Steel ballistic plate and carrier

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Would you pay 500$ for a pair of level III steel ballistic plates and a plate carrier?

Yes, it's a fair price!
2
4%
Yes, but I would use it in conjunction with soft body armor!
5
9%
No, it's too expensive!
24
44%
No, I wouldn't spend money on body armor.
1
2%
No, I would choose another type of body armor.
21
38%
None of the above.
2
4%
 
Total votes: 55

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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by Kutter_0311 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:25 am

I will point out that SAPI plates are designed for military service, and as such, don't shatter when you drop them.

Having informally tested a few used SAPI plates at the range, they all stopped 5.56, 7.62x39, and .308.

Without soft armor behind them.

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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by TDW586 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:37 am

OP, for US prices I'd say 500 is pretty steep for steel plates and a carrier. This would to some extent depend on the type of carrier, but much more than $200 dollars for a non-ballistic (non soft armor carrying) plate carrier is slightly ridiculous, since you can get an Eagle MOLLE-LE plate carrier with cummerbund or an HSGI Woosatch/Weesatch/Wasatch plate carrier (with internal magazine pouches) for right around the 200 price point. You can also get a high quality plate carrier without a cummberbund (good for a throw-and-go rig) for under 100 dollars from Diamondback Tactical.

Since steel plates can be had for 120 dollars or so, and you can get a top tier plate carrier for 90 bucks here, 500 seems like too much.

Personally, I'd say fuck steel plates under any circumstances. Tests have shown that they will not reliably stop the extremely common 5.56 load M193, and despite some manufacturer's claims all steel plates should have soft armor backing due to spall and backface deformation. I have both ceramic and HDPE plates, both have strengths and weaknesses.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by Jeriah » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:25 pm

My current impression is that:

HDPE plates are expensive, lightweight, effective, but may not perform well in extreme temperatures.
Ceramic plates are moderately expensive, moderately heavy, effective, and may crack if they suffer a hard impact.
Steel plates are relatively inexpensive, immensely heavy, and moderately effective if combined with soft armor and anti-spall.

Personally, I think if you ever run a tactical training course, you will immediately abandon the idea of steel plates. You will begin to think about whether body armor is worth it at all. Weight SUCKS. But then you'll remember that getting shot sucks more. I think that ceramic and HDPE are both viable options, while steel is...it's better than nothing but due to the weight, odds are good that you'll be reluctant to wear it ("I'm carrying sixty pounds as it is, I don't need another twelve!") and then it won't do you any good at all, sitting on the floor.

So, I'm saying "poor choice," but only because you asked. If you strap it on, run a couple miles, then tell me I'm wrong, I won't argue. But personally, for me, body armor is heavy, plates are heavier, and steel is just over the top. Note that hard armor plates only saw very limited issue (RBA for example) before steel plates were replaced with ceramic, at which point widespread issue became common. Not saying it's causative but it's worth considering.

TL, DR version: steel is heavy and heavy sucks. Get ceramic or HDPE. If you've already got the steel ones, train in them and you'll probably decide to sell them. But whatever you have, train in it.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by TDW586 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:10 pm

The legal issue is the ITAR, International Trafficing in Arms Regulations. Yeah, it's a bitch.

Steel plates, like all ballistic plates, have significant disadvantages and advantages. They are more durable than ceramic plates and less temperature and weather sensitive than pure HDPE plates. You're right that it is possible for ceramic plates to crack when dropped or hit, but Kutter is also correct in that (in my experience and in some tests I have seen) this is less of a concern than some believe. Ceramic plates, such as SAPIs, stand up to abuse pretty well.

6mm plates may indeed be standalone, but they are also heavy as fuck. You mentioned the weight, but I think you might be underestimating how significant carrying that much weight can be.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by Kutter_0311 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:13 am

As far as accidental fracture goes, you'd have to drop a good bit more than your body weight + combat load + full ruck on a plate, since this was pretty common earlier in the war.

When you take incoming, you GTF DOWN!

I've never been told to "go easy on the plates" or any other issued gear.

(Maybe NVG's, but that's the most delicate gear grunts get handed...)
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by ODA 226 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:53 am

Way too expensive for an obsolete piece of equipment. Save your lunch money and buy a new set of ceramic plates instead.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by RonnyRonin » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:47 am

http://vestguy.com/index_files/Page388.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

4th product down, 2 plates and a crappy plate carrier for $250, this guy makes the rounds at my local gunshows, I might pony up when I get some dough.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by Frank » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:59 am

they sell those in my area (ar 500 steel) but with a condor carrier. :roll:

generally speaking. everybody knows why not to pick steel. but if one were too..how would you make them anti spall?
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by RonnyRonin » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:30 am

Poseidon wrote:they sell those in my area (ar 500 steel) but with a condor carrier. :roll:

generally speaking. everybody knows why not to pick steel. but if one were too..how would you make them anti spall?
yeah, sell the condor to some airsoft kid and buy something better.

as for anti-spall, buy a cheap level II vest and stick it on the outside of the plates (I've gotten 2 for $30-$40, wish I hadn't sold my spare)
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:08 am

Gloviv wrote:Thank you for you input guys.
.....

