• WTB / WTS / WTT ADS
    All Advertisements, including Want to Buy, Want to Sell, Want to Trade, Belong in the MARKETPLACE ONLY. Any new threads posted offering an item for sale, looking to trade or buy an item which are posted outside of Marketplace will be deleted without notice or warning. Existing threads will be moved to marketplace.
  • Marketplace Feedback Ratings
    The Marketplace feedback ratings system is now back. You can now leave feedback for your Buy / Sell / Trade transactions. Instructions on how to leave feedback ratings can be found HERE

Body Armor: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly UPDATED 3-12-2019

longhair51

Constitutional curmudgeon
Silver Contributor
FALaholic #
5884
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Posts
2,040
Location
MO
Feedback: 1 / 0 / 0
That is good news. There is a lot of m193 and other high velocity varmint rounds out there. Granted, they would have to be fairly close to you to defeat ar500 but the possibility is there. Added capability and weight savings....what's not to like?
 

009.5

Well-known member
FALaholic #
11539
Joined
Aug 22, 2003
Posts
372
Location
One of the several States comprising The United St
Feedback: 144 / 0 / 0
That is good news. There is a lot of m193 and other high velocity varmint rounds out there. Granted, they would have to be fairly close to you to defeat ar500 but the possibility is there. Added capability and weight savings....what's not to like?
It was quite shocking how far out the M193 punched AR500...when I made the discovery (around the same time it broke on 10-8 back in '07, actually) I thought I'd gotten a bad batch of steel. Was hitting and penetrating at 50M, which is kind of scary.

This material has been available for a time, the issue has been forming/curving it. CNC roll press was how they did it (because I can tell you even a 100 ton press brake is not up to the task!).
 

009.5

Well-known member
FALaholic #
11539
Joined
Aug 22, 2003
Posts
372
Location
One of the several States comprising The United St
Feedback: 144 / 0 / 0
Wat about with Kevlar spall guards? Starting to make me consider blowing my budget this month...
Backers will not influence which primary rounds a plate will stop. They are soley there to catch any fragments that may barely make it through if a round's V50 exceeds the plate's capabilities. They also provide additional blunt force trauma.
 

hueyville

Well-known member
Bronze Contributor
FALaholic #
74557
Joined
Aug 25, 2014
Posts
9,379
Location
Foothills of the Blueridge Mountains
Feedback: 69 / 0 / 0
Personally do not like rigid body armor. It's o.k. for situations where mobility is not an issue, but if have to move much especially twisting torso it restricts movement, chaffs and is terribly hot during long summers we have down south. Have a set of shooters cut 10"×12" level IV plates with spall guard coating and would only wear if knew for sure would not be moving much or articulating upper body. Basically would only wear if barricaded in house and not planning on leaving and air conditioning functioning.

Sure someone has made it but try putting a set of rigid plates on a female and they will be crying soon in matter of a few minutes due to comfort in the breast area. In Kevlar/Kevlar and Gold Shield combo wife has level IIa, II, IIIa, and III all that is cut and sewn to fit female properly. Have dozen or more assorted 5"×8" to 8"x10" trauma plates that can be added to any of our armor and she would rather lose a full level threat rating to use soft trauma panels than rigid. Level IIIa with soft trauma panels is most she will wear now due to mobility issues from her bone disease.

The steel plates and carrier I own has no side protection. Even if going light weight and lower threat level I want full coverage. Recently acquired new level III vest with neck yolk, shoulder and bicep daps, groin and sacrum panels all of which can be removed if want. All of the add on's and side panels are level IIIa rated. With rigid trauma plates added on top of the relatively stiff main front and rear panels it also becomes almost unbearable for any length of time.

For most times feel body armor is necessary wear either level IIa, II or level IIIa. The IIIa is only worn when shooting at indoor range as seen too many close calls in concrete room full of strangers blazing away. My job puts me in a lot of high risk locations like south side of Atlanta, often after dark. If working such areas wear level IIa with stab layer in summer and II with stab panels in winter. Levels IIIa and above limit my ability to crawl around under racks and drawers or scamper up antenna towers.

Prefer something can conceal and protects me well enough that will survive a surprise encounter. So few hoodlums carry rifles, especially with AP ammo feel that if attacker is of any quality and realizes first shot you don't go down they are going to shoot low or for the head. Just want a chance of surviving the first round or two, if while have head stuck in telecom cabinet on a night time service call, someone decides to cap me to get keys to truck.

