Spotlight: DARKMATTER’s products designed to disperse kinetic energy transferred from ballistic and blunt force impacts
The company’s Energy Dispersal Pads reduce kinetic energy transfer by up to 94%
Company name: DARKMATTER
Headquarters: Rochester, N.Y.
Signature product: Energy Dispersal Pads
1. Where did your company name originate from?
The DARKMATTER company name came from the scientific definition. According to modern science, dark matter is a mysterious substance that cannot be seen directly, but we know it exists because of its effects on objects that we can see. Our material science properties – protection, performance and comfort – make DARKMATTER an ideal component in a wide variety of products. DARKMATTER offers products with undeniable protection and performance, whether you see it or not.
2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?
Members of the DARKMATTER team have extensive military, law enforcement and tactical training backgrounds – all of which drive a desire to better protect those who protect us. As the size and weight of modern body-worn armor decreases, the need for Behind Armor Blunt Trauma (BABT) protection increases. That’s why we developed our Energy Dispersal Pads, which mitigate BABT by dispersing the kinetic energy transferred from ballistic and blunt force impacts. The pads proved so effective that we now offer Direct Armor Integration to armor manufacturers, where DARKMATTER is bonded directly to ballistic armor.
3. What is your signature product and how does it work?
DARKMATTER Energy Dispersal Pads are our signature product for the law enforcement and first responder community. These non-ballistic pads are worn behind hard or soft ballistic armor and are proven to reduce the dangerous kinetic energy transfer by up to 94%, as well as back face deformation (BFD) better than any comparable product on the market. They also provide significant protection from vehicular and other blunt force impacts.
4. Why do you believe your products are essential to the police community?
Numerous studies over the last several decades have confirmed the dangers of kinetic energy transfer and resulting BFD when projectiles strike body armor. In recent independent testing that was completed in compliance with NIJ 0101.06 standards, BFD as severe as 46 millimeters (1.8 inches) in standalone body armor was observed, showing the potential for major harm. The comparative data when wearing DARKMATTER pads with body armor demonstrated up to a 31% reduction in BFD, while competitive products only ranged from 1% to 12%. Moreover, DARKMATTER pads were the only product that continued to be resilient even after taking multiple hits, which is crucial for better protection.
5. What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?
The biggest challenge we’ve faced is the relative ineffectiveness of ballistic trauma products that preceded DARKMATTER. As a result, the necessity of a well-designed solution has received less attention or is not as well understood. Existing trauma pads are typically made of a single layer of common foam and were not specifically engineered to dissipate energy – so they don’t do much to protect a wearer. As the market becomes more aware of the dangers DARKMATTER addresses, and how effective it is, this perception will change.
6. What makes your company unique?
DARKMATTER’s ballistic trauma solutions are designed by people with extensive knowledge and experience in the field with a passion to better serve law enforcement, first responders and warfighters. Our pads are also manufactured in the USA at our VOSB-certified partner facility, further strengthening our ties to the community. In short, we talk the talk and walk the walk.
7. What do your customers like best about you and your products?
Customers who have experienced a ballistic impact while wearing body armor – or knows someone who has – understands that our solution is an absolute necessity. The risks of injury without it are too great. For users who (thankfully) haven’t been in that situation, the ease of integration, lightweight design, additional comfort and peace of mind that our Energy Dispersal Pads provide are all greatly appreciated.
8. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder community?
Providing protection to those who dedicate their life to protecting us is its own reward.
9. Do you support any charitable organizations within public safety or the community? Tell us more.
We have donated our products to several organizations and plan to do far more as the company expands.
10. What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?
In addition to working directly with numerous body armor manufacturers to bond DARKMATTER directly to ballistic plates, we also are developing a standalone low-profile carrier for first responders. This is an excellent way to wear DARKMATTER pads under soft armor, while also providing first responders who don't wear body armor with blunt force protection.