Ever since prehistoric man sharpened its first spear, humanity has sought the best protection from exposure and injury. From leather to bronze, chainmail, and plate, body armor reflects the technologies and strategies of each era and culture.
Modern body armor is just the latest iteration of these technologies, so it is difficult to name any single inventor as the ‘creator’ of body armor. Soldiers have employed body armor in almost every conflict in human history. Even in the wild west, infamous outlaw Jim Miller made history by wearing a steel breastplate under his coat. When a sheriff emptied 6 pistol rounds into his chest, Miller escaped alive (and eventually claimed his revenge).
The first ‘modern’ standard-issue military armor emerged in World War I, where soldiers wore metal helmets to protect them from artillery and shrapnel while firing from trenches. In WWII, bomber crews donned flak jackets and shrapnel protection to safeguard against anti-aircraft munitions.
When DuPont introduced Kevlar in the mid-1970s, body armor development boomed, and companies like American Body Armor and Second Chance Body Armor helped standardize Kevlar police vests, which have saved the lives of thousands of American police officers.
Nowadays, police and military groups employ a mix of soft Kevlar-based vests for pistol protection and ceramic-based chest plates for rifle protection.