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Home » What Are Trauma Pads: Full Guide + Examples

What Are Trauma Pads: Full Guide + Examples

You’ve heard about the trauma pads and the first thing you did is Google “What are trauma pads?”. The quick answer what is a trauma pad: this is a soft ballistic insert made of 16-18 layers of kevlar (or similar materials) which are designed to minimize or neutralize the consequences of the behind armour blunt trauma (BABT). But let’s check the full answer with examples.


Are Trauma Pads The Same As Ballistic Plates, And Can Stop The Bullets?

No, they aren’t, and aren’t even supposed to protect from the bullets. As a rule, trauma pads comes as addition to the ballistic plates for the next reasons: 

  1. Partially prevent or minimize BABT;
  2. Protect from the bullet/mine/projectile fragments;

What is BABT (Behind Armour Blunt Trauma)?

According to an official medical source, behind armour blunt trauma (BABT) has been defined as a non-penetrating injury caused by the rapid deformation of body armour. There has been an increasing awareness of BABT as an injury mechanism in both the military and civilian worlds.

Here’s some examples of the BABT: 

All types of armor impact are the result of the transfer of momentum and kinetic energy of the bullet to the armor element, which, at the same time, lead to the load of the body with a shock wave. After that, there is a local impact by a displaced armor element with the formation of a deformation dome (bulge) in it and acceleration of the body or its individual parts that have been hit by a bullet or shrapnel.

Protecting From the Bullet Fragments

As I wrote above, another one reason is to protect from the fragments. I can load you up with tons of scientific researches, physics and ballistics calculations, but… Sometimes it’s better to see it one time, than read about it 10 times.   

Here is a great example of the .357 Magnum bullet fragments after striking hard armor plate that prevented the bullet from exiting:

Without trauma pads, all these fragments can get stuck right into your body or surrounding tissues. 

What Exactly Are Trauma Pads?

Trauma pads are multi-layered protection (usually, from 8 to 18 layers) made of Kevlar, Aramid, Tvaron, Dyneema or any other similar materials.  

Trauma pads look like a simple soft pad, and have different forms (depending on the protection zone). 

Here is shoulder trauma pad from the Osprey Mk IV:

And here are side trauma pads attached on the cummerbunds of the plate carriers:

But inside, all the plate carrier trauma pads are similar:


As you may see, body armor trauma pads are an additional layer of protection for the different body parts. They can be used in addition to the main ballistic plates, as well as separate protection for the body parts where the hard plates can’t be used for the protection. For instance, trauma pads may be used as a neck, shoulders, groin, back or leg protection.