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Gun violence in the US has spiked in recent years. According to Pew Research, 44% of Americans say they personally know someone who has been intentionally or unintentionally shot, and 23% claim someone has used a gun to intimidate them or a member of their family.

As a result, body armor has become a direct-to-consumer industry. The standard Kevlar material that is still widely used in the marketplace has many drawbacks. Because it quickly absorbs moisture, Kevlar is sensitive to environmental factors and can be ineffective when wet – which is a major drawback considering the consequences of failed body armor.

However, new bullet-resistant vests and shields are based on technology previously available only to military and law enforcement. The material that provides the armor with better capabilities is graphene, which is 50,000 times smaller than a human hair and 30 times stronger than steel yet one-sixth of the weight.

Protek graphene technology licensed from ATEK Defense Systems is used by Citizen Armor in the creation of bullet-resistant vests, backpacks, shields, etc. 

The graphene armor provides unparalleled protection, with the ability to take multiple rounds while remaining flexible, lightweight and comfortable.

According to Citizen Armor, Protek slashes body armor weight by up to 66% compared with traditional vests, keeping armor soft and flexible enough to wear for prolonged periods. It also has been proven to function effectively even after complete submersion in water – something that can’t be said for Kevlar or other traditional aramid fibers.

Several materials on the market today are capable of stopping a bullet, but that doesn’t mean they’re providing the level of protection needed. That’s because the trauma of even a stopped bullet can render a victim injured at best and incapacitated at worst. Known as back face signature (BFS), the trauma behind the vest can damage skin, muscle, bones and internal organs. The new vest is specifically engineered to reduce the amount of BFS to its wearers, according to ksl.com.