FBINAA Associate Magazine Q3.2021


And sadly, membership in the club continues to grow. It’s up to 2116 as I’m writing this piece. While it is an appalling number, this group is more than a shocking statistic that reflects the danger inherent in law enforcement; it is a testament to the ubiquitous nature of armor and the efficacy of the materials that are currently available. The Safariland Saves Club is living proof that armor works. And Safariland continues to lead in armor innovation. The early Kevlar vests made by Second Chance were a firm foundation that Safariland continues to build on. Kevlar remains a go-to for soft armor design, and new material options allow for armor plates to be lighter, thinner, and even multi-hit capable. Take Safariland’s collaborations with Hardwire ®. The Hardwire Ballistic Panel is made of compressed Dyneema fibers. These tiny strands are all pressed together and the combined strength of the fibers creates Hardwire’s unique threat arresting properties. Dyneema is ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Anything described as having an ultra-high molecu - lar weight sounds like it would be heavy, but it isn’t—at least when compared to other materials common in body armor construction. Dyneema is renowned for being incredibly light. And the UHMWPE fibers are cut resistant. Unlike many materials, Dyneema is also resistant to UV deterioration. Hardwire has a proprietary procedure that presses the stra- tegically aligned fibers together with 25 million pounds of force. The resulting compression adds to the potential strength of the UHMWPE. When a projectile strikes a Hardwire plate, the force is dispersed along the lengths of these fibers and back into the projectile itself. The fibers allow for very little plate deformation. Hardwire has achieved a resilient barrier that can be pressed thin without sacrificing its threat-stopping efficacy. This translates into less bulk and less weight. Safariland’s Hardwire plates are the thinnest and lightest level II and IIIA ballistic panels available in soft body armor and weigh just .51 and .68 pounds per square foot for level II and IIIA, respectively. As with all armor, performance is key. And Hardwire has a solid pedigree. This armor will stand up to a range of special threat rounds above NIJ standards and the technology was originally developed for use by the elite U.S Special Operations Command and Marine Corps. But performance measures go way beyond how well a plate stops a threat. Those lightning-fast moments of critical performance are essential, but so too is the comfort level needed to ensure that LEOs can wear their armor comfortably, and that it won’t add unnecessary weight or bulk that could interfere with their daily duties. By combining Safariland’s proprietary ballistic panel shapes with carrier systems designed to maximize both comfort and protection, this latest generation of the Hardwire ballistic technology takes ballistic protection to a new level. These new Hardwire Level II and Level IIIA ballistic panels will be available for use in all of Safariland’s concealable and tactical vest designs and platforms.

DAVID HIGGINBOTHAM Back when the total number of Safariland Saves was still in just double digits, Agent Bob McCann was working undercover in Chicago. As McCann reports, he was on foot when he found a man injured in the street. But when agent McCann bent over the man to provide assistance, the man pressed a gun into Agent McCann’s stomach and demanded he hand over his wallet. THE CLUB A CLUB NO ONE ASKS TO JOIN A gent McCann didn’t capitulate, though, and identified him - self as an FBI agent. The man with the gun fired two rounds into McCann’s stomach. The agent survived the shooting with little more than bruis- ing on his abdomen. The two humble rimfire rounds were easily stopped by the Second Chance vest McCann was wearing during his undercover foot patrol. At contact distances, though, the shots could have been fatal. The only visible signs of the incident were what McCann described as “two strawberry bruise marks.” The incident was the 76th recorded incident of Safariland’s armor protecting an officer and McCann was admitted into The Saves Club—a club no one asks to join, but a club every member is proud to be part of.

While Hardwire may be at the heart of Safariland’s armor, carriers and vests remain critical components. Safariland has

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