Red bullet proof vest fashion

Red bullet proof vest fashion DEFAULT

The Best Bulletproof Clothing for 2021

Is a bulletproof clothing really a thing?

Yes it is! You will be surprised by the level of fashion provided in today's bulletproof clothing.

In our recent article about the best Bulletproof Backpacks, we investigated how useful these bags are for protecting our children against gun violence. While doing our research into Bulletproof Backpacks we discovered a whole world of other bulletproofed clothing too. We were impressed by the range and quality of what is available so we thought that would share some of what we found.

These clothes have been specially fitted with lightweight flexible bulletproof panels. It may not be full body protection but it could still save your life if used properly.

This article has only scratched the surface about the actual bulletproofing part of the story but you can read about how personal bulletproofing works on our Bulletproof Backpacks page.

We would like to be very transparent about what went into writing this article. We do not own any bulletproof clothing. We have relied directly on manufacturer input for our research.

Much of our research was done mainly through conversation directly with the manufacturers. Most of them were very accommodating and very keen to share their testing data with us.

What is Bulletproof Clothing?

Bulletproof clothing is no different from any other clothing except that it contains a special soft and flexible bulletproof panel installed in either the side or bottom. This clothing is made in many different shapes and sizes.

You can buy everything from a bulletproof business suit to a bulletproof hoodie and everything in between. For practical reasons, most of the bulletproof items featured here are coats and jackets.

The armor used in bulletproof clothing is soft and flexible for comfort and concealment. So much so that you would never know that the fashionable person sitting next to you is wearing one.

Most bulletproof clothing is made with no more than an NIJ Level IIIA rating. This level of armor will protect against most handguns.

Whether you are an executive going to the office or a just going grocery shopping, if you are going to throw on a coat, why not make sure that it is bulletproof?

Bulletproof Clothing

Types of Bulletproof Panel Materials

Soft Body Armor

Bulletproof Clothing with their soft protective panels fall into the category of soft body armor. There are three main materials used to create these bulletproof panels: Kevlar, Twaron and Dyneema. They are all designed to be lightweight and bullet resistant. These materials often go by other brand names so be sure to know which you are buying. You can read more about soft armor materials on our Bulletproof Backpack page.

Hard Plate Body Armor

You don't often see bulletproof clothing (other than bulletproof vests) made with hard plate armor due to the weight. This type of armor is much heavier than soft body armor but it provides protection against a much wider assortment of firearms. There are two main materials used to create these hard bulletproof panels: Commercial Ballistic Steel and Ceramic. You can read more about hard plate armor materials on our Bulletproof Backpack page.

Is it Legal to Own Bulletproof Clothing?

Is it legal to own Bulletproof Handbag and Briefcases?If you live in the United States then yes, it is legal to own bulletproof clothes. There are some exceptions though; owning bulletproof clothing - or even a bulletproof vest is completely legal in the United States. Some state laws restrict convicted felons from owning bulletproof vests so they may not be able to own bulletproof clothing either. Louisiana prohibits wearing armor on school property or school-sponsored functions. Connecticut forbids the sale of bulletproof vests over the phone or Internet - you must buy in person.

If you plan to travel outside the US, you should check before you leave as some countries like Canada and Australia take a dim view of civilians wearing body armor.

Most retail American manufacturers are not allowed to sell bulletproof products outside of the United States.

Shooting Statistics

Yes, it seems that lately, most mass shooters used an AR15. Would it surprise you to learn that statistically, there are far more shooting incidents using handguns than assault rifles? It sure surprised us! The chart below is the FBI Homicides by weapon used for the year 2019. This chart reveals that most NIJ level IIIA bulletproofing may have saved one of these lives.

FBI Homicides by weapon used 2019

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Bulletproof Ratings

Department of Justice logoThe National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sets minimum performance standards for bulletproof protection in their 0101.06 Armor Protection Levels Standard. The current standard is broken down into five different threat levels.

As all handbag and briefcase bulletproofing is NIJ Level IIA, we only focus on it's abilities. You can read more about the NIJ standards and what level will stop what ammunition on our Bulletproof Backpack page.

NIJ Level IIA (handguns) - This level of protection is becoming less and less common.

NIJ Level II(handguns) - This level of protection is an improvement on the performance of Level IIA products. It not only protects again larger rounds but it also protects the wearer against more of the impact force from the projectile. This is one of the more common materials used in lightweight vest and clothing.

  • No rifle ammunition protection
  • Protects from everything listed in Level IIA and:
  • Protects from .357 Magnum JSP (Jacketed Soft Point) bullets

NIJ Level IIIA(handguns) - This level is the most widely used for soft armor although some hard plate armor is also rated at the NIJ IIIA level. NIJ Level IIA is the protection most commonly used in manufacturing most Bulletproof Clothing.

  • No rifle ammunition protection
  • Protects from everything listed in Level IIA and:
  • Protects from .357 Sig FMJ FN (Flat Nose) bullets
  • Protects from .44 Magnum SJHP (Semi Jacketed Hollow Point)

NIJ Level III (Rifles) - These plates are designed to withstand up to six spaced rifle bullet strikes. Level III plates can be heavy.

NIJ Level III+ (Rifles) - This is not a recognized NIJ Rating but it is one that has been adopted by plate armor manufacturers to recognize their ability to stop more and faster rounds.

NIJ Level IV (Armor Piercing Rifles) - This is the highest rated in the 0101.06 standard.

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Bulletproof Ratings

Children's Bulletproof Clothing

Children's Lightweight Level IIIA Bulletproof Vest

Children's Lightweight Level IIIA Bulletproof Vest

This easy to wear protective vest provides protection to the child's body from the waist up to the neck including the front, sides, and back.
• Weighs aprox. 4.2lbs
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: small (6-8), Medium (10-12), large (14-16)
• Gender: Unisex
• Available in: Blue, Black, Tan, White & Camo
Wonder Hoodie NIJ Level IIIA Kid's Bulletproof Hoodie

Wonder Hoodie NIJ Level IIIA Kid's Bulletproof Hoodie

Detachable overlapped Kevlar® panels are secured via Velcro in the torso portion to provide ballistic protection regardless, whether or not the hoodie is zipped up.
• Weighs 3 to 5lbs
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection (including head)
• Sizes: small (6-8), medium (10-12), large (14-16)
• Gender: Unisex
• Available in: Natty Navy
BulletBlocker Level IIIA Bulletproof Youth Nylon Jacket

Level IIIA Bulletproof Youth Nylon Jacket

This mesh-lined waterproof jacket can be worn all year round and the removable bulletproof liner offers front and back protective area coverage.
• Weighs 3lbs
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: small , medium , large & X-large
• Gender: Male or female
• Available in: Black, blue, red, teal, pink & magenta
Talos Ballistics Level IIIA Youth Bulletproof Fleece Jacket

Level IIIA Youth Bulletproof Fleece Jacket

The Talos Ballistics NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Youths Fleece will help to give you a little extra peace of mind when out and about.
• Weighs 3lbs
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 & 18
• Gender: Unisex
• Available in: Navy, black, red, cobalt, green & burgundy

Women's Bulletproof Clothing

Talos Ballistics NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Woman's Raven Vest

Talos Ballistics NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Woman's Raven Vest

The Talos Ballistics NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Woman's Raven Vest is prefect for today's busy woman. A drop tail makes sure to keep your back warm when bending over.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large & XX-large
• Gender: Women's
• Available in: Brown, dark brown & woodland
Talos Ballistics Level IIIA Women's Bulletproof Barn Coat

Talos Ballistics Level IIIA Women's Bulletproof Barn Coat

The Talos Ballistics NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Woman's Barn Coat is a classic design that is easy to move in. With little touches like inverted pleats and buttoned patch pockets, it's no surprise this coat continues to be a customer favorite.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large & X-large
• Gender: Women's
• Available in: Tan and loden
Talos Ballistics Level IIIA Bulletproof Women's Delta Flight Jacket

Talos Ballistics Level IIIA Bulletproof Women's Delta Flight Jacket

The Talos Ballistics NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Delta Flight Jacket is a classic extra full cut flight jacket for the active woman. It features a super soft nylon fabric that is water repellent (outer fabric passed hydrostatic water pressure test) with a matte finish.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large & X-large
• Gender: Women's
• Available in: Black and sage
Talos Ballistics Level IIIA Bulletproof Women's Black Falcon Leather Jacket

