US20110185463A1 - Soft Body Armor Including Reinforcing Strips - Google Patents

Soft Body Armor Including Reinforcing Strips Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110185463A1
US20110185463A1 US12696345 US69634510A US2011185463A1 US 20110185463 A1 US20110185463 A1 US 20110185463A1 US 12696345 US12696345 US 12696345 US 69634510 A US69634510 A US 69634510A US 2011185463 A1 US2011185463 A1 US 2011185463A1
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Prior art keywords
panel
wearer
subpack
reinforcing strip
area
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US12696345
Inventor
Bob Weber
David Miller
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Safariland LLC
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Safariland LLC
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    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D05SEWING; EMBROIDERING; TUFTING
    • D05BSEWING
    • D05B23/00Sewing apparatus or machines not otherwise provided for
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41HARMOUR; ARMOURED TURRETS; ARMOURED OR ARMED VEHICLES; MEANS OF ATTACK OR DEFENCE, e.g. CAMOUFLAGE, IN GENERAL
    • F41H1/00Personal protection gear
    • F41H1/02Armoured or projectile- or missile-resistant garments; Composite protection fabrics

Abstract

A body armor panel includes a subpack having at least one reinforcing strip sewn on ballistic material at a location to overlie a specific vulnerable area of the wearer's torso when the panel is worn by the wearer.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • None.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Technical Field
  • This invention relates to body armor. In particular, this invention relates to soft body armor of the type that is commonly configured as a vest to be worn by a peace officer or soldier. The vest may include a front ballistic panel and a back ballistic panel as part of a carrier/garment for supporting the individual panels.
  • 2. Description of the Art
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,961,957 to Carlson discloses the use of a semi-rigid plastic frame incorporated with layers of flexible ballistic material. The frame helps to support the ballistic material and resist bunching and twisting of the ballistic material, thus limiting backface deformation and blunt trauma.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,183,097 to Mellian discloses sewing together the edges of three plies of ballistic material to form a first unit portion of a layer of a vest panel; sewing together the edges of three other plies of ballistic material to form a second unit portion of a layer of a vest panel; and thereafter stitching together the first and second unit portions to form the vest panel, which has a seam where the layers are joined. This method is used to produce a contoured (three-dimensional) panel that can conform to the curvature of the female body in the bust area.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is an illustration of a vest including one or more ballistic panels made in accordance with the invention;
  • FIG. 2 is an illustration showing how a ballistic panel includes a number of subpacks each of which includes a number of layers of ballistic material;
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration of an I-Cut subpack, showing how the various layer sections are joined to form the subpack;
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of an L-Cut subpack, showing how the various layer sections are joined to form the subpack;
  • FIG. 5 is a schematic illustration of a T-Cut subpack, showing how the various layer sections are joined to form the subpack;
  • FIG. 6 is a schematic illustration of an H-Cut subpack, showing how the various layer sections are joined to form the subpack;
  • FIG. 7A-7D are a series of views illustrating different configurations for ballistic panels that include subpacks made in accordance with the invention; and
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a vest including both a front panel and a back panel in accordance with the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • This invention relates to body armor and, in particular, to soft body armor panels for use in a garment that can be worn by, for example, a peace officer or a soldier. The invention is applicable to body armor of varying and different configurations. Some embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the attached drawings. The invention is not limited to these embodiments.
