The Real John Wick-Style Bullet Proof Suit

If you’ve seen the John Wick movies, you’ve probably had to suspend your disbelief about many things, but the bulletproof suits are perhaps the hardest thing to swallow. They look like stylish suits but are impervious to just about anything at any range. What’s more is when you are hit, they seem to absorb all impact with no effect on the wearer at all.

You can keep running, firing, or karate kicking while the suit takes all of the bullets. You can even pull your jacket up over your face if you want to protect that million-dollar smile. Physics, of course, tells us that a suit like this is pretty much impossible. Except that they actually exist. Granted, the real-life suits don’t have the magic physics-defying powers of Mr. Wick’s suit, but if you have the cash, you can get a smart-looking suit that protects you from getting killed by a bullet.

Real Life, Part I

In the movies, the suits supposedly have Kevlar in them just like a real piece of ballistic body armor. The problem is, Kevlar is bulky. However, most of the real body armor you see — like a vest on a SWAT team operative — is made from Kevlar or similar ballistic fibers like Twaron, Goldflex, or Dyneema. They also have plates made of metal or ceramic.

People who deal with these don’t like to call them “bulletproof” vests because they are actually “bullet resistant.” A variety of factors can combine to put a hole in the user of even the best armor. It helps to have slower and softer bullets. Ballistic fibers make something akin to a net that absorbs the bullet’s impact and spreads it out.

People who have taken a bullet wearing one of these vests equate it to getting hit with a hammer. They also get a really bad bruise. But you will likely be able to continue whatever you were doing subject to the impact of that imaginary hammer. Of course, a hammer could knock you down, which could cause other injuries or knock the wind out of you. Users report a large round causes extremely sharp pain and will probably stun you for a few seconds. The heat will also sometimes leave a small burn mark, and it is possible to have ruptured internal organs from such a shot. The closer the range, the worse it is for you, as you might expect. You can see some testing on a fake body full of ballistic gel in the video below.

Oddly enough, most bulletproof vests don’t do much against knives. They do make “stab vests,” and if you don’t mind bulk and expense, you can get special “multi-thread” vests. On the other hand, it will protect someone in a car wreck from the steering column.

That’s No Suit!

The problem is, those vests don’t look like Mr. Wick’s wardrobe at all. There are, however, options. The Hacksmith – Hackaday alum [James Hobson] — has a prototype Kevlar suit that supposedly cost a little under $100,000 to produce. It isn’t certified but it appears to work, as you can see in the video below.

If you actually want to buy something, you have to give up on Kevlar and go with carbon nanotubes from Garrison. We have a feeling if you have to ask the price of this, you probably aren’t going to get one.

I Cannot Change the Laws of Physics, Captain!

The laws of physics don’t change no matter how inconvenient they are. While you might be able to dress like John Wick, we don’t think you are going to take the hailstorm of bullets, blades, and falls that he does in the movies without some serious damage. And if you decide to hold your bulletproof lapel over your face, don’t blame us when the fabric is ripped violently out of your hand on impact.

We aren’t sure if the Garrison tech is 3D printed, but we have seen 3D-printed carbon ballistic shielding. If you think Kevlar only protects against bullets, ask [Dan Maloney] about that.

55 thoughts on “The Real John Wick-Style Bullet Proof Suit

      1. Aiming for the head or the limbs are among the first things you are told NOT to do by a firearms instructor. Unless you are a highly skilled competitive shooter, you are most likely going to miss. Even snipers aim for center mass.

        1. Thats because they are teaching you to shoot against unarmored targets and/or using the phusical force of the bullet to temporarily daze and stop the target. Snipers have guns and ammunition that largely don’t care about most levels of body armor. ..and they still shoot at the head as evidenced by the large #s of helmet bullet examples from every war including the one in Ukraine.

          Every shot is individually tailored to the gun the target and the ammunition.

        2. Most “firearms instructors”…. aren’t anything at all in reality. The inept teach center of mass. Its because its all they are capable of. Center of mass ineptitude always kills. Reality teaches its not necessary to kill every single time. When a person is trained they don’t have to resort to reactionary fear driven return fire aimed to kill.

    1. Strange that someone who supposedly speaks for an all-powerful deity has to rely upon bullet-proof material. Not at all strange that heads of state would want this stuff. And terrorists. And school children in America.

