The apparelindustry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by advanced materials and technology, and the growing importance of technologies such as novel fabrics and polymer blends. In the last three years alone, there have been over 32,000 patents filed and granted in the apparel industry, according to GlobalData’s report on High-intensity warfare in Apparel: Projectile-resistant garments.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 13,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the apparel industry, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Projectile-resistant garments is a key innovation area in high-intensity warfare

Bulletproof jackets or bulletproof vests and ballistic protective clothing or ballistic vests are worn in combat and other dangerous situations to provide a protective shield from bullets and explosions. These are generally worn on the torso by combat soldiers, police forces, and security guards.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established apparel companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of projectile-resistant garments.

Key players in projectile-resistant garments – a disruptive innovation in the apparel industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to projectile-resistant garments

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Vista Outdoor 64 Unlock company profile
TYR Tactical 42 Unlock company profile
Hexonia 32 Unlock company profile
Apex Tactical Specialties 13 Unlock company profile
SOURCE VAGABOND SYSTEMS 12 Unlock company profile
Eagle Industry 10 Unlock company profile
NIGHT OPTICS USA 10 Unlock company profile
BUSHNELL 10 Unlock company profile
Milliken & Co 9 Unlock company profile
BCB International 8 Unlock company profile
Warwick Mills 8 Unlock company profile
Orbital ATK (Formerly Alliant Techsystems) 6 Unlock company profile
Mech Lab 6 Unlock company profile
Supreme Elastic 6 Unlock company profile
Blackhawk Industries Product Group Unlimited 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The leading players in terms of patents filed in the projectile-resistant garments space are Vista Outdoor, TYR Tactical, Hexonia, Apex Tactical Specialties, and Source Vagabond Systems. In 2021, DuPont developed Kevlar XP K520. This product consists of fibre layers in a +45°/–45° orientation, which can provide the required resistance power to address the ballistic threats with lesser layers and stitch lining, which reducing the labour and cost of the material.

The key players in the projectile-resistant garments space in terms of application diversity are Milliken, Mech Lab, Hexonia, Source Vagabond Systems, and Supreme Elastic.

The top players in this space in terms of geographic reach are Hexonia, Supreme Elastic, Orbital ATK, BCB International, and Blackhawk Industries.

With the advancement in ballistic technology, projectile-resistant garments are more relevant in the modern era because guns are more precise and powerful. Protecting the life of a soldier has become a more important priority for various agencies worldwide.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the apparel industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Apparel.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.