Tag Archives: armor

Choosing a Protection Level for Rifle Plates

Armor 101… I tell customers that armor is one of the most confusing commodities in the defensive industry. Understanding the rating systems, the materials, and the capabilities associated with each is a must for one to make an educated armor choice. When selecting armor, start with the most likely threat that you may face (be realistic) and work from there. It is always a trade-off (protection, cost, durability, weight, thickness); just balance the capabilities to arrive at the best available solution for your requirement. RATINGS/LEVELS (Rifle Threats) Rifle Plates and Levels. NIJ is the rating that drives the armor train (for now). It is horribly outdated and does all of us a disservice. But NIJ is the only girl left in the bar and it is 2am...so it is what it is. So why is the NIJ rating system "out of date"? Well, the CONUS bad guys aren't shooting at us with 30.06 AP rounds for the most part. The current certification does not account for common threats such as 7.62x39, 5.56 (ball, M855, AP), or 7.62x54R. Rifle plates are rated to stop 6 hits of 7.62 ball (Level III) or 1 hit of .30cal Armor Piercing (Level IV). These

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Materials Used in Hard Armor

*Editor's note: NiJ ratings do not consider 5.56 in classifications. If something is rated level III it will stop .308 but not necessarily 5.56/.223. Currently there are four common options for Level III plates:  5-6 mm steel (AR500/R50c/AR46100) plates: Level III steel plates offer a very thin profile, but are a bit heavier (6.5-7.5 lbs for a 10x12 plate) than some other options. They are very durable and offer inexpensive multi-hit capability against even closely spaced non-AP 7.62 x 39 mm and 7.62 x 51 mm projectiles, as well as for heavier 5.56 mm loads, including 62 gr M855 “green-tip”. Unfortunately, many lightweight (55 gr or less) 5.56 mm loads will defeat steel plates, including the extremely common 55 gr FMJ loads like M193. It is a VERY good idea to wear level IIIa soft armor underneath steel plates. *Spall is a great safety concern. Hard compressed polyethelene (Dyneema/Spectra) plates: These are very lightweight (3-4 lbs for a 10 x 12 plate) multi- hit capable level III plates that will stop closely spaced hits of both the lightweight 5.56 mm ammo that defeats steel, along with the 7.62 mm threats stopped by steel, as well expanding rifle ammunition in many

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Evolutions In Outfitting The Modern Police Officer

I have worked within law enforcement (LE) since the last century. I  have worked with leadership that recognized the importance of officer safety and enacted proactive polices which maximized police effectiveness through modern equipment and training.  Currently, police officers do everything from teaching classes in elementary schools to direct combat with terrorist forces.  As a school resource officer, I taught several D.A.R.E. (Drug Awareness Resistance Education) classes a day at the local elementary schools and still responded to all types of incidents.  Our officers have ever changing job duties as well as high expectations from the public.  In order to more safely and effectively conduct their duties, upgrading equipment and uniforms to a more versatile and functional condition will help with officer and public safety. Police departments are funded by the cities the serve.  Outfitting and updating police a department is expensive.  There are federal programs that allow the use of used military equipment for police work.  Equipment offered with these federal programs included at one time: weapons, armored vehicles, non-armored vehicles, night vision, generators, vehicle parts, combat uniforms- nearly everything. Some items require fees to be paid, some items are free.  All of these items are on loan from

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