Archive for June, 2014

The demands of life have prevented me from working on certain important upgrades to the blog over the past few months. One of these has been a database of the current “best practices” bits of personal protective kit. Fully half of all the communications I get are folks requesting a one-stop list of GOOD places/companies to purchase their armor from. I listened, and (as per my charter SOP) obeyed.

This list will be updated as newer, better, and less expensive armor finds its way to market. It represents my absolute opinion, but INFORMED by experience, hands-on eval, and testing.

Check it out, and let me know what you think:

In discussing rifle armor, three materials usually receive attention: steel, ceramic, and UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene). Each of these has pros and cons, with steel’s claim to fame being its thinness, affordability, and absolutely remarkable durability.

Most steel rifle plates on the market today utilize AR500 steel (which stands for Abrasion Resistant, 500 Brinell Hardness). AR500 is widely used due to its abundance in large sheets, and known properties. It is durable, and of very good quality. However, there are several other “armor steels” that equal or exceed the properties of AR500, including Mil-A-46100. This steel meets more stringent US Military requirements for armor steel, and in thick enough section, will stop the M2-AP black tip round. For use in personnel armor, it will stop common rifle threats such as the M80 ball 7.62 and M855 high velocity green tip penetrator round.

Few companies use this material, as it is more expensive and more difficult to source. One of these companies is Maingun Surplus. The owners and proprietors, Doc and Terri, are committed to putting out the best and most affordable steel plates possible. Their Mil-A-46100 shooters cut front and rear plates, as well as side plates, have been on the market for over a year now, and have received much attention. Initially, these plates were only available in flat contour, which is fine for most folks, and helps keep the cost down.

Recently, Doc and Terri unveiled their newest versions: comfortably curved Mil-A-46100 plates. These will increase comfort for long-term wear, as well as improving concealability for covert use. At just under a hundred bucks a pair SHIPPED, these are pretty much the best choice for steel rifle plates on the market right now.

Doc has tested his plates extensively, and while they share the propensity of all steel plates to produce spall/fragments when struck, he offers a coated option to help mitigate this danger. Coupled with the D-Rmor Gear Spall Guards, the Maingun plates are a winning combination! Check them out here, and give Doc a shout:

Stay tuned for a review and a shoot test of my own. Have a safe Fourth of July!