  • FIG. 1 is an illustration of a typical protective garment in the form of a vest 10 including front and back ballistic panels 12 and 14, respectively, which are configured to be worn over the front and back portions of a wearer's torso. The panels 12 and 14, themselves, are enclosed in ballistic material carriers 16 and 18, respectively. The carriers 16 and 18 are joined to each other by shoulder straps 20 having one end 22 stitched to the carrier 18 of the back panel 14. The other ends of the shoulder straps 20 are adjustably connected by hook and loop fasteners 24 to the carrier 16 of the front panel 12. In use, the panels 12 and 14 are secured together at the sides of the torso by side straps 26 having adjustable hook and loop fasteners 28 at one end and having opposite ends 29 secured by stitching or other suitable means to the carrier 18 of the back panel 14.
  • Each one of the panels 12 and 14 includes a number of subpacks, designated “30” herein when not referring to a particular panel configuration. A subpack is a plurality of layers (designated “32” herein when not referring to a particular layer configuration) of ballistic material, joined together as one unit, which unit is then joined with one or more additional subpacks to form a ballistic panel. This construction is shown schematically in FIG. 2 in which a number of subpacks 30 are joined together to form the panel 12. (The panel 12 described herein is exemplary; the back panel 14 may be similar.) A panel is made from a plurality of subpacks rather than only one, to provide improved performance and flexibility while minimizing weight.
  • The panel 12 (FIG. 1), which is flat and flexible, has an outline defined by an outer periphery (perimeter) 34 that is of a particular shape and which encloses the surface area of the panel. Each one of the plurality of subpacks 30 preferably has substantially the same outline as the overall panel 12. Each one of the plurality of subpacks 30 includes a plurality of layers 32 of ballistic material, each preferably having substantially the same outline as the overall subpack. As a result, all the layers 32 of all the subpacks 30 when placed atop each other, together form the panel 12 which has the outline defined by the outer periphery 34.
  • In at least one subpack 30 of the panel 12, one or more reinforcing strips is added to the combined layers 32 of ballistic material. Each strip is preferably a continuous piece of plastic without any openings therein. When the strip is applied to the fabric, there is open space around its perimeter. The strips are used reinforce specific, targeted areas, to provide added trauma protection at these areas. One suitable material is polypropylene. Materials other than plastic can be used.
  • A typical dimension for the reinforcing strips used in subpacks constructed in accordance with the present invention is 3″ wide (three inches in width) by the selected length (typically from 8″ to 12″, for example). Such strips are used on subpacks whose overall dimensions (height, width) are determined by the overall sizes of the vests, often in the 12″ to 18″ range. Other dimensions are possible.
  • In some cases, a subpack has more than one strip. In such a case, each strip is sewn on separately, with its own stitching sections. The strips may overlap each other.
  • As one example, FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration of an “I-Cut” subpack 40, in which a single reinforcing strip 42 extends vertically along the subpack, at a location centered laterally on the ballistic material. For an L-cut subpack 44 (FIG. 4) of similar dimensions, a single reinforcing strip 46 extends horizontally along the subpack. A T-Cut subpack 48 (FIG. 5) includes the features of both the I-Cut and the L-Cut subpacks, i.e., strips 50 and 52.
  • An H-cut subpack 54 (FIG. 6) includes a first reinforcing strip 56 extending vertically along the subpack near the left edge of the subpack. A second reinforcing strip 58 extends vertically along the subpack 54 near the right edge of the subpack. A third reinforcing strip 60 extends horizontally along the subpack.
  • A typical reinforcing strip used in a subpack constructed in accordance with the present invention covers about 5% of the surface area of the subpack. The range of coverage can be as much as about 20% to about 25% for one strip, or as little as about 2% to about 3% for one strip. The range of coverage can be as much as about 20% to about 50% or more for all strips in total. Of course, the reinforcing strips add stiffness, so there must be a balance between extra protection and flexibility.
  • The reinforcing strips are typically not oriented along the perimeter of the subpack, but rather typically extend across (along) the width or height of the subpack. The strips are thus typically oriented either vertically or horizontally on the subpack when it is being worn. As a result, the strips typically are, at their ends where they are closest to the perimeter, oriented perpendicular to the perimeter of the subpack.
  • Each reinforcing strip is typically secured by one to three parallel sew lines that extend along the length of the strip. The subpack may have perimeter stitching as is common, and that perimeter stitching may extend across the ends of the strips, but any such perimeter stitching is not the primary stitching that secures the strips to the ballistic material.
