RMA Defense

I have been researching level “III+” armor options and have repeatedly come across RMA. Similar stated threat protection from Hoplite and Hesco cost 50%-150% more, so it seems that the RMA products may be too good to be true. I also noticed that they are only NIJ tested, which adds to my suspicion. What is the general opinion of RMA by those in the industry who know the armor game?
 

HighTower

Regular Member
Well, by malicious or fine print, the 1189 plate had a foam ring, so only 8 x 10 protection. I feel enough people have bought newer products since this event.

As far as the CPL thing, not every company does. AMI is on the CPL with one in house plate and a bunch of Tencate plates, but only the TACs plates are in size tolerance to the Tencate Cratus roster. (D Prefix plates are Tencate) so I assume AMI's plates are custom Tencate or Rebranded factory rejects that did not meet height or weight spec. (Ryan, you can call me back anytime)

Velocity Systems has Shado Work plates, not NIJ but either in house or Tencate sub/near Spook plates.

So the NIJ is not the end all be all, RMA has a black eye but I think they grew past that.

Just my 2 cents.
 

Matt Landfair

Matt Six Actual
Staff member
Administrator
Their marketing strategies that include bashing competitors with little discussion of their own product is telling.

I remember serious discrepancies with their claims and the white papers they provided.
 
Edit: Since I spend more than fives minutes on editing......

I am not sure on Hesco prices or such, but Hoplite I am familiar with.

Hoplites 19513 is priced at 350 per plate, while being a 9.5 x 12.5 multi curve. The RMA 1092 can be had for a single curve (cheaper) and some other variations. If you follow Hoplite on instagram, they are running sales with 10-20 percent off. So the price isn't too different. Aslo, Hoplite gets their plates from LTC, while RMA manufacturers their plates. Again, can be the reasons why the price is different.

After speaking to multiple armor testers, who go to the labs to evaluate armor. RMA seen as quality and are recommended.

Matt, do you have a source for this discrepancy?
 

shorta07

Newbie
Their marketing strategies that include bashing competitors with little discussion of their own product is telling.

I remember serious discrepancies with their claims and the white papers they provided.
Hey Matt,

Cory here with RMA. I see you bringing up our "marketing practices" quite often, yet you never elaborate. Could you provide some more information on this?

Also you say "
serious discrepancies with their claims and the white papers they provided." Can you provide more information on this as well? I believe another user has asked you for this also.

I've tried having these discussions with you before in the P&S: Gear group, but I magically was blocked from the group after asking a few questions.

Let me know if you need anything from me. :)
 
I am going to guess Matt can't remeber where he had seen such discrepanices.......Maybe he read the wrong paper for the plate. lol
 

Matt Landfair

Matt Six Actual
Staff member
Administrator
Their use of IIIA+ designation in an already confusing end user market regarding handgun armor stopping rifle bullets.

.07 is still a proposed standard and no actual testing can be done to what is a proposed/theoretical standard at this point… yet they act as though they have product already. .07 rifle standards will not even use the III/IV nomenclature. It will be RF 1, 2, and 3.
 

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shorta07

Newbie
Their use of IIIA+ designation in an already confusing end user market regarding handgun armor stopping rifle bullets.

.07 is still a proposed standard and no actual testing can be done to what is a proposed/theoretical standard at this point… yet they act as though they have product already. .07 rifle standards will not even use the III/IV nomenclature. It will be RF 1, 2, and 3.
Regarding IIIA+: The whole industry uses that. Hesco, Tencate, LTC, etc. I agree, I wish there was a better way, but that's on the NIJ. It's honestly not that hard to realize a IIIA+ will stop more than IIIA but less than III.

For the 0101.07 testing, we DID IN FACT have it tested to the rough draft of NIJ 0101.07 seen on the lab report from NTS Wichita.

Capture.adsfasdf.PNG

So, what else do you have for me?
 
Their marketing strategies that include bashing competitors with little discussion of their own product is telling.

