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The luckiest man alive

  1. Mar 27, 2003 #1
    After Desert Storm I read a report on the effectiveness of those nifty kevlar helmets. Of all head shots sustained, none had pased through the helmet; they had all come through unprotected areas. Those helmets are so nifty.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2003 #2
    Oh, but the helmets are bulky, uncomfortable, and have a tendensy to slip over your eyes at the worst possible moment....that guy is pretty lucky, though.
  4. Mar 27, 2003 #3
    Seen pictures of it in the British media. I should think his family don't know whether to be happy or terrified.
  5. Mar 27, 2003 #4
    How can you consider getting shot in the head 4 times lucky?
    I think I'm far luckier for never getting shot in the head.
    I feel sorry for the guy, but I'd opt for a different adjective to describe him, "unfortunate" maybe.
  6. Mar 27, 2003 #5
    I think they mean that he's lucky for having survived it. Although, you do make an excellent point, that someone who has not gone through a horrific circumstance is technically more lucky than someone who has (even if that person happened to survive, or even make it through unscathed).
  7. Mar 27, 2003 #6
    Do the soldiers have bullet-proof vests? If not, why not?
  8. Mar 27, 2003 #7


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    Fortunate to be alive, certainly, but can you imagine this guy's headache?! I mean, helmet or no, bullets hit HARD.
  9. Mar 28, 2003 #8
    Even the 20 year old Iraqi ones!
  10. Mar 28, 2003 #9
    Hey LG, so far as I know the vests are only good for protection against less powerful weapons (handguns) and wouldn't stop a bullet from a high-powered rifle without having to be so thick that the soldiers would look like the Pilsbury Doughboy.
  11. Mar 28, 2003 #10


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    Greetings !

    Those helmets actually look pretty comfortable
    on the soldiers and for 500$ you'd think they
    can shape the ceramics pretty well.

    LG, yes they wear ceramic body armor. It's pretty
    expansive too. You can ussualy see it in blue
    on reporters. I don't know the exact kind they're
    using but this armor ussualy only has an average
    chance to stop an AK47 bullet at close range.
    At a distance, however, it is ussualy effective.
    Anyway, even if it stops the bullet, the impact
    is like a "well-swung" 5 kg (11 pounds) hammer
    and can sometimes do some serious internal damage.

    That soldier is EXTREMELY LUCKY ! Not only did
    the bullets not panetrate the helmet, they
    apparently slid across its surface. Otherwise,
    the impact of such a volley could've easily
    broken his neck.

    With no intention of turning this into a
    laughing matter, I'd like to say that such
    an experience can be a positive frame of
    mind changing experience. Certainly better
    in such a role than actually being hit
    yourself or seeing someone else getting shot.

    Live long and prosper.
  12. Mar 28, 2003 #11
    That's interesting drag, so now I want to tell a quick one about the father of an old friend;
    He decided to commit suicide and fired a .22 caliber (short?) bullet into his mouth. I’m not sure I remember all the details but think that the angle he had been holding the pistol caused the bullet to strike the inside front part of his skull. The bullet traveled across the top of his skull and came to rest at the back of his head. It had simply followed the shape of his cranium and the man lived another 10 or 15 years.
    This man’s son, and my friend who was big into every kind of drug, joked about it and would say “….what a trip that must have been…” :smile:

    Lesson learned; better make it at least a .22 magnum

    My memory isn't clear on this and the bullet might actually have struck the back of his skull and traveled to the front of his head coming to rest between the eyes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2003
  13. Dec 24, 2004 #12

    Actually, putting metal plate inserts into a kevlar vest is the usual method for stopping rifle rounds IIRC. Its not that bulky, but it does leave a few weak spots in between the plates. But the plates will stop a rifle bullet, maybe not at point blank, but definitely at range.

    And living or not, i imagine it would still hurt like hell.
  14. Dec 24, 2004 #13
    This is why you can't really accuse a robber with a .22 of assault with a deadly weapon.
  15. Dec 24, 2004 #14
    I've had the opportunity to wear the (US) versions of the kevlar vest and helmet for extended periods, so I'd like to offer a few comments on them.

    The helmet is not particularly heavy. If you wear it all day, your neck will be sore, but it doesn't take long to adapt to it. The most uncomfortable feature was the nylon webbing in the top, which would wear a bald spot in the top of your head. Most soldiers combatted this by putting a foam pad or folded up T-shirt in the top. Overall, I would rate the helmets as excellent for what they were designed to do (protect against blunt trauma and explosive fragments.) That they stop bullets quite often is a nice added benefit. :smile: I took at least one fall where my kevlar helmet hit a rock with such force my friend who was 50 feet away came running to see what the loud crack was. I didn't even have a headache after the impact (although my knee wasn't so lucky.)

    The best story I heard about the kevlar helmet involved an American soldier in Panama. He was supposedly captured by the Panamaniam Defense Forces, at which point they put a pistol to his head, pulled the trigger, and left him for dead. He woke up some time leter with a sore neck, a headache, and a bullet lodged in his kevlar helmet. I've never seen an idependent verification of this story (i.e., a news article) but it sounds plausible, at least with a small caliber handgun.

    As for the body armor, it isn't meant to stop bullets at all, but rather fragments from grenades, artillery, etc. Historically, these types of projectiles have killed more soldiers in the last 50 years than bullets. Some aviators (helicopter pilots and crewmen in particular) wore a vest over the body armor with metal plates in them (chicken plates) which were designed to stop bullets to the chest area. The plates were pretty heavy and most of the aviators I knew didn't even want to wear theirs, so I think they would add too much weight to the typical foot soldier.
  16. Dec 25, 2004 #15
    Those US military helmets are based on German WW1 design.
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