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        Kevlar vs. UHMWPE

        Kevlar vs. UHMWPE - BulletSafe Bulletproof Vests

        When people think of “Kevlar” most imagine a vest – any vest – that stops bullets. Many assume that the modern American warfighter still wears Kevlar vests just like his predecessors in the 1990s. In fact, the Kevlar Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT) and modern plate carrier have little in common with each other.

        For starters, Kevlar is actually a registered trademark of the Dupont company, who originally used the lightweight but highly durable material as a replacement for steel in racing tires. Kevlar itself is a blend of a tough but light material called aramid that is unique to Dupont. Other companies produce aramid fibers and armor but cannot legally use the Kevlar brand name.

        In contrast, the armored ceramic plates are made of various materials such as steel, ceramics, or most commonly, ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene also known as UHMWPE. While hard armor plates can be made of Kevlar, UHMWPE provides some advantages Kevlar lacks.

        When the United States military first started issuing Kevlar body armor en masse to its troops, it came in the form of the PASGT system in the 1990s. This revolutionary body system replaced the aging flak jacket used in the Vietnam War, which relied on ballistic nylon and was never meant to survive a direct impact from even small pistol calibers. The PASGT system, on the other hand, was built with lightweight, flexible Kevlar. The new armor could stop 9mm rounds but would only slow down a round if hit by a larger rifle bullet, which would still penetrate.

        Despite the fact it could defeat 9mm, the PASGT was meant to only protect against fragmentation threats. For rifle rounds, the Army needed something sturdier. Beginning in 1998, full production of a new, exciting vest came underway. The Interceptor Body Armor was made of Kevlar aramid fibers while protected from the front and back by solid plates. This new type of armor could take on direct hits from 7.62x39mm rounds and survive. This isn’t to say that the UHMWPE is the end-all be all in terms of personal armor, but it comes close.


        Bulletproof materials require immense strength, and tensile strength measured in pascals determines how much stress a material can take before it breaks under tension. While Kevlar is quite sturdy with its tensile strength of 3,620 megapascals (compared to the 400 megapascals of structural steel), it pales in comparison to UHMWPE, which has a tensile strength so high it can stretch from 4 to 10 gigapascals, making it the world’s strongest fiber.

        Winner: UHMWPE



        Aramid fibers like those in a Kevlar vest decay faster than UHMWPE and are degraded by UV light. A Kevlar vest will usually begin to show signs of degradation after five years, after which time it would no longer be wise – or safe – to trust one’s life to the vest, while UHMWPE fibers in armor tend to persist for far longer, thanks to their unique molecular structure, which makes them resistant to water, moisture, chemicals, ultraviolet radiation and microorganisms.

        Winner: UHMWPE



        When operating in a warm environment, UHMWPE’s light weight and high heat resistance make it a primary candidate for service in deserts and prairies. In contrast, aramid vests are excellent at retaining heat, which makes them more suitable for cold weather operations.

        Winner: Varies



        UHMWPE is waterproof, and unlike steel or any other metal, will not rust or corrode. This unique property is highly valued among both the Navy SEALs and shark divers, who use UHMWPE as part of their armor. Certain companies sell shark-proof wetsuits with UHMWPE sewn in with the nylon, while SEALs regularly utilize UHMWPE plate carriers during UDT operations. Aramid, on the other hand, can take on water. Wearing a bulletproof vest in a wet or humid environment can result in an aramid vest taking on as much as 3.5% of its own weight in water.

        Winner: UHMWPE


        If someone wants something with a combination of the benefits of both fibers, they should look into BulletSafe vests. BulletSafe offers bulletproof vests made of a blend of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene with a blend of aramid fibers, giving users a wide array of options from bulletproof backpacks to soft armor and hard plates. BulletSafe vests are NIJ certified, and the company is committed to providing affordable quality bulletproof products to any and all protection-minded individuals.

        Battlefield America: America’s most dangerous cities and the world’s smallest wars

        Battlefield America: America’s most dangerous cities and the world’s smallest wars - BulletSafe Bulletproof Vests

        Exactly how dangerous is America? As of this writing there have been 77 mass shootings in 2023 alone and 5,212 since 2013. According to the firearms statistics website everystat, an average of 15,343 people are killed by firearm homicide every year. Those numbers seem excessively high, but it’s hard to get a sense of just how high they are.