Talos Ballistics Level IIIA Bulletproof Women's Black Falcon Leather Jacket

The NIJ IIIA bulletproof ballistics panel concealed inside the Talos Ballistics Level IIIA Bulletproof Women's Black Falcon Leather Jacket will give you the discreet protection. Made from Top-grain leather it closes with a heavy-duty brass zipper. 
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large & X-large
• Gender: Women's
• Available in: Black
BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Women's Cut Vest

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Women's Cut Vest

The BulletBlocker Law enforcement quality and military grade lightweight (~3 lbs) NIJ IIIA rated bulletproof vest. Advanced contour designed form-fitting vest for the most discrete outline and concealment.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large & 2X-large
• Gender: Women's
• Available in: Black, navy, ivy & cayenne
BulletBlocker Level IIIA Women's Fortress Fleece Vest

BulletBlocker Level IIIA Women's Fortress Fleece Vest

The BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Women's Fortress Fleece is a high-performance vest made from ultra-soft polyester fleece. This product is manufactured to fit your unique measurements for maximum concealability and a comfortable fit.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large & 2X-large
• Gender: Women's
• Available in: Black, red, blue, gray & velvet
Talos Ballistics Level IIIA Everest Women's Bulletproof Parka

Talos Ballistics Level IIIA Everest Women's Bulletproof Parka

The Talos Ballistics NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Everest Jacket is the perfect parka to wear on chilly winter day when discreet protection is desired. This is the highest level of protection available in soft body armor. Ballistic panels are removable for easy cleaning.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large &X-large
• Gender: Women's
• Available in: Black, red &blue
Bulletproof Women's Saint Laurent Black Leather Moto Jacket

Bulletproof Women's Saint Laurent Black Leather Moto Jacket

Quality Saint Laurent Women's Black Leather Moto jacket customized with Bulletblocker's NIJ IIIA Bulletproof protection. Weighty zip details boost the edgy moto character of a sleek jacket crafted from supple lambskin leather and trimmed with a detachable collar of sumptuous tonal shearling.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: 22" length (size 40)
• Gender: Women's
• Available in: Black
MC Armor Cardinali Women's Level II Bulletproof Vest

MC Armor Cardinali Women's Level II Bulletproof Vest

The MC Armor Cardinali Women's Level II Bulletproof waterproof quilted vest is made of polyester with leather finishes. It has three NIJ 0101.06 ballistic panels certified Level II: two in front overlapping, one in back for total protection.
• NIJ Level IIprotection
• Sizes: Medium, large & X-large
• Gender: Women's
• Available in: Navy blue
MC Armor Novak Women's Level II Bulletproof Cape

MC Armor Novak Women's Level II Bulletproof Cape

The MC Armor Novak Women's Level II Bulletproof Cape carefully constructed of baby alpaca with leather finishes, It has three NIJ 0101.06 ballistic panels certified Level II: two in front overlapping, one in back.
• NIJ Level IIprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large & X-large
• Gender: Women's
• Available in: Navy blue & camel
Wonder Hoodie NIJ Level IIIA Bulletproof Hoodie

Wonder Hoodie NIJ Level IIIA Bulletproof Hoodie

The hood has integrated protection so you can instantly put it up when you need it. Detachable overlapped Kevlar panels are secured via Velcro in the torso portion to provide ballistic protection regardless, whether or not the hoodie is zipped up.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Provides head protection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large, 3X-large & 4X-large
• Gender: Unisex
• Available in: Navy & black




BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Medical Lab Coat

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Medical Lab Coat

This Medical Lab Coat from BulletBlocker is armored with a concealed NIJ IIIA bullet resistant liner for optimal safety on-the-job. Ideal for men and women in the medical, pharmaceutical, or consultation fields who desire a layer of lightweight anti-ballistic protection.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Unisex
• Available in: White
MC Armor Level II Nazca Jacket

MC Armor Level II Nazca Jacket

This NIJ level II bulletproof 100% Cotton Jacket equipped with 100% discrete ballistic panels capable of stopping ammunition and keeping the person's vital organs safe. Thanks to its Thermo-regulation system, NAZCA proactively regulates body temperature, heat and humidity.
• NIJ Level IIprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large & X-large
• Gender: Unisex
• Available in: Blue denim

Men's Bulletproof Clothing

Israel Catalog NIJ Level IIIA Black Bulletproof Suit Jacket

Israel Catalog NIJ Level IIIA Black Bulletproof Suit Jacket

This incredibly lightweight bulletproof jacket is virtually invisible and fits exactly like a regular blazer. As well as being incredibly effective, this particular jacket lends a sense of style to the wearer.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Charcoal
BulletBlocker Level IIIA Lightweight Bullet Proof Dress Vest

BulletBlocker Level IIIA Lightweight Bullet Proof Dress Vest

The BulletBlocker Classic dress vest offers a discrete way to conceal a lightweight, armored NIJ IIIA bulletproof liner. It looks sharp under any suit coat or sports jacket and can be worn during all type of events.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black
Bulletblocker Bulletproof Armani Wall Street Slate Blue Wool Suit

Bulletblocker Bulletproof Armani Wall Street Slate Blue Wool Suit

This 100% virgin wool brand-name Armani Wall Street Suit is customized with NIJ IIIA Bulletproof protection. Made of pure , It features a single-breasted two-button jacket with notched lapels, straight shoulders, a tailored construction and shaped trim for a meticulous image. Pants included.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: 38. 40, 44, 46, 48 & 50
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Charcoal
Masada Armour Level IIIA Lightweight Bulletproof Waistcoat

Masada Armour Level IIIA Lightweight Bulletproof Waistcoat

This vest might just appear to be a waistcoat, but it's actually bulletproof to IIIA standards – affording you fantastic protection without sacrificing your professional appearance.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large, 3X-large, 4X-large & 5X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black & gray
BulletBlocker Level IIIA Bulletproof Sportscoat

BulletBlocker Level IIIA Bulletproof Sportscoat

Full Wrap featuring side coverage is available to provide additional ballistic protection. When the full wrap is added to clothing, the front and back panels overlap on each side providing an added tactical advantage.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52 & 54 (short or long)
• Gender: Unisex
• Available in: Black, camel, vicuna & charcoal
BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Farm Coat

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Farm Coat

The BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Farm Coat is constructed of heavyweight sandstone duck with removable ballistic panels discreetly placed in the front and back of the jacket. Designed to hold all your gear with two inside pockets, two flapped chest pockets, and two front hand-warmer pockets.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Medium, large, X-large & 2X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black, brown & dark brown
BulletBlocker Level IIIA Lightweight Bulletproof Flight Jacket

BulletBlocker Level IIIA Lightweight Bulletproof Flight Jacket

The Bulletproof Zone Bulletproof lightweight flight jacket is NIJ IIIA certified body armor and weighs in at only about 6.5 lbs. This classic extra full cut jacket offers a discrete way to conceal a lightweight, removable NIJ IIIA bullet-resistant liner.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black, navy, green & teal
Israel Catalog Level IIIA Lightweight Bullet Proof Flight Jacket

Israel Catalog Level IIIA Lightweight Bullet Proof Flight Jacket

Made of a lightweight and comfortable material, you'd be forgiven for thinking this jacket doesn't offer much protection – but nothing could be further from the truth; despite being discrete and even stylish, the jacket meets the standards for III-A compliance.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Medium, large, X-large, 2X-large, 3X-large, 4X-large & , 5X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black & Green
BulletBlocker Level IIIA Men's Black Bulletproof Leather Jacket

BulletBlocker Level IIIA Men's Black Bulletproof Leather Jacket

This NIJ Level IIIA bulletproof 100% leather jacket is classically styled with a straight hem that will fit comfortably over any type of clothing. It has a standard, shirt-type collar with a full zippered front for easy wearing and offers a discrete yet lightweight NIJ IIIA bullet-resistant hidden liner.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black
BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Leather Biker Vest

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Leather Biker Vest

The Bulletproof Zone NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Leather Biker Vest is a pure classic. It is constructed from premium cowhide leather, lined with black nylon, and offers a discrete way to conceal a lightweight, NIJ IIIA bulletproof liner. A single back panel is perfect for displaying your club's colors.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black
MC Armor Wayne NIJ Level IIIA Ballistic Resistant Ves

