We're not sure it says great things about our society, but we've been seeing more and more casual bulletproof clothing in recent years. BulletSafe is working to become a key player in that market. In December 2014, it launched a Kickstarter for what it calls the "world's first bulletproof baseball cap." Just over a year later, it's turning its attention to a bulletproof T-shirt. If your company softball team happens to play in a free-fire zone, you know who to call for uniforms.
BulletSafe closed out a successful Kickstarter for its cap last January and got deliveries rolling last month. Aimed primarily at law enforcement officers and security guards seeking something more casual than a combat helmet, the US$129 ball cap looks like a plain cap but provides frontal protection from various ammo, including .38, .40, 9mm, .45, and some .357 Magnums rounds.
BulletSafe's next move in casual bulletproofing is a T-shirt that looks like an unassuming sport shirt, save for the outline of the front ballistic panel, which BulletSafe says covers most of the heart and lungs. The shirt appears considerably more casual and comfortable than a full-blown vest, but it obviously provides limited protection.
"This product springs from a desire of some of our customers to have the maximum level of discretion," says BulletSafe president Tom Nardone.
BulletSafe won't be able to tack a "world's first" designation onto its shirt because there are a number of other bulletproof T-shirt products and projects out there. BulletSafe may get points on pricing, though.
In 2010, we saw some very interesting multinational research in making T-shirt fabric itself bulletproof. For an available retail bulletproof T, you can look to Amendment II, the same company behind the Ballistic Backpack and material for Garrison Bespoke's $20K bulletproof suit. Its X Shirt compression sport shirt provides more protection than BulletSafe's design, carrying both front and back ballistic inserts.
But Amendment II protection comes at a price. By itself, the non-bulletproof X Shirt costs $99 on Amendment II's website, and adding a front ballistic panel brings the price to between $349 to $649, depending upon size. For the shirt with both front and back panels, price ranges between $599 and $899.
Other bulletproof casual wear we've seen is equally, if not more, expensive, so if BulletSafe can indeed keep its price below $200, with the ballistic panel, it may have an attractive bullet-halting shirt.