  • The sewing of the strips completes the formation of the subpack 30, if there is only one reinforcing strip in the subpack. If there is more than one reinforcing strip in the subpack, then the others are sewn on one at a time to complete the subpack.
  • A panel constructed in accordance with the present invention provides a reduction in blunt trauma to the wearer. When there is an impact directly on the reinforcing strip, the strip provides increased resistance to trauma (backface deformation). More reinforcing strips may provide more performance; thus, an H-Cut subpack can provide more benefit in this regard than, for example, an I-Cut subpack. Twisting and bunching is also reduced to some extent by the presence of one or more reinforcing strips.
  • The strips are located to provide trauma reduction where it may be considered to be most needed. For example, in the I-Cut configuration, its single vertically extending reinforcing strip is preferably laterally centered, to provide substantially increased trauma protection at the critical locations of the sternum and spine. In the L-Cut configuration, its single horizontally extending reinforcing strip is preferably placed at the location of the lower rib cage, and provides substantially increased trauma protection at that vulnerable area. The T-Cut configuration embodies both of these features. The H-Cut configuration provides two vertically extending reinforcing strips spaced apart laterally on either side of the sternum or spine, as well as a horizontally extending reinforcing strip at the location of the lower rib cage, to provide substantially increased trauma protection in all these locations.
  • This invention thus also relates to a method of making a ballistic panel for use in helping to protect a torso of a wearer of the panel, comprising the steps of providing a plurality of subpacks each including a plurality of layers of flexible ballistic material; identifying a surface portion of a first one of the plurality of subpacks that will overlie a specific vulnerable area of the wearer's torso when the panel is worn by the wearer, the surface portion being located inward of the outer periphery of the first subpack; sewing a reinforcing strip to the first subpack to cover the identified surface portion of the first subpack, by a stitching section that does not extend along the perimeter of the first subpack; and assembling the first subpack with the remaining subpacks of the plurality of subpacks, to form the ballistic panel. The reinforcing strip provides added trauma protection at the vulnerable area when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  • FIG. 7A illustrates portions of a build diagram for building one exemplary vest panel 70 in accordance with the present invention. The vest panel includes five subpacks 71-75. The strike face subpack 71 does not have any reinforcing strips. The next inner subpack 72 is formed using an L-Cut reinforcing strip. The next inner (middle) subpack 73 is formed using an I-Cut reinforcing strip. The next inner subpack 74 does not have any reinforcing strips. The body side subpack 75 is formed using a T-Cut reinforcing strip.
  • FIG. 7B illustrates portions of a build diagram for building another exemplary vest panel 80 in accordance with the present invention. The vest panel 80 includes five subpacks 81-85. The strike face subpack 81 does not have any reinforcing strips. The next inner subpack 82 is formed using an L-Cut reinforcing strip. The next inner (middle) subpack 83 is formed using an I-Cut reinforcing strip. The next inner subpack 84 is formed using an H-Cut reinforcing strip. The body side subpack 85 does not have any reinforcing strips.
  • FIG. 7C illustrates portions of a build diagram for building another exemplary vest panel 90 in accordance with the present invention. The vest panel 90 includes five subpacks 91-95. The strike face subpack 91 does not have any reinforcing strips. The next inner subpack 92 is formed using an H-Cut reinforcing strip. The next inner (middle) subpack 93 does not have any reinforcing strips. The next inner subpack 94 is formed using a T-Cut reinforcing strip. The body side subpack 95 does not have any reinforcing strips.
  • FIG. 7D illustrates portions of a build diagram for building another exemplary vest panel 100 in accordance with the present invention. The vest panel 100 includes five subpacks 101-105. The strike face subpack 101 does not have any reinforcing strips. The next inner subpack 102 is formed using an I-Cut reinforcing strip. The next inner (middle) subpack 103 is formed using an H-Cut reinforcing strip. The next inner subpack 104 is formed using an L-Cut reinforcing strip. The body side subpack 105 does not have any reinforcing strips.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates that a vest 110 can include both a front panel 112 and a back panel 114 in accordance with the invention.