MC Armor Wayne NIJ Level IIIA Ballistic Resistant Vest

This bulletproof Wrangler Western Denim vest with leather finishes conceals two removable NIJ Certified Level IIIA ballistic panels on front and back covering vital organs. These panels are manufactured with a flexible ballistic technology that fits the body ergonomics.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes:Medium, large, X-large & 2X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black and hide
MC Armor Level IIIA Bulletproof Stelar Armor Jacket

MC Armor Level IIIA Bulletproof Stelar Armor Jacket

This bulletproof tactical raincoat is ideal for extreme conditions. Discrete ballistic jacket capable of stopping ammunition and keeping the person's vital organs safe. This jacket is certified by the United States Department of Justice (NIJ 0101.06) and the European Community (CE).
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Dark gray
BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Duck Jacket

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Duck Jacket

The BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Duck Jacket is built with 12-ounce, 100% ring-spun cotton duck. All main seams are triple-stitched for years of wear. It is a true classic jacket that provides great covert protection. Fashioned for warmth, this jacket includes two large hand-warmer pockets and two convenient inside pockets.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black & brown
Talos Ballistics NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Dixon Fleece Jacket For Men

Talos Ballistics NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Dixon Fleece Jacket For Men

The Talos Ballistics NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Dixon Fleece Jacket is not only warm and comfortable, it will also help keep you protected. Armored with ballistic 4 panels, this jacket is as lightweight, warm, and durable. The elastic at the wrists will help block out the cold wind, and you can stow essentials in the secure pocket.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large & 2X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Charcoal, navy, red & two-toned black
Talos Ballistic Level IIIA Bulletproof Durable Denim Jacket

Talos Ballistic Level IIIA Bulletproof Durable Denim Jacket

The Talos Ballistic Level IIIA Bulletproof Denim Defender Jacket is an all-time favorite. The all-time classic jacket now offers added protection of our lightweight NIJ IIIA bulletproof panels. The denim material is prewashed 100% cotton for a relaxed fit that only gets more comfortable with wear.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Blue, dark blue & black
Israel Catalog NIJ Level IIIA Denim Jacket

Israel Catalog NIJ Level IIIA Denim Jacket

The NIJ Level IIIA Denim Jacket from Israel Catalog provides discreet, fashionable protection wherever you go. This jacket is great for civilians who may travel through risk areas, VIPs, and plainclothes service members. Ideal for Civilians, VIPs, and Plainclothes Service Occupations.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large & 2X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Denim
BulletBlocker Level IIIA Bulletproof Classic Denim Jacket

BulletBlocker Level IIIA Bulletproof Classic Denim Jacket

Weighing only about 6.5 lbs, this extremely lightweight Denim Jacket offers a discreet, stylish way to conceal a lightweight NIJ Level IIIA bullet resistant liner. It has a ballistic panel in the back and two in the front that extends up to the collarbone area, covertly protecting your vital organs.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Blue & black
Legacy Level IIIA Armored Shirt

Legacy Level NIJ IIIA Armored Shirt

Legacy's Low Profile, Compression Shirt System & IIIA Soft Armor panels provide discreet, effective, and comfortable ballistic protection for all. All Legacy IIIA armor is now DUAL THREAT rated which includes IIIA Ballistic and hand stab threats. Legacy now offers this great protection at a very affordable price.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black, white, gray & blue
Blade Runner Anti-Slash Level II Hoodie

Blade Runner Anti-Slash Level II Hoodie

An elegant black Dupont™ Kevlar® lined hooded top that guards you from blade cuts as well as providing puncture resistance up to NIJ Level 2. This piece has the looks and comfort of a normal jacket with discreet slash protection. Stay protected while looking good in the Blade Runner Anti-Slash Level II Hoodie.
• NIJ Level IIprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Black & gray
MC Armor Level IIIA Keops Armor Vest

MC Armor Level IIIA Keops Armor Vest

Padded waistcoat vest, 100% Polyester with discrete ballistic protection capable of stopping ammunition and keeping the person's vital organs safe. It has internal secret pockets that accept ballistic panels that can be removed at any time for cleaning and washing the garment.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: Medium, large, X-large & 2X-large
• Gender: Men's
• Available in: Blue, black & red
BulletBlocker Level IIIA Men's Fortress Fleece Vest

BulletBlocker Level IIIA Men's Fortress Fleece Vest

The BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Fortress Fleece is a high-quality, high-performance vest made from ultra-soft polyester fleece. This product is manufactured entirely in-house, and is customized to fit your unique measurements for maximum concealability.
• NIJ Level IIIAprotection
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large, X-large, 2X-large & 3X-large
• Gender: Unisex
• Available in: Black, red, navy & tan

The Top Bulletproof Backpacks

Unfortunately, most Americans are very aware that bulletproof backpacks exist. Many have even gone out and purchased them for their children. We have looked into these bags and have discovered some interesting facts that you should know about. Please take a look at our Bulletproof Backpacks page.

Bulletproof Backpacks

The Top Bulletproof Briefcases and Bags

Of course they make all kinds of bulletproof bags, purses and briefcases. There is everything from real Bulletproof Louis Vuitton bags to real Gucci bulletproof bags! Please take a look at our Bulletproof Bags and Purses page.

Bulletproof Briefcases and Bags

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does bulletproof clothing cost?

Bulletproof clothing can be very expensive. You can expect to pay at least $700 at the bottom end of the spectrum for a simple jacket or coat and all the way up to several thousand dollars for designer bulletproof clothes.

Is bulletproof clothing legal?

In the United States, it is legal to own personal bulletproof clothing. You do not need to be a police officer. You can read more at the top of this page.

Is there a bulletproof suit?

Yes, BulletBlocker has modified a gorgeous and very real Armani wool suit with Level IIIA protection.

How is bulletproof clothing made?

Bulletproof clothing is essentially normal shirts, vests and jacket that have been modified with special pockets that conseal bulletproof armor plates.

Is bulletproof clothing comfortable?

Yes, bulletproof clothing is comfortable. It is normal clothing with flexible bulletproof plates mounted in special pockets.

Are Bulletproof Clothing Stab Resistant?

Yes bulletproof clothing are stab resistant. Having said this, most manufacturers do not pay to have this tested so they cannot represent them as stab proof.

Which is Better For Bulletproof Clothing: Soft or Hard Plate Armor?

Because of the weight of hard plate (metal) armor, you almost never see this type of panel used in a handbag or a briefcase design. Soft armor is much lighter and therefor much more desirable for use in a bulletproof clothing.

Are Bulletproof Clothing Panels Washable?

Yes bulletproof clothing is washable because it is normal clothing. The bulletproof panels can be removed so that you can launder the clothing as you would any other clothes. The actual protective panels may be cleaned with a damp cloth to remove and dirt but it is not recommended for machine washing.

What do Bulletproof Clothing Panels Weigh?

The weight of a bulletproof panel is directly related to how much protection it provides. A soft panel will be much lighter than a hard steel plate panel.

Soft Panel Bulletproof Panel (Level IIIA): The average soft panel weights between 1 and 2 pound.

How Durable are Bulletproof Clothing Panels?

The clothing part itself is about as durable as any normal clothes. The protective panels are very durable (they are designed to stop bullets for Pete's sake).

How Long Will a Bulletproof Clothing Panels Last?

Most manufacturers warrantee their bulletproof panels for five years. Some will extend that to as much as ten years. There are even some that offer twenty year warrantees. The clothes will wear as normal clothing does.

Can Bulletproof Clothing Stop a Bullet From an AR-15 or AK-47?

As most bulletproof clothing employ NIJ Level IIIA protection, they are not certified to stop high velocity rounds from weapons such as an AR-15 or AK-47. At best it may slow the bullet down a little.

In order to stop a bullet from an AR-15 or AK-47, you would need a NIJ Level IV panel. Unfortunately, these panels are made from metal or ceramic so they would be too heavy to be of any practical use.

Are Bulletproof Clothing Panels TSA Compliant?

Yes, soft panel bulletproof panels (level IIIA) are TSA compliant. Having said this, the TSA state that the final decision is up to the officer at the checkpoint.

You can read more at the TSA website.

