Level IV Plate vs .223

Hey guys, this is my first post but I could REALLY use some help. I have never looked into ballistic plates so I am new to all of this, but with the recent shooting here in South Florida we are looking to purchase a plate to slide in a teenager's backpack for protection in a worst-case scenario. I have a family member that is wanting to put something in there that in the event of a shooting they can throw their backpack over their back/chest for protection. Their biggest concern is that they are wanting something to stop a .223 round. I guess because an AR was used, they're figuring get the most protection possible. I assume I need to look at a Level IV plate, but can someone here help point me in the right direction? Thank you in advance!!

Original Post

Check out the Practically Tactical interview with AT Armor on youtube. It gives you the down and dirty on all things plates. The level 3+ and level 4 are totally different things and then there are specialty rated plates as well. I'm looking at buying plates for work and will most likely be buying the AT Armor STOP plates. 

Linky to video, long but worth it.

https://www.youtube DOT com/watch?v=fQo2iVvtruc

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Joined: 9/1/12

NavyVet posted:

Hey guys, this is my first post but I could REALLY use some help. I have never looked into ballistic plates so I am new to all of this, but with the recent shooting here in South Florida we are looking to purchase a plate to slide in a teenager's backpack for protection in a worst-case scenario. I have a family member that is wanting to put something in there that in the event of a shooting they can throw their backpack over their back/chest for protection. Their biggest concern is that they are wanting something to stop a .223 round. I guess because an AR was used, they're figuring get the most protection possible. I assume I need to look at a Level IV plate, but can someone here help point me in the right direction? Thank you in advance!!

As Shadow93 suggested, watch what’s at the link he provided. 

I believe there’s a big misperception that Level IV must be the best because it’s the highest numbered rated plate. For some types of ammo that may very well be true. 

There are many Level III, III+, or specially rated plates that will stop either M-193 or M-855 ball rounds. Where a lot of if not most Level IV plates will not. 

Level IV plates are heavy @7lbs. each where many Level III plates are at or well under 5 lbs. each. Some are much lighter but might require Kevlar backers to achieve their rating. 

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Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

Hesco 3610

It's a fully NIJ certified plate with special threat ratings for both M855 and M193 as well as 7.62x39. It's 4.4 lbs for a 10x12 and 4.5 for a SAPI medium. It's just about the lightest ceramic plate in it's "category" as a stand alone plate. There are lighter, but they're pure polyethylene, which does not reliably stop M855 with rifle velocities. If it's an every day wear armor plate there are options that are a little lighter, the AT STOP BZ is a tencate 6400 which is just about the best stand alone special threat plate and rated for both M855 and M193. For In conjunction there's the High com guardian RSTP which is a little lighter and a good bit cheaper. If you don't feel M855 is that great of a threat and you want the weight savings there are plates like the Hesco 3600 which are lighter at about 3 lbs for a SAPI medium stand alone plate. There is also the Mtek CPI at 2.16 for a thin In conjunction rifle rated plate that offers M193 protection. As it is now there is a 5.56 sized "hole" in the NIJ. It looks like the NIJ 101.07 will fix that if it's adopted as proposed. 

Thanks guys for all the feedback. I have spent the last 4 hours watching the above-mentioned YouTube video and taking notes, but even though I have a better understanding now, like most things you come away with more questions. For instance, they stated that the NIJ system is not "progressive" meaning that Level IV does not necessarily stop x, y, and z as well as Level III and below. But then another site tried to say that it does. I'm tending to lean towards the previous, and that it doesn't stack on top of each other.

I'm looking at a couple sites right now to purchase plates, and sawlaw I agree I looked at the STOP - BZ as well as the STOP and they are both impressive. The only benefit though that I can find for the BZ is that yes it stops the 7.62 x 39 API but it also weighs 1 lb less. Is that enough to justify an extra $450? For a pound and API, not thinking it's too much of a threat in my area. I also looked at InfidelBodyArmor and they have some there that appear to be essentially the same thing, but now we're getting into SAPI vs ESAPI and I don't know if one is better than the other. It "seems" that ESAPI would be better, but is that the case? I don't know. I'll have to check out the RSTP and CPI as well.

