Defensive items are those pieces of equipment that have protected millions of lives throughout the ages. During the times of kings and queens, when swords and arrows were a major threat, shields, metal armor, and chainmail were widely used for protection. When times changed and guns and arms came, the metal defenses evolved into bulletproof armor and ballistic vests.
Unlike the older versions of armor, modern-day armor is mainly designed to stop high-speed bullets. One of the major changes was made by introducing ballistic plates. These plates were specially made to take on high-speed projectiles from rifles. Let’s explore these plates in detail in this article.
What are ballistic plates?
Ballistic plates are armor made from various hard materials that are inserted into a bulletproof vest to increase the durability of the vest. Law enforcement often uses these vests to stay protected while being engaged in a gunfight or handling a difficult situation.
What are ballistic plates made from?
Although the ballistic plates have similar functions, They are made from different materials that function differently and have unique features.
- In military applications, ceramic plates or ceramic armor made of boron carbide, silicon carbide, or other related materials are widespread.
- Ceramic armor has the advantage of being lighter than metals and significantly tougher, allowing it to bend tungsten core penetrators and resist high-velocity projectiles.
- A ceramic substance destroys projectiles by fracturing them into bits, reducing the projectile’s penetrating ability. In addition, ceramic plates have worse multi-hit resistance than steel or titanium due to their brittle nature.
- However, there are workarounds which utilize a stainless steel crack arrestor or the titanium arrestor on the ceramic plates, making them durable for a few more shots.
- Steel or titanium are the most common metal trauma plates, but aluminium and different alloys are also available.
- Despite suffering less deformation, steel plating may experience a higher impulse caused by an impact because the steel bends very little and captures very little energy. As a result, a bullet is shattered by a steel plate, which sends potentially deadly fragments across the plate’s plane.
- Furthermore, metal armor has the ability to deflect bullets, allowing them to strike a limb, friendly personnel, bystanders, or private property.
- Of course, you cannot expect them to be strong against any of the projectile. The 5.56 M193 bullet, in particular, has been reported to breach commercial armor steel plates marketed under NIJ Level III at speeds exceeding 3100 fps.
- Multi-layered sheets/plates made of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) can provide a ballistic advantage equivalent to or higher than lighter metal plates.
- On the other hand, there is the cost of less trauma reduction and the unlikely but conceivable danger of fracture with them.
- When manufactured, UHMWPE may be scattered into a thread and woven into a fabric that rivals modern aramid materials in strength, flexibility, and weight and is now a common material investment.
- UHMWPE, on the other hand, has flaws, the most notable of which is its poor heat and flame resistance due to its low melting point (130 degrees Celsius, or 266 degrees Fahrenheit), and therefore should not be exposed to temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Celsius for lengthy periods of time.
- Several businesses have developed high-quality polymer compositions that can scatter a large amount of force when subjected to shock, vibration, or G-force side loading.
- The material’s and padding’s improved energy absorption behavior is due to the viscoelastic compound’s unique physical features.
- The chemical that is used here is of high molecular weight, extremely dense, highly elastic polymer fluids.
- To manage the physical and rheological properties of the completed padding compound, the fluid is combined with rheological modifiers and other fillers.
How to choose a ballistic plate?
The design of ballistic plates is intended to protect the user’s essential organs, such as the heart and lungs. It is not intended to protect the entire body or the torso.
Get a measuring tape to figure out which size will fit you best. Place the measuring tape on your collarbone and measure until you reach your navel to determine your height. Stop around two to three inches above the navel.
A tiny plate will not provide the necessary protection. However, one that is too large will present a barrier to the user.
How are ballistic plates rated?
In the US, ballistic plates are rated according to NIJ standards. The National Institute of Justice lays down the standards according to which the plates are rated based on their protection level. Level III ballistic plates are the most commonly used ballistic plates, providing the wearer with a high level of protection.
The shapes of ballistic plate
- Full cut
The full-cut ballistic plate protects the whole back of the officer. They are square or rectangles in shape. They easily protect the vital organs of a person. However, they may hinder the agility of the person.
- Shooter’s cut
A shooter’s cut is a protective shape plate with distinct cut-off corners that allows its users to move freely without obstructing their movements. These plates are mostly used by professionals who need to carry weapons. Thus the name “shooter’s cut.”
- Swimmer’s cut
The swimmer’s cut is similar to the shooter’s cut, but they offer more area to allow more shoulder and back movement.
These are the most widely sold ballistic plates in the US. These plates are mostly bought by military and law enforcement personnel, as they have to continuously engage in life and death battles. Working as a law enforcement officer is a risky job. You frequently have to get involved in dangerous situations and fight off thugs and problem solvers.
Heated up when arms and ammunition get involved, and to reduce the risk of receiving serious injuries, wearing a ballistic vest with high-quality ballistic plates will ensure you stay protected even in an intense gunfight. Ballistic plates are considered a defensive item; thus, they are not limited to officials. However, as a civilian, you have the right to safety and security. You can buy these plates for your vest from an authorized online dealer.