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Miguel Caballero Fashion: Discreet Bulletproofing

Few people on earth understand the importance of bulletproof materials better than the citizens of Colombia. This South American country has been rocked by decades of violence due to drug cartels (like the infamous Medellin cartel led by Pablo Escobar) and paramilitary groups. In 1992, this situation led Colombian college student Miguel Caballero to launch a line of fashion apparel with bulletproof properties.

The Baeza Blazer may not look it, but it's bulletproof to NIJ Level II.

The Miguel Caballero Baeza Blazer may not look it, but it's rated as NIJ Level II bulletproof.

The Miguel Caballero company grew rapidly, and is now a leading manufacturer of discreet protective clothing. Many world leaders and celebrities are known to wear Miguel Caballero apparel, including Steven Seagal, twelve unnamed country-leaders in Latin America, and even Barack Obama.

The Miguel Caballero Armor T-shirt recently received a Red Dot award for Product Design.

The Miguel Caballero Armor T-shirt recently received a Red Dot award for innovative Product Design.

Caballero himself isn't shy about testing the bulletproof clothing on live subjects — according to a 2013 Bloomberg article, he has personally shot more than 650 people without inflicting serious injury. He even shot magician David Blaine at point-blank range with a .38 revolver:

In the video above, Blaine is wearing a product that has garnered Miguel Caballero significant attention recently: the Armor T-Shirt. This shirt won a 2016 Red Dot Product Design award in Germany, due to its high-tech and low-profile construction.

Body armor t-shirt bulletproof gun apparel 2

Despite weighing about two pounds (depending on size), the Armor T-Shirt is Level II certified by NIJ 0101.06, and can stop a .357 magnum round. It's also moisture- and fire-resistant, and the Thermo-Regulating system is designed to keep the wearer cool and dry. Models are available for both men and women, in black or white fabric, and range in size from XS to XXXL.

Miguel Caballero's latest Armor T-Shirt is certainly impressive, but that protection comes at a cost. It's currently available at an MSRP of $1,540 USD. For more information, check out MiguelCaballero.com/en/.


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Sours: https://www.offgridweb.com/gear/miguel-caballero-fashion-discreet-bulletproofing/
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On my first day in Colombia, two women in an old Toyota drove me to an industrial park on the outskirts of Bogotá. There, in a building that from the outside looked like a warehouse, the man I’d come to interview—early forties, black hair, not tall—shot me in the abdomen with a .38-calibre revolver. I felt a thump in the gut, then nothing. The man was Miguel Caballero. He’s the founder and chief executive of a company that makes “specialized personal protection,” and when he shot me I was wearing one of his products, a black suède jacket with lightweight bulletproof panels in the lining. The company, which is called Miguel Caballero, makes fashion-oriented body armor, and sells it mainly to executives, celebrities, political figures, and others who have security concerns but don’t want to dress like members of a SWAT team. Popular items include a three-button blazer, a V-necked wool sweater, a Nehru vest (for customers in the subcontinent and, conceivably, for anxious idolizers of Sammy Davis, Jr.), and a polo shirt, which, because of its extra bulk, may usefully promote a compact golf swing. Caballero also makes bulletproof camouflaged hunting clothes, to protect hunters from misdirected shots fired by their companions—an eventuality that he referred to as “a Dick Cheney accident.”

Before shooting me, Caballero hollered across the main manufacturing area to warn the several dozen workers there—most of them women sitting at sewing machines—to put on ear protection. They complied without apparent curiosity. Carolina Ballesteros, who is the company’s design director and Caballero’s fiancée, told me that being shot by her boyfriend is “very normal”: he has more than two hundred employees and has shot most of them (including Ballesteros) at least once, a practice that encourages team loyalty and close attention to quality control. Caballero, nevertheless, is aware of the dramatic possibilities, especially when the target is a visiting journalist. After removing his revolver from its case, he held out an open box of Colombian military ammunition, and—saying, “We respect the human rights”—invited me to select my bullet. He positioned me at a slight angle to himself, near a tabletop shrine to the Virgin Mary. (“This is a Catholic country,” he’d explained earlier, when he noticed me looking at the shrine.) He told me that he was going to count to three, and that when he began counting I should take a big breath and hold it. He asked me to point to my belly button, then held the pistol’s barrel a few inches from my descending colon and closed his eyes, as if praying or collecting his thoughts, while one of his suppliers took photographs with my camera. The jacket felt a bit heavy, but pleasantly so—like a dentist’s X-ray apron. After firing, Caballero lifted my shirt to check my abdomen for bruising, and found none. Then he used a pair of long-nosed pliers to extract the bullet from inside the suède. It was flattened and rounded like a mushroom cap, and it was still hot.

Protection from projectiles has been a human concern for as long as there have been projectiles. (I myself often weighed the subject in the early nineteen-sixties, when, as a typical child of the American suburbs, I was addicted to television and heavily armed with toy weaponry.) Caballero’s sales have roughly doubled annually in recent years, and his marketing ambitions, increasingly, are global. When he started making bulletproof garments, nineteen years ago, his customers were almost exclusively Colombian—a reflection both of the small scale of his original enterprise and of the turmoil in the country at the time. Today, ninety-eight per cent of his production is for export. He has dealers in two dozen countries and customers in more than fifty, and he has a retail boutique in Harrods, where some of his golf shirts sell for the equivalent of about twelve thousand dollars.

Caballero was born in Bogotá in 1967. He studied business administration and marketing at the University of the Andes in the late eighties and early nineties, a period during which kidnapping and murder were omnipresent threats for wealthy Colombians. One of his friends, the daughter of a prominent politician, was accompanied everywhere by bodyguards, and Caballero noticed that the bodyguards usually left their bulletproof vests in the trunk of their armored Mercedes-Benz, because the garments were heavy, inflexible, and ugly. He and a classmate decided to try to create bulletproof clothing that people would actually wear—in Caballero’s words, “to combine fashion and protection at the same time”—by concealing the bulletproof panels within the linings of attractive clothes made from regular materials.

Caballero owned a car, a gift from his father, and used it as partial payment for a small manufacturing plant in a rundown section of the city. “We didn’t have a computer,” he told me. “We had one assistant and a fax machine.” The first product was a bulletproof leather jacket. Caballero shopped for the leather in Bogotá’s reeking tanning district, San Benito, and carried the hides back to the workshop by slinging them over his shoulder. Proceeds from the first jacket financed the second. Caballero’s sales pitch consisted of shooting his partner the same way he shot me, and it was highly persuasive. (He later bought out the partner.) The jackets each sold for the equivalent of about a thousand dollars, and they were outwardly indistinguishable from ordinary jackets.

Those first jackets were heavy—fifteen or sixteen pounds. Making them lighter required years of experimentation and a significant investment in technology, and it drove up the price. But the company’s primary customers have always been concerned more about comfort and discretion than about cost, and the business grew rapidly. By the late nineties, Caballero told me, the company had developed its own bulletproof material. When Ballesteros showed me around the factory’s design area, on an open mezzanine above the production floor, she pointed to a bolt of yellow fabric lying on a cutting table. “That’s the big secret of the company,” she said. “It’s the Coca-Cola formula.” Caballero told me that this material—which he described as “a hybrid between nylon and polyester”—is lighter, thinner, and more flexible than comparably protective versions of Kevlar, the best-known bullet-stopping textile, which DuPont invented in the nineteen-sixties. Kevlar is the critical component of much of the world’s body armor, but, according to Caballero, it is too bulky and rigid to be used in the protective panels of, say, a stylish white dinner jacket like the one he sold to the rapper Diddy, or a kimono like the one he custom-made for the actor Steven Seagal, or tunics like the ones he created for the Wu-Tang Clan.

Ballesteros—who is slender and pretty, has long brown hair, and is younger than Caballero—studied fashion and industrial design, thus serendipitously making herself the ideal candidate for her current position. On the day that she showed me around the factory, she was dressed in tall boots, black tights, a diaphanous gray minidress, a darker gray sweater, and a long green scarf. On her right wrist she wore a dozen bracelets made of what appeared to be barbed wire but was actually gray plastic gimp. The bracelets, she explained, were a symbolic protest against Venezuela’s ongoing epidemic of kidnapping. (Abductors in that country sometimes use barbed wire to hog-tie abductees.) Venezuela, like much of Latin America, represents a growth market for Caballero’s products, and his customers there include the President, Hugo Chávez.

