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The (ultra) quick guide to armor threat levels.

We tried to watch a 47 second video the other day.  Because of our attention span we missed the last 39 seconds.  So here's an explanation of armor levels for people like us:

Level III

Non armor-piercing rounds from AK-47, AR15/M4/M16, M1, Dragunov/SVD, FN FAL, and SKS.

Level III Hard Armor is designed and tested to protect against 7.62mm FMJ (.308), steel jacketed bullets (U.S. Military designation M80) with a specified mass of 9.6 g (147gr) and a velocity of 847 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2780 ft/s ± 30 ft/s), as well as 7.62 x 39 ball ammunition, and 5.56 x 45 (M193).  Level III armor is typically the lightest armor available, but provides the lowest level of rifle round protection.

Level III+

Non-Armor Piercing AK-47, AR15/M4/M16, M1, Dragunov/SVD, FN FAL, and SKS.

Level III+ Hard Armor is designed and tested to protect against the same rounds as Level III Rounds, as well as additional, higher velocity rounds.  Level III+ armor provides a higher level of protection than Level III, but without the bulk or weight of Level IV.  It typically does not provide protection against armor piercing rounds.

Level IV

Armor Piercing AK-47, AR15/M4/M16, M1, Dragunov/SVD, FN FAL, and SKS.

Level IV Hard Armor meets the highest level of NIJ certification and is designed and tested to protect against .30 caliber armor piercing (AP) bullets (U.S. Military designation M2 AP) with a specified mass of 10.8 g (166 gr) and a velocity of 878 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2880 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).  Level IV plates offer the highest level of protection, but are typically the heaviest and bulkiest. 

Special Rifle Threat

AK-47 and AR15/M4/M16, including some "Armor Piercing" rounds.

Our Special Rifle Threat plates are designed and tested to protect against high performance rounds, including 7.62 x 39 (AK-47) API (Armor Piercing Incendiary) and 5.56 x 45 (M-16/AR-15) M855 "Green Tip" with multi shot ratings on select rounds. Special rifle threat plates typically strike a balance between a high degree of protection against the most common rounds law enforcement encounters vs. light weight and mobility.  These plates don't fit into any of the NIJ categories and so don't have a numerical certification. 

 

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