Believe it or not, the hoodie has been around for nigh on a century, beginning humbly as a garment to protect warehouse laborers in 1930s New York against the bone-numbing temperatures of winter.
Then in the late 2000s, London-based soft armor manufacturer Blade Runner claimed to have prototyped a hooded sweatshirt with a removable inner shell made up of Dyneema® material. To protect its mainly stateside customers from gun violence, the oh-so aptly named ‘Defender’ was, at least on paper, the world’s first ever bulletproof hoodie!
Fast forward to the present, is there such a thing as a bulletproof hoodie? If so, what’s up for grabs? And, most importantly, do they actually work--especially so that the head is protected? Here at Bulletproof Zone, we're tackling all this and more, so stick around!
Exactly what is a Bulletproof Hoodie?
Generally speaking, it's body armor in hoodie form.
As the latest evolution in ballistic clothing for everyday folks, a bulletproof hoodie combines the weather-beating qualities and cool casual look of a regular hooded top with strategically placed soft armor inserts.
The protective inserts are made with either Kevlar or Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene [UHMWPE]. These textiles form a stronger-than-steel net of densely woven and multi-stacked fibers designed to trap one or more incoming bullets.
At the same time, the protective material absorbs and disperses much of the energetic force of the projectile as well as flattening its tip into a less damaging mushroom-like shape.
How heavy is a Bulletproof Hoodie?
The weight depends on the size of the hoodie and its NIJ protection level. In general, the range runs from a light 4.5 lbs. for a Small IIA to around 9 lbs. for an XL IIIA.
Does a Bulletproof Hoodie actually work?
Let’s be upfront from the get-go: no apparel as exists today is truly bulletproof; strictly speaking, they're bullet resistant.
Even then, no such products can provide total on-the-go ballistic protection considering there are myriad factors influencing just how effective any item of bulletproof gear is against a bullet, like the proximity to the shooter, bullet caliber, and proper fit.
Still, all our bulletproof hoodies have been independently tested by National Institute of Justice [NIJ]-authorized ballistics labs, and each product is fully compliant with NIJ Standard 0101.06 and protect like any soft body armor.
That means if a hoodie is rated NIJ Level IIIA, it withstood at least 6 SJHP rounds from a .44 Magnum without penetration of the body armor.
So how do bulletproof hoodies hold up to being shot tested in the field?
Well, there aren’t any documented reports as yet of a bullet-resistant hoodie saving someone’s skin, but quite a few curious souls have vlogged themselves plugging all manner of ammo into test dummies wearing bullet-resistant hoodies. To prove a point, one .50 caliber Desert Eagle-toting citizen in particular tapped a bulletproof hoodie at point-blank range with dramatic results!
Of course, the mere mortals among us wouldn’t walk away entirely unscathed after taking a bullet while wearing a bulletproof hoodie; experiencing some degree of blunt force trauma is to be expected.
But odds are it'd prevent our untimely demise and we’d live to see another day.
As for whether bullet resistant hoodies offer head protection equal to that for your torso when you wear a soft armor hood over it, it's safest to assume no--not equal. Kevlar/UHMWPE armor inserts are designed and tested for torso impact. They're very effective for that purpose.
Any head hit is very bad news whether you're wearing armor over it or not, but having a bulletproof shield between your skull and that hit certainly won't hurt your survival odds!
What types of Bulletproof Hoodies are there?
Although bulletproof hoodies debuted over a decade ago, it’s only in the last couple of years that they’ve caught on, fueled by advances in materials science and the ever precarious age in which we find ourselves. So at the moment, there’s only some half-dozen products in the game.
Of these, the awesomely dubbed NIJ Level IIIA Wonder Hoodie is our bestseller in that category.
It’s the first of its kind to be engineered with added protection for the head (back and sides) in the hood. Not to mention, it features military style wrap-around body protection to shield the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys as well as non-vital organs of the torso from fatal injury.
And in case you were wondering if there's a bulletproof hoodie for kids, that would be a resounding yes! With schools being a prime target for mass shootings, the Wonder Hoodie is the only bulletproof hoodie on the market available in children’s sizes (or alternatively for our younger customers, there’s the Bulletblocker Level IIIA Bulletproof Youth Nylon Jacket).
Other features of the Wonder Hoodie include:
- Detachable waterproof vest casing incorporating 100% American made DuPont Kevlar (not the cut-price and weighty kind from China)
- Lifetime replacement warranty
- Complimentary trauma pad attached to each ballistic panel as an extra safeguard
- Dual layer of stab proof (stab resistant) fabric across the front, back, sides, sleeves, and hood
- Discreet UHMWPE panels in a pick of NIJ Level IIA, II, and IIIA
- An internal lining of anti-bacterial and moisture-wicking Coolmax® technology to keep the wearer fresh and dry
- Can be used ICW with UARM'S Weightless Plate Carrier which, when installed with NIJ Level III, III+ or IV ballistic plates, protects against shots from assault rifles
Should I invest in a Bulletproof Hoodie?
We won’t lie, bulletproof hoodies aren’t cheap; you’re looking at several hundred dollars a pop. Then again, we’re talking about an investment which could very well save your life and those of your nearest and dearest.
And in these economically tight times, we let you spread the cost of affording a bulletproof hoodie by offering a number of finance options to help (no pun intended) soften the blow. Plus, every order from Bulletproof Zone is eligible for free shipping anywhere in the continental United States and backed by our price match guarantee.
As to who should wear a bulletproof hoodie, honestly, only you can be the judge of that. For civilians, an argument can certainly be made for those living in a dicey neighborhood or whose line of work (such as bank personnel) or leisure interests (hunting, say) potentially puts them in a life or death situation.
Over to you! What do you think of bulletproof hoodies? Do you feel they're a welcome addition to one's wardrobe? Would you buy bulletproof clothing? What do you think would be the most likely outcome after sustaining a head shot wearing a Wonder Hoodie with the hood up? Fire away with your opinions!