        US murder-homicide rate 2010 - 2023

        US murder-homicide rates have skyrocketed in recent years (data from the World Bank)

        In the top 5 most dangerous cities in the United States, the homicide rates are so bad that they’re comparable to the casualties suffered in some wars. To clarify: a war is a series of battles fought over a long period of time, usually several years. To have more deaths in a single city in peacetime truly says something about the quality of life there and city hall’s crime policies.



        695 people were killed in Chicago in 2022, giving the city some of the highest homicide numbers in the United States. The murders are concentrated around the Englewood and West Chicago areas, with some shootings occurring near downtown tourist hot spots. The city is so violent that it’s earned the dark moniker “Chiraq.” Ironically, there were more dead Chicagoans in 2022 than dead Iraqis in 2021.

        When the Russians invaded South Ossetia in 2008, conservative casualty estimates place the combined number of dead on both the Russian and Georgian sides at 659, including the casualties suffered by the various mercenaries and foreign volunteers who took up arms for either side.



        The City of Brotherly Love is ironically one of the most dangerous cities in America, with 516 homicides in 2022. According to a report by the New York Times, 1,400 people had been shot by August of 2022, which is odd for a city which is trying its best to regulate its citizen’s guns. Violence is usually concentrated in North and West Philadelphia, so a lot of the city is safe for tourists, and local ride-shares will usually be knowledgeable enough to tell you which places are no-go zones. However, the gas stations and 7-11s throughout the city that are frequent targets of carjackings and muggings make it almost mandatory to carry a weapon for self-defense.

        Philadelphia’s high homicide count is comparable to the total casualties suffered during the world’s shortest war: the Anglo-Zanzibar War. In 1896, the tiny Zanzibar Sultanate dared to stand up to the Royal Navy. In response, two British cruisers and three gunboats off the coast shelled until it surrendered. The entire affair lasted just 38 minutes and resulted in approximately 500 casualties.


        Los Angeles

        Known for its large homeless population and violent crime, the City of Angels has never quite lived up to its name. With the majority of violent crime concentrated in the city center, Los Angeles reported 382 homicides in 2022. Some, like Captain Paul Vernon of the LAPD, believe this high homicide rate is due to the political hamstringing of the police force. The popular “defund the police” movement has led to some LAPD officers afraid to do their jobs, and there has been a decreased police presence in high crime areas. The lack of badges has emboldened criminals, leading some criminals to do “walk up” shootings in the middle of broad daylight, knowing that police will be reluctant to stop them for fear of being labeled as “racist” and losing their jobs.

        Meanwhile, down in Mozambique, the country’s Marxist government was challenged over the results of the 2014 general elections, in which they narrowly defeated the conservative, anti-communist RENAMO party. Conservative forces waged an on-and-off guerrilla war on the communist government. This war, which lasted from 2014 – 2019, resulting in approximately 327 casualties, less than the number of people killed in Los Angeles every year.



        The media is rife with stories about Detroit, making it out to be an urban hellhole worse than even its fictional counterpart in the Robocop movies. The city now synonymous with gun violence was once the auto manufacturing capital of the world. When production shifted overseas, the city which once had two million people now has a population of 640,000 and shrinking. Thanks to the lack of jobs and high crime rate (caused by the lack of jobs), Detroit will continue to be a city in decline until its leadership does something to crawl out of its economic crisis. 309 people were killed in Detroit 2022, mostly as a result of gang wars and violent crimes.

        Compare that number to number of people killed in the entirety of the Second Afar Insurgency. This relatively unknown 28-year-long ethnic conflict lasted from 1995 until 2018 in an area the size of New Mexico. During that entire time period, battlefield casualties are estimated to be anywhere from 275 to 569 in total, miniscule compared to the combined 8,796 murdered people in Detroit during those same years.



        The Home of the Blues also happens to breed some of the toughest people in America. Shootings and murders are a regular occurrence in the city, and many children fall asleep to the soothing tones of police sirens and gunshots. The city’s old money and lack of upward mobility has been a death sentence for the large minority population struggling to pull itself out of poverty. As a result, its high crime claimed the lives of 302 people in 2022, and it shows no signs of stopping. Locals know where not to stay after sunset, and Memphis police has lowered its entry standards, no longer required college credits, military service, or previous law enforcement experience, and merely asked for two years work experience – any work experience. Memphis police has gotten so desperate that it has considered hiring officers with criminal backgrounds.