Best new pieces of armor added of late are the level IIIa briefs/diapers shown in picture below. Worn in conjuction with my level III tactical vest with shoulder, bicep, side panels, neck yoke, groin protector and sacrum protector have enough protection lower body area likelihood of surviving someone shooting low goes way up. Honestly though own it, don't see need for anything higher than level III. The lower rated protection worn as opposed the higher protection level not worn due to comfort or inability to conceal is like the gun left at home or in vehicle. If only had one vest and it was a high threat level would seldom, if ever, be worn. Level II with a front and rear IIIa trauma panel is most versatile and used vest in collection.

 

009.5

Well-known member
FALaholic #
11539
Joined
Aug 22, 2003
Posts
372
Location
One of the several States comprising The United St
Feedback: 144 / 0 / 0
Huey, well said. Thanks for sharing your personal experience.

This highlights something that does not get brought up enough, that I feel very strongly about:

A level IIA vest that you have on when you need it beats the level IV plates and IIIA vest left at home because they're too uncomfortable.

Until the new 6th generation of composite fibers hits the market, there are not likely to be any perfect solutions regarding rifle-class protection. Your point about current rifle armor being...less than ergonomic for females is another issue that has not been addressed satisfactorily.
 

gates

Well-known member
FALaholic #
129
Joined
Jul 21, 2000
Posts
14,880
Location
phx az
Feedback: 7 / 0 / 0
So here is my question - why would I wear these levelIII plates to specifically stop the 193 rd at NINE pounds, when I can don a set of 14lb levelIV SAPI plates that will stop .308/30-06? yes its an additional 5 lbs but you better not run into a dude with a FAL:cool:
 

009.5

Well-known member
FALaholic #
11539
Joined
Aug 22, 2003
Posts
372
Location
One of the several States comprising The United St
Feedback: 144 / 0 / 0
So here is my question - why would I wear these levelIII plates to specifically stop the 193 rd at NINE pounds, when I can don a set of 14lb levelIV SAPI plates that will stop .308/30-06? yes its an additional 5 lbs but you better not run into a dude with a FAL:cool:
Durability. The steel plates will stop everything that an original SAPI will stop (M193, M855, M80 Ball, .30-06, 7.62X39), while remaining viable after dozens of hits. The (N)SAPI plates are good if you have a logistics tail that can replace plates once they have been used. If resupply is not possible, steel makes way more sense.

SAPI are also, not strictly speaking, level IV rated. Level IV calls for one round of M2 AP, and then the plates could (being silly here) evaporate into shiny particles. Level III calls for 6 rounds of M80 ball @ 2750 fps before being compromised. The .mil uses their own standards for evaluating and certifying plates. There is some overlap with the NIJ IV rating, but typically E- and X-SAPI will stop three rounds of up to AP threat before being compromised.

The only reason to go with a IV rated plate is if you suspect your OPFOR will have black tip rounds, and that they are a significant risk. Otherwise, level III and III+ all day long makes better sense. Remember, even though III+ is not an "official" (NIJ) level, it is important to consider WHAT THE PLATE STOPS. Many (if not MOST) III UHMWPE plates will NOT stop M855 AT ALL.

Plates like the AMI TAC3S were developed to combine the best features of UHMWPE and steel plates. The new generation of steel plates looks to be thinner and cheaper, and nominally as effective as the TAC3S.

It all comes down to what YOU want the plates to do. Hope that made sense.
 

009.5

Well-known member
FALaholic #
11539
Joined
Aug 22, 2003
Posts
372
Location
One of the several States comprising The United St
Feedback: 144 / 0 / 0
I want plates that weigh 5lbs and will stop 50bmg - just like everyone else:)
Boy, don't we all.