I remember serious discrepancies with their claims and the white papers they provided.
Their use of IIIA+ designation in an already confusing end user market regarding handgun armor stopping rifle bullets.

.07 is still a proposed standard and no actual testing can be done to what is a proposed/theoretical standard at this point… yet they act as though they have product already. .07 rifle standards will not even use the III/IV nomenclature. It will be RF 1, 2, and 3.

That is not a discrepancy of their claims not matching the white papers. That is you not understanding the standards. I thought there was an issue in their Armor not stopping what they claimed.

The revision should have been changed in 2018 (I think, I could be off). The standards are already known, it is the NIJ who hasn't adopted it as of yet. When a company says Tested, that means they tested it to the standard they are claiming. Certified/Compliant means the NIJ tested and cerfitied the armor.
 

H-Minus

Newbie
So new guy with some questions here:

1)As I understand it, the NIJ standard has not been adopted formally yet because NIJ has been looking at aligning with other standards. (DoD, EU, etc.) This meant a potential revision of the number of calibers that a plate would have to stop as well as potential changes to the shot patterns. With that being said, how can we say that "the standard is known" until it is formally published? What benefits are to testing to the .07 draft when your test report specifies the following:

"This test report may not be used to claim product certification, approval, or endorsement by NVLAP, NIST, NIJ or any agency of the Federal Government. This report contains data that are not covered by the NVLAP accreditation. This test was performed in accordance with the specification requirements listed in addition to any customer testing modifications or requests. The test results properly reflect the ballistic performance of the listed sample. This test report shall not be reproduced except in full without written approval of National Technical Systems."

Unless that is legal boilerplate on the part of the test center, it sounds like your test results do not back the claim of '.07 tested.' Am I reading that wrong?

2) For the level III+ question: The current information I am seeing from the NIJ shows IIIA and III, no IIIA+ or III+. I looked in the 0101.06 to try and find it: no mention there either. The only place I saw it mentioned in my searches: were on the websites of armor companies. As a consumer, I can see how that would be confusing when there is no mention of it in the source documentation to know what it has been ballistically tested to stop. If the + is referring to a special threat, I don't see that mentioned in your sales pitch Matt referenced apart from this:

"After all, the new standard for III+ plates is the ability to defeat the m855, xm193, 7.62×39 MSC and the .308 M80 NATO round, which this plate does with flying colors."

Where is this "new standard" coming from that you mention?

My point is this: if we are a body armor manufacturer trying to differentiate ourselves from the major competetitors in our industry (e.g. Avon ceradyne, TenCate, Point Blank, Hesco) and we see they are saying things that add to the confusion, why are we going to do the same thing? And why do you claim it is on the NIJ, when you are the salesman selling a product? If you know there is a problem with the designation, why even bring it up in your sales pitch?

Thanks for your time.
 

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Gary GMFH Hughes

Moderator
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Vendor
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Regarding IIIA+: The whole industry uses that. Hesco, Tencate, LTC, etc. I agree, I wish there was a better way, but that's on the NIJ. It's honestly not that hard to realize a IIIA+ will stop more than IIIA but less than III.

For the 0101.07 testing, we DID IN FACT have it tested to the rough draft of NIJ 0101.07 seen on the lab report from NTS Wichita.

View attachment 8284

So, what else do you have for me?
There is no NIJ "+" designation that I am aware of. That is strictly industry trying to convey something not accounted for in normal NIJ certs. Typically in the industry and by that I mean Safariland, Point Blank, Armor Express, etc.... people who sell armor to the LE market, IIIA "+" is not a term in common use. The only place I see the "+" designation being commonly used is with level III hard armor to denote a level III plate capable of either 7.62x39 MSC (less commonly) or M855 (more commonly). it is a disservice to the community to confuse an already out of date rating system even further by denoting "+" on handgun cert armor. That isn't NIJ at all doing that....
I have seen more than one manufacturer claim to have tested to .07, even though we are not 100% sure what it will look like. Even more of a disservice considering the confusion over threats and threat levels to apply level III cert language to .07 "testing" to a proposed standard (which I saw on RMA's website), which will reference nothing of the sort. Marketing like that isn't doing the industry or professional end users any favors...I would more expect that type of marketing from someone like safelife.
A clear and concise explanation of exactly what will and will not stop via a consistent threat level rating system is much needed. things like this just confuse the matter. I see it every. damn. day.
 