        It may be hard to believe, but Memphis has suffered more deaths than the entire Ghost Dance War. This event, burned into the collective memory of the Lakota people and all Native Americans, lasted from 1890 – 1891. What started as a native religious revival erupted into violence as US troops attempted to confiscate Native weapons and land. The entire war was over in about a month, with approximately 300 natives killed.

        If you live in any of these cities, it would be in your best interests to consider affordable personal protection, especially if you work in the security field. The most common round used in gun-related crime is the 9mm, and BulletSafe’s comfortable, concealable NIJ-Certified VP3 vests are available for only $299.99. Capable of defeating most handgun calibers up to .44 Magnum. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

        Run. Hide. Fight: The FBI’s guide to surviving a mass shooting

        Run. Hide. Fight: The FBI’s guide to surviving a mass shooting - BulletSafe Bulletproof Vests

        Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author alone and do not reflect the opinions and views of bulletsafe.com

        This article was previously published on gunlove.com and has been updated as of January 24,2023.

        In the early weeks of January 2023, three separate mass shootings rocked the state of California within 44 hours, but those are only the ones that received media attention. In reality, there have already been 47 mass shootings this year, and it's only January.

        As of this writing, there have been 5,182 mass shootings in the United States since 2013, with 549 in 2022 alone. More than five thousand people have been killed in a mass shooting, while only about 200 people have died from lightning strikes within the same time frame. According to the mass shooting tracker website, an average of 1.96 shootings happen every day. In these uncertain times, when it’s literally more likely to die from a mass shooting than from a lightning strike, it should be the responsibility of the average American to prepare for the worst.

        The very fact tragedies like this happen so often should be a wakeup call to everyone. Nothing stops a bad guy with a gun better than a good guy with a gun, but the problem seems to be there aren’t enough good guys willing to carry guns.

        To survive a mass shooting and save the lives of the innocents around you, a firearm by your side is the best insurance policy. Based on a study of the police response times of the ten most populated US cities, it takes the police an average of 8.6 minutes to arrive at the scene of an active shooting, while it takes mere seconds for a well-trained shooter to draw his or her weapon and neutralize a target. A mass shooter is usually either inexperienced, drug-addled, overconfident or all three. A well-trained good guy with adrenaline pumping through his veins will be able to end a threat well before a police officer arrives on the scene. Within the first five minutes of a mass shooting, everyone in the area will run for cover. It usually takes five minutes for someone to remember to call 911, and by the time first responders arrive, the incident will have been well over.

        If, for some reason, you find yourself at an establishment which does not allow you to bring in your firearm, and in the event you choose to follow the establishment’s guidelines (unlike Elisjsha Dicken, hero of the Greenwood Park Mall shooting), you may find yourself at a distinct disadvantage in case a raging lunatic bursts through the doors and starts blasting away.

        Fortunately, the FBI has a detailed step-by-step plan to survive such an event. Simply called “Run. Hide. Fight,” this plan is designed to help the average unarmed bystander avoid the carnage of a mass shooting.


        If you are completely outmatched in a fight, the most obvious thing to do is run. There is no shame in running if the alternative is death. You don’t necessarily need to find marked escape exits – these are designed for fires and natural disasters. The threat here is mobile and can go wherever you go. The nearest exit is always your best option. Windows that exit to street level (for example, those in a classroom) are probably a quicker escape path than the main exit.

        Begin running as soon as you hear gunfire and feel threatened. Do not attempt to reason with the shooter. Yelling at him to stop will do nothing but make yourself a target. Criminals are rarely – if ever – deterred by words alone, and attempting to negotiate with a man who sees you as nothing but a target is a bad idea. Do not wait for everyone around you to react. If you are carrying anything, drop it. You will run faster if you are unhindered by a shopping bag or a backpack. Help others escape if possible. If you end up making a wrong turn into a room without a backdoor, do your best to barricade it.


        A mass shooter can shoot at locks and hinges, so it may be best to rely on improvised barricades. The old “chair under the doorknob” barricade only works if the door opens outwards and not towards you. It’s important to note that the backrest should be between the door and the door frame. Piling heavy objects up against a door can be unsuccessful against a door that opens inwards unless the heavy objects form a solid block to the other end of the room.

        barricade made of chairs to stop mass shooter.

