Tag Archives: Poly

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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