So new guy with some questions here:

1)As I understand it, the NIJ standard has not been adopted formally yet because NIJ has been looking at aligning with other standards. (DoD, EU, etc.) This meant a potential revision of the number of calibers that a plate would have to stop as well as potential changes to the shot patterns. With that being said, how can we say that "the standard is known" until it is formally published? What benefits are to testing to the .07 draft when your test report specifies the following:

"This test report may not be used to claim product certification, approval, or endorsement by NVLAP, NIST, NIJ or any agency of the Federal Government. This report contains data that are not covered by the NVLAP accreditation. This test was performed in accordance with the specification requirements listed in addition to any customer testing modifications or requests. The test results properly reflect the ballistic performance of the listed sample. This test report shall not be reproduced except in full without written approval of National Technical Systems."

Unless that is legal boilerplate on the part of the test center, it sounds like your test results do not back the claim of '.07 tested.' Am I reading that wrong?

2) For the level III+ question: The current information I am seeing from the NIJ shows IIIA and III, no IIIA+ or III+. I looked in the 0101.06 to try and find it: no mention there either. The only place I saw it mentioned in my searches: were on the websites of armor companies. As a consumer, I can see how that would be confusing when there is no mention of it in the source documentation to know what it has been ballistically tested to stop. If the + is referring to a special threat, I don't see that mentioned in your sales pitch Matt referenced apart from this:

"After all, the new standard for III+ plates is the ability to defeat the m855, xm193, 7.62×39 MSC and the .308 M80 NATO round, which this plate does with flying colors."

Where is this "new standard" coming from that you mention?

My point is this: if we are a body armor manufacturer trying to differentiate ourselves from the major competetitors in our industry (e.g. Avon ceradyne, TenCate, Point Blank, Hesco) and we see they are saying things that add to the confusion, why are we going to do the same thing? And why do you claim it is on the NIJ, when you are the salesman selling a product? If you know there is a problem with the designation, why even bring it up in your sales pitch?

Thanks for your time.
1. https://nij.ojp.gov/media/document/16126 here is the draft of the 07 requirements. So the standards are known. You can submit these future requirements to the ballistic labs and ask them to test to that standard and they will for a fee.

That legal part is from the Lab, the lab just conducts the tests to the customers specifications, and they do not cerfy armor nor does this mean it is cerfitifed by the NIJ. The NIJ is the one who does the certification. All RMA is showing, is that they had a independent lab condut the test to that standard and looking at the results their armor did very well.

Unless you have been living under a rock, most of the armor companies use a + symbol to denote, beyond NIJ tested. Currently, M855 and M855a1 are not part of the testing. A level III is only tested to stop 6 rounds of M80 ball. Level 4 just one 30-06 AP.
Here is a list of companies using the +:
Highcom Armor
DFNDR Armor
Hesco (I wouldn't recommend anyone to have hesco armor)
Tencate
Armor Express
At Armor
LTC


2. This "new" standard is from the industry, not the NIJ. As I have written, m855 is not a tested round in the NIJ process. If you look at the companies presented, they denote a + (some even ++) on the plate being able to stop 6 rounds of M80 and special threat tested. Now it is up to the CONSUMER to read what each manufacturer claims their plates can do. This is the fault of the NIJ, being so slow to adopt new standards. The armor companies had to come up with their own.

