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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Sir,

First of all, I just want to say that I have immensely enjoyed trawling through your site and reading about the results of your experiments. This is exactly the sort of thing that I would get up to if I had a large selection of firearms and a place to use them. :)

There's one experiment that I was looking for in particular, but couldn't find.

I live in a rather dangerous part of the world (South Africa) and was looking to make up a set of diy body armour. Many people will jump in about now and say "get a real set of body armour" but there are two problems with that: (1) Cost and (2) most BO just protects chest and back, and I need something a little more extensive than that. We recently have some pretty violent strike action here (over, thank goodness) and it has become clear that body armour is going to become necessary, especially if I have to traipse to the factory at midnight to see why our alarm has gone off.

Now, my actual question is: what is the real world penetration of 9mm through mild steel plate?

And also: are several thinner plates as effective or more effective than one single plate of the same combined thickness as the thinner plates?

It seems to me that the most common (and dangerous) threat is the high velocity 9mm handgun round, and it would be great to know that x millimetres of mild steel are proof against a given round. (Yes I know mileage may vary depending on steel and load used.) Theoretical research I found elsewhere suggests as little as 2mm steel may stop a 9mm ... but then again, somewhere else somebody calculated a +p+ round could just about penetrate 5mm steel.

If you have the time and inclination, it would be of deep interest to myself (and others, I'm sure) to know what the outcome would be.

Thanking you kindly,
Bruno
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good day, gentlemen,

Thank you for the replies.

You are of course, correct, in that there is so much variation in steel grades and bullets that such a test would be somewhat pointless. :( However, I've since been scouring the depths of the internet and have come to the conclusion that around 3mm of steel should be sufficient to handle most 'regular' handgun rounds. If this is then backed up with say 4 layers of kevlar lining, I'd feel fairly confident that barring something high-velocity, it would stop most of the stuff out there.

I'm currently messing around, cutting plates to size, and will be constructing a jacket out of this, mainly to see if it's wearable and for size. If and when it is finished, I may well post a picture for your viewing pleasure.

The real steel to go for seems to be hard abrasion-resistant types, such as AR500. There may be a local equivalent. If this works out (and if I can come up with a viable method of dealing with bullet splatter / fragmentation) then maybe it would be worth making something out of such a high-grade steel.

A gun club is good advice. It is particularly hard to get a firearms license in South Africa, so most folks only have a single firearm. I envy Americans for having ready access to a plethora of goodies. :D A gun club would provide the variety of calibres necessary for such tests.

Anyway, thanks for the advice. I have greatly enjoyed your site, and the humour that went with the tests.

See you around later.
 
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