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Thread: School Me On Plates

  1. #21
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    I think an important point to make is that Level IV does not mean better as opposed to Level III. There are Level IV plates that will stop armor-piercing rounds that will be perforated by M193.

    As was mentioned above, you need to figure out what you’re most likely to be shot by and go from there. For me, the threat is much more likely to come from 5.56 and 7.62x39 threats which lands me in the Level III+ plate arena.

    My current “soon-to-expire” plates are Safariland Rifle Threat III (model 2120) that stop all the stuff I’m most likely to be shot by (M193, M855, AK variants). They’re definitely heavier and more expensive than you want, but they stop the bullets that need stopping for me.

    Save up and buy the good stuff or don’t bother.

  2. #22
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    These are all good points and I understand much of this, but thanks for everyone's input. If I were to get the "right" set of plates for my purposes (meeting common rifle calibers available here) what would that set be? Is AR500 adequate? If not, what is?

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loxley View Post
    These are all good points and I understand much of this, but thanks for everyone's input. If I were to get the "right" set of plates for my purposes (meeting common rifle calibers available here) what would that set be? Is AR500 adequate? If not, what is?
    Jellybean on page 1 pretty much answered your questions. With plates you can’t always have your cake and eat it too. Nice, thin, lightweight plates cost money. You can often get the same protection in a less expensive plate (Hesco 100 level IV) but it’s going to be heavier and thicker.

    What’s the purpose for your plates? Are you doing contractor work? LE active shooter? Or home/firearms training? How long will you be wearing them?

    So the “right” set of plates is really determined on what your mission and budget is.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Vaquero View Post
    Jellybean on page 1 pretty much answered your questions. With plates you can’t always have your cake and eat it too. Nice, thin, lightweight plates cost money. You can often get the same protection in a less expensive plate (Hesco 100 level IV) but it’s going to be heavier and thicker.

    What’s the purpose for your plates? Are you doing contractor work? LE active shooter? Or home/firearms training? How long will you be wearing them?

    So the “right” set of plates is really determined on what your mission and budget is.
    Budget is around $500-700. The mission is general civilian SHTF prep, home defense, etc. - something I'd have peace of mind having but don't plan on using it on a daily occasion or anything. I want to stress that I would do my best to train with this rig, I already understand this. But can someone explain what is wrong with AR500? The lightweight III+ options seem good considering, well, that they're lightweight. Am I missing something or is this just an emotional stigma against metal budget plates? Again, I'm open to more reasonable budget suggestions.

    As for plate carrier, I'm really liking the idea of a Ferro Concepts Slickster.
    Last edited by Loxley; 01-30-19 at 14:10.

  5. #25
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    I posted earlier in this thread, but for me it’s clearly weight. Steel armor , mags, maybe a blowout kit.... PC gets heavy, fast.

  6. #26
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    AR500 does not defeat common 5.56 threats, it's HEAVY, and those bullet fragments go somewhere, often the face, chin, and throat...despite whatever undercoating they spray on it. Plenty of testing and info available. But if it's a "just in case" kit you're never going to actually use..go for it.

    Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk

  7. #27
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    While I am no expert in this subject (in fact I came to this thread for research, since I’m now a contractor and am looking to purchase something SAPI-like), I can say for sure that steel plates are a bad idea. Unless you are using them for PT.

    I’m close friends with the owners of a steel target manufacturer, and participate in a large percentage of their RDT&E process. Their rifle targets do a very good job of stopping bullets, but they are also fairly thick and heavy. (Not made to be worn). Pretty much the standard in the target game, with some interesting mounting ideas. We have also experimented with thinner stuff, and with steel body armor plates bought off the internet, for funsies. We have lots of ammo, and a range, so we screw around a bit, and test other manufacturers’ stuff to destruction. One of the owners is a handloader that has some sick long range weapons. The rest of us are mostly shooting pretty standard stuff. 10.3-20” 5.56 and some AK’s and such.

