The shielding capacity of the standard military flak jacket against ballistic injury to the kidney

J Forensic Sci. 1988 Mar;33(2):410-7.


An animal model was designed to evaluate the ability of the standard military flak jacket to protect the kidneys from direct ballistic trauma. Yorkshire swine were anesthetized and their flanks were protected by flak jackets. Ballistic insults ranging from a low-velocity handgun to a high-velocity rifle were evaluated. The results demonstrate that a flak jacket provides adequate protection against low- and mid-velocity projectiles since none of the animals from this group had evidence of internal trauma and because only minor superficial surgical attention would have been required. Survivability in each case was considered to be excellent. The flak jacket failed to provide any protection against several types of high-velocity bullets. These weapons caused severe internal injury to the genitourinary system as well as to other major organ systems. Survival would have been unlikely.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta, Abdominal / injuries
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hemoperitoneum / etiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / injuries*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / injuries
  • Military Personnel*
  • Protective Clothing*
  • Ribs / injuries
  • Swine
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / injuries
  • Wounds, Gunshot / prevention & control*