  1. Its disappointing to see this type of content on Hackaday. There are plenty of other forums dedicated to the military cosplay that has replaced responsible gun ownership in our society.

    The John Wick movies are a leader in normalizing gun violence in our country and Keanu Reeves, despite his good guy public persona, has made millions of dollars promoting violence. As a person who grew up in the 80s I love Bill and Ted as much as anyone else but I’m not fooled by the PR campaign to deflect responsibility away from Mr Reeves’

    A chill laid back, coach flying, surfer he may be…but he is also a willing participant in the culture that every day leads to the completely unnecessary deaths of over 100 Americans.

    1. John Wick is just a fun action movie. People all over the world manage to watch it without murdering each other. You can’t blame your societal problems and messed up relationship with guns on Keanu Reeves.

      Not really a fan of the hacksmith video and agree this is odd content for Hackaday however.

      1. People all over the world don’t have have access to the millions of firearms we do in the US and their death rates by gun violence are a pittance of what ours our. Are you suggesting that Americans are just inherently more violent? Exposure matters, and exposure to dramatiscised unrealistic violence is not good.

    2. Really don’t see how an article on the nature of ‘bullet proof’ has anything to do with gun violence – you can’t shoot somebody with a kevlar lined suit or ballistic vest.

      Personally also don’t see how an action movie or video game can have anything at all to do promoting violence, or are you saying that every cooking show is promoting excessive eating and obesity?!?! An action movie is clearly fantasy, and like all fiction not meant to be taken as an instruction manual. Also more often than not the plot tends to be ‘Villain(s) use violence indiscriminately for some short term gains but end up dead or in prison after putting the ‘hero(s)’ through some form of hell’ – in effect a moral story warning on the dangers of exactly what you claim they encourage.

      The problem with gun violence like any violence is largely the people, with added risk the more readily available good weapons are – can’t use what you don’t have.

      1. Funny that you mention food. There is a scene in one of the films that compares a wine tasting to shopping for guns. Exposure is important in both positive and negative ways. In this case it is quite negative. Let’s be clear, I’m not against guns. I myself an am excellent marksman and believe in an armed society…but it should be a last resort that is not celebrated. It should be quietly and reluctantly practiced as a last resort.

        1. There is no need for it to be reluctantly or quietly practised – the idea of ‘reluctantly practiced’ sounds like applying social stigma’s to shooting, and making it the sort of taboo that naturally drives the folks that are interested underground where the ‘normals’ and paper trail won’t have any idea who may or may not be mentally unstable and sitting on an arsenal.

          It should be just like playing cards, video games, D&D, or car modding and racing etc – a group of like minded individuals who can freely but responsibly (so safely at a gun range, hunting in season etc) enjoy their hobby openly. And that is what shooting tends to be in gun loving nations that are not the USA it seems to me. The folks that own them really know what they are doing (and usually it seems have to long before they are allowed to own one) and only have them because it is their hobby, you don’t have lots of folks going around armed all the time, or with what are effectively weapons of war in the boot…

          And I really don’t see comparing wine tasting and gun shopping as a problem – in both cases the point is you are seeking the one you like best. In exactly the same way a car nut might try the modern mid-engine, lightweight, high revving, and refined Japanese sports car, the older classic European saloon/hatchback, and still decide they really would rather have the monstrously heavy, loud, primitive in comparison 60’s American muscle car or pickup truck… Nothing wrong with that choice for your hobby – even most eco warrior types wouldn’t care if your free time is spent with something with such a voracious appetite for petrol, or at least they will often prove themselves to be hypocritical if they do and still complain at you.

          1. Point of clarification. There should be no shame in target shooting, hunting, or other non violent gun related sports eg. paintball or airsoft.

            What I meant is that practicing to kill another human being should be done reluctantly and without bravado. I agree that for some it may be or feel necessary to prepare for such a scenario, it is even admirable to make sure you are properly trained so that you are prepared to protect yourself, your family, your community. But to relish it, to celebrate it, goes against all that we know about how killing another person affects the shooter. Ask a combat veteran how if they ever killed anyone and see what kind of response you get.

