I will be closing for new orders after December 18th for approximately 2 months due to work obligations. This is the last day I will be able to start on and complete Spall Guard and Plate Backer orders until approximately the middle of February. All current outstanding orders will be completed and shipped before December 31st. Thanks to everyone for their continuing support, and Merry Christmas!

D-R

Over the past six months, there has been a great deal of both excitement, and lately concern, regarding the Armour Wear AR680 plate. Touted as a “level III+” plate, it is claimed to stop the extremely dangerous M193 high-velocity threat.

In the past few months, extremely un-scientific tests on Youtube seemed to “prove” that it was prone to failure when shot by M193 @ 3200 fps.

Unfortunately, Armour Wear did not originally release a very scientific test video themselves.

At this juncture, I have not seen proof either way, either validating or disproving the efficacy of the AR680 plates. Simply because both the proponents (the company in particular) and the detractors (youtube channel) did not take the small amount of extra time and effort to arrange a proper test.

A proper test is *NOT*:

Setting up a bunch of plates on a berm at a 45 degree angle and blazing away willy-nilly.
Setting up a huge sheet of the steel (again, at a range), and (again), blazing away.
Clamping the plate to a rigid fixture, with no backing, and shooting it.

To properly test body armor, hard or soft, requires the use of a backing. The NIJ specifies no.1 Roma Plastalina modeling clay. Any semi-flexible backing will do, as long as it is close in consistency to a human body. The reason for this is two-fold: first, to be able to determine how much energy (backface deformation) is being imparted to the wearer. Secondly (and for the purpose of this post, more importantly), to mimic the physics of the armor being worn.

A plate that is clamped to a rigid fixture will behave differently than one that is resting on a flexible surface. A rigid plate will have no give, and the round will transfer more energy to the plate. With a proper backing, the initial impact will be reduced ever so slightly.

For some armor (soft armor in particular) this will make the difference between complete penetration, and performing as designed (setting a soft armor vest against a plywood or other hard surface enables it to be penetrated with ease). This will also have relevance with hard armor, especially if it is near its failure threshold.

In the same way, propping a plate at an angle will allow it to stop far more than at 0 degrees of obliquity. MBT armor is sloped for this same reason.

As a result of the above, I will be performing a scientific (or at least, much more so than has been performed so far) comparitive shoot test on the Armour Wear AR680 and Maingun Patriot 2 Advance plates. I had contacted Spartan Armor in an attempt to source one of their level III+ plates to include in the test, but have not heard back from them.

It is my hope that this test will settle any arguments once and for all regarding M193 high velocity protection. Stay tuned!

Thank you all for your patience. I have been extremely busy over the past nearly three months, working through the backlog, traveling, and all the attendant details of life.

I have whittled down my Spall Guard backlog, and am currently at two weeks from time of order to delivery (almost back to normal).

For Extreme Duty Plate Backers and Cummerbund panels, I am at a week and a half.

For all other gear, I am at one week.

I have updated my Recommended Armor Database to reflect new information.

I have a lot of exciting review planned for the next few months, as well as new offerings. I will be attempting to returni to my regular blog posting schedule of once a week.

As always, I appreciate all your feedback, suggestions, and words of encouragement. Have a safe and wonderful holiday!

Due to EXTREME volume and interest in spall guards for the new AR680 and Maingun Advance plates, I am freezing all new orders until October 7th. If you are interested in having guards made, I am instituting my wait-list policy. Please email me with the type and number of items you would like, and I will place your name on the list. At such time as my backlog is cleared, I will send you a notification email with payment details.

Since I am one guy doing this, it is the only way to ensure everyone that has paid receives their gear in a timely matter, without compromising my quality or detail.

As always, thank you all very much for your patience and understanding.

D-R

August 17th, 2015

It is a good time to be in the market for effective and affordable steel rifle plates. Maingun Surplus, makers of the excellent and affordable Patriot Plate, have just announced their newest and best steel plates to date! The Maingun Advance plate will stop all normal level III threats, while additionally stopping the notorious M193 high velocity round (up to 3300fps!).

