We’ve all seen pictures of what a kevlar helmet has the potential of stopping. While deployed the second time one of our sister companies had a driver hit in the head by the remains of an EFP (explosively formed projectile) after blowing through the side of his MRAP, and the kevlar actually saved his life. While the basic kevlar helmet has gone through several versions it remains redumentally what it started out as, the PASGT: standing for Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops.
In the U.S. military, the PASGT helmet was most commonly known by its wearers as simply, the “Kevlar”. The nickname has since been adopted for usage with other helmets. The PASGT helmet was also referred to by its wearers in the U.S. military, as the “K-pot”, similar in name to the colloquial nickname “steel pot” for the M1 steel helmet, which was in widespread U.S. military usage from the 1940s, to the 1980s.
The shell is made from 19 layers of Kevlar, a ballistic aramid fabric treated with a phenolic resin system and is rated at a Threat Level IIIA as per DARPA, USMC and USA and offers protection against shrapnel and ballistic threats. It meets the 1800 requirement of MIL-STD-662 E. It weighs from 3.1 lb (1,410 g) (size extra small) to 4.2 lb (1,910 g) (extra large).
The PASGT helmet is also used by various SWAT teams and also used by United Nations Peacekeeping forces.
So unhindered, and at close proximity, what happens when one of these Kevlar helmets is hit by a variety of bullets? Below are some pictures of experimentation my brother and I did. The rounds we used were common soft point bullets aside from the .22 LR, and not full metal jackets.
It should be noted that we did not have a .223 weapon available at the time and didn’t get a chance to see what that common round would do at close proximity. We also wanted to hit it with a 12 gauge slug and buck shot; but my shot gun was at home. A few more rounds for next time I guess.
We hit it with a .38 special twice and the round simply disintegrated.
While the .22 LR also disintegrated it did cause a slight bubbling inside.
As seen in the picture, the .308 passed clean trough unhindered. The kevlar was slightly off cantor and the bullet came out lower than we wanted; but the point comes across.
Like the .308, the .270 also passed through cleanly.
The lesson here is that while all ballistic equipment can and is designed to save your life; don’t make the assumption that it will. Armor up if that is your prepping style; but don’t be stupid.
Not that you are concerned; but we did have hearing protection and eye protection.