What can you say? It’s a balaclava. If you need one, this one is very nicely put together and I’ve liked it since I saw it at SHOT Show. The Assault Balaclava FR is made from TenCate Defender 5.5oz mesh which has a nice hand and won’t make you sweat like a pig in hot weather. It can be worn in either an “eyes exposed only” mode or “full face exposed” manner. You control your ventilation so you won’t overheat or fog your goggles up. Plus, it’s FR.
SSD made this visit to DuPont back in August of 2010. The post offers a great look at the advantages of FR materials.
DuPont’s Spruance facility in Richmond, Virginia recently hosted SSD for an in depth look at Fire Resistance and Ballistic Protection.
Back in the 60s a new class of fabrics was developed, called Aramids with DuPont at the forefront of their creation. Two fabrics in this class have become the cornerstones of modern Soldier Survivability; Kevlar and Nomex. They provide Ballistic and Fire protection respectively. Kevlar was initially developed by DuPont for tire belts but not put to its current use until the early 70s. Nomex on the other hand was quickly integrated into flying and space suits not long after its creation.
The most compelling portion of the visit was the ThermoMan lab. Composed of 122 sensors, ThermoMan was designed with the assistance of NC State. In addition to the mannequin, there is also a skin burn injury model that takes data collected at the sensors and displays how a thermal threat would equate to an injury to the human body. One interesting aspect of the ThermoMan over other testing methods such as the commonly used vertical flame test is that the ThermoMan tests not only the material’s performance but also the garment’s overall design and construction. This is a critical factor in protecting a wearer from thermal threats. If a flame can get inside a garment then the wearer might as well not be wearing FR at all. Interestingly, the pocket configuration of the issue flight suit is designed to provide additional protection for the wearer by doubling the layers of Nomex in certain key areas. Testing has revealed that most injuries actually occur after the flame threat is removed and the wearer is subjected to residual heat retained by the garment.
We witnessed two burns consisting of a 3 second burn delivering 6 calories. It is intended to replicate a JP4 fire. In the first burn, an issue CWU-27/P US issue flight suit manufactured from Nomex III.
As you can see, minimal damage was sustained by the ThermoMan due to the material and design of the flight suit. it is important to note that while the ThermoMan does a great job predicting injuries, actual injuries may vary due to a wearers body and the fit of the garment. Experience has shown that 1% injury equates to 1 day in the hospital. In this case, the ThermoMan indicated 7% injuries.
In the second, a similar looking flight suit manufactured from 65/35 PolyCotton was subjected to the same threat. PolyCotton, a mixture of 65% Polyester and 35% Cotton is commonly found in Chinese made garments. There IS a place for this fabric, but as you will see in the video, it isn’t in a flame threat environment. Rather, PolyCotton is a cool fabric and very good for use in warm climates. The choice of materials goes back to our recent article concerning knowing your equipment, the threat, and environmental conditions and making an informed choice about which equipment to choose. As you can see the PolyCotton not only caught on fire but it continued to burn even after a direct flame was removed. In this case, the ThermoMan sustained 75% injuries.
During our visit to the ballistics lab we witnessed a demonstration of testing of an armor vest and were introduced to the various apparatus used during testing. Additionally, we were given the opportunity to try out first hand correctional armor which is designed to stop stab and puncture threats. We were amazed at how much differently ballistic and correctional armor reacted to the icepick type of shiv commonly found in correctional facilities. The bottom line is that correctional armor works.
We were fortunate enough to be able to discuss a variety of current Soldier Systems issues with the DuPont team but probably the most important message we got was that DuPont is constantly looking at new ways to use their flagship products. Adaptability is the key as they not work to improve the performance of their materials but also as they seek new ways to use their products as well as combine them with other fibers.
While in years past many vendors would have pushed monolithic solutions to threats, it makes more sense now to develop hybrid solutions that combine multiple fibers into a more robust material. This way, the best characteristics of different materials can be combined into a common solution.
Overall, the meeting was excellent and we left with a greater appreciation of the level of commitment DuPont has to protecting our troops and public safety professionals.
Winter’s coming. I’ve had a pair of these new FR Assault Gloves for a couple of months now. While they aren’t a full on winter glove, they are great for weapon handling and other tasks that require dexterity. I’ve long been a fan of the Bird’s ergonomic glove patterning. One feature I really like is the touch screen friendly fingertips because I hate having to take gloves off and put them back on, over amd over again, each time I need to use a mobile device.
Made from Tencate’s 10 oz Defender-M interlock fabric along with goat leather for FR. The gloves also incorporate utility loops for stowage and a cut off option for the index finger.
Announced during SHOT Show, the new Assault Glove FR follows the new LEAF policy of naming products after what they are intended to be used for. This name is pretty straight forward, letting you know it’s a glove, intended to be used for assaulting aka shooting and other combat related tasks and that it’s Flame Resistant.
