Miguel Caballero started off making bullet-proof clothing in Colombia 19 years ago. But Latin America's surging crime wave is creating new markets for his fashionable flak jackets. Watch Miami Herald reporter Jim Wyss tests a bullet-proof jacket at one of Caballero's manufacturing plants.
BY JIM WYSS
BOGOTA -- Miguel Caballero has shot more than 200 people including his wife, a British police officer, his lawyer (four times) and most of his employees.
As Colombia’s largest maker of fashionable flak jackets and bullet-resistant clothing, Caballero habitually puts his products to the test — and so has the spiraling crime rate in the hemisphere.
“Latin America is one-of-a-kind when it comes to threats,” Caballero said, as he paced his factory carrying a .38-caliber pistol, which he uses to blast his models and volunteers.
While many of his U.S. and Israeli competitors make one-size-fits-all bullet-resistant vests, Caballero specializes in tailoring his clothes to match the threats.
Two years ago, armor-piercing, .9 mm bullets — made of copper, lead and steel — first made an appearance in Honduras. Since then they have spread to El Salvador and Costa Rica. Armored-truck thieves in Brazil and Uruguay began setting security guards on fire when they discovered that some vests were flammable. “It wasn’t the Molotov cocktails that killed the [the guards]; it was their own jackets,” Caballero said. In hot climates, perspiration also can make protective clothing heavier and compromise its effectiveness.
Read more here: Fashionable bullet-proof wear finds growth abroad - Business - MiamiHerald.com