Hard Ballistic Plates
Many people are not aware of the different types of protective armor that are on the market and the different levels of protection that they offer.
Level II and Level IIIa ballistic protection can be offered by soft Kevlar® panels, and these come as standard in all of our vests. The protection levels offered by these panels will commonly meet the threats of most guns found in civilized neighbourhoods, towns, and cities.
However, some situations and environments will feature weapons of higher calibers that are capable of firing larger bullets at a higher force. In war zones, for example, fire from large machine guns and armor piercing rifles may be common. Most leading body armor manufacturers have both soft Kevlar® and hard armor ballistic plates that can provide additional security.
Ballistic plates can protect against NIJ ballistic Level III threats. There is also a ceramic plate capable of stopping Level IV threats. These plates fit into the front and back pockets of our Cordura with SAPI Plate Pocket vests.
10 X 12" SAPI plates can be made of ceramic, Dyneema polyethylene, or a composite of both of these materials. As such, our plates vary in weight. A lighter plate can be achieved by using more advanced materials, and this is refllected in our pricings: our lighter plates are more expensive than heavier equivalents.
Deciding What Plates To Buy
Before purchasing plates, it is recommended that you carefully consider if and when you are going to need them. For most everyday situations hard armor plates simply aren't necessary.
However, if you are going to an area of serious conflict you should consider questions such as the following: How long will you need to wear the plates? Could your ability to maneuver quickly be a critical factor?
If you are a larger or stronger individual, or if you are unlikely to have to move quickly, purchasing a pair of ceramic plates may be a valid option. The extra weight may be carried comfortably. Ceramic plates may also be an option if you only need to wear the plates for a short period of time.
For smaller wearers, purchasing more lightweight plates can offer the same protection at the same level of comfort. As these plates will only weigh a total of 2.4kgs, these offer all wearers a greater degree of flexibility. These benefits should be measured carefully against the increased cost.
Composite plates offer a compromise between weight and price, and may be suitable for those seeking a medium between these extremes. Two of these plates weigh 3.6kgs.
It is recommended that customers take the time to wear and test these plates in a safe environment and understand any limitations or adjustments they impose. Then, should they be required in a combat situation, the wearer will know what they can do to help keep themselves safe.
It is important for wearers to realize that body armor can only protect them so much. Someone has to be smart when they are wearing any form of body armor. When in an extremely dangerous situation, it is important for someone to understand how quickly he or she can move when they are wearing the body armor.
Also, these plates will not make the wearer invincible. They merely offer increased protection, and any bullets that hit these plates will not simply deflect off - upon hitting a ceramic plate, the wearer may be forcefully knocked to the ground. The plate may also become damaged to the point where it no longer offers protection.
Remember, no armor is as good an alternative as avoiding heavy conflict situations altogether is, or at the very least finding adequate cover behind solid ground or structures.