Results from an experimental investigation on the mechanical behavior of a unidirectional reinforced polymer composite with 50% volume fraction E-glass/vinylester under uniaxial and proportional multiaxial compression are presented. Specimens are loaded in the fiber direction using a servo-hydraulic material testing system for low strain rates and a Kolsky (split Hopkinson) pressure bar for high strain rates, up to 3000 s-1. The results indicate that the compressive strength of the composite increases with increasing levels of confinement and increasing strain rates. Post-test optical and scanning electron microscopy is used to identify the failure modes. The failure mode that is observed in unconfined specimen is axial splitting followed by fiber kink band formation. At high levels of confinement, the failure mode transitions from axial splitting to kink band formation and fiber failure. Also, a new energy based analytic model for studying axial splitting phenomenon in unidirectional fiber-reinforced composites is presented.