These new plates are ShotStop Ballistic’s Lightweight (“ultra-light” in fact, according to the manufacturer) level IVs from a recently released lineup of individual armor upgrades. Their official name is actually the Level IV HA Armor Piercing Advanced Body Armor Plates. ShotStop Ballistic has been described in some quarters as the “future of body armor“; we can’t swear to that, but we can affirm their plates are pretty damn light.
“What makes this an industry shattering announcement is the unprecedented weight for Level IV protection, weighing in at 4.5 lbs (2.0 kg) with a low profile of 0.9″ thick, these multi-curve, stand-alone, multi-hit plates provide the lightest armor-piercing protection in the world. The plate will provide the operator comfort, better mobility, and all the confidence to carry out their mission whether they are Military, Special Forces, SWAT, or Law Enforcement.”
According to Jason Henkel, Director of Operations at ShotStop, “Protection is absolutely ShotStop’s top priority, but being able to increase comfort, mobility, and advanced unique applications really differentiate this launch from others. Our new Level IV plate is positioned to dramatically change the way in which personal protection can be utilized in various environments and circumstances.”
The new plates are available in the following Shooter Cut and SAPI cuts and the following sizes:
6” x 6” x .9”
8” x 10” x .9”
8.75” x 11.75” x .9”
9.5” x 12.5” x .9”
10″ x 12″ x .9″
11″ x 14″ x .9″
Read the remainder of the release after the video.
Threat Level Protection
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) states that level IV armor must stop a single hit of 7.62MM AP. ShotStop’s HA Level IV ballistic body armor, made with patented Duritium® technology, is multi-hit and can defeat special threats including: 5.56x45mm 55 grain ball (M193), 7.62x39mm PS ball (MSC), 7.62x51mm 149 grain M80 FMJ, NATO M855 (SS109) 5.56x45mm 62 grain steel core (SS109), M855 A1, 7.62×54mmR Dragunov, and 7.62x63mm M2 AP.
The plate is currently pending testing to be listed with the NIJ.
Ounces Equal Pounds, and Pounds Equal Pain
Improving on the current HS Level IV model plate, ShotStop reduced the weight from 5.3 lbs to 4.5. When pounds equal pain for the operator, every ounce matters. Typical heavy body armor increases the amount of pressure on the joints, causing fatigue, pain and long-term medical issues. ShotStop’s Level IV plate gives the operator maximum mobility and while reducing weight-displacement injuries which are typical from heavy steel or ceramic Level IV plates.
“The accumulated reduction in knee load for a 1-pound loss in weight would be more than 4,800 pounds per mile walked,” says researcher Stephen P. Messier, PhD, of Wake Forest University. So, if a person was carrying 10 pounds less weight, “each knee would be subjected to 48,000 pounds less in compressive load per mile walked.”
Industry-Leading 10-Year Warranty
Along with the armor-piercing protection, the HA1RF3MC model comes with an unprecedented 10-Year warranty, translating to an unusually low total cost of ownership for the highest quality level IV plate available. Standard level IV ceramic body armor is only warrantied for 5 years. Unlike ceramic plates, which can crack when dropped, ShotStop’s proprietary composite plates do not need MRI/x-rays to monitor the plate’s integrity throughout the industry-leading warranty period. ShotStop’s plates can take a beating from every day wear & tear and mishaps like drops, without ever compromising protection.
What is Duritium?
Duritium is a portfolio of technologies including a proprietary formula of Polyethylene fibers or ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. These polyethylene fibers are woven and stacked by a computer navigated layering process at particular angles which elevate the ability of the armor system to more efficiently diffuse kinetic energy during ballistics impact. The stacked polyethylene is then vulcanized under 5000 lbs. per sq. inch presses while going through various high heat and cold cycles to form the base of the Duritium body armor.
Depending on the threat level requirement, the armor system can then be combined with ShotStop’s proprietary alloy composite which offers even further weight and thickness savings compared to other competitive armor options, especially at the higher threat levels.