Addressing your "My point": Honestly, what you wrote is confusing. Let me know if I got this right. You are confused by RMAs use of cerfitifcaton levels (despite the fact you can read their white papers), yet you are not confused by the same usage from HESCO, Tencate? Personally, I find the use of III+ much better than "special threat". On point blank, they have multiple special threat rated plates. Each one is different, one stops 5.56 rounds, but not 308. One claims to stop M855 but not M193?
 
There is no NIJ "+" designation that I am aware of. That is strictly industry trying to convey something not accounted for in normal NIJ certs. Typically in the industry and by that I mean Safariland, Point Blank, Armor Express, etc.... people who sell armor to the LE market, IIIA "+" is not a term in common use. The only place I see the "+" designation being commonly used is with level III hard armor to denote a level III plate capable of either 7.62x39 MSC (less commonly) or M855 (more commonly). it is a disservice to the community to confuse an already out of date rating system even further by denoting "+" on handgun cert armor. That isn't NIJ at all doing that....
I have seen more than one manufacturer claim to have tested to .07, even though we are not 100% sure what it will look like. Even more of a disservice considering the confusion over threats and threat levels to apply level III cert language to .07 "testing" to a proposed standard (which I saw on RMA's website), which will reference nothing of the sort. Marketing like that isn't doing the industry or professional end users any favors...I would more expect that type of marketing from someone like safelife.
A clear and concise explanation of exactly what will and will not stop via a consistent threat level rating system is much needed. things like this just confuse the matter. I see it every. damn. day.

"people who sell armor to the LE market, IIIA "+" is not a term in common use. The only place I see the "+" designation being commonly used is with level III hard armor to denote a level III plate capable of either 7.62x39 MSC (less commonly) or M855 (more commonly). it is a disservice to the community to confuse an already out of date rating system even further by denoting "+" on handgun cert armor. That isn't NIJ at all doing that...."

https://www.armorexpress.com/product-category/hard-armor-plates/ they do use the + symbol on their plate.

Not sure how it is a disservice, unless you can't read the claims made by the manufacturer.

Yes, this is the NIJ's fault, for not updating the standards leaving the companies forced to come up with their own to accomdate different threats being faced out there.


"I have seen more than one manufacturer claim to have tested to .07, even though we are not 100% sure what it will look like"

https://nij.ojp.gov/media/document/16126 uh here it is......

Most of the armor makers websites, have this pdfs available to read what it is tested against. Like on RMA's website, they the lab report, their file saying what it is rated for. You can click on the red items and read if you don't know what it is rated to stop. When the standard does gets changed, RMA is claiming this armor will be at this rating. Until then it fits the III+ industry standard (not by NIJ)
1636674862597.png

"A clear and concise explanation of exactly what will and will not stop via a consistent threat level rating system is much needed. things like this just confuse the matter. I see it every. damn. day."

You can't have a list of what it can't stop, there are far too many calibers out there. The test is against the most common of threats. RMA does (so does the companies I have listed above) have a list of rounds stopped by their armor.


In these posts, I am not seeing the claim that RMA has a discrepancy in what their armor will stop. I see you gentlemen are confused, possibly need to do more research on body armor and the industry as a whole.
 

Gary GMFH Hughes

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Vendor
VIP
"people who sell armor to the LE market, IIIA "+" is not a term in common use. The only place I see the "+" designation being commonly used is with level III hard armor to denote a level III plate capable of either 7.62x39 MSC (less commonly) or M855 (more commonly). it is a disservice to the community to confuse an already out of date rating system even further by denoting "+" on handgun cert armor. That isn't NIJ at all doing that...."

https://www.armorexpress.com/product-category/hard-armor-plates/ they do use the + symbol on their plate.

Not sure how it is a disservice, unless you can't read the claims made by the manufacturer.

Yes, this is the NIJ's fault, for not updating the standards leaving the companies forced to come up with their own to accomdate different threats being faced out there.


"I have seen more than one manufacturer claim to have tested to .07, even though we are not 100% sure what it will look like"

https://nij.ojp.gov/media/document/16126 uh here it is......

