Body armor is one of those pieces of gear that can be vitally important to your life, training and preparation, but it’s also very often overlooked. One of the main reasons it’s overlooked is just the immense cost of it. You can easily spend a couple thousand dollars for a vest rated for rifle protection with no extra features and that’s not including any soft armor. That’s where the guys over at AR500 Armor come in. They have a product that maximizes protection and value.
Recently I got my hands on a 6×6″ AR500 armor plate. I didn’t get the large chest plate since I already had ceramic plates in my inventory and my intention was for this plate to serve as a trauma plate in my Point Blank concealable body armor vest for enhanced handgun and rifle threat protection. When I held the plate I was struck by the weight of it. It’s only 2.5lbs but it’s heavy for it’s size as very dense materials often are. The coating on the plate is very well done, AR500 coats all of their armor plates with Line-X coating to help reduce spalling. Spalling is the rapid fragmentation and spread of the bullet after impacting the plate. Spalling presents a fairly serious issue in that you may survive the actual round impact but the fragments of the round may penetrate vital areas of your head and neck. In the testing that I have seen, the Line-X helps greatly with the problem. They also offer a thicker build up of Line-X on the armor plate as well for increased protection from spalling at an increased cost of course, but that also equals increased thickness and weight.
The plate I got was just a little bit large for the trauma plate pocket in my vest but with a little careful forcing it fit right in and won’t be going anywhere any time soon. The plate weighs in at 2.5lbs which does add weight to the front of the vest but if you have your vest correctly adjusted and it’s worn correctly, the small increase of weight is noticeable but has no negative impact. This size of plate is sold as a “side plate” but is made from the identical material and is the exact same threat level with multi strike ability. My intention for this plate is to serve as a trauma plate for mostly defense against the handgun threats the vest itself is rated for however, having my vital organs covered by stand alone level III rifle protection is a huge plus in my book.
Now for the best part of all, the cost of this plate comes in at $30 for both it and it’s 6×8″ brother. If you look at other trauma plates available for concealable body armor, the prices are more for far less protection. The Protech Impac line of plates comes to mind. For far less protection you pay $40 more for your plate. They also offer rifle threat plates in a similar size at a whopping 10x the cost of the AR500 plate. For me the choice is very clear. If you need armor that isn’t going to bankrupt you, all I can say is give AR500 Armor a look. I’m certainly considering replacing my ceramic plates with the AR500 large plates to cut down on bulk in my gear. As for now stay safe, train and have a good un’.