This is the long-ago promised body armor shoot that I did before I took my vacation.
The exercise here was to take a level two vest, sometimes referred to as: "soft body armor" and shoot it with various kinds of ammunition in order to illustrate what a so-called "bulletproof" vest will or won't do for the wearer.
A level two vest is designed to stop 9mm, .38 caliber, and smaller calibers of ammunition. Today, I shot this vest with .357 jacketed hollow point, 12 gauge buckshot, 12 gauge rifled slug, and an entire magazine (50 rounds) of 5.7x28mm.
The vest that you see above, was strapped over the wooden target that you see below. The wooden target is made from 1/2 inch plywood, and is shaped to approximate the head/shoulder/torso area of an average sized person.
I put one of my old shirts over the vest... not because it has anything to do with our test... but, just because I thought it might be kinda cool!
After being shot with the .357, and the 12 gauge buckshot and slug, this is what the shirt looked like.
Not so hot, eh? Well, there IS good news (must. resist. GEICO. joke!). The good news is that none of the rounds penetrated the vest, meaning that the wearer, had it been a living breathing person, wouldn't have a bunch of holes in his/her heart/lungs.
Look below to see the bad news.
The picture you see above, is the wooden target. Note the large-scale splintering, caused by the blunt force trauma of a 12 gauge rifled shotgun slug, fired from approximately ten yards away. Consider that your breast bone is in no way, sturdier than that plywood. In this test, the wearer of this armor would have easily survived being shot with the pistol bullet, and the buckshot pellets, but would likely have been severely wounded, if not killed by the impact of the slug.
In the next photo, I have taken a knife and pliers (I love my Leatherman tool!) and removed some of the shotgun pellets and bullets and shown them so you can see what happens to them.
The large lump of lead in the slug. It has flattened significantly. To the right, are some of the buckshot pellets. The picture isn't very good, but you can see that the pellets have flattened to the point that they look like copper jacketed M&M's.
Note the red and white material stuck to the projectiles. They have hit the shirt and vest so hard that the material fused together.
The next photo is what the vest looks like without the shirt.
Lastly, this is a photo of a different vest (the same type) after being shot with a magazine of 5.7x28mm rounds. Please note that although you can't tell from the picture, the bullets perforated both the front AND back panels. The vest wouldn't have done anything to save the wearer.
Body armor is a great thing. It has amply demonstrated, over the years, that it will save the lives of law enforcement officers. We just have to remember that wearing it doesn't mean that we can stop being tactically prudent.