        2. Everywhere in the world can watch a violent movie and go about there day, only USA is f’ed so the problem is two groups of American people and their laws. I got a 3d printer, I ain’t printing guns, nor do I own any. I only been subject to gun violence twice and they missed both times…. By a lot…. Apparently head shots aren’t so easy…. unless u live in a country where people target practices and study guns at a top hobby cough cough only in america….and that was cause I fd a high set gangsters fiance n got caught on camera. Guns are easy to get anywhere if u truly want it, only Americans n gangsters think it’s important to own one…. I don’t live in America btw. In Canada almost all gun violence is gang related, in the states it’s not even 50% of 20,000 deaths/year from guns…. It’s the people… Sorry Americans it’s not John wick

    3. The high prevalence of innocent gun deaths in the United States is a recent phenomenon. There has always been access to guns and positive portrayals of gun violence in American culture. It’s so entrenched that warfare and firearms are explicitly mentioned in the national anthem. But somehow previous generations didn’t have a problem with mass shooters, despite being surrounded by gun culture.

      You know what’s changed in the last few decades? The mass prescribing of of SSRIs to troubled youths and adults. These are substances well known for a potential side effect to induce depressive, homicidal, and suicidal tendencies. But you’ll never see any news outlets discussing what drugs the shooters were on at the time of the incidents, because the drug makers provide most of the advertising revenue.

      The media can’t address the fact that drugs take a major role in these shootings so they have to blame something else, such as the weapon or the culture. But you can’t ban all guns outright because it would cause people to starve, so either nothing happens or some minimal gun regulation gets passed that barely bans anything, and then we all forget about it until the next shooting.

      This is the definition of insanity and I want to stop having these discussions. Guns aren’t going anywhere. The solution is to stop drugging people to make them feel happy in a cold, uncaring society, and start giving citizens a reason to get out of bed.

      1. This is also in the national anthem:

        No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

        I appreciate that you want to stop having these discussions. But someday, gun ownership in the US will change. The constitution was written by people, not an infallible god. It is willful ignorance to compare the firearms available to the public today and the firearms of the past.

        We live in a society where popular culture sees violence as a first or second option, not the last. That is the real problem.

      2. The main problem with the SSRI theory is that there’s approximately zero difference in the rates of SSRI users becoming mass shooters vs. the rest of the non-SSRI-using population. There is a higher percentage of SSRI users among mass shooters, only because they’re more likely to have been prescribed them for mental health issues.

        In short, saying that SSRIs cause people to become mass shooters follows the same flawed logic as saying that chemotherapy causes fatal cancers.

        The true causes of mass shootings are well-known, even if vehemently denied by some. Other developed countries have just as many SSRIs and John Wick movies as the US without the same level of mass shootings.

      3. “Guns aren’t going anywhere.”
        What if, say, (this is all hypothetical, I’m just spitballing) hundreds of studies conducted by respected scientists found out that hmmmmm… say, houseplants were responsible for the deaths of hmmmmmmm… let’s see… over 40,000 people every year in the USA. I think it’s reasonable to expect people to want to get rid of houseplants. I think it’s reasonable to expect that as a society, we came together and agreed that we need to get rid of all the houseplants. Yes, houseplants certainly have a certain appeal, and some people really like them, but the science (and the graves) say that they’re actually really dangerous. It’s almost as if their only purpose is to kill people. There might be some resistance – I’m sure the houseplant industry would lobby for bills to protect a person’s houseplant rights, perhaps based on a constitutional amendment passed after they fought a literal war to gain their independence from an oppressive government seeking to take away their houseplants. But maybe the houseplant-lovers will realize that that was the past, and times have changed. As a democracy, we agree that the sale of houseplants is now prohibited, and that the government will even give you tax credits if you give up your houseplant – you know, to make society safer. While early opponents of this plan made baseless claims such as “Houseplants aren’t going anywhere,” they now realize how wrong they were.

        1. First off, houseplants are a weak straw-man argument at best. Second, its politically, financially, and practically impossible to rid the U.S. (let alone the world) of guns. The cost alone would cut way too deep into already stressed budgets. More over, assuming that we’re all safer, or going to become instantly better humans if all the dangerous things disappear over night, is a naive if not juvenile argument.

          Guns are a problem, yes, one that should be at the very least monitored if not practically regulated by publicly available training. However, society (advertising, shitty absentee parenting, and politicians looking for cheap votes) absolving people of personal accountability while pushing “relative morality” are far more harmful than guns.