We walked back downstairs and across the production floor, to a long, narrow area enclosed behind sliding wire-mesh partitions. There Ballesteros introduced me to Rosalba Tapias, who was the company’s first employee. One of Tapias’s jobs is inserting the bulletproof panels into finished garments, the final production step before packing and shipping. (The panels are removable, and must be taken out before the clothes are cleaned.) Near Tapias’s worktable were several standing coat racks made from lengths of galvanized piping. Ballesteros pointed to a gray flannel suit hanging at the end of one of the racks, and said, “This is for Uribe”—meaning Álvaro Uribe Vélez, who was then serving his final weeks as Colombia’s President. “Our warranty is for five years,” she said, “because in five years the ballistic materials and also the guns improve. We made a suit for Uribe five years ago, so he sent it back and now Rosalba is going to send him the new one. He will no longer be the President, but of course it’s still very dangerous.” I had heard that President Obama, during his Inauguration, wore clothing made by Caballero. Neither Ballesteros nor Caballero would say anything about that, but they did tell me that the company’s customers include King Abdullah II of Jordan, the Prince of Asturias, a Thai princess, and the leaders of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Panama, and Malaysia.

Part of Ballesteros’s job is accommodating cultural idiosyncrasies. (Venezuelan buyers, for example, have a marked preference for the color red.) Her fashion sensibility, she said, is mainly “European,” but she has broadened the company’s offerings with global touches. Caballero’s priciest and most fashion-oriented line, the MC Black Collection, now includes a white linen tunic, which has sold well in Arab countries and is an especially fast seller in Dubai. Tunics leave lots of room for bulletproof panels—something that is also true of kurtas, another successful recent innovation—although the draping can be tricky. Among Ballesteros’s most popular new designs is a close-fitting sleeveless undershirt, a classic American wife beater, which can be worn under almost anything. (The President of Panama has one.) Partly for the American market, Ballesteros designed a “sport hoodie” and an “urban hoodie,” both of which have been in demand among danger-prone hip-hop stars and their entourages.

Last year, Ballesteros introduced a safari vest, which, she said, is favored by reporters in countries like Venezuela and Nigeria. She removed one from a coat rack and told me, “If you’re going to buy, this is the one—with all the pockets, and a place for the camera.” The vest looked like the one the foreign correspondent Roland Hedley wears in the comic strip “Doonesbury.” Like the hoodies, it’s part of the company’s Gold Collection—a step down from Black, with price points that are more within the reach of journalists and their employers. (An extra-large safari vest capable of stopping shots from a mini-Uzi sells for about five thousand dollars.) For Latin America, principally, Caballero makes bulletproof vestments for Catholic priests, who risk assassination if they speak out against drug trafficking, political corruption, or other locally sensitive topics. The company also sells a large bulletproof Bible, which a priest can use, mid-sermon, as a protective shield, and a bulletproof blanket, which can be thrown over a pulpit (or a national leader undergoing a coup d’état).

A couple of years ago, Ballesteros created Caballero’s first women’s line. Women pose a challenge for a designer of fashionable body armor, since their breasts are situated inconveniently, in terms of panel placement, and since women tend to be more fussy than men about things like thickened abdomens and visible panel lines—although men can be troublesome as well. Ballesteros told me, “A man will say, ‘I want a marvellous jacket, like this.’ ” She used her hands to suggest a sports coat open to the navel, perhaps to frame a patch of thick chest hair or a heavy gold chain. “But we can’t, like, put the lapels of a jacket lower than a certain distance from the sternum, or the heart will be exposed. I just say, We can’t, we can’t, we can’t. I tell them that, if they want a jacket like that, then I’m also going to give them a T-shirt with a bull’s-eye printed on it.”

On display at the State Library of Victoria, in Melbourne, Australia—where I recently spent a week—is the homemade bulletproof suit that the nineteenth-century Australian outlaw Ned Kelly wore during his gang’s final shootout with colonial authorities, in 1880. The suit, which is now considered a national treasure, was made from steel moldboards taken from plows. It covered Kelly’s head, neck, shoulders, and torso, and weighed more than ninety pounds, and it kept him alive long enough to be hanged.

Kelly’s armor, though crude, remained pretty much the state of the art for decades: if you wanted to be truly bulletproof, you needed moldboards or the equivalent. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is said to have been wearing a protective vest made of multiple layers of silk fabric when he was assassinated, in 1914. Whether the vest could stop bullets is unknown, because the shot that killed him struck his neck, which was uncovered. During the Second World War, DuPont introduced a tough synthetic material, called ballistic nylon, that was used in the flak jackets of airmen. It provided some protection against shrapnel and flying debris but couldn’t stop even pistol shots. (Today, it’s used mostly in things like suitcases, tool belts, and tough-guy watchbands.) Then, in 1965, a DuPont scientist named Stephanie Kwolek invented poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide: Kevlar. She had been mixing petroleum-based monomers, and had produced a solution with properties she didn’t recognize. I spoke with her recently—she’s eighty-eight—and she said, “I certainly didn’t start out to make bulletproof vests or anything of that sort. I was trying to make a superstrong fibre for reinforcing radial tires.” The liquid she created had a cloudy appearance, which her colleagues assumed was evidence of an undissolved polymer. “But I didn’t think so,” Kwolek continued, “because I let the flask sit around for about a week, and I shook it, and so forth, and it didn’t behave like a solid. Even when I filtered the liquid, it looked the same.” She tinkered with it some more, and surprised herself and everyone else when she ended up with lightweight, unreactive, flame-resistant, non-melting, shrinkproof fibres that, for their weight, were five times as strong as steel.

Sours: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/09/26/survival-of-the-fitted
'It's fashion with protection': Bulletproof wear demand is rising, say designers

The Long, Fraught History of the Bulletproof Vest

Bulletproof vest.jpg

Gavrilo Princip's bullet changed the world. When he fired a bullet and severed an internal vein in the jugular of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, lodging the projectile into the spine of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, it was as much a turning point for world powers as it was for bulletproofing material and personal protective equipment.

News reports in the days following suggested that Ferdinand had been wearing a type of lightweight undergarment meant to protect him from assassination attempts—a revelation that led some to speculate that Princip had known about the measures and adjusted his aim accordingly. The device would eventually develop into what we know today as the bulletproof vest.

The question of bulletproofing had vexed physicians, public figures, politicians and even monks for years. Nearly three decades before Princip took aim at Ferdinand’s head, a lone doctor in Arizona was working on such an invention.

George E. Goodfellow, having been expelled from the Naval Academy for fighting, found himself enamored in the art of treating abdominal gunshot wounds. He performed the first recorded laparotomy (a surgical incision into the abdominal cavity), treated the Earp brothers after their battle at the O.K. Corral and, in an ironic twist, married Katherine Colt, cousin of Samuel Colt, the inventor of the namesake revolver that played a unique role in fomenting his career as America’s top gunshot physician.

The Long, Fraught History of the Bulletproof Vest

In 1881, Goodfellow watched as the trader Luke Short and gambler Charlie Storms shot one another in an altercation on Allen Street in Tombstone (where Goodfellow started his practice, a place he called the “condensation of wickedness”). Both shot from close range.

Storms’ light summer suit caught fire, having been hit with a round from a cut-off Colt 45 revolver from six feet away, and he later died from one of the two bullets fired at him. But the other bullet passed through Storms’ heart. Goodfellow extricated the projectile intact, wrapped in a silk handkerchief (originally in Storms’ breast pocket) that had not torn.

This was one of three incidents where silk saved someone from a bullet wound (another incident involved buckshot and a red silk Chinese handkerchief). And in 1887, six years after the Allen Street shooting, Goodfellow published an article titled “The Impenetrability of Silk to Bullets,” in which he wrote, “Balls propelled from the same barrels, and by the same amount of powder … failed to go through four or six folds of thin silk.” It wasn’t the first attempt at a bulletproof vest using a non-bulletproof material. The Myeonje baegab, a vest from Korea made of layers of cotton, was known to thwart bullets at least two decades prior. But it was progress.

