Comfort Comparison of Ballistic Vest Panels for Police Officers

Jessica Barker, Catherine Black, Rinn Cloud

Abstract


This study examined the comparative comfort performance of ballistic panel fabrications for Level II ballistic vests. Prototype panels were constructed utilizing an innovative fabric that had not previously been incorporated into ballistic vests. The experimental fabric weighs less but is bulkier than standard issue vest panel fabric yet performed at higher ballistic protection in previous research (Thomas, 2003). Vest panels were evaluated for comfort using wear testing and wearer assessment, and ratings of prototype and standard-issue vest panels were compared. Ten police officers rated the prototype vest panels equal to the standard issue vest panel in mobility and fit satisfaction. Officers also reported that prototype panels were cooler to wear, offered greater mobility, and were more flexible and more acceptable to wear. Overall, officers indicated the prototype panels provided comfort that was equivalent to or better than the standard issue panels.

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