Sunday, January 08, 2012


But they have armor!

While Kevin Costner is not my favorite actor by any means, "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" wasn't a bad film, at least in my memory.  During the "inspirational speech" portion of the film Robin tells the disbelieving peasants "Even a child can be taught to find the chinks in armor!"
Robin was right, all armor has weak points.

With the proliferation of body armor, commercial and surplus, it makes sense to think about defeating body armor with the tools you have.  So far only limited crime has been committed by criminals in body armor, but I can only see that number going up as it is part of the Zetas MO.  In the criminal arms race, body armor is the next step for organized crime.

Modern armor is usually a vest with ballistics inserts and a ballistic helmet.  This armor is specifically designed to protect against the "center of mass shot" that most of us train to deliver.  That being said, you don't have to take the center of mass shot.  Specialized armor such as an EOD suit is unlikely to be used by an attacker as it is unwieldy (however improvised armor as used by the North Hollywood Bandits covered more area than standard commercial body armor).

Generally the soft portion of the vest is multi layered kevlar, a polyarylamine with very high tensile strength.  The ballistic insert can be made of ceramic, plastic, or metal (AR500 steel makes dandy inserts if you don't mind the weight).  Each insert has pros and cons.  Ceramic is great for one or two hits.  Plastic stops hypervelocity rounds from rifles, but not always low velocity high momentum rounds from big pistols.  Metal inserts are damn heavy and interfere with a compass for dismounted movement.

A ballistic helmet is generally made of kevlar fiber stiffened with a synthetic resin although there are many more surplus "steel pots" on the market than kevlar.  The steel pots can be defeated by nearly any firearm, but the kevlar ballistic helmets require something in the centerfire rifle category.  Spider silk has been considered a future replacement for Kevlar, but despite advances in manufacturing technology it hasn't matured as a technology.

Tools for defeating armor.

COMMENT:  Limbs are vulnerable but they move about.   Your duck shooting shotgun with a flat wad that spread the shot or a well aimed slug can take a limb; if you take an arm they only got the other and will pass out from shock-bleed out in seconds but might be able to take cover.  Go for the groin or upper legs and you immobilize them-they'll still have their weapon but being literally a sitting duck you can pop em in the arm or face.   Incidentally, long barreled shotguns with a choke are good against low flying RC class drones.


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