Understanding levels and types of body armor can be a confusing topic for many. We have seen many questions on this very board over the years.

Here is a blog post we put together that is a good starting point. I wanted to share it here (note: not just for the clicks, but for the discussion we can have after).

https://nelsonuniform.com/blogs/news...ugh-body-armor

Those who wear body armor - did this article get it right, from a simplicity point of view?

Those who have not bought armor before - does this article make it easy to understand?

How can we make this easier? Thanks.

Brad

Original Post

Thank you Brad for an article that makes it easy to understand. I cannot express how many eye rolls I've had when I have co-workers tell others the department issued vest is "bulletproof" or "level 3 rated". When I've tried to explain to them the difference of what IIIA (what we're issued) is between III, it's like I'm telling them there's no Easter Bunny. 

Joined: 4 April 2005                Location: South Bay Armpit

My only comment - does anyone still make level I or IIa armor?  I don't remember seeing any in recent memory - I'd be inclined to limit discussion of those two levels to just noting them as obsolete or obsolecent levels and move on to II and IIIa.

This is our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us; to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves; to act in such a way that some part of us lives on. What we need is not freedom of the press, we need freedom FROM the press Oswald Spengler

Smicha6551 posted:

My only comment - does anyone still make level I or IIa armor?  I don't remember seeing any in recent memory - I'd be inclined to limit discussion of those two levels to just noting them as obsolete or obsolecent levels and move on to II and IIIa.

That is a good point. I don't see them in price lists any more.

I wonder if someday (maybe not too far off) they will speak like this about level II? Or, remember back when you could only get Level IV in hard plates... 

Actually, I was partially wrong.  There are some (not that many) IIA armor products out there.  The NIJ standards (the current one that is) doesn't have a level I any longer.

https://www.nij.gov/topics/tec...ballistic-armor.aspx (What's out there)

https://justnet.org/pdf/Unders...Armor-Protection.pdf (Short version)

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/223054.pdf

Since you don't intend this as a historical article, I'd pull level I, and minimize discussion on level IIa.

 

This is our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us; to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves; to act in such a way that some part of us lives on. What we need is not freedom of the press, we need freedom FROM the press Oswald Spengler

I think you should also note that many Level III plates can stop M855, but cannot stop M193 (mostly the steel Level III plates out there).

With the proliferation of the cheap steel plates out there, it might be worthwhile to touch upon spalling? Beyond that, I'd consider a short explanation about special threat plates versus Level III+; after all, the special threat plates are not NIJ rated, and thus do not qualify for various government grants, which I understand to often stipulate the plates must have an NIJ certification.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

 

老僧三十年前未參禪時、見山是山、見水是水、及至後夾親見知識、有箇入處、見山不是山、見水不是水、而今得箇體歇處、依然見山秪是山、見水秪是水。


Joined: 2008-07-16

Default.mp3 posted:

With the proliferation of the cheap steel plates out there, it might be worthwhile to touch upon spalling? Beyond that, I'd consider a short explanation about special threat plates versus Level III+; after all, the special threat plates are not NIJ rated, and thus do not qualify for various government grants, which I understand to often stipulate the plates must have an NIJ certification.

I have a particular aversion to Steel body armor. I don't get it. But i know its cheap and accessible to many.

I am thinking that another separate blog post about what hard armor is made from is in order. And what to choose, why - pros and cons...

Brad

Steel is cheap, thin,  basically lasts forever and  is all but indestructible.  Since plenty of people who are buying it are the kind of people that have DPMS rifles with 50 "flawless" rounds through them, the limitations of steel are academic for many.  Out of my lane but also perhaps pool armor that might not be treated carefully would be another thing to note.  My experience with armor was working for KBR (where I saw steel plates being tossed into boxes) and my private purchase polyethylene plates that hurt my back less.

This is our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us; to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves; to act in such a way that some part of us lives on. What we need is not freedom of the press, we need freedom FROM the press Oswald Spengler

I would say a good effort.  I believe you were aiming at law enforcement.  If I am correct, then I would recommend discussing trauma plates like the speed plate plus and similar.  I would also second defaults comment about mentioning that material plays a part in the hard plates i.e. the limits of poly vs ceramic vs hybrid vs steel. 

The article was an easy read and could function as primer to some one starting out.  I would add info about fitting the armor and you could mention the pros and cons of concealed vs exterior armor carriers for LE.  I'd also explain what  7H21 ammo is as most folks don't know about Russian high vel ammo designations.   If length becomes an issue I'd wrap the level 1 and IIa into one paragraph and just say that they aren't offer enough protection against modern threats to  recommend.  You could also mention that NIJ doesn't include testing for contact shots. 

 I would recommend taking a look at the AT ARMOR "armor101" link for a good explanation of the hard armor and ask Mike if you could use some of his material.  Its really good for hard plate info, but he doesn't really talk about soft armor.   I think that your idea to do a separate section on hard armor is probably the right one.  That way the customer isn't stuck reading up on something that doesn't meet their needs. 

 

___________________________________________________________________

I'm either dead right, or horribly wrong. Either way the results should be entertaining.

 

"Shoot the MOTHERF$%^ER until he changes shape or catches fire"  the PAT ROGERS

cd228 posted:

...<snip>

The article was an easy read and could function as primer to some one starting out.  I would add info about fitting the armor and you could mention the pros and cons of concealed vs exterior armor carriers for LE. 

</snip>...

More great feedback. Thanks!

The goal will be a series of posts about armor. This one is the intro about the body armor levels. Then we will do posts about how how to choose soft armor (and carriers), how to choose hard armor (and carriers), how to fit your armor properly, etc.

The idea is to make this stuff easy to understand and digestible. The whole point of starting the retail business again was because all this stuff is hard to buy. It should be easier. 

Brad

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