The Long, Fraught History of the Bulletproof Vest

Ten years after Goodfellow’s article was published, on March 16, 1897, in Chicago, a Catholic priest named Casimir Zeglen took his own tightly hand-sewn silk, linen and wool vest—a half-inch thick and weighing half a pound per square foot—and had a pistol marksman shoot him in front of the mayor and other local officials who were plagued by anarchist attacks. (Chicago’s former mayor, Carter Harrison Senior, was murdered at his own house four years earlier). The vest worked. Casimir stood. Copycats, however, proved less effective, as their patterns weren’t as tightly sewn. Without investors, backers and manufacturers, Casimir returned to his native Poland in 1897 and linked up with another Polish inventor, Jan Szczepanik.

What they managed to create, guided by Goodfellow’s own research and writing, was an inflexible bulletproof fabric, a vest they sold for the extraordinary sum of $6,000, adjusted for today’s currency. In the years ahead, the two Polish inventors would clamor with one another for the rights as inventors of the modern bulletproof vest. The vest was a success, worn by dignitaries and royalty.

Roughly 12 years before Princip pulled the trigger and killed Ferdinand, the bulletproof vest made by Zeglen and Szczepanik saved the life of the King of Spain, Alfonso XIII, during an assassination attempt. And throughout World War I, industrialists courted the favor of the Polish duo, hoping they might help propel the German and Austro-Hungary advances to victory.

The Long, Fraught History of the Bulletproof Vest

Civil, foreign and World Wars were fought in a period when even the toughest armor could not stop the most lethal weapon. At the turn of the century, it is observed that protective gear was greatly scaled back, retreating once more from full-body armor to strategically placed metal plates. As battlefields grew farther apart and cannon fire spelled imminent death, and as the fighting grew less personal and more distanced (like the relationship between the men who called the orders to those who marched to them), men wore metal plates over their uniforms and donned metal helmets to protect against gunfire. These plates were placed over the heart, which often beat with a fear that was hardly aided by the presence of a thin metal sheet and, later, a tightly-woven polymer simply known as Kevlar.

Kevlar, or light and ultra-strong plastic polymers that are tightly woven into a flexible fabric, became popular after its discovery and implementation in the 1960s. It is now used in everything from sporting equipment—tennis rackets, Formula 1 cars, boating sails—to personal protective equipment like bulletproof vests.

Despite all the advances in chemical compounds that form some of the strongest materials on Earth, and which are often used to mitigate the damage wrought by firearms or natural disasters, the science that has gone into the fireproofing and weaponization of simple polymers has more recently returned to its Arizona roots.

Two years ago, researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory announced that they would be looking into an age-old fiber to more fully explore its cooling and temperature regulation properties, and its use toward strengthening current synthetic fibers. That fiber was silk.

Artificial spider silk, the researchers suggested, could make for a lighter, stronger and more breathable body armor than even Kevlar.

Kenneth R. Rosen is the author of the forthcoming Bulletproof Vest. A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to RISC, a nonprofit that provides emergency medical training to freelance conflict journalists. For more information, go to www.risctraining.org.

Sours: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/long-fraught-history-bulletproof-vest-180974564/

Fashion red bullet proof vest

I.

Everything arrives in one large package. I tear off the tape and peel open the panels of the box to reveal four plastic bags. In one bag is the PRESS patch, in another the ceramic rifle plates, in another a matte-black tactical helmet, and, in the last, my new bulletproof vest. I hold it up and immediately feel disappointed.

Clips and straps hang from the side, making the vest bulky—like something a Navy SEAL might wear. I thought I had ordered something concealable. I wanted something I could wear under clothing without anyone knowing; I would look confident, experienced. I pull open the velcro pouches in the front and back of the vest, slide the ceramic plates into them, making the vest nearly twice as effective, and pull the rig over my head. I buckle the clasps, cinch tight the rib bands.

I walk into the bathroom and stop at the mirror. I see that the vest fits. I also see fear in my eyes. I am heading overseas to a war zone on a reporting trip. Elettra, my girlfriend at the time (this was back in 2017, we got married in 2018) understands the trip is important, but she’s worried about my safety. I put the vest and helmet into a closet. I don’t want her to see them. I show her no fear.

I call Nick, the overexcited and reassuring representative at Bulletproofme.com who sold me the gear, to ask him why this thing is so bulky. Did they send the wrong one? He calls my helmet and vest my PPE—“You didn’t order that PPE?” I didn’t like the phrase personal protective equipment. It calls to mind hard hats and latex surgical gloves—material to guard against inanimate objects and near-invisible pathogens. My gear was to protect me from other humans, ones with guns, so I continue calling it my bulletproof gear.

Nick checks the order. Actually, he says, there is something that might have gotten messed up on his end. Do I want a replacement? I tell him I don’t have time. My trip to Iraq is in a few days. He says he is sorry. He wishes me good luck. “And don’t forget,” Nick says. “Nothing’s bulletproof. The thing’s only bullet resistant.” This does nothing to abate my anxiety.

I play down the anxiety to Elettra later, when she asks if I’m all packed. In her previous life as an aid worker, she traveled to conflict zones. She asks if I really need the custom gas mask with prescription lenses. I tell her yes, better safe than sorry, even if I look ridiculous carrying it around with me when no one else is. I could always be safer. I could put distance between myself and the bullets. I could stay away from the places in this world that require vaccinations for exotic diseases. I could choose not to go. I could stay home.

We go over my emergency contact plan, and I give her the passcode to view my personal GPS tracking device.

“Also, have you seen my Chapstick?” I ask.

“No, sorry.”

“Can I have yours?”

“Don’t touch mine.”

“But, my lips are …”

“You had your own and you misplaced it. I’ll get you another before you leave.” She wheels away, then stops. “And I love you.”

When I land in northern Iraq, I keep the vest close to me, but I barely use it. I also have a new Chapstick. It will inevitably be lost before I finish reporting on the final days of the Islamic State, but it becomes something of a talisman for me.

When I return home to Brooklyn, the cab pulls away and I look up at our second-floor apartment window, excited to see Elettra after what has felt like an eternity. She is frying peanut butter pancakes, my favorite, when I step through the door. It’s coming home I enjoy most, that first embrace after hours or days apart. In those moments, unprotected by any gear, I was bulletproof.

Now, nearly four years later, we are stuck at home together in a house in Massachusetts: my father, Elettra, and our infant son. The coronavirus pandemic stretches its viral spike peplomers across the world and keeps us, like almost everyone else, inside. We take temperatures and startle at every cough. We hear each other through the walls, the slightest of sounds. Nothing is private. The walls are flimsy, and yet they protect against the outside world and its sudden, invisible threats. I see my loved ones in high definition, as for the very first time.

II.

The things I carried overseas: pills to fight bacterial infections, pills to contain diarrhea, pills to combat nerve agents. Chapstick, naturally. I also carried sweatpants and peanut butter Cliff bars, things of comfort and security. And my bullet-resistant vest.

Nick’s words stayed with me on a recent tour of the DuPont factory outside Richmond, Virginia, where I went to learn more about Kevlar, the curious fiber known the world over for its bullet-resistant properties. Luke Jeter is the leader of the ballistics lab there, and as we talk, Jeter loads a .44 Magnum round into a machine (not quite a gun, but rather a collection of all the parts of a gun).

The machine fires the bullet down a short corridor, through several velocity sensors, into 12 sheets of Kevlar XP woven and heat-pressed together and hung against a block of neutral grey clay. When we walk downrange to see how well the layers did against the round, I see the Kevlar pocked by a massive divot, but the bullet did not penetrate. The clay behind it had, however, exploded and disbursed the impact in the shape of a mushroom. “That is around the trauma your body would get,” Jeter says.

The person wearing this vest would still need medical attention, but they would survive. Then Jeter loads a 5.56-mm round, standard for rifles like the AR15, and fires it into the same panels. It punches a hole right through. More strength, like ceramic plates behind the fabric, would be needed to stop rounds from automatic weapons.

“No armor is bulletproof,” Jeter says, just like Nick had.

Discovered in 1965 by a DuPont scientist named Stephanie Kwolek, Kevlar is made of ultra-strong plastic polymers tightly woven into a flexible fabric. In Kevlar, the chains of molecules—the long strings of terephthalic acid and other chemical compounds—line up parallel, like soldiers in a military parade. Plus, the chains of molecules are studded with interlocking ring structures. Order each line of soldiers in your parade to link elbows: Now your adversaries are slowed by a coalition that is bound together against a common enemy.

