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BALLISTIC VEST'S EFFICIENCY TESTED
By SILVIO J. PANTA, Staff Writer
JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO
Michael Hall, factory representative of Armor Express, uses a handgun to shoot a body armor vest at Border Tactical in El Centro on Thursday. Armor Express is based in Michigan and is the maker of the vest.
Thursday, February 19, 2009 10:23 PM PST
Four shots rang out as a gun was pressed against a ballistic vest Thursday at Border Tactical indoor range in El Centro, but the bullets did not pierce the protective armor.
The only impression the gunfire left was on the outside of Armor Express vest as shreds of black outer fabric hung after the muzzle flash blasted the material apart.
Michael Hall, a factory representative who conducted a demonstration before a group of law enforcement officials, used handguns of varying calibers to show how protective the vest is.
Only the impact of gunfire can be felt on the human body with bruises and even broken ribs left in its wake, Hall said.
“You might be in a lot of pain,” Hall said. “But you’ll be alive.”
Officers from county, state and the federal level were in attendance during the informal demonstration that featured the usage of a Colt .38 handgun, as well as a .40-caliber handgun, fired on the vest from as far as 3 feet away.
Made from a combination of materials, the Armor Express vest can stop different types of handgun fire short of military machine gunfire, Hall said. The protective equipment is used by police agencies throughout the nation, Hall said.
The ballistic vest is at a 3.A level, which is the highest grade of concealable armor available and tested by the National Institute of Justice, Hall said.
Bill DuBois, owner of Border Tactical, praised the concealable armor but was careful to point out that it’s not designed to stop all types of bullets. A 16-hour gunsmith course that members from 17 police agencies throughout the West coast was conducted at the indoor range before the demonstration was held.
“This vest is resistant to a certain class of bullet but not resistant to every bullet made by man,” DuBois said.
JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO
Hall shows bullet indentations on ballistic gel (left) and bullet holes on a body armor vest (right) at the indoor shooting range. Ballistic gel is the most realistic representation of the human body, showing the average density, Hall said.
The added refinement to the Armor Express ballistic vest is how light it is, making it easier and more comfortable to use by officers, DuBois said.
“This is the best (piece of armor) that I’ve seen in quite a long time,” he said.
>> Staff Writer Silvio J. Panta can be reached at 337-3442 or at email@example.com
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