I was going to recommend the Mike from AT Armor and Practically Tactical podcast. That was one of the better things I've heard done on armor as a whole in a very long time. 

Before running out and buying what is relatively heavy rifle plate, please take a look at the FBI UCR Uniform Crime Reports and see what it the most common threat(s). Kids bags are already super overloaded in many places. IIIA soft armor inserts may well be more appropriate. 

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Joined: November 2002

Armor selection aside, make sure it's legal.  In LA it's written into Statute that no one but LE may possess ballistic protection on school grounds (short version).  I've no idea the thought process but there it is.

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Mercy posted:

Armor selection aside, make sure it's legal.  In LA it's written into Statute that no one but LE may possess ballistic protection on school grounds (short version).  I've no idea the thought process but there it is.

I'd bet the thought process is the same as new anti-gun laws.  Make it illegal to do and criminals will not do it when committing their crime because, well, it's illegal.  Duh!

Adding to the thread (other than my smart ass comments above) I wanted to say thanks for that youtube armor video.  Very informative.

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."

 

Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

From a different perspective, look at the stats and probs. School shootings are statistically very rare. They just make big headlines.

I don't know that adding a armor plate to an already overloaded kid's backpack is a good use of space or weight.

The basic premise is that the student will be shot directly in the back or maybe front depending on how the backpack is worn while running away. 

Trouble is, that is not what I see when we do Force on Force in the school. I see kids and teachers cowering in a corner in a fetal position. When we clear into a room, we see a whole bunch of asses and elbows. Ballistic protection in the form of a back pack is pretty useless from what I am seeing.

The other thing I see is that nobody takes anything with them, when the shots are fired. Is that a training thing? Sure. But it is a current reality.

I will yield the discussion, because the discussion about lighter, thinner plates is always a good one.

For the love of Odin and Mars though, cross Level IV plates off your list.

 

Mercy posted:

Armor selection aside, make sure it's legal.  In LA it's written into Statute that no one but LE may possess ballistic protection on school grounds (short version).  I've no idea the thought process but there it is.

 

So I take it if someone puts a ballistic insert in their kids backpack then they are committing a crime?? Well I guess it could be worse, the kids could be drawing pictures of guns in art class....

 

 

Erick posted:

I was going to recommend the Mike from AT Armor and Practically Tactical podcast. That was one of the better things I've heard done on armor as a whole in a very long time. 

Before running out and buying what is relatively heavy rifle plate, please take a look at the FBI UCR Uniform Crime Reports and see what it the most common threat(s). Kids bags are already super overloaded in many places. IIIA soft armor inserts may well be more appropriate. 

This... it is not uncommon to see a middle school or highschool kids "bookbag" exceeding 35lbs today. 

Additionally you may want to verify if the school will ALLOW it.

And then continue up the line and look at City and County Ordinances as well. 

In a LOT of municipalities- if the person physically in control of the armor is not carrying LEO creds it is a chargable offense on top of forfiture of the armor.

In some areas- simple possession by a non-leo can catch you a felony charge. SOME places will even try to charge .mil if they get the chance.

One often overlooked point is that MOST level III or IV plates don't bounce well / take well to being dropped- let alone dropped repeatedly.. as in multiple times per school day.

No sense in buying a plate that is going to very quickly be turned into an encapsulated blob of powder that won't stop a mean look let alone a round.

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Most of the clipboards are NIJ 108.01 which is for bulletproof materials not intended as personal armor. They will stop a bullet but they don't measure BFD. They just use a witness plate. Most of them are rated for handguns, so pretty useless for stopping an AR unless they are backed up with a few textbooks. 

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