Throughout the years Ballistics has come a long way from Steel which redirects the energy of the projectile. Ceramic which absorbs the energy of the projectile and destroys itself. Polyethylene which slows the rotation of the projectile therefore decreasing velocity until it stops. Kevlar is unique in the way that it sort of acts as a catchers mitt to stop a projectile from over penetrating. If the ball is thrown hard the catchers hand feels it same with the projectile that gets stopped by Kevlar, you feel every bit of it.
As time has gone on I have seen many Kevlar vests and panels go from pricey to not so pricey and the difference is in the age. Any Kevlar aged past 5 years that has not been professionally recertified is dangerous, voids the warranty and often times will void your life insurance policy. At the 5 year mark Kevlar begins to degrade from UV rays, salt from body sweat, heating and cooling with your body temperature and basically anything that is not a cool and dry room. Even being too dry would start to cause the Kevlar fibers to become brittle then break down resulting in a powdery mess.
Before you buy a Kevlar vest check the tag for the date then feel it. you want to feel small bumps. Those bumps are the kevlar panels stitching. As kevlar get older it begins to smooth out and even pull away from the stitching. You also want to turn it upside down. yes I know it sounds weird but if it sounds like a timeglass with sand in it don't buy it. Now remember Surplus stores will tell you whatever you want to hear to get you in that used vest which is usually $150 - $300 dollars. Even if the vest passes all of these tests do you trust it? Is it reliable? Would you put your child, wife, mother in this vest? If the answer is no then just go buy a new vest so you can rest your mind knowing that your life is in reliable armor.
WIth lighter, better protected and cheaper options out there than that old flack jacket or a european police vest sitting in the surplus store there is not reason to purchase surplus kevlar. We wouldn't put our family in an old unreliable car, we wouldn't buy a unreliable gun so why would you put your life in the hands of unreliable armor?
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