Kevlar is like the Kleenex or Xerox of PPE, a brand name synonymous with bulletproofing, armor, the military and police forces, but moreover safety. The material is used in lots of things: heat-resistant garments for firefighters; consumer-grade gloves, chaps, and the “Ove” Glove for barbecuers; motorcycle riding gear; protective jackets and masks for fencers; abrasion protection for speed skaters in case they fall; protective blankets for horses in the bullfighting arena; basketball shoes; paraglider suspension lines; bicycle tires; table tennis paddles; tennis racquet strings; woodwind reeds; wicks for fire dancing; brake pads and the bodywork of sports cars like the Ferrari F40; drum heads and parts of bowed string instruments; loudspeaker cones and a roof for the Olympic Stadium in Montreal; wind turbines; smartphones like the Motorola Droid Razr; Goodyear tires; and DuPont skis. In 2003, DuPont created an above-ground panic room reinforced with Kevlar so you can weather the tornado season in a quarantine you put together yourself.

Tornadoes are bad, carelessly slinging everything from boulders to school buses. Bullets are worse, more deliberate. Pointing out a .44 Magnum and various other munitions, Jeter says. “If you have a given threat you can use any material to stop it. It might take a whole factory of pillows, but pillows can be bullet resistant. In a sense, yeah, you could make armor which is very heavy, very expensive and uncomfortable, but it could stop all of these things.”

Sitting at home now, locked with my family, our physical links to friends and the outside world severed, I know he’s right. Some of the most bulletproof material on earth is inexpensive and cheap: dirt and sandbags and distance. But at what point does that distance turn from protection to exile? Isn’t the strongest defense against external forces one that binds individuals tightly into a unit?

III.

In 2018, I am based in Beirut. I land not long after the US launches airstrikes against government targets in Syria. It seems the world is heating up for fresh chaos. I travel to Syria and Iraq and Egypt and elsewhere across the region, reporting on elections, political instability, war, refugees, and migration. When I return to Beirut, I binge on Jack Ryan movies from the 1990s. It is comforting, recentering, to know the world has always been on the brink of disaster and that people were working together to prevent it.

At night, when my roommates are asleep and the only thing lighting our apartment is the soft glow of a sign affixed to a nearby high-rise, I slip into my bulletproof vest. I stare at myself in the mirror. The vest is tight. It fits snugly. I wrap my arms around myself, for extra protection, as though a hug were an embrace against death.

In early 2019 I prepare for another trip to Baghdad, and I pack a new vest. It is not made of bullet-resistant fiber, but it can accommodate my two ceramic rifle plates. It is the opposite of my first vest: subtle, light, concealable. I am just as scared as before, but I have a routine now. Spend weeks planning, book my flights, arrive in a conflict zone, report a few stories, hope they work out and get published, fly home. The vest became as standard a packing item as the gas mask, carried with me out of perceived necessity though rarely worn.

I deplane at the Baghdad International Airport, and on the jetway I see a man with a very high, coiffed fade, dressed in a threadbare brown suit. Something about him reminds me of an undercover policeman, and I look down as I walk past him, hoping he doesn’t stop me. As I am stamped through immigration, I see the man in the suit again. He introduces himself as my fixer; he’ll help me navigate the country and try to keep me safe as I do my reporting. I’ve never worked with him before, and I joke weakly about walking past him.

We get my bags and soon we are driving through the streets outside the Green Zone, passing beneath the 14th of July Bridge bathed in neon lights. He grumbles to himself as we pass through another checkpoint: “I hate it,” is one of his favorite phrases, along with “You’re high,” and “I’m not your girlfriend, man.”

We talk about why he lives here, in Baghdad, where it’s still dangerous, and what things cost and how expensive it is to live in the United States. “All people think foreigners have much money,” I say. “Not me,” he says. “I’m different.”

We pull over for dinner. We talk briefly about how a man must appear in Iraq, how officials care that he has two nice phones. They judge the shoes he wears, the car he drives, the phones he uses. We eat kabob at a second-floor restaurant in the darkness of a cool winter night, everyone dressed in hoodies.

A fixer is an indispensable lifeline to a foreign journalist working abroad. They provide everything from sources to housing to security. They offer cigarettes and companionship, risking their lives to help tell stories that are oftentimes close to home for them personally. That dynamic, so intimate a relationship in small bursts, can be difficult to navigate. I tell him I am nervous.

“No one has ever said that to me before,” he says. What I meant to say was that I was scared about the assignment, not of him. He puts down his kebob. He sits straighter in his chair, avoids eye contact. He has misunderstood me. He thinks I don’t trust him, is insulted, and now we have disconnected. We fall silent. I reach for my Chapstick and pop the cap on and off and on again, dawdling as I try to pull the conversation out of a stall.

I feel vulnerable. I scan the exits and realize I have no idea where I am in relation to the compound where I am supposed to stay. I had read and heard about fixers, or those who disguised themselves as fixers, selling other journalists to militias. I had read and heard about wrong turns taken down wrong roads controlled by bad people.

He toys with his phone, checking the time. Or maybe sharing our location with someone, or a group of people. The men behind me get up to leave. I’m twitchy. Since our first WhatsApp conversation he had demanded money, he was nasty when I was late to reply, and he had me buy him cologne to bring him as a gift. I had been traveling for 36 hours, at this point though. Maybe I was tweaked and needed to sleep, a refuge I can turn to almost anywhere with the help of a pill.

If he is going to sell me out, my PPE isn’t going to help me. We leave the restaurant and drive away toward the compound where I’m staying. I hope. I check our location on my phone, making sure we are heading in the right direction. Why’d he turn there? Is this the right street? “Let me ask you a question,” he says as he stops the car outside the compound and pulls the emergency brake.

I believe he is going to ask why I said I was nervous. He drapes himself over the steering wheel, looks at me and says, “Can I have money?” I ask him how much and he says, “$200.” I tell him, “No, absolutely not.” I had sent him more than $500 before the trip and would pay him more after the trip was finished. Money, another protective layer we can wrap around ourselves, felt like good insurance. I understood that to keep it until the end of the assignment meant that, at least until I finished my work, I held some power over him. He says, “Thank you.” And, thinking he did not understand, I say, “No. I said no.” He says it again, sarcastically, staring into the dark alleyway: “Thank you.”

I think he’s going to call off our trip if I don’t pay him. Or maybe he’ll call friends to come collect his money and call off our trip anyway. It is late and dark. I’m exhausted, and I panic. I dash to my room and use the key he had given me to unlock the door, then lock it behind me. I wedge a door jammer between the floor and the door and breathe a bit easier. Then I begin thinking he copied the key and now has access and can come and grab the money. So I sit on my bed, staring at the ceiling, listening for footsteps in the stairwell.

The safety of the room, the privacy, gave me perspective. My suspicions were off-base. My fixer probably just felt repulsed by my perceived disrespect and my fear. I should have concealed it, not worn it on my sleeve. If I had passed on dinner and gone straight to the apartment, if I had slept before meeting him, perhaps our rapport would have started in the fresh light of morning and been stronger. I would have been more assured. Confidence begets confidence, and I hadn’t given him a chance. My armor is near the door. An hour passes. I settle. I breathe. I am calm. My sweatpants and Cliff bars and soft items of comfort distract me. They keep me safe.

We end up working together for the next week, nonetheless, but at arm’s length. Lots of shouting and fighting, miscommunication and derisive comments. It was a transactional exchange. He got paid, I got paid. Our time together was an unfortunate tangle of anxiety, fear, and good intentions gone awry.

I never wear my vest, in the end. I did not encounter situations where gunfire seemed likely, though it was always possible. As for other threats, PPE rarely protects against things as heinous as humans. It does not protect against backstabbers, or fixers and translators who may sell you out.

When I interviewed civilians struggling to rebuild their homes, in Mosul and in Northeastern Syria, I would ask if they had hope for the future. They told me ISIS was gone, things were getting better, and I wrote that down. They were lifting the remains of a crumbled wall, felled by a missile or rocket or endless heavy gunfire, collecting the wreckage of their lives, as snipers pierced the air not two neighborhoods over. I would report their optimism, and I hated the thought of wearing my PPE while interviewing people so resilient yet vulnerable, so I kept it packed away in the car.

