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September 25, 2003
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Important PoliceOne notes regarding Zylon

As Body Armor manufacturers continue to push the borders of weight and comfort, vests have become significantly more complex, in many cases using highly technologically sophisticated combinations of fabrics and fibers well as new production techniques. The recent statement from Second Chance that they will be offering a free upgrade of the Second Chance Ultima and Ultimax Zylon vests has created industry-wide concern that Zylon vests degrade rapidly and create an officer safety issue. The announcement comes in the wake of possible penetrations (Bullet Pierces Officer''s Vest During Drug Bust - Forest Hills, Penn.).

Due to these developments, it is important that all officers understand that vests are complex products and that the production processes as well as the materials used and the way the are combined differ significantly across manufacturers. There are a combination of factors that determine the weight and performance of vests as well as the rate of degradation (all vests degrade over time). PoliceOne recommends that departments run in-service ballistics tests on their vests every 6 months and replace vests when the manufacturer warrantee expires.

The most important thing is that officers continue to wear their vests and feel comfortable doing so. PoliceOne has spoken with most of the major Ballistic Vest manufacturers and all are confident in their vests performance and their production processes. PoliceOne recommends that departments and officers with concerns contact their manafucturer for details on ballistic tests they run both on vest lines and specific vest models.

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PoliceOne is continuing to research this important issue and will provide more information as it comes available. If any officer or departments have test results, comments or other information that they would like to share with Law Enforcement, please email us at editor@policeone.com.

In the meantime, please review the following statements:

Armor Holdings (Safariland, ABA, PROTECH):

- Important Message to Armor Holdings Customers about Zylon from CEO Steve Croskrey - PDF File (Download Adobe Acrobat Reader)

First Choice Body Armor:

- First Choice Response to Industry Comments Regarding Zylon

US Armor:

- U.S. Armor’s Position On Use Of Zylon In Ballistic Vests

Additional Information from Second Chance:

- Second Chance Announces Free Upgrade of Ultima/Ultimax Vests Citing Officer Safety Issue Related to Zylon Vests

- Second Chance Fact Room Q&A on Ultima Vest Upgrade and Second Chance Zylon Vests

- Letter from Second Chance President Regarding ULTIMA/ULTIMAX Upgrade



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