Why buy a rifle Plate?
In an increasingly dangerous world, the need for body armor has become established. Yet, the question remains, what type of bulletproof plates should I be running in my carrier?
The first parameter that needs to be determined is what ballistic rating is necessary for the situations that the vest will be used for. Like everything in the tactical world, there is a compromise to be made between capability and mobility. Everyone would like to be running around in armor that will stop the 30mm depleted uranium rounds fired from an A-10, but that just is not practical. The compromise between toughness and mobility is the primary discriminating factor between bulletproof vests and the various materials that they are constructed from.
Why do the Police use Kevlar?
The Kevlar vests utilized by police forces around the world represent the greatest such compromise in the market today. Kevlar vests are light, flexible and easy to wear all day without hindering movement all that much, though they have a fatal flaw. Even the lightest rifle rounds and even some fast moving pistol calibers easily defeat Kevlar vests. Therefore, while they may be called ‘bulletproof’ vests, in reality they are vulnerable to a large percentage of all firearms ever made. Yet, Kevlar makes sense for police departments. Most of the work that they do involves chasing down criminals and having to be ready at a moment’s notice to respond to anything. In such a scenario, having a light comfortable vest that can easily be worn all day makes more sense than a heavier more rigid rifle rated vest. Especially considering police forces are overwhelmingly faced with pistol fire and are often at the tip of a first response spear that includes medical teams that can deal with the physical trauma associated with being shot in a soft vest.
Rifle plate has its own very important niche, both for its protective ability, and some other attributes that you may not be aware of. The most obvious benefit in buying and wearing rifle plate is the advanced, acute-trauma free, protection against all varieties of handguns as well as protection against common rifle fire, including the world’s most popular assault rifles and intermediate sniper fire. Having a solid steel or ceramic plate as opposed to a soft Kevlar reduces the internal damage caused by stopping a bullet in its tracks. A hard plate distributes the force across the entire chest instead of a few inch diameter area. This makes taking hits a much less serious issue. Often times those shot while wearing soft vests still require medical attention to address their broken ribs or even internal hemorrhaging caused by the impact of even minor pistol calibers like 9mm and 380ACP. Should a person be hit with a 44 magnum or similar large-bore hunting pistol round, they still might die from the immense blunt force trauma even if the round is stopped.
The most important attribute of solid-state rifle plate for civilian use however is its longevity. Many are not aware that the Kevlar in soft vests has an expiration date of only a few years, and must be replaced every time it is shot. AR500 plates on the other hand, as long as they retain their protective coating and do not rust can last indefinitely. This makes them much more economical for a prepping solution as they do not have to be replaced, while providing the maximum ballistic protection available. Should they ever need to be used, their additional weight and in-flexibility will likely be a minor annoyance compared to whatever threats they are being brought out against.
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What material makes the best body armor?
The “best bulletproof vest” is the one that offers the most protection at the least cost while maintaining a reasonable weight and portability. The vest should be comfortable enough to wear all day, while also ensuring the users safety against the majority of small arms in the world.
The first criteria to consider when selecting a bulletproof vest is to choose the ballistic NIJ rating of the vest that will be capable enough to handle any threats one may encounter. Soft Kevlar armor is good enough for pistol calibers, but they offer no protection against even the most common rifle calibers. Even top of the line Kevlar armor can only be rated up to NIJ IIIA, with the “A” standing for “Almost”. Although vests rated at NIJ IIIA are only capable of stopping pistol calibers, most consider Level IIIA adequate enough and the vast majority of police officers in the US are issued these vests due to their lower price point, but they sacrifice a lot of protection in the process. Graduating to Level III and beyond requires moving to a steel plate. While Level III is capable of stopping some rifle cartridges, typically the larger, slower moving rifle rounds like 7.62x39mm and 30 carbine even Level III is susceptible to common high-speed cartridges like the 5.56x45mm and 5.45x39mm (the rounds fired by the AR-15 and AK-74, respectively). These high speed cartridges focus much more kinetic energy within a smaller impact area on the plate which can induce catastrophic failures with even common loadings. Level III+ on the other hand will stop everything that is not deemed “Anti-Material” or “Armor Piercing”. These rounds are designed to disable trucks and other hard targets like aircraft and tanks. These rounds are exceedingly rare and typically restricted to Special Operations units. Having a Level III+ vest incurs the same footprint and weight as a Level III vest, but is vastly superior in protection against 99.9% of rifle loadings and fills in the gaps left in traditional level III vests.
The second variable to consider is the weight and bulkiness of the vest. While Kevlar vests are lighter than their steel counterparts are, they are bulkier and can restrict movement. While steel ballistic vests are heavier, they lay flatter and closer to the body. This reduces the felt weight of the vest on the user. On the downside, the higher actual weight that comes with steel does make running and walking distances more strenuous. Here you have to decide whether saving the couple of pounds of weight is worth giving up protection against rifles.
The most important consideration however is the price. Having a vest on the market that can stop 50BMG but costs several thousand dollars doesn’t do anyone any good. On the flipside, scrimping by buying a vest that will only stop pocket-pistols could end up being a fatal mistake. With the recent advancements in manufacturing extremely hardened steel alloys, Level III and Level III+ vests are cheaper than they have ever been. Often times, Level III and Level III+ vests can be found for cheaper than their less effective Kevlar counterparts.
The best balance between all of these factors is the “Best Bullet Proof Vest” manufactured by the Best Body Armor. Certified at NIJ Level III+, it is capable of stopping some of the toughest rifle and pistol calibers around, all while maintaining a reasonable weight and an even more reasonable price tag. Currently on sale for $299 instead of the usual $500, it truly is the “Best Bullet Proof Vest” on the market. Use the Promo Code “BESTVEST” for an additional $25 off any of our vests.
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