They are made from TenCate Defender-M 10 oz interlock fabric combined with washable goat leather knuckles and Touch Sensor Tsunami leather on the palms and fingertips. This makes them not only FR but also compatible with touch sensor screens. Additionally, the gloves incorporate utility loops for stowage and a cut off option for the index finger.
Available in Crocodile, sizes Small – XXLarge. The Assault Glove FR is in stock at many tactical stores. for further information, visit leaf.arcteryx.com
The tubular Recon Wrap offers 8 functions in 1 product that can be worn in several ways and replaces the bandana for camp chores.
While the standard Spec-Ops Brand Recon Wrap is extremely popular, it is not FR. Owner Jeff Wemmer has always been a great friend to the military and wanted to introduce an FR versions for folks using it in an operational environment. Wemmer worked with DuPont to produce the Coyote dyed Nomex knit. It’s been on the market for awhile but it’s something I thought many of you might be interested in. The FR model is Coyote but the standard version is offered in a variety of colors including MultiCam print.
When Arc’teryx Launched their 2015 LEAF line during SHOT Show they held something back. For years, customers have been asking Arc’teryx for FR Versions of their combat clothing. They listened and the results are variants of the new Enhanced Combat Uniform Assault Pant and Shirt in FR Defender-M fabric from TenCate.
Vancouver BC (June 2015) – For when mission critical doesn’t always include comfort, ARC’TERYX LEAF presents its new Assault Shirt FR and Assault Pant FR – specifically designed to deliver the ultimate in fire protection, durability and lightweight comfort for a range of military and law enforcement activities.
Applying its technical expertise to create functional designs that are the hardest wearing in the field, ARC’TERYX LEAF delivers its most protective and purposeful combat uniform to date with these two new designs that emphasize movement and function, while also focusing on safety with TenCate Defender M with Coolderm™ Technology. Lightweight and breathable, TenCate Defender M with Coolderm™ Technology wicks moisture and perspiration away from the skin, minimizing discomfort in high-heat environments. Created to give troops an extra margin of protection, this everyday textile also utilizes Lenzing FR® fiber, a cellulosic fiber that helps to provide additional heat and flame resistance for improved protection.
Technical, fully featured, and suitable for a variety of combat applications, the Assault Shirt FR is an all-round combat shirt that is designed to fit while wearing body armor or a chest rig. As part of a layering system, the shirt is patterned to allow room for a full range of unrestricted motion and move easily over a next-to-skin layer without binding. Constructed with flame resistant and no melt/no drip textiles, the Assault Shirt FR includes air permeable underarm mesh for breathability and the clean efficient design and meticulous craftsmanship ensure long-term performance.
Designed to work in conjunction with the Assault Shirt FR, the Assault Pant FR is a fully featured flame resistant technical pant appropriate for assault assignments. The reinforced seat, knees and gusseted crotch of the Assault Pant FR provides significant durability and allow enhanced user mobility. The spacious fit allows for seasonal layering, while articulation in the knees and seat allows a full range of unrestricted motion. Integrated pockets in the knees fit removable soft kneepads and/or LEAF Knee Caps. Six pockets are thoughtfully placed for operational function and are equipment compatible.
Emphasizing fire protection, enhanced movement and specific function, the new Assault FR combat uniform delivers unmatched capabilities.
We recently wrote about the new Army Combat Shirt – Type II created specifically for use with the Soldier Plate Carrier System. Many readers seemed displeased with that Army directed design and mentioned several attributes they’d like to see in an improved design. Massif is already one step ahead of you with their new Advanced 1/4 Zip Combat Shirt (FR).
This commercially available FR combat shirt incorporates a 1/4 zip polo style collar along with increased printed FR fabric that extends down the aide of the garment to increase camouflage. Additionally, the SuperFabric elbows will accept padding.
Offered in Black, OD and MultiCam sizes XS – XXXL.
The US Army is fielding an updated version of the Army Combat Shirt called the Type II (still in OEF-CP). The ACS Type II has a narrower torso to accommodate the SPC which requires the shirt to offer more camo coverage on the yoke, chest, and sides. Massif is selling an ACS Type II, with slight fit modifications, but the same camo/solid configuration as the Army’s. As you can see it also incorporates a zippered, polo-style collar.
XGO has quite a few new items but is like to share two with you.
The Montana Wool 1.0 is made from wool sheared in, you guessed it, Montana. It is 100% Merino wool meaning natural no melt / no drip, anti-microbial, and at 152 grams warm when wet. It is anatomically cut with clean seam for comfort. In addition to drop shoulders it has two extra inches in length to remain tucked in. Seen below is Treebark with Blaxk and Desert as and also coming late March, early April.
The Hybrid is meant for workouts and incorporates their Phase 1 fabric with the FR rib, vented fabric. Oddly enough, the FR fabric used in this garment is highly stretchable and breathable and both fabrics are highly durable. Available in Desert Sand.