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How Armored Cars Work


The Future of Armored Cars
The factory glass is replaced with custom glass anywhere from 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 centimeters) thick.
The factory glass is replaced with custom glass anywhere from 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 centimeters) thick.
Photo courtesy of Alpine Armoring

After a century of armoring vehicles for a variety of uses, what could possibly come next? Leffler and Pazderka agree: lighter materials. Using a space-age bullet-stopping composite fiber instead of thick steel would mean fewer modifications and an even more undetectable silhouette. The drawback is the cost -- composite materials can cost as much as three times as much as steel.

A composite that's already in common use is Kevlar, which can be found in bulletproof police vests. Vehicle armorers are already putting it to use as light protection. A newer polyethylene product, Dyneema, creates a fabric of thousands of short, sandwiched fibers from one end of the car to the other. "If you take your finger or a knife and scratch the fiber, little strings come off," says Leffler. But with a high price tag to match its high protection level, the military is the only customer right now that can afford to use Dyneema.

Pazderka believes the future of armored cars is secure, in any case. "The likelihood of armored cars going away is the same as total world peace."

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