Body Armor Basics

Body Armor Basics

Looking for body armor to help protect you from the threat of violence and civil unrest? Whether you're new to the world of tactical gear or are a seasoned shooter looking to upgrade your body armor setup, this guide will help you understand the different types of body armor available and explain what to look for when you are choosing a new set of ballistic plates. We'll cover the basics of body armor and provide some resources to help you make informed decisions when buying body armor.

Types of Body Armor Plates

If you're looking for body armor, you've probably realized there are a lot of different options out there. One key decision you'll have to make is what kind of material you want your body armor to be made out of. The two most common choices are steel and ceramic.

Each type of material has its own benefits and drawbacks. Steel, for example, is very strong and offers a high level of protection, but it can be heavy and uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Ceramic body armor is lighter and more comfortable, but it doesn't provide quite as much protection as steel.

Ultimately, the decision of which material to choose is up to you and depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you're not sure, contact us and we would be happy to help you make the best decision for your situation.

Steel Armor

If you're looking for body armor that can withstand a lot of punishment, steel core body armor is a good option. This type of armor is typically made from AR500 or AR550 steel, which is rated for its hardness. Steel core body armor can also take multiple hits and absorb more impact than other types of body armor.

However, you should know that steel core body armor is susceptible to fragmentation, sometimes referred to as "spall". Because the projectile fails to penetrate the steel plate, the bullet will break into small fragments and those fragments can possibly strike the neck, face, or head of the person wearing the armor. Most steel armor will have a protective coating designed to reduce the risk of spall/fragmentation.

When choosing body armor, it's important to consider what type of projectiles you're looking to protect against. For example, AR550 steel is best suited for stopping bullets with more penetrating power, while AR500 steel is better suited for slower-moving bullets. So when choosing body armor, be sure to consider your needs and the types of threats you're likely to encounter in order to find the best protection for you.

Ceramic Armor

Ceramic body armor is a popular choice for many people looking for ballistic protection. Ceramic composites are lightweight and flexible, making them comfortable to wear while still providing a high level of protection. However, ceramic body armor is more prone to cracking than other types of body armor, so it may not provide the same level of protection against repeated impacts compared to steel.

Ceramic plates are a great option if you expect to wear your plates for extended periods of time or need to increase your mobility (running, jumping, climbing, etc.) due to their light weight.

Stay protected with our cutting edge body armor. Click here.

Plate Carriers

You will need a plate carrier (commonly called a "bulletproof vest") to hold your body armor in the proper position to ensure they are protecting your vital organs. Most plate carriers can accommodate a variety of body armor plate types. Most people will need 10" x 12" plates, and the majority of modern plate carriers are built to fit this size.

There are three main categories of plate carriers: Tactical (1, 2, 3), Low-Visibility (also known as wraparound or concealment carriers) (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), and Active Shooter Response Carriers (1, 2, 3). Each type serves a different purpose depending on your needs. Choose the right carrier for your purposes to ensure that you have the best possible protection.

Check out our top of the line plate carriers here.

NIJ Certification

When choosing body armor, it's important to consider the NIJ certification. The NIJ (National Institute of Justice) is the government agency that sets body armor standards for the law enforcement community. By looking for products that are NIJ certified, you can be sure that the body armor you choose will provide adequate protection against common threats. There are several different levels of body armor certification offered by the NIJ, and U.S. Kinetic carries a wide selection of NIJ-certified body armor options for you to choose from.

NIJ Protection Levels

Level IIA

Tested to stop 9mm and .40 S&W ammunition fired from short barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.

Level II

Tested to stop 9mm and .357 Magnum ammunition fired from short barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.

Level IIIA

Tested to stop .357 SIG and .44 Magnum ammunition fired from longer barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.

Level III

Tested to stop 7.62mm FMJ lead core rifle ammunition.

Level IV

Tested to stop .30cal steel core armor-piercing rifle ammunition.

Ordering Your Body Armor and Plate Carrier From U.S. Kinetic 

When choosing body armor, it's important to be aware of the lead time that is typically associated with these products. This lead time can vary based on current demand and material availability and may increase when there is more unrest and violence in the news.

At U.S. Kinetic, we offer some of the lowest lead times in the industry. We want you wearing body armor that will keep you safe and comfortable, so we take great care in shipping it out quickly with tracking information included.

It's a good idea to place your order for body armor as soon as possible. You never know when you'll need it and lead times can increase without notice. By being proactive, you can be confident that you have the protection you need without having to wait.

When You Receive Your Body Armor and Plate Carrier

We know that when you order body armor and a plate carrier, it can be a big decision. You might not want to take the risk without trying it on and ensuring it fits properly first. That's why we offer a 14-day return policy. If something isn't right or feels uncomfortable in any way - let us know right away. (See our refund policy here.) Also, remember there may be a break-in period for most plate carriers, so your carrier will get more comfortable the more you wear it.

Body armor is a complex and multifaceted topic, and there are many different types and cuts of body armor available to suit various needs and preferences. At U.S. Kinetic, we offer a wide range of body armor products and tactical gear to help you stay safe and protected on the battlefield or in any other situation. So if you have any questions about body armor or our other products, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to help you find the best possible solution for your needs.

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