Our ideas of safety were asymmetric. Their idea of safety in that moment was in the absence of something—ISIS. What I wanted was a fixer I trusted and a better internet connection so I could talk to my wife on WhatsApp, eight hours away. I wished she was with me. Back at the apartment in Baghdad, I stayed up all night watching Netflix, pretending she was there too.

IV.

Now she won’t leave me alone. It’s March 2020 and we’re stuck in our house under a self-quarantine.

I’m on the phone, working, when she comes in wielding a tape measure. She handles it like a whip. The yellow metallic tape licks the carpet, smacks the floor, whacks the walls I had painted not four months ago.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Sorry, sorry, just want to get a measurement,” she whispers. She’s ordering furniture. Lockdown retail therapy.

“This isn’t that BBC News interview with the cute kids crashing in, get the hell outta here!”

She walks away, tape measure trailing behind her.

“And where’s my goddamn Chapstick?” I shout at her back. My father, who is also staying with us and looking after my son, the house growing smaller, coughs in the other room.

“Dad, are you sick?”

“Just fine, my boy.”

“Then why are you coughing? Why are your eyes red?”

“They’re red? I don’t know.”

“Elettra,” I shout, “have you seen my Chapstick?”

“Yeah, I threw it away because I didn’t want you asking me about it anymore.”

I’ve been looking for my Chapstick for three days now. I went from having five sticks to none. I am certain she forgot to check the pockets when she did our laundry, ruined my Chapstick, and tossed the evidence.

We’ve been in isolation together for weeks. First, self-isolation because we had returned to our home in America after leaving Italy, thinking we’d put distance between us and the coronavirus, and then under state-mandated stay-at-home orders from Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker.

I’m with people I love and trust, but the distance, which helped our relationships stay strong in the past, is gone. I hear everything. House noises. Chewing. Ants in the walls, I could swear. When and what my dad is doing in the bathroom.

Senses are turned up when under lockdown. I feel under siege, and there’s little I can do to protect myself. No bulletproof vest, no surgical mask, can give me the distance I suddenly crave. The rest of humanity feels the same way: Slathered in hand sanitizer and socially distanced, they are blanketed in worry. People who normally move through the world with little fear of attack suddenly fear everyone, dreading a lethal enemy that’s everywhere and nowhere.

Later, over dinner, my father, feeling insecure about being with us, our son asleep in the next room, asks if Elettra and I want some time alone together. I tell him no, but that we could use more time apart. The more we put distance between ourselves and the world, the farther we needed to get from each other, too. In this concentrated, enforced isolation, we’ve discovered that we can’t function so close together. It turns out my wife and I need regular absence to foster love. That time apart, those miles between us, came to imbue our marriage with urgency. When we were together, everything had a fleeting, precious quality. We knew our embrace would not last—each moment was something to cherish. Distance and time were barriers that enclosed our love, protecting it.


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Fashion Faux Pas: Sniper Shirt Angers Back-To-School Shoppers

Cara Delevingne makes statement in 'Peg The Patriarchy' bulletproof vest at the Met Gala 

Cara Delevingne made a fashion statement at the 2021 Met Gala atthe  Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday night as she hit the star-studded red carpet in a 'Peg The Patriarchy' bulletproof vest.

Designed by Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiur, the model, 29, decided to use her outfit to send out a message- with the theme of the night being In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. 

Cara told Vogue: 'If someone doesn’t know what this means, you’re going to have to look it up. It's about women empowerment, gender equality — it’s a bit like, "Stick it to the man". 

Cara Delevingne made a fashion statement at the 2021 Met Gala on Monday night as she hit the star-studded red carpet in a 'Peg The Patriarchy' bulletproof vest

Cara teamed the look with white cigarette trousers and peep toe heels which showed off her red pedicure.

The Suicide Squad's long hair was styled in a wet look and she finished off the look with red eyeshadow. 

Cara appeared in her element as she posed up a storm for photographers.  

Designed by Dior¿s Maria Grazia Chiur, the model, 29, decided to use her outfit to send out a message, with the theme of the night being In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

Designed by Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiur, the model, 29, decided to use her outfit to send out a message, with the theme of the night being In America: A Lexicon of Fashion

Cara told Vogue : 'If someone doesn¿t know what this means, you¿re going to have to look it up. It's about women empowerment, gender equality ¿ it¿s a bit like, 'Stick it to the man'

Cara told Vogue : 'If someone doesn’t know what this means, you’re going to have to look it up. It's about women empowerment, gender equality — it’s a bit like, 'Stick it to the man'

Red: The Suicide Squad's long hair was styled in a wet look and she finished off the look with red eyeshadow

Red: The Suicide Squad's long hair was styled in a wet look and she finished off the look with red eyeshadow

The Met Gala was finally back after being cancelled in 2020 amid the pandemic. This year it was pushed to September from its traditional slot on the first Sunday in May.

The theme is In America: A Lexicon of Fashion and the event featured a heavy-hitting contingent of celebrity co-chairs: actor Timothée Chalamet, musician Billie Eilish, poet Amanda Gorman and tennis star Naomi Osaka.

Honorary chairs for the evening was be designer Tom Ford, sponsor Instagram's Adam Mosseri, and Vogue's Anna Wintour.

At just 19, Billie made history as the youngest ever co-chair of the prestigious event.

When the hosts were first announced, Vogue magazine said: 'Each of the Met's four co-hosts embodies the defining factor of American style: individualism.

'[They have each] developed a distinct visual language for their public personas, one that is informed by the legacy of iconic fashion made in the USA.'

Working it: Cara appeared in her element as she posed up a storm for photographers

Working it: Cara appeared in her element as she posed up a storm for photographers

The must-have accessory for all at this year's gala is a Covid-19 vaccine.  

'Currently, all attendees at The Met Gala on September 13 must provide proof of full vaccination and will also be expected to wear masks indoors except when eating or drinking,' a spokesperson for The Met said last month. 

This year's gala will be a more intimate affair, to be followed by a larger one on May 2, 2022. Both will launch a two-part exhibition, a survey of American fashion to be on view for almost a year. 

Strike a pose: Cara teamed the look with white cigarette trousers and peep toe heels which showed off her red pedicure

Strike a pose: Cara teamed the look with white cigarette trousers and peep toe heels which showed off her red pedicure

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Sours: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-9988611/Cara-Delevingne-makes-statement-Peg-Patriarchy-bulletproof-vest-Met-Gala.html

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Cara Delevingne’s X-Rated Bulletproof Dior Vest Is One Of Met Gala’s Boldest Outfits

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 14 Sep 2021 11:26

PA Images

Actor and model Cara Delevingne turned heads at last night’s Met Gala in one of the evening’s boldest ensembles.

Last night, September 13, marked the first Met Gala since 2019, in light of the pandemic grounding almost all events in 2020 to a halt.

As always, it was an extremely star-studded night, with the big names like Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Lil Nas X and Timothée Chalamet in attendance.

The theme for the event was ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’, giving attendees the chance to celebrate and highlight different aspects of American life.

Many celebs came wearing white, red and/or blue to mark the country’s national colours, but Delevingne decided to highlight another aspect altogether: the patriarchy.

PA Images

The Suicide Squad actor came wearing white trousers, a white blazer and what appeared to be a white bulletproof vest with ‘Peg the Patriarchy’ written across it in red.

Discussing her statement outfit, which was designed by Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri, she said:

If someone doesn’t know what this means, you’re gonna have to look it up. It’s about women empowerment, gender equality — it’s a bit like, “Stick it to the man”.

Delevingne’s vest isn’t the first statement piece designed by Chiuri – back in 2017, the designer made a t-shirt with ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ written across it, inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Metro Online reports.

People have since taken to Twitter to share their thoughts on the 29-year-old’s statement piece. One person wrote, ‘Cara Delevingne telling us to peg the patriarchy and Kim Kardashian’s ‘nothing to see here, but look at me’ fit have saved this year’s #MetGala from boring us all.’

Another person said, ‘Oh gosh I am so into what Cara Delevingne is serving at #MetGala.’

A third person tweeted, ‘On one of the biggest stages in the world these women chose to put their platform to good use, advocating for social justice. Let’s spread the images of these women proudly and keep progressing towards an equal society,’ addressing Delevingne’s outfit, alongside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s controversial ‘Tax the Rich’ dress.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Celebrity, Fashion

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