kevlar is in its reusability. Kevlar vests must be discarded and replaced after being hit with a bullet.
“(The MITgel vest) can be fired upon again and again,” Kelly said.
So why aren’t more law enforcement officials and military personnel wearing Mitgel’s technology? Kelly said it’s because of the power the maker of Kevlar products, DuPont, wields within the industry.
“DuPont has a $6 billion a year business selling Kevlar. They’ve got a reason to protect that business, despite knowing full well that they have a V50 rated vest,” he said. “They’re threatened by companies like ours that they know make a better product and that they know protects law enforcement officials and our military better than their product ever could.”
Kelly said MITgel is taking steps to make their armor known to those who would benefit from using it.
“We need people that would be willing to write their local representatives. Then we’re doing our best to inform the police departments around the county and also the unions, that there’s a better product and they ought to be wearing it,” he said. “This product will save lives.”
Listen to the full interview on the Todd Herman Show here.