Thing is, I could build them for you, with a certainty. If I had M5 fiber and CNT toughened B4C (both of which are unobtainum and/or prohibitively expensive). You would not like the blunt force trauma one bit, though. ;)
 

gates

Well-known member
FALaholic #
129
Joined
Jul 21, 2000
Posts
14,880
Location
phx az
Feedback: 7 / 0 / 0
Well, there is that pesky physics issue... it may stop the pill but the pill may just may break every bone in your chest and kill you just the same when the impact snaps your neck... there is that problem:whistling:
 

009.5

Well-known member
FALaholic #
11539
Joined
Aug 22, 2003
Posts
372
Location
One of the several States comprising The United St
Feedback: 144 / 0 / 0
Just to put a historical spin on this thread,

The UWGB Linothorax Project: Reconstructing and Testing Ancient Linen Body Armor

https://www.uwgb.edu/aldreteg/Linothorax.html
Story, an excellent site. It is interesting to note that the Conquistadors reverted to brine soaked linen armor when confronted by the obsidian arrowheads of the Aztecs. Seems the volcanic glass was penetrating their Milanese steel breastplates, but was stopped by the salt-soaked layers of hemp fabric. Counter-intuitive, but it shows why testing is so important.
 

Story

Well-known member
FALaholic #
7638
Joined
Oct 9, 2002
Posts
16,542
Location
Right here
Feedback: 29 / 0 / 0
Thanks, glad to share. Struck me as an Ancient version of kevlar and by extrapolation, lesser-than-kevlar fabrics might be super-glued into potentially useful field expedient armor.

Although it's alot easier to just go buy the stuff...
 

009.5

Well-known member
FALaholic #
11539
Joined
Aug 22, 2003
Posts
372
Location
One of the several States comprising The United St
Feedback: 144 / 0 / 0
Thanks, glad to share. Struck me as an Ancient version of kevlar and by extrapolation, lesser-than-kevlar fabrics might be super-glued into potentially useful field expedient armor.

Although it's alot easier to just go buy the stuff...
I would recommend either brining it, or dilluted white glue. Super glue actually makes the resulting laminate too brittle (yep. Have actually tried this out). Alternating layers of quilted/brined linen and silk were the best, able to stop 90# recurve bow arrows in 18 layers, both broadhead and bodkin. Unbrined took 30 layers.
 

John A

Well-known member
FALaholic #
73828
Joined
Apr 13, 2014
Posts
2,198
Location
NOT california
Feedback: 14 / 0 / 1
Been shooting AR500 steel for a long time now and I am a fan of steel gongs. they tend to last a very long time.

With that said, curious about whether to buy curved or flat.

I understand about the curved plate maybe wrapping around you better, but at the same time, would seem to maybe not distribute blunt force across as wide of an area if you did happen to take a hit. In fewer words, it would seem to distribute the force more to the sides more than across the entire piece from a lack of better description.

What about the back plate. Which do you prefer for that? Curved or flat?

I've never felt the need to have armor, but, you just never know what may be coming down the pipe. Seems like every time someone mentions gun control, personal protective armor somehow gets thrown in there some how.
 

raubvogel

Well-known member
Contributor
FALaholic #
64403
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Posts
8,489
Location
Alphaville
Feedback: 58 / 0 / 0
There are amour materials that are soft until gets hit when it hardens up (I do not remember if just around the area or the entire pannel) quickly enough to stop a bullet. I think one of those companies have been trying to sell them to the US military for some 5 years but it was not deemed complicate and heavy and expensive enough.
 

hueyville

Well-known member
Bronze Contributor
FALaholic #
74557
Joined
Aug 25, 2014
Posts
9,379
Location
Foothills of the Blueridge Mountains
Feedback: 69 / 0 / 0
Purchased what appeared to be a military issue vest on Ebay recently. Had what appeared to be a molle carrier some version of MARPAT or ACU pattern camo and quite a few accessories attached such as IFAK, radio pouch, M4 magazine pouch, pistol pouches and others. All main ad said was "Bullet Proof Vest", all description said was "new, unissued dealer sample missing packaging and no tags. Never been issued" and only a single picture. Seller said did not know anything about body armor, could not answer any questions as afraid would give incorrect information. It was a $250 buy now and had watched it a week knowing something about it looked like had seen before but unable to place. Seller was able to say it had panels in it but not what kind or rating.

Took a chance and ordered the thing right before auction ended and finally arrived. As advertised it was new as showed no wear or dirt. Nice, clean and crisp including all the accessories. Did not take long as in reading the tags to realize the carrier is a Second Chance Titan Assault Enhanced Carrier model. Opened it up and has new Second Chance Summit Series Level IIIa front and rear panels, clean as a new penny and no staining or signs of being worn ever. Also has the 6"×10" side panels and a set of Impac Special Threats Plates front and back. If seller had taken pictures of inside and back, along with pictures of tags and then made a list of what the tags said on each accessory item and listed in auction format he would have gotten in the $750 to $1,000 plus range. I asked the guy questions twice had he taken a little effort to answer I would have been decent and suggest he pull his listing then relist with correct and complete information so could get fair price. But apparently he sells so much stuff he doesn't have the time or takes the time to research his products. One thing for sure is have his store in my favorites folder and will be watching him closely.