          You can throw around all the statistics you want on gun violence, but the data is bad no matter which side of the argument you fall on. Politicians cherry pick that data and build the surveys to suit their ends. They direct law enforcement how and what to record to fit their agenda. 40,000 including suicides? Self defense? Police actions? Accidents? Criminal on criminal violence? So are potential rape victims supposed to let it happen instead of fighting back when attacked by someone of significantly greater size? Should we criminalize any and all potential means of suicide? Lets make violence illegal first and see what that does to the data.

          Bottom line, PEOPLE are the cause of all of this. Until you fix that, the violence is going to continue no matter what tool is available. The 2001 September 11th attacks were carried out with box cutters and set off 20 years of war. We’re still counting the civilian casualties. The Oklahoma federal building was a attacked with a fertilizer bomb, are all farmers suddenly potential terrorists?.

          And you think full prohibition of, a now easily manufactured, inanimate object is going suddenly save lives. Why not? It has clearly worked for substance abuse and was a raging success with alcohol in the 1920s.

          1. It was impossible to go to the moon, until it wasn’t. So there is no way to accurately measure the human cost of firearms? I wonder why that is….could it be because the gun industry lobbies to keep it illegal for such comprehensive efforts to be undertaken?

            You forget that once the passengers of the 9/11 attacks knew what was going on the box cutters weren’t enough and they took they plane back. WE went to war because Bush and Cheney wanted to finish what Bush 1 started,

            There’s a term for your argument strategy, fatalism.

    4. John Wick has also killed people with horses, library books, tomahawks and nunchucks. He once killed three man at a bar with a pencil. So I guess Keanu is also normalizing pencil and tomahawk violence, right?

      John Wick films don’t “normalize gun violence”, they normalize fun to watch, fictionalized action in a make believe universe. It’s basically the modern day equivalent of a cowboys and Indians shoot’em up. Over the top and totally unrealistic, not to be taken seriously in any way – just sit back and enjoy the cinematic experience. I think that’s fairly obvious to anyone that doesn’t have a stick up their butt.

      I bet you think WWE professional wrestling is normalizing body slams and atomic leg drops

        1. Yes. Kids running around with snap cap revolvers and Red Rider BB guns was harmless. No Injuns got shot, no cowboys got scalped and no stagecoaches got robbed as a result of the “depictions”.

          A few kids might have shot their own eye out. I’ll concede that point.

          If we consider harm to personal property than yes – mass shootings of windows ran rampant

          1. So you’re ok with the dehumanization of an entire race of people? Reducing them to plot devices or worse to targets for the “good guys”

          2. @Philicious5280 dehumanization…
            That is an entirely different thing – it is perfectly possible to have fun, enjoy the other cultures and show just how human they all are at the same time. With a little bit of historical education thrown in for good measure! Children will still be children, full of mischief but at least they should learn from it.

            The Native Americans have perhaps on the whole been treated in a more negative way, especially in their own backyard, but there is so much to admire about their cultures too. In the same way Johnny Depp’s mob of pirates have had fun with that concept and shown pirates are not all inhuman monster the way some depictions would have it. Or the crime related movies that show not all criminals are murderous, and WWII movies depicting not all Germans in Nazi Germany as bad people – even the ones in uniform.

    5. Wow! dude, I didn’t see anything in their post remotely related to race or racism even if implicit, but you sure did…
      This tells me everything I need to know about you!
      And it also makes your motive and debate points on this subject very questionable.
      I expect better from HAD commenters than this…. Alas I guess not…

    6. >How else would you interpret the use of the term “gang bangers”

      well if you looked at it without the implicit racism in your own mind….

      A gang banger would be ANY individual of ANY race who joins and participates in a street gang. They could be white, black, asian, indiginous, or even a blend of all human cultures….They will almost certainly be POOR…..thats really the only assumption one can make about a gang bangers identity.
      Go back to reddit, You will score no karma here for your attempts to “whatever shade you prefer to be identified as” knighting.

      1. Great, so it’s racist and classist. I’m definitely not on Reddit, or any other social media for that matter. Not looking to score points, simply voicing the disgust I feel for the attitude that gun violence is in fixable, part of American culture, etc.

        Your know the more important and useful 1st amendment right.

