Midwest Armor FM-STX: Thinner is Better

Posted: July 24, 2014 in Reviews, Swag

With the recent roll-out by Midwest Armor of their FM4 and FM3 plates (currently the lightest level IV and III rated stand-alone plates respectively), it was hard to contemplate what they could do to top it.

By releasing the FM-STX (“Force Multiplier, Special Threat”) they may have done that. The STX plate fills a niche for a light, THIN rifle plate that won’t break the bank. While the FM3 is still the lightest level III plate out there (~2.2 lb.), it is relatively thick (a hair over 1″) and does not address the M855 threat. The STX does not carry an NIJ level III rating, as it is tested specifically against M193, M855, and 7.62X39 steel core (hence the “Special Threats” designation).

The STX, at just over .55″ thick, and weighing in at 5 lb. in medium ESAPI profile (4.8 lb. in 10X12 shooters cut!), comes in thinner than either the FM3 and the FM4, providing the thinnest profile of the 3 (with the FM4 being .90″ thick). Consisting of a thin monolithic ceramic strike face sitting atop a backing package of advanced, proprietary UHMWPE rigid laminate, it pushes the limits of hard armor technology.

It also compares very well to the SIGMA III+ (review forthcoming), as it is triple curve (compared to the SIGMA III+ single curve), .55″ thick compared to the SIGMA III+ 1.25″ and only about $50 more per plate @ $499. If M80 ball is not a concern, and you need the thinnest non-steel plate to stop common-threat rifle rounds, the STX is the correct choice.

Add to this that Midwest is not satisfied with a single plate profile- the STX is available in all four ESAPI-profile sizes (small, medium, large, X-Large) as well as small and medium shooters cut, and small and medium full cut (rectangle). Options are nice to have.

The price point does place it in the midrange, with the standard MASS III running $399 and the Guardian IV triple curve at $150. But each plate should be considered for the intended end-use. If you are looking for a thin, light ceramic plate that will stop M193, M855, 7.62X39 steel core and all lesser threats (which accounts for a large percentage of typical threats) for PSD work, the STX is the best choice.

Armor is not a one-size fits all proposition, and by increasing the available choices, Midwest continues to lead the industry. Check out the FM-STX plate here:


(Disclosure: As usual, I have not received any financial inducements, discounts, or remuneration from either Midwest Armor, nor Appalachian training. When I do my hands-on review, as usual I will have paid for the plate out of my own pocket).

Or contact Mike at Appalachian training to special order.

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