In addition, they will be offering package deals, a full set of plates with a plate carrier.

Details can be found here:

http://eepurl.com/bu3gsj

Kudos the Maingun for the time and effort required to design and create these Advanced plates!

IMPORTANT EDIT 11-23-2015: It has come to my attention that these plates may not perform as certified regarding M193 high velocity rounds. Until such time as I have conducted a shoot test in direct comparison to the Maingun Patriot 2 plates, I cannot recommend these.

All those that have read The Good, The Bad and The Ugly series here at D-Rmor Gear know that steel rifle plates are an excellent choice. Thin, extremely durable, and inexpensive (compared to ceramic and UHMWPE), steel plates really only have two drawbacks: their weight (usually around 7.5 lbs. and up), and their susceptibility to high velocity M193 rounds.

This round, at or above 2950 fps, will reliably swiss-cheese garden variety AR500 steel (up until recently, the most common type of steel used in commercial rifle plates and target gongs). That means from any rifle with a barrel longer than 16″, M193 renders steel armor useless.

One of several companies that have stepped up to address this lack is Armour Wear. Their new AR680 level III+ (note the plus) steel plates will not only stop level III threats (M80 ball), but M855 Greentip below 3200 fps, and the notorious M193 below 3300fps. This is faster than M193 travels from the muzzle of a 20″ rifle.

Using an advanced type of steel, these plates are not only stronger, they are lighter and thinner. Upon unboxing the plate, the second thing I noticed (the first was how nicely it was packed) was the seeming thinness. While there is a Line-X coating to help mitigate front-face splash, it is not obnoxiously thick as I have encountered on some plates. Taking the measure with a digital caliper showed the thickness right at 10.17mm, or about twice the thickness of the steel. Not bad. Weight was right at 7 lbs. 2 oz., also not bad for a fully coated plate (considering that other steel plates previously available in III+ weighed in at over 8.5 lbs.)

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I was struck by the quality and attention to detail. The coating was even, with no runs or sloppiness. The reverse of the plate includes a certification sticker, which contains the lot number, inspection number, and other information. Very impressive.

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The curvature (extremely difficult to do with this type of steel!) was even, smooth and symmetrical.

Finally, I was pleased to see that the lower corners were clipped, as this has the double effect of reducing weight and wear on plate carriers.

Armour Wear currently makes the AR680 in three sizes: 10″ X 12″ (reviewed), 8″ X 10″ and 6″ X 8″ (flat). The 10X12 retail for $135, which although definitely more expensive than previous steel plates, is quite affordable when the extra capabilities are taken into consideration.

You can purchase these plates directly from Armour Wear here:

https://armour-wear.com/shop/all/ar680-steel-plate/

I am pleased to announce that the highly anticipated D-Rmor Gear Extreme Duty Plate Backers (and Cummerbund Panels) are now available for purchase!

In celebration, during the entire month of July, I will be offering extras for all Plate Backer/Cummerbund orders over $100:

Your choice of one of the following:

Free Shipping
Upgrade to FR 500D Cordura Outer Shell
D-Rmor Gear PVC Touchmark Patch
D-Rmor Gear Armometer
D-Rmor Gear Armor Material Field I.D. Guide

Check out all the options available here:

https://drmorgear.wordpress.com/coming-soon-d-rmor-gear-extreme-duty-plate-backers/

For those that have read my Body Armor: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly series, you know that identifying the composition of your soft armor ballistic package is of the utmost importance.

Unfortunately, without examples of what each of the multitude of materials looks like, it becomes a virtually impossible task. With certain materials posing a very real risk of bodily harm or even death when used in soft armor, proper and timely identification becomes even more vital.

My Version 1 Armor Material Field I.D. Guide was a solution to that problem. And now, by popular demand, Version 2.1 incorporates improvements and enhancements over and above the original.

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The Guide is a pack of rugged, compact laminated cards, packed full of important information and stats on all the most common body armor materials, from first generation woven aramid, all the way up to the most cutting-edge fifth-gen “wovenates.” In addition, each card contains an actual swatch of the material in question, to make identification simple.

