I was researching body armor….

There is a LOT of vendors out there, with plate carriers and plates made by many firms, from many different materials. Ceramic plates are, apparently, the best….but they are a lot more expensive …but lighter. Steel is cheaper and a bit heavier for nearly the same performance.

One thing I find interesting is that MANY of the steel plates offered are made from AR400 or AR500 steel. Lots of references to those two numbers. Fully 2/3 of the steel “Ballistic Plates” offered are advertised to be made from one of those two alloys. Being the type of person who likes to learn things, I researched these two steels (as well as a bunch of the others that are offered)

But, sadly, neither of those commonly used steels are intended to be used as Armor Plate….they don’t have a great deal of penetration resistance, nor are they intended to be used as “Armor”. Instead, they are meant to be “Abrasion Resistant”….and dent resistant…Neither of these steels is supposed to be “Armor”. They aren’t much better for “armor” as we think of it than general cold rolled steel.

Why do “armor” vendors sell plates made with non-armor steel? More importantly, why do people buy enough of them that they are even for sale?

3 thoughts on “Armor

  1. though not intended for armor, they are in the right thickness bullet resistant. up to a point. they do however market them as bullet proof, which they are not, being easily penetrated by 30-06 ap rounds and even some specialty 5.56 rounds. they are cheap/affordable moderate protection that even joe blow can afford. joe may need a chiropractor after wearing it very long but that's another matter.

  2. I keep periodically returning to the topic of plates, but can never quite convince myself of their true efficacy in the reality of being 50+ and cannot imagine a scenario where I'm taking down doors and going after bad guys with guns. The doors I DO take down these days either have fire or a victim behind them. Different PPE.

    If things are at the point where I need plates, I'd want a helmet too. And then I've moved from armed civilian to obvious combatant (ie. target)

    Soft armor that's concealable seems potentially more useful to me, but I haven't made that jump yet. Your post raised some interesting thoughts.

  3. Soft armor without plates is decent for handgun rounds.

    Plates are for rifle rounds. And even then, it's a maybe.

    I dunno if I need or want any armor. But looking brought up a whole bunch of questions.

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