The effectiveness of body armor and helmet?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by vashstampede, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    I watched a documentary about body armor and helmet recently. It showed everyone how a WWII rifle bullet can easily go through both sides of a modern helmet of U.S. army. Although the shooter stood only maybe 30 feet away from the helmet, it did go through (both) sides.

    That pretty much mean no helmet in the world can withstand a high power rifle bullet's direct hit from relative short distance.

    So why do you think the military still spending tons of money to equip every soldier with helmet and body armor? If these heavy gears can't really protect them from real danger?
    cavtrooper likes this.
  2. seotut

    seotut Guest

    I don't know about what documentary you've seen, and I don't contest its results. However, modern kevlar composites are known to stop various small-calibre bullets and framgments from all kinds of explosions. Of course nothing's going to stop a .50 BMG, but that doesn't mean that they don't provide some sort of protection.
    skyblue likes this.
  3. Pzula

    Pzula New Member

    How trustworthy and resourceful was this documentary? Do you know who created it? I've always thought that body armor and helmets have been effect in war to a greater extent than you have explained. I'd imagine a helmet would take a good portion of a direct hit to the point where a soldier would be injured, but not dead.
  4. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

  5. tripletaker

    tripletaker New Member

    I think its worth it. Although body armor certainly wont protect you from explosives, modern armor can withstand a number of bullets. This can mean life or death so its always worth it when you're talking about someone's life.
  6. skyblue

    skyblue Active Member

    I think the current armor/helmets are certainly better than the armor of the past but new tech is needed. Investment in new tech should actually be increased to promote innovation in the area. I personally think the most important function of government is defense and we should spare no expense to increase our ability to shield our soldiers from harm and increase military technology.
  7. Akolt

    Akolt Member

    Well, all I can think of is better to have armor than nothing at all. Armor and Equipment may terrify the enemy and may help you from some situations.
    cavtrooper likes this.
  8. blindwarrior

    blindwarrior Member

    It's not only bullets you have to worry about on the battlefield. There's shrapnel, ricochet bullets, small arms fire, knifes just to name a few. Also in a combat situation, you'd rarely come that close to a target.
  9. Akolt

    Akolt Member

    Agreed with blindwarrior, also something which is useful to note. Not everyone has a good accuracy
  10. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Well, I was just saying that even with the latest technology, body armor and helmet of modern era still can't withstand a direct hit from a high power rifle. I am not even talking about 50 cal. Just watch that netflix episode and you will know what rifle it was used in the test. Just a plain old WWII infantry rifle, and there wasn't any 50 cal rifle among WWII infantry if I am not mistaken.

    Sure these protections might work against some smaller firearms such as pistol, and submachine guns, as well as bullets from too far away which had lost considerable amount of energy.

    Even back in the old days, the main purpose of the helmet was never to block a direct hit from a bullet. They were designed to protect the head against fragments from artillery. Somewhere I have read that in WWI and WWII, the helmet was able to lower the casualty by 10%... mainly from the fragments of explosions (artillery, grenades, bombs, etc.). A direct hit of a bullet from close range is in fact have more penetration power.
  11. Vercingetorix

    Vercingetorix Member

    Well, military helmets and body armor do seem to be effective then at many things. They will protect against some types of bullets, also they protect against bullets from beyond a certain range. This is in addition to their role against artillery fragments, grenades and bombs.

    Also, lets pretend for a minute that there are no shots being fired, no rounds of artillery incoming, and no bombs being dropped. Does this mean that the helmets are useless? Far from it! There are plenty of jobs today in which nobody is trying to kill anybody, yet the workers in those jobs are required to wear a helmet for safety reasons. So beyond their role on the battlefield, helmets are very useful. When you consider all the digging and construction work which soldiers often perform, it certainly seems that the helmets have paid for themselves even if they had no function in combat.
  12. teamrose

    teamrose Member

    When will countries wise up and stop sending humans into battle. If every country had an army of robots, they could easily go in and destroy strategic targets like weapons plants, communication towers and bridges. We have drones that can take out specific targets like the politicians that start the wars. This way civilians and most army personal would remain safe.
    cavtrooper likes this.
  13. blindwarrior

    blindwarrior Member

    Bottom line is, they're so light that it would be plain dumb to not use them. They're also constantly being upgraded and I'm sure more than a few people owe their life to the fact that they had an extra piece of metal on their head and a vest on their torso.
  14. scuzzlebutt12

    scuzzlebutt12 New Member

    Let me start off by saying that I use body armor and my helmet on an almost daily basis as I'm deployed in Afghanistan right now. You would be surprised how effective the two actually are.

    Our current armor can stop high powered bullets from AK-47's, protects us from shrapnel, children throwing rocks, bullets, sharp objects in our cramped vehicles, and it can help break falls. My buddy fell 14 feet onto his back when we were dragging C-wire across Hescos, luckily he was wearing his body armor and Kevlar helmet. The doctor said if he wasn't wearing his kit he'd be paralyzed.

    The Doctor said if it wasn't for the Kevlar and body armor he would most likely be paralyzed... so they are not just used for bullets but all around daily activities in a warzone.
    cavtrooper and skyblue like this.
  15. teamrose

    teamrose Member

    You need to understand some context. WWII rifles used a heavier round than most battle rifles do today with the exception of sniper rifles. Many WWII rifles were also bolt action which fired bullets at higher velocity than the semi/auto rifles we use today.

    30 feet is also really close so the bullet pretty much loses no energy compared to muzzle energy.

    Armor and helmets can protect because rifles fire lighter rounds nowadays. Also engagement distance is farther so the lighter bullets lose energy during flight making the body armor effective. Armor also protects from splash damage meaning shrapnel from nearby explosions.

    AK's actually shoot a fairly slow round, especially compared to the bolt rifles of WWII - many which fired 30-06 which are by modern standards, pretty powerful.

    The show is technically right but it does misplace context.
  16. MannyGr

    MannyGr New Member

    Someone else mentioned, Kevlar helmets and vests can most definitely stop many different kinds of bullets. They can also be very effective against shrapnel and falling debris, and I think that is why they are still used so consistently.
    cavtrooper likes this.
  17. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

  18. cavtrooper

    cavtrooper Member

    The helmet also protects against artillery and mortar fragments,and shock and blast.My helmet saved my life when I was hit by an IED on 26 April,2006,in North Baghdad.When 240 pounds of NCO meet 10,000 of armored gun truck,something will give-without my helmet,I would've suffered much more grievious injuries than what I did.
  19. cavtrooper

    cavtrooper Member

  20. cavtrooper

    cavtrooper Member

    You'll still need a grunt on the ground with a rifle in his hands.

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