Gear Review: Armour Wear AR680 Level III+ Steel Rifle Plates EDITED 11-23-2015

Posted: August 14, 2015 in Reviews, Swag
Tags: , , ,

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/

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