I finally got a hands on demonstration of the BMW version of D3O body armor, which BMW calls NP. I happened to be near CAL Moto in Mountain View, a great shop run by enthusiasts Kari Prager and Mike Meissner. They carry a lot of the BMW product line, and I got a hands on demonstration of the BMW version of this high tech product.
Before getting into the details, let me say a few words about the BMW version of this material. BMW’s version is substantially thicker, and looks a little more rubber like than the thinner 3DO, which has a lot more texture. BMW claims (which charts and graphs) that their material provides a substantially higher level of protection than the thinner
Anyway, the demonstration is that if you push on the rounded part of, for example, a shoulder piece, it will slowly push flat. On the other hand, if you hit it with a fist, it hardens so fast that it won’t ever get flat. I did it a few times, and
it was fun. I am convinced that this is a good and useful technology, and a major improvement over regular body armor.
I tried on a jacket fitted with the armor, and I have to say that, at least in the BMW version, there is still a substantial amount of weight. On the other hand, the armor seems to mold well to the body, and there was a lot less of the “Ricky Racer” look.
As always, it will take time to see how this new product performs in the field. In the meantime, I am including it in the selection process for any new protective clothing.
If you are thinking about new gear that includes body armor, I seriously suggest that you check this one out. It may change your thinking.