M69 Flak Vests in Vietnam vs. Modern Body Armor

By: Patrick Luther
Posted on Jul 21, 2022

M69 Flak Vest vs Modern Body Armor

All the modern-day military bulletproof vests, armor system, and protective gear has a long history of war and iterations. In the history of war, the Vietnam war is one of the longest fought wars, officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The war started in 1955 and lasted till 1975. 

During this war, many companies manufacturing military safety gear worked hard to produce more advanced safety vests to reduce the war's casualties. And one of the most popular vests during this time is called the M69 Flak vest. 

The flak vest was similar to the M1952A vest but had a ¾-inch collar. While there was an earlier version of this vest, they were not suitable for quick movement and were mostly used by aircrew. But when the troops had to enter into the warm and moist area of jungle, the earlier version of the vest became a hurdle in their movement. 

So, after developing and improving the previous version of the vest, the M69 vest came as a solution to keep up with the emerging changes in ballistic technology. 

M69 Flak Vest

The M69 Flak Vest is one of the latest and most efficient technology of that time that protected people and soldiers from shrapnel projectiles. 

It weighed 8.4 lbs and included a velcro. They were mostly used by troops fighting in the jungle. The lightweight allowed higher mobility for the troops and faster response during combat. 

There was a more advanced version of the M69 flak vest, which included a ceramic plate carrier securing a person from .30 caliber bullets at the cost of being heavier. 

An average ceramic M69 vest weighed 28.54 lbs. These vests could be worn on top of aviator vests to protect against ceramic shattering.

Difference between M69 and modern military bulletproof vest

The modern ballistic vest will definitely be superior if we compare the modern military bulletproof vest and the M69 Flak Jacket. In today’s time, even a level IIIA military bulletproof vest can stop a .44 caliber bullet. But if we consider the modern-day flak jacket, then it has significantly improved in protection level. 

The modern-day flak jacket

The modern-day flak jacket is highly durable and resilient bullet-resistant equipment. Similar to any of the older variants of the vest, they have a collar on them. Furthermore, they are compatible with a variety of components like plates and neck protectors. 

They use Kevlar fiber in manufacturing flak jackets; some even have carrier inserts in them to offer more safety to the wearer. 

On the contrary, a military bulletproof vest uses kevlar fiber and is more precisely used to protect important internal organs like the heart and lungs. 

Depending on the level of vest you are buying, its bullet penetration ability varies. Higher-rated armors have ballistic plate carriers making them durable to withstand rifle caliber bullets. 

Final word

When comparing the modern-day vest with the M69 Flak vest from the Vietnam war. There have been many changes in the base material, outer protection, durability, and carrier types. They all have been upgraded. But in their prime time, these vests managed to save thousands of people’s lives.

Author’s bio:

Best Safety Apparel is one of the renowned personal safety equipment suppliers in the US. Their professionals have more than 15 years of experience in defense equipment business.

About the author Patrick Luther:
Milsurpia founder