Available in limited quantity, the D-Rmor Gear Armor Material Field I.D. Guide is only $15 shipped anywhere in CONUS. Get yours today!

https://drmorgear.wordpress.com/d-rmor-gear-armor-material-field-i-d-guide-v2-1/

One of the questions I get asked frequently is “can you recommend a good source for SPEAR/BALCS cut soft armor panels?” and “do you make custom SPEAR/BALCS armor?”

Well, up until now, there were not many options. SPEAR/BALCS cut armor is a well thought out concept, giving plate carriers a greater area of armor coverage. But they tend to be expensive $750-$900 per set), and usually difficult to obtain.

If I get enough interest, I will be offering these panels on a limited basis. Pricing for a level IIIA equivalent set in Medium would be around $410. Pricing would adjust up or down for size Large and Small sets. XL may or may not be offered on a custom-only basis.

Features these would offer:

Fifth-Gen Advanced Woven Aramid
Thin- ~.24″ Thick
Light- ~1.18 AD
Ruggedized- Construction methods to minimize hard use/wear
**5-Year Replacement Guarantee**: If used in verified/documented Duty/SD scenario, will be replaced for free. Nobody else offers this.
Superior materials and construction to any other currently available BALCS panels out there.
-NO SPECTRA
-NO inferior Aramid Laminates
-Would be the BEST BALCS panels in all categories.

If you would like to see these become reality, contact me via email, or post comments. In one month, I will announce whether there was enough interest to go forward. Stay tuned!

In the previous post, an oft-repeated Internet legend regarding .22LR and light body armor was examined. .22LR has a reputation as a very high penetrating round, more so than .45 ACP. In this post, the results of an objective shoot test to determine the validity of that legend are posted.

The outcome was quite informative

As mentioned earlier, four panels (two 7-layer Level I equivalent, and two 12-layer Level IIA equivalent) were constructed. A block of #1 Roma Plastalina modeling clay was used as the backing, both to provide the requisite yielding surface for proper functioning of the armor, and to act as a witness panel for purposes of backface deformation/penetration evaluation.

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Round used was the Remington Viper Hypervelocity 36gr. copper-washed truncated cone round, with a listed MV of 1410 FPS (out of a 20″ barrel).

Test platforms were a 4″ barrel and a 16″ barrel.

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First up was the 4″ barrel and level I panel. Not surprisingly, the round was stopped by the first layer of material. Backface deformation was 11.65mm (for reference, the NIJ allows soft armor up to 44mm of backface deformation and still pass). Note the unburned powder near the impact.

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Next up was the 4″ barrel and level IIA panel. Even less surprising, the round was stopped in the first layer. Backface deformation was 11.23mm. Note the crater was wider than the level I impact, showing that the force was spread over a larger area due to more fibers being involved in the arrest of the round.

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Next up was the 16″ barrel and level IIA panel. Out of a 16″ barrel, this round is really moving (at least 1300 fps). The round penetrated four layers of material, and was stopped by the fifth. Backface deformation was 12.55mm.

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Finally, the test everyone was waiting for: the level I panel and 16″ barrel. To dispense with the suspense, the round penetrated. It penetrated all 7 layers, with major fragments caught by the 7th. A surprisingly deep cavity was created (most likely due to fragments and expanding muzzle gases) 68mm deep into the clay.

So, thus ends (hopefully) internet rumors surrounding soft armor penetration by .22LR. What can be gleaned from this test: level I armor will stop what it is rated to stop, at least as far as .22LR.

Even though HV rounds were used, out of a 4″ barrel they cannot achieve a full powder burn, and so the velocity does not exceed the 1050 fps limit stipulated by level I. However, level I SHOULD NOT be relied upon to stop .22LR from a barrel longer than approximately 10″ (the point at which the velocity threshold is exceeded). As this test demonstrates, reading the specs for your armor is VERY IMPORTANT.

I do not recommend the use of level I armor, unless there are NO other alternatives. As can be seen, the extra layers of level IIA make a tremendous difference in terms of round-stopping ability. IIA should be considered the absolute MINIMUM for soft armor, and level I be retired as a ballistic rating.