Claims (16)

  1. 1. A method of making a ballistic panel for use in helping to protect a torso of a wearer of the panel, comprising the steps of:
    providing a plurality of subpacks each including a plurality of layers of flexible ballistic material;
    identifying a surface portion of a first one of the plurality of subpacks that will overlie a specific vulnerable area of the wearer's torso when the panel is worn by the wearer, the surface portion being located inward of the outer periphery of the first subpack;
    sewing a reinforcing strip to the first subpack to cover only the identified surface portion of the first subpack, by a stitching section that does not extend along the perimeter of the first subpack; and
    assembling the first subpack with the remaining subpacks of the plurality of subpacks, to form the ballistic panel;
    the reinforcing strip providing added trauma protection at the vulnerable area when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  2. 2. A method as set forth in claim 1 wherein the vulnerable area of the wearer's torso is the sternum/spinal area and the reinforcing strip is sewn on the subpack to extend generally vertically on the panel at a location centered laterally on the panel when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  3. 3. A method as set forth in claim 1 wherein the vulnerable area of the wearer's torso is the lower rib cage area and the reinforcing strip is sewn on the subpack to extend generally horizontally on the panel overlying the lower rib cage area when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  4. 4. A method as set forth in claim 1 wherein the sewing step includes sewing only a single reinforcing strip, which extends generally vertically on the subpack at a location centered laterally on the panel when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  5. 5. A method as set forth in claim 1 wherein the vulnerable area of the wearer's torso is the sternum/spinal area and the lower rib cage area, and the sewing step includes sewing a first reinforcing strip that extends generally vertically on the subpack at a location centered laterally on the panel when the panel is worn by the wearer and a second reinforcing strip that extends generally horizontally on the panel overlying the lower rib cage area when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  6. 6. A method as set forth in claim 1 wherein the reinforcing strip is a single rectangular piece of plastic extending parallel to and being shorter than a horizontal or vertical extent of the panel.
  7. 7. A ballistic panel as set forth in claim 6 wherein the reinforcing strip is about three inches wide.
  8. 8. A ballistic panel as set forth in claim 1 wherein each reinforcing strip on the panel is linear.
  9. 9. A ballistic panel for use in helping to protect a torso of a wearer of the panel, comprising:
    a plurality of subpacks each including a plurality of layers of flexible ballistic material;
    a first one of the plurality of subpacks having a portion that will overlie a specific vulnerable area of the wearer's torso when the panel is worn by the wearer, the portion being located inward of the outer periphery of the first subpack;
    a reinforcing strip overlying only the identified portion of the first subpack; and
    a stitching section that secures the reinforcing strip to the identified portion of the first subpack, the stitching section not extending along the perimeter of the first subpack;
    the reinforcing strip providing added trauma protection at the vulnerable area when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  10. 10. A ballistic panel as set forth in claim 9 wherein the vulnerable area of the wearer's torso is the sternum/spinal area and the reinforcing strip extends generally vertically on the panel at a location centered laterally on the panel when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  11. 11. A ballistic panel as set forth in claim 9 wherein the vulnerable area of the wearer's torso is the lower rib cage area and the reinforcing strip extends generally horizontally on the panel overlying the lower rib cage area when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  12. 12. A ballistic panel as set forth in claim 9 containing only a single reinforcing strip, which extends generally vertically on the panel at a location centered laterally on the panel when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  13. 13. A ballistic panel as set forth in claim 9 wherein the vulnerable area of the wearer's torso is the sternum/spinal area and the lower rib cage area, and including a first reinforcing strip that extends generally vertically on the panel at a location centered laterally on the panel when the panel is worn by the wearer and a second reinforcing strip that extends generally horizontally on the panel overlying the lower rib cage area when the panel is worn by the wearer.
  14. 14. A ballistic panel as set forth in claim 9 wherein the reinforcing strip is a single rectangular piece of plastic extending parallel to and being shorter than a horizontal or vertical extent of the panel.
  15. 15. A ballistic panel as set forth in claim 14 wherein the reinforcing strip is about three inches wide.
  16. 16. A ballistic panel as set forth in claim 9 wherein each reinforcing strip on the panel is linear.
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Cited By (1)

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US20140250555A1 (en) * 2013-03-05 2014-09-11 Richard A. Carlson Ballistic material with structural stays

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