As you all know, Doc and other sources of knowledge on this subject have stressed that there are actually only a few manufactures of plates and there has been plenty discussion regarding various plate options and promotional offers when they are available. Many companies advertising the same or similar options in the level 3 and 3+ category appear to have prices outrageously marked up, and trying to compare plates from one companies to the next can be a nightmare. Specs for the same plates rarely match and companies typically don't advertise the actual manufactures and model number of plates on their websites. This makes it nearly impossible to compare options and for us to attain the highest (or minimum desired) level of protection and durability while minimizing cost.
I have asked, and have seen others ask, for a comprehensive list of plate manufactures. In each instance there has either been no response, or we have been directed to a post that has not been updated since 2009 (which from my observation, does not come close to answering the question at hand). I would like to suggest that the post be removed or replaced by an updated and more comprehensive list. In such a list we could include every known manufacturer, an overall synopsis of the manufacturer, and links to access their complete plate offerings. In addition we could include known distributors and re-branders of the plates to offer a seamless way for everyone to obtain the proper level of protection at a reasonable price.
For me personally, this forum completely changed my perspective on body armor and the steel plates that I originally intended on purchasing from Spartan Armor. I am sure it is the same for many others who stumbled upon here in a similar way. Now, in the same way steel creates a risk, many of the above factors that I have mentioned above create a similar problem. For a majority of us cost is a huge factor, and many people may be driven to more cost effective options that do not offer the full protection of common rifle rounds, including m855. In my opinion, this round should be considered as a risk for everyone and mandatory for anyone seeking additional protection through armor plates.
Ultimately, I would like this to create pressure for companies to be more upfront by openly advertising on their websites manufacturer spec sheets with each plate. We should not have to email each website and have a 50/50 chance on getting the desired answer. This is not too much to ask from these companies and is something that should already be happening.... Especially when you consider that this decision could be the difference between life and death.
While my previously stated goal is overly optimistic and is likely to have no change on how companies advertise, we can still make a difference. I do not have the required knowledge and am still seeking answers myself, but I will do what I can to facilitate that others in my position do not have their questions left unanswered.
To begin the discussion, TenCate, Ceradyne, Hesco, and LTC are the only manufactures that I know.
A complete list of current TenCate plates can be viewed through the following link:
A complete list of current Hesco plates can be viewed through the following link:
I hope others will expand on what I have started and express additional ideas or concerns, and that this will cultivate conversation that allows everyone to learn and explore the best options across multiple manufacturers and distributors.