Tech Behind the Gear: Blauer® ArmorSkin™ and StreetShirt™
What is it that makes the system so unique?
The following is paid content sponsored by Blauer
By Greg Bogosian, PoliceOne Staff
With many officers hesitant to wear their concealed armor carriers due to comfort and overheating concerns, and an upcoming Federal mandate that officers wear their armor full-time in order for an agency to receive matching funds on armor purchases, Stephen began to look into the creation of a better option for external carriers. After years of research, testing, re-engineering, and re-testing, he developed a solution which solved all of the above problems and more: the ArmorSkin carrier, paired with the StreetShirt undershirt and an innovative suspension system.
The interior of the garment is lined with a breathable, abrasion-resistant mesh material to aid in heat dissipation from the body… always a concern for officers, but especially so in warmer climates and during summer months. This material also has anti-microbial properties for hygienic enhancement. Sewn securely to the interior are guide straps for the duty-belt suspension system, which will be talked about in more detail later in this article.
Small details show the high level of engineering which went into the carrier, as well, such as 4 different binding materials used in the construction of seams depending on their function: for example, the shoulder seam material is stretchable for movement and ease of body armor carrier strap pass-through, and the bottom hem is made from abrasion-resistant material (especially important with officers who choose to use a Velcro duty belt). The bottom of the garment in front and back has a “soft” edge which flexes below the armor for comfort while seated. The armholes are tapered to fit directly around the arm without gapping in coverage. There is a built-in mic tab centrally placed on the front placket, and a removable fabric tab attaches between two buttons on the front of the carrier to secure a tie bar if desired. Finally, in a nod to the engineering of Blauer’s popular SuperShirt, the pockets feature deployable reflective material for enhanced visibility when needed (remaining concealed when not).
StreetShirt: Design and Construction
This unique undershirt complements the ArmorSkin carrier by completing the look of a regular uniform shirt in both short- and long-sleeve configurations while maintaining a hidden benefit of enhanced heat dissipation and comfort. The arms, underarms, top placket, and collar are all made from the same standard uniform fabric (minus the thermoplastic lining fabric, as it is not needed here) as the carrier itself, and are designed to match the appearance of a regular uniform shirt: the long-sleeve version has a banded collar with collar stays and a 2-button sleeve, the short-sleeve version has a convertible sport collar, and both feature buttons on the placket. Sleeves accept a crease and patches, and the collars may be pressed. The epaulets were engineered to have a wide enough opening to pass a standard portable mic through without difficulty, for those officers who choose to do so.
From the mid-chest down, however, the shirt is constructed entirely of a breathable, stretchable, anti-microbial mesh material. This material is also abrasion-resistant for durability. The heat release and comfort afforded by this configuration greatly aid in preventing hyperthermia (a dangerous medical condition characterized by the body’s core temperature being too high) on the part of the officer, and offer an increased range of motion for tactical safety while still maintaining a professional appearance. One Massachusetts officer reported that he wore the configuration for 5 weeks before anyone at the agency noticed that it was not simply a regular uniform shirt. Again, as with the popular SuperShirt, the StreetShirt features deployable reflective material on the underside of the back of the collar, and inside the sleeves, which are not visible unless intentionally exposed by the officer.
Integratable Suspension System
The suspension system slides through well-placed loops at the shoulders, back, and front of the ArmorSkin carrier to keep the armor in-place while utilizing it, and is fully adjustable for balance and comfort across a wide variety of body types. By removing the weight from the officers’ hips and spine, and balancing the load of the duty gear, the system can both alleviate back and hip pain, and can help to prevent injuries from occurring both short- and long-term.
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