The Development of Body Armor

Many factors have affected the development of personal armor throughout human history. Significant factors in the development of body armor include the economic and technological necessities of armor production. The first body armor made in history was found on the Stele of Vultures in ancient Sumer, in today’s south Iraq. The oldest known armor called Dendra panoply, dating from Mycenaean Era around 1400 BC.

As time passed, armor smiths learned to craft much stronger Chain Mail armor and later Plate Armor to defeat the weapons that relied on slash type attacks, so smiths learned to craft the piercing tip swords, spears and arrowheads such as longsword and bodkin arrowhead to penetrate the chain mail and plate armor.

The Gunpowder Era

As gunpowder weapons improved, it became cheaper and more effective to have groups of unarmored men with early guns than to have expensive knights, which caused full plate armor to be largely discarded.

WWI – Development of Body Armor with New Experimental Materials

The Germans officially issued body armor in the shape of nickel and silicon armor plates that was called sappenpanzer (nicknamed ‘Lobster armor’) from late 1916. These were too heavy to be practical for a moving unit, but were used by static units, such as sentries and occasionally machine-gunners. An improved version, the Infantrie-Panzer, was introduced in 1918, with hooks for equipment

WWII – Development of Lighter & Much More Comfortable Body Armor Begins

In 1940, the Medical Research Council in Britain proposed the use of a lightweight suit of armor for general use by infantry, and a heavier suit for troops in more dangerous positions, such as anti-aircraft and naval gun crews.

In 1943 it was realized that the majority of pilot deaths in the air was due to low velocity fragments rather than bullets. Surgeon of the USAF, Colonel M. C. Grow, stationed in Britian, thought that many wound he was treating could have been prevented by some kind of light armor.

In the early stages of WWII, the United States also designed body armor for infantrymen, but most models were too heavy and mobility-restricting to be useful in the field and incompatible with existing required equipment. Near the middle of 1944, development of infantry body armor in the US restarted. The US developed a vest using Doron Plate, fiberglass-based laminate. These vests were first used in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

The 21st Century – Enter Ceramic & Fiber Armor

Boron carbide is used in hard plate armor capable of defeating rifle and armor piercing ammunition. It was used in armor plates like the SAPI series, and today in most civilian accessible body armors.

Metal or ceramic plates can be used with a soft vest, providing further protection from rifle caliber ammunition, and metallic components or tightly-woven fiber layers can give soft armor resistance to stab and slash attacks from a knife or bayonet. Soft vests are commonly worn by police forces, private citizens and private security guards, whereas hard-plate reinforced vests are generally worn by soldiers in the frontline or police tactical units and hostage rescue teams.

Today, the commonly accepted testing results come from US National Institute of Justice (NIJ), these standards are also used by a number of other countries and organizations.

HESCO Body Armor Development

Hesco Armor, Inc located in Aberdeen, Washington, was founded in 2012.

Even before Hesco Armor Inc., HESCO products have been protecting brave men and women in the military for more than 20 years with revolutionary products like HESCO MIL Walls. HESCO products are engineered to exceed the rigorous National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standards.

Tests are conducted at world-class laboratories under the most stringent protocols to ensure your armor provides complete protection.

Tests Include:

  • Kinetic impact including ballistic, blast, fragment, stab
  • Operational durability including drop impact, vibration, shock
  • UV and temperature extremes
  • Chemical, fungus and fluid resistance
  • Altitude
  • X-Ray inspection
  • Buoyancy
  • Comfort and ergonomics

HESCO – Only the Best Cutting-Edge Materials

HESCO ballistic Inserts are manufactured to the highest quality standards at our state-of-the-art facility in Aberdeen, Washington, USA.

HESCO specializes in the research, engineering, design, production and fulfillment of body armor solutions, using only the finest materials available, so you can rely on the performance you expect when it counts the most.

The company is focused on research and development and manufacturing of body armor and vehicle armor that will bring enhanced safety and advanced technology to the men and women of the US Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, other federal state, local law enforcement agencies and private security personnel.

Today’s HESCO Armor Plates

Since the beginning of HESCO Armor, HESCO developed cutting-edge technology for stand-alone plates that kept the men and women of the armed forces and law enforcement personnel alive from various threats that no other armor can match.

Hesco Armor offers five different plate series tailored to different mission requirements. They range from the cutting-edge 800 Series to the budget friendly 400 Series. Each plate series meets a range of applications that will meet your specific needs.

Since 2012 the HESCO made a plethora of changes and upgrades to their armors, at the beginning HESCO perfected the ceramic and fiber composite combination that provided the best NIJ threat protection level of up to Level IV, however, it came with a cost of considerable weight to reach that level, latest technology HESCO Armor brought to us is; The SPECTRA composite armor plate, developed by Honeywell, its materials are the finest solution to creating a light yet durable armor. SPECTRA provide the best protection that is pound-for-pound 15 times stronger than steel. It significantly helps reduce the overall weight by as much as 40% while still maintaining its impeccable strength and flexibility.

The 800 and 600 series of armor plates along with BI 4100 and BI 4101 side plate models from HESCO incorporates this newest technology of SPECTRA armor, while 400 series focus more on budget and 200 series, concealability.

HESCO Armor Plates, combined with plate carriers can provide a wide spectrum of protection configurations, whether you are up against typical 9mm or a serious caliber like the 7.62×54, HESCO Armor can offer one of the best body armors you can get in the current market at any level of protection.

There is no single better investment than increasing your survival rate in high-risk situations and today’s body armors are at a level that won’t slow you down yet it doesn’t compromise from the protection level either. If your profession exposes you to deadly projectiles then you need to prepare yourself by any means possible, and one of the most straightforward solutions to that is, wearing a high quality body armor.