I was contacted by a fine fellow from Infidel Body Armor who told me about the rifle plates that they made and sold.
He asked me if I would be interested in testing a few of them against my rifles. Of course, I said, “Sure!”
Here is a carrier that they make to hold the plates. It is about as nice of a carrier as I’ve ever seen.
Lots of Velcro and snaps to make it fit just about anyone.
It also has a cumber bun to allow the use of side plates if desired.
It even has extra padding on the shoulder straps which would come in handy if wearing a heavy vest for long periods.
It is rated Level III, meaning that it is designed to stop six 7.62 X 51 NATO rounds at 50 feet.
They measure approximately 10 by 12 inches.
These plates are heavy, about 9 pounds. They are mighty tough stuff.
From their site:
“These 10×12″ plates are formed from 1/4″ AR500 hardened steel (the same variety used by the military in armored vehicles. We laser cut each piece and add a 20 degree bend that conforms to the human torso. After preparing the metal, we add a special 1/4″ polymer coating that serves to trap bullet fragments.”
The polymer coating is an interesting addition. Just imagine the “splatter” that might come off of a rifle round that hits your vest. While not likely to be fatal, it would sure chew up your face and arms. This coating is designed to “catch” any splatter and prevent it from hitting the wearer.
My buddy Doc went with me today (doc540) and I tried to get him to just wear the armor and let me shoot at him, but he declined.
Instead, we sat it on this bench and placed a big sand bag behind it to support the plate. I did this because you are not supposed to place the plate against something hard (like a tree) as this will give a false result.
I also placed a cardboard box around the plate, to see if the anti-splatter covering would work as advertised.
We will be shooting rifles today, as this plate is rated for rifles and would have no problems stopping any normal pistol round.
Let’s start with the favorite of the Arfcom crowd, the AR-15.
The coating stopped almost all splatter.
We found one tiny piece of bullet jacket.
We used some military surplus green tip, not really Armor Piercing, but better than standard ball for penetration.
It knocked off a chunk of the coating, but only made a tiny dent in the plate.
Next, we will try a round of 7.62 X 51 NATO out of the Right Arm of the Free World, the FN-FAL.
Doc caught the top-heavy target as it is falling over from the shot.
Again, it knocked off a piece of the coating, but did not hurt the plate.
The 7.62 X 54R from a Mosin 91/30 is usually a tough round to stop.
Let’s give it a try.
It actually made a pretty good dent in the plate, but didn’t even come close to penetrating.
It also made a very slight (I’m not sure you can even see it) bump on the back of the plate.
How about a 12 gauge shotgun slug?
It hit right next to the area I am holding the slug.
Only a small hole in the coating.
We did find a piece of the slug on the floor of the box.
Last week, Doc had a chance to shoot my Shiloh Sharps .45-70 Long Range Express and he said, “Why don’t we shoot it with the buffalo rifle?”
Sounds like a good idea to me.
Let’s try a 515 grain hard cast RNL with a gas check at around 1,400 fps.
I also went to a second plate, to have a fresh start.
It didn’t have any trouble killing the box.
But it didn’t do any real harm to the rifle plate.
Before we go home, I wanted to do the toughest test…
Multiple rounds in the same area.
Many types of armor will stop a round or two, but can be “chewed” up with multiple rounds in the same area.
I shot 5 rounds into the same area on the plate.
It chewed up the coating, but the plate stopped them, just as expected.
- The carrier for the system is extremely well made.
- The plates work just as designed and the coating helps prevent splatter from the bullets hitting the plates.
- The system is not cheap. A carrier and 2 plates (1 for front, 1 for back) go for around $400. That might sound like a lot of money… Until the first round hits it while you are wearing it, and then you will think, “It was worth every penny!”
- It’s fun to shoot stuff.
(Thanks to Infidel Armor for the materials for the test, and thanks to doc540 for the help.)