Most of the armor makers websites, have this pdfs available to read what it is tested against. Like on RMA's website, they the lab report, their file saying what it is rated for. You can click on the red items and read if you don't know what it is rated to stop. When the standard does gets changed, RMA is claiming this armor will be at this rating. Until then it fits the III+ industry standard (not by NIJ)
View attachment 8289

"A clear and concise explanation of exactly what will and will not stop via a consistent threat level rating system is much needed. things like this just confuse the matter. I see it every. damn. day."

You can't have a list of what it can't stop, there are far too many calibers out there. The test is against the most common of threats. RMA does (so does the companies I have listed above) have a list of rounds stopped by their armor.


In these posts, I am not seeing the claim that RMA has a discrepancy in what their armor will stop. I see you gentlemen are confused, possibly need to do more research on body armor and the industry as a whole.
https://www.armorexpress.com/product-category/hard-armor-plates/ they do use the + symbol on their plate.
No where on that link do they refer to a level IIIA plate as being "+" . they list III+ as is customary to denote M855 with rifles...Not handguns.

Not sure how it is a disservice, unless you can't read the claims made by the manufacturer.
It is a disservice to mix handgun and rifle nomenclature for the end user that doesn't spend all day on the internet fluffing some manufacturer.

https://nij.ojp.gov/media/document/16126 uh here it is......
it is a proposed standard, that after comment period still has not been adopted due to issues with AR500 sellers and M193, also the proposed 7.62x39 surrogate projectile is causing issues. it is not an adopted real standard yet and to act like it is, is disingenuous.

Yes, this is the NIJ's fault, for not updating the standards leaving the companies forced to come up with their own to accomdate different threats being faced out there.
I agree that it is NIJ's fault, but it isn't an NIJ "thing" as purported above.

Most of the armor makers websites, have this pdfs available to read what it is tested against. Like on RMA's website, they the lab report, their file saying what it is rated for. You can click on the red items and read if you don't know what it is rated to stop. When the standard does gets changed, RMA is claiming this armor will be at this rating. Until then it fits the III+ industry standard (not by NIJ)
Yes, the experts that wrote that call it .308 M80 Nato.... Enough said for expertise.

You can't have a list of what it can't stop, there are far too many calibers out there. The test is against the most common of threats. RMA does (so does the companies I have listed above) have a list of rounds stopped by their armor.
It isn't about what the manufacturer says it will stop....I could call it NIJ level X and say what it stops by that logic. The point of that was to say III+ is generally accepted to mean a level III cert plate that is M855 capable. IIIA"+" , is not a generally accepted and confusing term for the end user as IIIA is a handgun rating, not a rifle rating. its confusion that causes a lot of false confidence. but hey, you got the sale right?

In these posts, I am not seeing the claim that RMA has a discrepancy in what their armor will stop. I see you gentlemen are confused, possibly need to do more research on body armor and the industry as a whole.
I'll measure chops with you on armor any day and have over 25 years in the industry. The claim is not a discrepancy in what RMA will stop. I happen to think they make a fine product. I disagree with the manner in which it is presented, marketed and the manner in which it causes confusion in the marketplace.
 

H-Minus

Newbie
Thanks for sharing the draft .07. You state in doing so:

"here is the draft of the 07 requirements. So the standards are known. You can submit these future requirements to the ballistic labs and ask them to test to that standard and they will for a fee."

So if it is a draft document, doesn't that mean it can change before final publication?

As an example, the updated Army weapons Training Circulars went through several major revisions before they were finally approved by the Chief of Staff of the Army. No unit was using anything from any of those publications for their annual qualifications, because they knew they would potentially change and would not be valid. In the same manner, if the ballistic testing standards have not been codified via formal acceptance by the NIJ, they can change.

You also mention the following to @Gary GMFH Hughes
:

"Yes, this is the NIJ's fault, for not updating the standards leaving the companies forced to come up with their own to accomdate different threats being faced out there."