    7. I have genuanly no problem if you are feeling uncomfortable becuase movie violence.
      But everything else you write is in the same league as blaming violent video games and heavy metal.

  2. Pedantic spiel incoming…

    The Kentucky Ballistics Youtube channel did several segments with ballistic body armor against heavy game rifles and various other calibers at point blank range. If you can get past his silliness, of which there is plenty, he produces some interesting results.

    Bottom line is that modern body armor with ballistic plate inserts can survive multiple direct hits from high powered cartridges like a .338 magnum or .458 SOCOM. It’s going to leave a baseball sized dent in your rib cage and toss you across the parking lot, but if you get proper medical attention in time and your heart don’t rupture from the hydrostatic shock, you’ll live. You’ll likely wish you hadn’t though.

    Heavier stuff like the .50 BMG and its associated family of cartridges… uh, no. The shockwave of a bullet passing too close is enough to kill a person, never mind actually being hit by one. Cartridges variations can deliver 10k to 15k foot-pounds of force, or 14k to 20k Joules of energy on impact. Direct strikes amputate legs and tear torsos apart. I find the numbers on the SLAP rounds a bit over the top.

  3. That video is absolute garbage. Every time I click a video in HaD I regret it. Bro McBrad talking about who knows what for 10 minutes, try to be “cool” and do cool guy pistol moves, with about 15 seconds of anything meaningful. Maybe. I never found it.
    I’ll jut say it. Not a hack.

  4. During the L.A. riots, the first people crowding into the gun stores were the gun grabbers wanting to protect themselves and their families from the violent mobs intent on inflicting major league bodily harm on them. Somewhat ironic eh ? (crowds throwing molotiv cocktails, armed with baseball bats, tire irons and other improvised weapons).

    You don’t like guns, fine. Don’t get any, but how dare you even suggest others shouldn’t be allowed to protect themselves from violent offenders (armed with knives, bats, etc). God created man, Samue Colt made them equal…. oh wait, the gun grabbers don’t believe in God, and can’t even define what a woman is.

    As Mr Orwell put it “people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

    Humans are not a civilized peaceful species (perhaps in a 1000+ years, as the Metron said to Capt Kirk).

    1. Yep. I keep remembering the reporter in the Korean area of L.A. showing the shop owners armed to the teeth, the rioters avoiding them, and her crying; “why isn’t someone taking these guns away from them”.

      Same thing happened with the combination of allowing BLM/ANTIFA rioters to roam free and politicians letting violent felons out of prison because of Covid. But, of course, those surrounded by armed private security (politicians, Hollywood) were the first ones screaming about people buying guns to protect their families and businesses. Under the same circumstances those here advocating for limits on private gun ownership would do the same. Those that say they wouldn’t aren’t being honest with themselves or they don’t give two shits about their families.

      I got an extended amount of hate on Slashdot a while back when I pointed out the fact that if all privately owned firearms disappeared tomorrow the person intent on doing harm would simply find another method of doing so. The examples of UK gun control pushing the IRA to switch to bomb making and the Japanese cult releasing poison gas on the subway were lost on them.

      Bottom line is that evil exists and can’t be legislated away. It’s irrational to blame an inanimate object for the evil a person does.

      Now, so I can attempt to be somewhat on topic, John Wick. Realistic? Please. And not every movie has to be. These films are simple fun that I don’t have to have a degree in psychology or need to think deep thoughts about. I get my ticket and popcorn and relax for a couple of hours. That is what they’re for; entertainment. Don’t like this kind of film? Don’t go.

      1. The most deadly school massacre in American history was perpetrated with dynamite in (IIRC) the 1920s by an insane school board member. He screwed up the fuses and only succeeded in blowing up half the school.

        Every country has problems with antisocial suicides, in Germany they call them ghost drivers. They drive the wrong way down the autobahn to take out randos.
        I propose suicide booths as a partial solution.
        That and 87th trimester* abortions, regular abortions have given us historically low crime rates, think what 87th trimester abortions would get us (lots less Antifa tard whining to start).

        *87th trimester or 4 trimesters after they last ask their parents for money, whichever is later.

  5. As our intrepid Ferengi barkeep, entrepreneur, Quark expressed it best:

    ” Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, Nephew. They’re a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people… will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. “

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