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Image courtesy Garrison BespokeIf high school proms are any guide, males are generally immune to clothing envy. I know I’m making gender-based generalizations here, but nobody ever saw two jocks throwing down in front of the punch bowl while yelling “I picked that tux first, you b*tch!” Having said that, I will now confess to some clothing envy myself because a Toronto custom tailor can build you a carbon nanotube business suit with Level III-A protection that’s almost indistinguishable from a typical wool suit . . .

Oil executives wear them in the Middle East, our Presidents are rumored to wear them on Inauguration Day, and you can have one too if you’ve got $20,000 and a lot of patience. (If only Ambassador Christopher Stevens had had one in Benghazi…) Each Garrison Bespoke bulletproof suit is handmade of a proprietary armor-grade carbon nanotube fabric (similar to Rynohide) and offers approximately Level III-A protection against pistol calibers and fragmentation.

The next-generation fibers give these suits approximately one-half the weight of a similar suit with a level of protection from Kevlar or Spectra.

Carbon nanotubes are believed to be The Next Big Thing in armor development, with significantly higher hardness and blunt-trauma resistance than Kevlar or Spectra fibers and with vastly higher shatter resistance than ceramics. Other carbon-nanotube soft body armor in development has demonstrated the ability to completely block (and bounce away) all common pistol calibers from all ranges and at all angles of incidence.

Image courtesy Bullet Proof Vest Shop

You don’t need to spend $20K to be a bulletproof fashion plate, but other boardroom-friendly body armor is much bulkier and heavier. This Level III-A sportcoat is made of current Kevlar or Spectra fibers, for instance. It costs ‘only’ $800 and up, but it weighs nearly seven pounds just for the jacket. It might not be immediately noticeable at a distance, but it’s definitely hot and heavy. And not in a good way.

OTOH, you won’t have to wait months or years to have it delivered…

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  1. I’ve been hearing about carbon nanotubes for about 12 years, they sound like they could be used for just about everything, from electronics, to spacecraft, and some are suggesting that they can be coupled with nanotech to make, well, just about everything.

    • Yep, and that’s part of the problem.

      What you get, property-wise, depends strongly on the type of tube (single vs multiwall, diameter, length, doping, etc.) as well as how you assemble the tubes into … well, whatever it is you’re making. So you need to both control and understand what your manufacturing processes are doing at all stages and on a very small length scale to be sure you get what you’re intending to.

      As you move towards more esoteric applications, such as superconductors, light emitting diode equivalents, or hydrogen storage, it gets harder and harder to do that.

      So yeah, they’re exciting stuff, but there’s a long ways to go. A good analogy might be the iron/steel industry, before the Bessemer process and analytical chemistry.

    • They’ve been in use for the better part of a decade that I remember anyway. They are used in a wide array of composite materials as a strengthening additive (like a carbon rebar if you will allow some license).

      Wind turbine parts, blades, surfboards, arrows, skis, bike stuff like cranks, risers, seats, wheels…

      The uses grow everyday as a well as the applications that are fleshed out. There’s a wide variety of types, shapes, and sizes of tubes as well as different methods of manufacture.

  2. What about just a pair of boxer shorts? You know, just enough to protect the really important vitals.

  3. I hope he has a bulletproof face too. Maybe they could make some spray application of this carbon nanotubes? yea? Spray it on his face and head.

    I think they should make school uniforms out of it.

  4. This suit would have done Ambassador Stevens no good whatsoever. He died of smoke inhalation. In the bullet proof safe room at the consulate.

  5. I heard that Clinton jogged in a shirt made by Second Chance, but I was pretty sure the burgers would kill him first.

  6. There are neighborhoods where I used to hang where a nice suit would make you a prime target. That said, if I could afford that suit, I’d be living in a neighborhood where I didn’t need one.

  7. So still largely useless versus a rifle. Which is what will usually be shot at you on most of the planet.

    Please try getting most CEOs to wear one. They never listen to you, you’re just there to protect them.

    As usual most of these will go to those who have no real use for them but can afford the expensive and hard to get.

    • > So still largely useless versus a rifle.

      Still better than a normal sportcoat.

      > As usual most of these will go to those who have no real use for them but can afford the expensive and hard to get.

      I know I’d get one if I had the money. So far I’ve been shot at exactly zero times, but whatever.

      • No it isn’t really better than nothing. See the resistance of ineffective body armor can actually make rifle rounds more damaging. Deformation and fragmentation can be a real bitch.

        Armor has to match the threat, pistols aren’t exactly the major threat around the globe.

        There are other threats, like explosives, but in the cases where they tend to be most lethal this suit isn’t much better than a T-shirt and jeans.

        I owe my life to body armor several times over. I am not saying it is useless, just that you need armor that is good enough for the job.

        We wore level 4. It works but good luck getting many CEOs into such. Now here where you aren’t as likely to get shot at by a sniper or guy with a real assault weapon it would be more useful. Folks going for a mugging/robbing probably aren’t doing it with a SVD.

        For situations you are likely to encounter in the US it is a valid option. It matches or exceeds the needs of most encounters at random here.


  8. I need to win the lottery…

    On a more serious and praticool note, how long do y’all think it will be until we get carbon nano-tube Lvl. IV armor? Anybody feel like taking out a second mortgage for something that will, all else being being equal, last forever? 😉

    • depends on if they can tell it’s not a normal suit. if they are finding out after a shooting that you were wearing armor, it plays out 2 ways… One, i’m dead, don’t care. Two, i’m alive, and if I can afford a $20k + suit, I can probably afford the kind of lawyer that can get me off with a slap on the wrist.

  9. I’m not up on the levels of body armor, but if the material will confirm to the shape of the projectile then it doesn’t matter that it won’t perforate. Right? Am I missing something?

  10. Will this armor also stop knives. Kevlar does not and that is what police are looking for in armor, bullet and knife proof.

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