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Business

September 9, 2012

Going ballistic

US body armor business grows even in recession

(Continued)

The company also makes a tactical shield, bomb-suppression blankets and other items.

Production is handled by a workforce of 48, many of whom are seamstresses.

Unlike the old days of the front yard tree test, U.S. Armor employees check products in a shooting range made out of an old cargo container behind the sewing factory. Instead of using guns, they’ve rigged up a contraption composed of a firing mechanism and a removable gun-like barrel that can be changed to vary the caliber. The shooter stands behind a clear bulletproof panel and pulls a string to activate it. That’s a safety provision, because sometimes the bullets bounce off the vests with considerable force.

A few years ago, Moore, the police officer, drove with her husband and infant son from Phoenix to the U.S. Armor factory to get a look at the operation. It’s difficult to tell which side got the bigger charge out of the visit.

“I wanted to meet the people who helped save my life,” Moore said. “I cried. They were excited to see me. They even made a vest for my son. He still wears it from time to time.”

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