Some Bullet-Resistant Vests May Be Defective

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Doglips, Oct 3, 2002.

  1. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    1* I figured this would be of intrest to you...not sure what vest you all use in Texas....

    To Save and Protect
    Some Bullet-Resistant Vests
    May Be Defective

    By Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz
    and David Scott

    Oct. 1 — Most police officers and federal agents across the country wear bullet-resistant vests made by one company in Florida. They say they trust these vests to protect their very lives. Now some of their vests are being called into question.

    Point Blank, the Oakland Park, Fla.-based manufacturer, turns out more than 1,000 vests a week and company officials say the vests have saved the lives of hundreds of police officers. The company claims its vests have never failed when worn in the line of duty.
    "This company is about saving lives," said Ronda Graves, the Chief Operations Manager at Point Blank. "It has been for 30 years."

    But a New York State Labor Department investigation concluded last week that at least 900 of the Point Blank vests worn by New York city police officers were defective, based on tests done by the NYPD.

    Allegedly Defective Vests Taken Out of Commission

    And now a total of some 6,300 vests from similar lots, more than one-fourth of all Point Blank vests worn by NYPD officers, are being taken out of service and returned to Point Blank, according to a company spokesman.

    "That company should be terrified that that happened," said Pat Lynch, the president of the New York Police Benevolent Association. "That is the sole reason you wear that piece of equipment — bullet resistance, to stop that vest. And it didn't do it."

    But according to the report of a New York State Labor investigation obtained by ABCNEWS, based on tests by the NYPD, at least 900 of the Point Blank vests worn by NYPD city police were defective, and "one vest tested did have full penetration from a single gunshot."

    A separate test of a vest done by a law firm suing Point Blank for alleged mismanagement showed that most bullets were stopped but fragments of some .357-caliber hollow point bullet rounds got through.

    Police union officials said the vest should have prevented that. "[If] that vest doesn't work, you're gonna be carried by six of your fellow police officers," said Lynch. "And that's just wrong."

    Today, the law firm of Milberg Weiss, which had carried out their own videotaped test of the Point Blank vests, filed a lawsuit on behalf of shareholders for alleged mismanagement, including charges that the company that makes the vests had cut corners in production. A company spokesman said they had not yet seen the lawsuit and had no comment.

    "This is another form of corporate irresponsibility, of where corporate officers knowingly ship defective product in order to boost the revenue of the company to benefit themselves financially," said attorney Bill Lerach, a partner at Milberg Weiss.

    ‘No One’s Vest Is Bulletproof’

    In 1996, Point Blank chairman and principal shareholder David Brooks, a former stockbroker, was prevented from listing his company on the NASDAQ exchange because of what was termed his "history of serious security law violations."

    Brooks would not talk with ABCNEWS but assigned Graves to defend the company's vests.

    "I do not sell bulletproof vests," Graves said. "We sell ballistic resistant or stab resistant armor."

    "No one's vest is bulletproof," she said.

    Graves says the company would never cut corners in the production of the vests and asserts and that the NYPD and other tests were not done properly and used bullets the current NYPD vests were not designed to stop.

    "The vests did not fail," Graves said.

    But if the bullets went through the vests, do they not call that a failure?

    "The vests were not defective," she said, "the testing was defective."

    "The testing was done properly," said Lynch. "The testing was put on a mannequin and fired at. What kind of testing do you need to do? If it's supposed to stop a certain round, a certain kind of bullet, it should be stopping that round and it didn't."

    Point Blank and the NYPD told ABCNEWS that they are in discussions about replacing the allegedly defective vests with new vests from the company.
  2. oneastrix

    oneastrix G&G Newbie

    Well, I wear PAC, not Point Blank, but Point Blank is a very reputable brand just the same. When you drop a grand on the darn things, you expect them to work!

    Never ever fully trust one though.It's just an extra source of protection. The best was is to avoid the bullet in the first place!

  3. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    I seen this and figured you would be more or less inpacted by it...the things are expensive...just hate to see someone get hurt because they did not read the news/recall....Im lucky the bigest danger on my job is the Racoons stealing my lunch or getting a paper cut turning the pages on my book..:)
  4. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    A "ballistic vest" is added protection, and if I was an LEO I'd appreciate that, but they aren't 100% safe. Nothing is. Any protective device is a compromise, and flukes happen.
    No doubt more testing is warranted - at taxpayer expense.
    I have also read on another site that the vests have a "shelf life" based on exposure to light, wear&tear of the fibers, etc. Some PD's have vests that are far beyond their designed life expectancy for effectiveness.
  5. Klaus

    Klaus Guest

    This looks like a BS sensationalist story. They carefully do NOT mention the threat level the vests were designed for, how they were "tested", or even what the alleged defect was!!! Only the most ignorant of people would imagine that soft body armor would make one impervious to all bullets.
  6. Test them on death row inmates before issue.
    There is some testing going on now with making vests with the milk of genetically altered goats. The goats milk contains strands of spider silk. Sounds weird, but its in this months National Geographic.
  7. MikeC

    MikeC G&G Newbie

    The story I saw showed someone firing at a dummy with the vest strapped on. They were firing .357 lead and JHP rounds. The flaw was that in some cases bullets or pieces of bullets penetrated the vests. Of course, no mention of whether the penetration would have been lethal or life threatening.
  8. Klaus

    Klaus Guest

    Well, what kind of dummy was it? Was it designed to simulate human tissue, or was it a store mannequin? Was the vest rated at that threat level, ie: magnums at close range? What was the velocity of the rounds? Was it one shot, or multiple shots? As you know, these factors have a huge effect in the perfomance of the vests. Did the report actually show that the vests failed to stop penetration, of a single shot, at the manufacturer's specified threat level for the specific vest in question? If not, then the reporters certainly did test them incorrectly. That is like saying a Honda Civic is defective if it fails to carry 3/4 ton of bricks to a construction site without damage.
  9. MikeC

    MikeC G&G Newbie

    Klaus, The report said that the testers tested using approved standards, of course, who knows.... When I wore one of those things, not that brand, I always wondered if it would work.
  10. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    Lots of good ?? and Im sure laywers on both sides will be asking them...the artical was on ABC.Com and was brief.........I posted the entire artical I found...I have no reason to wear a vest in my line of neighboorhood may be....but for the people that do wear and bet their lifes on the things ANY ? of there functioning to me would be a very impotant for the test...I dontt know..I dont know if they used trama plates or shot the things in the side...course the vest dont stop head shoots.
  11. Klaus

    Klaus Guest

    Or leg shots. Most rifle rounds will punch right through. And even if the bullet does not penetrate, it still can do serious damage. I wear kevlar on occasion, but it is far better to take advantage of cover and limit exposure to flying lead. This reminds me of that "Corky Romano" movie, where the police chief was freaking out because the bad guys were using .75 caliber AUTOCANNONS that could penetrate soft body armor.