        It should also go without saying that you should remain as quiet as possible. Phones should be completely silent – vibration should be off. If possible, hide behind objects you were not able to use for your barricade. Your hiding place should be out of the shooter’s view and provide sufficient protection just in case the mass shooter gets through.

        That said, not many types of household furniture will stop a bullet. A 9mm hollow point round will go through more than a dozen layers of dry wall, which means a shooter blasting away at the poor unfortunates in the room next to yours could still injure you. If you think the steel door between you and the shooter is enough to stop a bullet, know that most steel doors are less than an inch thick and will likely be penetrated. An office cubicle offers concealment rather than cover, and just like walls, bullets will pass through multiple cubicles before stopping. Turning over a table to use as cover like they do in Hollywood will not provide protection from even smaller calibers like 9mm rounds. However, a .223 or 5.56x45mm round can be stopped by a cinder block or a sturdy wall made of cement or brick. It’s a good practice to lie as flat as you can on the ground, since the shooter will most likely be shooting from a standing position and his shots will land above the waist level.

        Once you believe your room is secure enough, turn off all the lights and hope the shooter will believe the room is empty.


        When all else fails and you have nowhere to go, be prepared to fight.

        If your room is completely dark, you have the advantage. Set up an ambush position in the blind spot of an inward facing door to attack the mass shooter as soon as he steps into the room. If you have others with you, attack him from multiple directions. He can only shoot at one target before someone else gets to him.

        If your state allows it, try your best to always carry a blade with you. They aren’t typically limited in the same ways firearms are, and usually prove very handy in everyday situations, even more so in a life-or-death scenario like this. In a pinch, you can also use a fire extinguisher to distract the mass shooter by both spraying him with it or hitting him over the head.

        If you do have a knife, keep in mind the mass shooter may be armored. Target your assailant’s hands so he drops his weapon; alternatively go for the eyes to blind, the groin to incapacitate or the throat to kill. This is a mass shooter – no sitting jury would ever rule against you. Fight dirty, your life is on the line. The human body is not limited to punching and kicking. Choke or bite your assailant if you can.

        When the chaos is over and the police arrive, be sure to put your hands up and follow all instructions. It can still go very badly for you if you don’t. As a historical example: in 1976 during Operation Entebbe, Israeli commandos rescued their countrymen being held hostage by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. The commandos entered the room where the hostages were being held and ordered everyone to get down. One hostage, Jean-Jacques Mimouni, leapt for joy when he saw his rescuers and was immediately shot dead, having been mistaken for a hostage taker.

        With this in mind, keep your hands visible at all times, discard any weapons you might have with you, and know that help for the injured is on the way. Alert the authorities to any casualties or people who you know are missing from your group and follow their instructions to evacuate from the active crime scene.

        Now that you know what to do in the event of a mass shooting in your area, hopefully you will be better prepared for it should it ever happen to you. However, the best policy, in this author’s opinion, is to be armed and ready to return fire at a moment’s notice.

        For additional resources, visit the FBI’s active shooter page here.

        Choosing the Right Bulletproof Vest

        Choosing the Right Bulletproof Vest - BulletSafe Bulletproof Vests

        When choosing a bulletproof vest, it's important to consider the type of protection you need. Different vests offer different levels of protection, so you'll need to decide which one is right for you.

        For example, if you need a vest that can protect you from high-powered rifles, then you'll need to opt for a plate carrier with Level III or Level IV ballistic plates, made from multiple layers of bulletproof material. On the other hand, if you're looking for something to protect you in a situation where potential adversaries will be using smaller caliber handguns, then a Level IIA or Level IIIA soft vest, worn over or under clothing will be the right choice.

        Statistically, most crimes in the United States will be committed with handguns. In 2020, the ATF ran data analysis on 389,276 firearms recovered from crimes across the United States. Contrary to anti-gun rhetoric, which preaches that the 5.56x45mm rounds from the AR15 are the most dangerous and prolific rounds in the United States, the 9mm is by far the most common round found at crime scenes in America. In all the states except Montana and Puerto Rico (where criminals favor the .22 and the .40 caliber respectively) the 9mm is the undisputed king of gun crime. The 5.56x45 doesn’t even make it into the top 5, and the .223 ranks 13th.