However, if we accept that "the standard is known", and has been since the draft was released for comments (but not publication) since 2018, then shouldn't all vendors already be using HG1-2 and RF1-3 and stop using the classes from the current 1010.06? Why is no vendor doing that solely I wonder?
 
https://www.armorexpress.com/product-category/hard-armor-plates/ they do use the + symbol on their plate.
No where on that link do they refer to a level IIIA plate as being "+" . they list III+ as is customary to denote M855 with rifles...Not handguns.

Yeah, I misread your sentence there and thought you just mean just the + not the IIA+, my mistake there. There are some other manufacturers who do use IIIA+ (point blank is one of them and they sell to LE).

And I see the + isn't typically with just M855, seeing quite a few sellers using that for any round that is not NIJ process. Dfndr, Highcom, Tencate, LTC, point blank use the + not just for M855. So you are assuming what a symbol that is being used for.......

"it is a disservice to mix handgun and rifle nomenclature for the end user that doesn't spend all day on the internet fluffing some manufacturer."

The + isn't just for rifle, as noted above.

"It isn't about what the manufacturer says it will stop....I could call it NIJ level X and say what it stops by that logic. The point of that was to say III+ is generally accepted to mean a level III cert plate that is M855 capable. IIIA"+" , is not a generally accepted and confusing term for the end user as IIIA is a handgun rating, not a rifle rating. its confusion that causes a lot of false confidence. but hey, you got the sale right?"

My response was to you literally saying ""A clear and concise explanation of exactly what will and will not stop via a consistent threat level rating system is much needed". It shouldn't take too much common sense to see a maker have a + to a rating and see what that means. If you assume, well that is on you, as most of the manufacturers have it on the product description.......As noted above, many manufacturers use the + for other threats, that are not M855. Not sure why you are so confused, all you have to do is read their claim....as I stated. Most manufacturers have their own thinking behind what + is denoting.

My posting started, because matt made a claim. I wanted to see it backed up, and it is good to see it wasn't anything legitimate. Just him being confused. For there are few good quality armor manufacturers, I believe RMA is one of them. BTW, I don't work for them or even own their armor.
 
Thanks for sharing the draft .07. You state in doing so:

"here is the draft of the 07 requirements. So the standards are known. You can submit these future requirements to the ballistic labs and ask them to test to that standard and they will for a fee."

So if it is a draft document, doesn't that mean it can change before final publication?

As an example, the updated Army weapons Training Circulars went through several major revisions before they were finally approved by the Chief of Staff of the Army. No unit was using anything from any of those publications for their annual qualifications, because they knew they would potentially change and would not be valid. In the same manner, if the ballistic testing standards have not been codified via formal acceptance by the NIJ, they can change.

You also mention the following to @Gary GMFH Hughes
:

"Yes, this is the NIJ's fault, for not updating the standards leaving the companies forced to come up with their own to accomdate different threats being faced out there."

However, if we accept that "the standard is known", and has been since the draft was released for comments (but not publication) since 2018, then shouldn't all vendors already be using HG1-2 and RF1-3 and stop using the classes from the current 1010.06? Why is no vendor doing that solely I wonder?
Can it change, yes. It was supposed to be adopted in 2018, yet there were some changes in the 2019. Then it was supposed to be adopted in Q1 of 2021, this plate from RMA III+ was made just prior to that. As the draft is posted, that is the most current to date and therefore a manufacturer can have their armor tested, not certified, to the current proposed 07 standard.

As to why other manufacturers are not using standard soley, I don't know. You would have to ask them.
 

Matt Landfair

Matt Six Actual
Staff member
Administrator
My posting started, because matt made a claim. I wanted to see it backed up, and it is good to see it wasn't anything legitimate. Just him being confused. For there are few good quality armor manufacturers, I believe RMA is one of them. BTW, I don't work for them or even own their armor.
There is no confusion. Several years ago we had it documented in a FB thread.
 
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