    What I have learned is that besides spall issues, plates thin enough to be reasonably wearable have a bad habit of passing bullets that are light and fast (M193, or 50gr Barnes) at close range. Also, rounds designed to penetrate armor, such as 855a1 or 7n6 can go through SOME steel body armor plates like its their job. Because it is. Most hold up to their claims on regular green tip, though. Magnum rounds, not really a common threat, I suppose, absolutely eff them up. But I have witnessed a SAPI capture a .300 Win Mag at 75m, fired from an AI with a fairly long barrel. Of course, I wouldn’t want to be wearing that at impact.

    Point is, steel sucks at being body armor. If it could meet the requirements at a lower price than ceramics, the Army would be all over it. I promise the brass would add a couple pounds to a Soldier’s load if it saved a buck. Steel armor that I have been issued was solely for the purpose of low-vis work, and I’ve never been excited about the tradeoffs that come with being thin.

    If you are dead set on ARwhatever steel plates, buy a third plate and test it yourself. Use a 20” barrel, because velocity kills. Never shoot M855 up close on steel because the penetrator ricochets.

    Side note: I saw a post about a steel plate with “swimmers’ cut”. My blood pressure goes up 10mm/Hg everytime I see that phrase. I used to work somewhere that swimming was an expectation, and have swam in a variety of load configurations, with kit and weapon with boots and BDU’s as well as with fins. Ceramic plates are no huge problem. They lighten up when you hit the water. Not quite neutrally buoyant, but close. The soft armor underneath is also no problem. Ammo is much heavier. Reflectix (shiny bubble wrap) as an armor backer/signal device helps. Steel? Swimmers cut, my $&@. You better have a attentive lifeguard when you test it....
    RLTW

    “That is why there isn't an AK chart.” -SteyrAUG

  8. #28
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    School Me On Plates

    Quote Originally Posted by 1168 View Post
    Side note: I saw a post about a steel plate with “swimmers’ cut”. My blood pressure goes up 10mm/Hg everytime I see that phrase. I used to work somewhere that swimming was an expectation, and have swam in a variety of load configurations, with kit and weapon with boots and BDU’s as well as with fins. Ceramic plates are no huge problem. They lighten up when you hit the water. Not quite neutrally buoyant, but close. The soft armor underneath is also no problem. Ammo is much heavier. Reflectix (shiny bubble wrap) as an armor backer/signal device helps. Steel? Swimmers cut, my $&@. You better have a attentive lifeguard when you test it....
    Well granted I called the swimmers cut plate lvl 4 and forgot to call it ceramic lvl 4 for using it as a comparison with the AR500 lvl 3+ alsc.

    But if I had to swim with a plate I would definitely take a swimmers cut ceramic plate over one without.

    Especially knowing that the terms shooters cut and swimmers cut refer more towards mobility and weapon shouldering.


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    Last edited by zombiescometh; 02-10-19 at 09:46.
    "The most important rule in a gunfight is: Always win and cheat if necessary." ~ Clint Smith

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loxley View Post
    Budget is around $500-700. The mission is general civilian SHTF prep, home defense, etc. - something I'd have peace of mind having but don't plan on using it on a daily occasion or anything. I want to stress that I would do my best to train with this rig, I already understand this. But can someone explain what is wrong with AR500? The lightweight III+ options seem good considering, well, that they're lightweight. Am I missing something or is this just an emotional stigma against metal budget plates? Again, I'm open to more reasonable budget suggestions.

    As for plate carrier, I'm really liking the idea of a Ferro Concepts Slickster.
    As mentioned, AR500 plates don't do so hot against fast rounds, especially M193, which is probably the most commonly fired AR round in the US. It also doesn't "absorb" the round, it deflects them into your neck... or wedding tackle. Yikes.

    If all you have is $500, then either buy a single $500 plate that stops all the likely rifle threats that you are going to face and wear it up front and pray for the best or save up $1000 and buy a pair. Save $10/week and you'll have the other $500 in a year.

    There's no cheap way to confidently stop the required rounds. Our Safariland Rifle Threat plates are $500 each but knock down multiple strikes of everything I'm likely to get shot with (AR/AK shit). When my plates get replaced after "expiring", then they see second duty filling PCs on patrol as I know where they've been and how they've been cared for the entire 5 years of their life (in my kit).

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