Now for a question. Anyone have a source for determining threat level when different panels are stacked? This has dual pockets that allow use of 8"×10" or 10"×12" panels or both. Side panels accepts 6"×10" or 6"×6" mini panels. Can run it with either size front and back or both. Sides can run small, large or no panels. Basically can make it a super light load carrying vest or full protection high threat level unit. So many options I may not sleep for two days swapping panels around till it feels just right. Have plenty of extra sets of panels and wondering if put a set of Level II panels in with the IIIa panels if there is a chart that gives actual threat level for multiple plates stacked?
 

SAFN49

None
Platinum Contributor
FALaholic #
73015
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Posts
8,807
Location
No Where
Feedback: 118 / 1 / 0
Purchased what appeared to be a military issue vest on Ebay recently. Had what appeared to be a molle carrier some version of MARPAT or ACU pattern camo and quite a few accessories attached such as IFAK, radio pouch, M4 magazine pouch, pistol pouches and others. All main ad said was "Bullet Proof Vest", all description said was "new, unissued dealer sample missing packaging and no tags. Never been issued" and only a single picture. Seller said did not know anything about body armor, could not answer any questions as afraid would give incorrect information. It was a $250 buy now and had watched it a week knowing something about it looked like had seen before but unable to place. Seller was able to say it had panels in it but not what kind or rating.

Took a chance and ordered the thing right before auction ended and finally arrived. As advertised it was new as showed no wear or dirt. Nice, clean and crisp including all the accessories. Did not take long as in reading the tags to realize the carrier is a Second Chance Titan Assault Enhanced Carrier model. Opened it up and has new Second Chance Summit Series Level IIIa front and rear panels, clean as a new penny and no staining or signs of being worn ever. Also has the 6"×10" side panels and a set of Impac Special Threats Plates front and back. If seller had taken pictures of inside and back, along with pictures of tags and then made a list of what the tags said on each accessory item and listed in auction format he would have gotten in the $750 to $1,000 plus range. I asked the guy questions twice had he taken a little effort to answer I would have been decent and suggest he pull his listing then relist with correct and complete information so could get fair price. But apparently he sells so much stuff he doesn't have the time or takes the time to research his products. One thing for sure is have his store in my favorites folder and will be watching him closely.

Now for a question. Anyone have a source for determining threat level when different panels are stacked? This has dual pockets that allow use of 8"×10" or 10"×12" panels or both. Side panels accepts 6"×10" or 6"×6" mini panels. Can run it with either size front and back or both. Sides can run small, large or no panels. Basically can make it a super light load carrying vest or full protection high threat level unit. So many options I may not sleep for two days swapping panels around till it feels just right. Have plenty of extra sets of panels and wondering if put a set of Level II panels in with the IIIa panels if there is a chart that gives actual threat level for multiple plates stacked?
Nope, nobody has a chart of stacked panels. I do know it takes over a 1.5" of stacked panels to stop a .30 ap round, at which point you at which point you are around 8 ~ 8.5 pounds per square foot and ceramic inserts are thinner and lighter.
 

hueyville

Well-known member
Bronze Contributor
FALaholic #
74557
Joined
Aug 25, 2014
Posts
9,379
Location
Foothills of the Blueridge Mountains
Feedback: 69 / 0 / 0
This 3a armor is currently on eebay. It is also listed on the NIJ website as compliant. Does anyone have experience with this brand?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251958172693?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2648&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT
Never seen them but went to their site and have a huge range of high end products. The NIJ Level IV+ panels rated for 7.62 armor piercing incendiary are interesting. Looking at their entry vests, EOD suits, helmets and such along with have North American and International divisions guess is they have their act together. Their 10"×12" Spartan Plate rated Level IIIa and only 3/16" thick and under a pound seems like a nice plate.
 

SAFN49

None
Platinum Contributor
FALaholic #
73015
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Posts
8,807
Location
No Where
Feedback: 118 / 1 / 0
Top