        Top Calibers Recovered and Traced in the United States and Territories

        According to the ATF’s numbers, a Level IIA soft vest should be enough to stop the most common threats, since it protects against both 9mm and .40 S&W, the two most popular handguns used in crimes. The IIIA, a slightly heavier option, offers protection from larger rounds such as the .45 ACP, .357 Sig, .357 Mag and .44 Mag. Of these calibers, the .45 and .357 still rank relatively high on the ATF’s list, so it’s a good idea for anyone to spend the extra money to get the security of more robust armor.

        If you’re concerned about possibly taking rifle fire, Level III plates are rated to stop the AR15’s 5.56x45 rounds as well as 7.62x39 rounds from an AK-47 or .308 rounds from a high caliber bolt action rifle or AR-10. This type of armor is impossible to conceal under a shirt, and is usually worn by military personnel or law enforcement. Compared to the 145,815 9mm weapons traced by the ATF, the 9,032 5.56x45mm weapons in their database seem decidedly low, despite the AR15 being the most popular rifle in the United States. The .308 appears even less, with only 1,545 firearms traced.

        For those who want only the highest level of protection, Level IV plates are available. These heavy duty armor plates are capable of defeating .30-06 Armor-Piercing Rounds. This large caliber round is only slightly less common than its .308 counterpart on the ATF’s list of traced calibers. There were only 1,587 weapons chambered in .30-06. This is most likely because .30-06 rounds are expensive, averaging at around $1.30 on the lower end.

        Criminal elements are most likely to use what’s available, concealable, and cheap. For the best in concealable bulletproof, protection, BulletSafe recommends the VP3 bulletproof vest. This NIJ-Certified IIIA armor is designed to be lightweight and comfortable while being practical and effective. Worn over or under a shirt, it can also be upgraded with Level III or Level IV plates in its Velcro pockets to protect against greater threats. The VP3 is ideal for law enforcement, security and other professionals who seek reliable and comfortable protection.


        What to put on your Tactical Vest

        What to put on your Tactical Vest - BulletSafe Bulletproof Vests

        I once had the pleasure of meeting an individual who insisted that every inch of MOLLE webbing on his tactical vest had to be used for something. He suggested that an individual who was not carrying eleven magazines, a complete IFAK, a radio, a knife, a CamelBak pouch, and a flashlight was “under-equipped.” Does one need all these things in a survival situation? Yes, they would all be very handy. But should they all go on the plate carrier? Well, that depends. 

        There are two important maxims one should remember when kitting out. The first and most important is to equip yourself with what you will need for your particular mission; the second being that “lighter is faster.” Unless you graduated from BUD/S school you aren’t a Navy SEAL, and there’s absolutely no reason for you to copy a SEAL loadout because you aren’t going for long missions deep in hostile enemy territory. 

        Most customers who purchase the BulletSafe Tactical Plate Carrier Kit are either civilian security or law enforcement with the remainder of customers falling into the category of “protection-minded citizens.” 

        For security professionals who will be doing most of their work standing, a lightweight loadout is preferred. There’s no need to carry six extra magazines, since any potential encounter will be swift and limited to a single individual or a very small group. If you happen to work in a private security firm, be the judge of how many magazines you need to carry, but keep in mind that the majority of altercations with a single dangerous individual end after only a few rounds are fired from the weapon of a well-trained security officer. In the same vein, security officers should also carry a body camera on their vests in case police need evidence following a shooting. 

        The primary purpose of carrying things on a vest is for immediate access. However, you will still need to run to a threat if you are needed there, and you don’t want to be winded when you reach said threat. Either do cardio or carry less weight on your vests. For security personnel, any job-essential equipment that can be carried on a duty belt such as a first aid kit, handcuffs, or nonlethal weapons like pepper spray should be carried as such so as not to restrict your upper body movement, which you will need for aiming. 

        It's also important to remember that you may find yourself in a position where you have to get into awkward positions such as going prone or kneeling in a firefight. Extra equipment on your chest that hampers your ability to put your knees in the proper support position, or equipment which does not allow you to go prone will be detrimental to you. 

        With all this being said, it is up to you, the user, to find the right attachments for your vest suited to the tactical scenario you believe you will find yourself in. 



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