A few years ago, back when carbon nanotubes were a relatively new idea, researchers discovered that, in addition to being extremely strong and lightweight, nanotubes also have incredible elastic properties. When hit with a high-velocity projectile, the tubes are able to bend without breaking, allowing them to absorb huge amounts of kinetic energy. Back then, researchers couldn’t yet build a working prototype to test their theories, but speculated that if carbon nanotubes could ever be spun into yarn, this property would make lightweight bulletproof garments possible in the future.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that future is here. Thanks to advances in carbon nanotube production and textile manufacturing, bulletproof threads are now a real thing. A Canadian company by the name of Garrison Bespoke recently announced a line of custom-fitted suits that will protect the wearer from bullets and knives – and look pretty sharp while doing it. Sounds like something taken straight out of a James Bond flick, right?
To make this possible, the suits are more than just a single layer of carbon nanotube threads – they’re actually made up of multiple sheets of nanotube-infused fabric. The first layer is designed to prevent the bullet from penetrating the body, the second layer is engineered to disperse the impact of the projectile, and the third layer tries to absorb the impact and minimize trauma to the wearer. Garrison has reportedly tested the suits with an array of different firearms, and claim that the suits will reliably stop rounds from 9mm, .22 and .45 caliber handguns.
The suits were originally designed with shady business executives in mind (the oil and diamond tycoons of the world, who regularly travel to unstable parts of the world to conduct business), which is fitting because you’ll need a small fortune to buy one of these things. Each custom-tailored suit starts at a whopping $20,000.
That’s pretty spendy, but considering the demographic these suits are being marketed to, it’s not all that unreasonable. How much would you be willing to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re bulletproof?