- weight: if I had to carry ballistic body armor on a regular basis for long periods I would certainly not wear steel ballistic plates. Alternatively, if I expected to need to carry heavy loads when I need ballistic body armor then I would not own steel ballistic plates. In my case, body armor is the equipment I hope never have to put on and if I ever do it is because fecal matter suddenly collided with the propeller blades and I get on the legitimate defense mode. This imply that weight will not be a problem as I don't plan to run around for kilometers and I will not carry more than a pistol, a shotgun
and ammunition.

....

Thank you for your comments, that was interesting to read.

Anyone else has something to add?
I'd say that the weight issue is exactly why you SHOULD (if legal to do so) wear it as often as possible, for as long as you can handle. Regardless of which plate/soft armor arrangement you end up going with, it's going to weigh more than not wearing it. Tack on the weight of any other gear you'll be lugging, and it adds up pretty quickly. As Jeriah was saying, train in it- the more you train in your gear, the less of a problem it will be when you really need to be lugging it around- this goes for any equipment you don't hop into and turn a key. If you move it, not it moving you, then you need to train in it. A lot. Build up your endurance to the point that a weekend trip wearing all your gear in a mock bug-out doesn't seem like a practice run at suicide, then do it again and again on a regular basis to remain in that condition. Besides, at the end of the day, when you get to take all that stuff off, think how good it will feel!
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by ais4122 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:31 pm

I just got a PIG plate carrier. It cost $284 with shipping. Based on many reviews I felt this vest was the best quality with the best innovations over many of the other carriers out there. Since this is a piece of equipment that my life will depend on, I did not try to skimp on the price. There are many carriers in the 400-500 price range which I did not feel justified such a price tag. Plenty of cheap O carriers which I do not believe would last too long due to poor quality in design and material. The next big issue are the ballistic plates. Various schools of thought on that one. Ceramic is not cheap but can be damaged. Poly is alittle more expensive that ceramic alone. Steel is cheap - sort of- but spalling and richocettes are a major concern. I am strongly leaning to poly for the chest plate and the lightest possible steel or titanium steel plate for the back. I don't mind spending some coin on good plates, but its very hard to get a read on life span. Most say warranty for 5 years, but don't go into life span. One company said 10 years- not sure I believe them. So I may split the difference and get good poly for the front and steel for the back.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:04 am

RonnyRonin wrote:
Poseidon wrote:they sell those in my area (ar 500 steel) but with a condor carrier. :roll:

generally speaking. everybody knows why not to pick steel. but if one were too..how would you make them anti spall?
yeah, sell the condor to some airsoft kid and buy something better.

as for anti-spall, buy a cheap level II vest and stick it on the outside of the plates (I've gotten 2 for $30-$40, wish I hadn't sold my spare)
No, the kevlar goes between your body and the steel. Stop trying to get people killed.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by zombiegristle » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am

Doc Torr wrote:
RonnyRonin wrote:
Poseidon wrote:they sell those in my area (ar 500 steel) but with a condor carrier. :roll:

generally speaking. everybody knows why not to pick steel. but if one were too..how would you make them anti spall?
yeah, sell the condor to some airsoft kid and buy something better.

as for anti-spall, buy a cheap level II vest and stick it on the outside of the plates (I've gotten 2 for $30-$40, wish I hadn't sold my spare)
No, the kevlar goes between your body and the steel. Stop trying to get people killed.
Um, what? The Kevlar in this case isn't for blunt trauma protection or ICW plates, it's for stopping the splatter effect that occurs when a bullet strikes hardened steel. Kevlar goes on the front face and needs to wrap around the edges, putting shit on the backface won't do anything to help anything.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:51 pm

Go look up "spall" and why putting kevlar on the back is more immediately important. Spatter is less likely, though if I were doing steel plates I'd probably sandwich the plates with kevlar. If you only have kevlar on the front, then the spall will kill you. If you only have it on the back, there's a risk of spatter.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by LowKey » Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:45 am

Doc Torr wrote:Go look up "spall" and why putting kevlar on the back is more immediately important. Spatter is less likely, though if I were doing steel plates I'd probably sandwich the plates with kevlar. If you only have kevlar on the front, then the spall will kill you. If you only have it on the back, there's a risk of spatter.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by zombiegristle » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:34 am

I know what "spall" means with regards to the backface, but what I'm saying is that AR500 plates getting hit by rounds within their rating don't have a problem with that. Look at steel targets and all the myriad of videos of people shooting these plates, and what you'll see is a serious danger from the splatter off the front face. There are videos of plates falling out of the carriers because of the nylon being shredded by the debris, such is the severity of the splatter. I've been talking with an armor plate manufacturer in Arizona as he's been testing different methods of cutting down on this effect and have been following his tests, and there's never been any mention of backface spalling occurring on any of the plates being tested, even when completely bare and untreated.

When removed and examined, the backface of plates after being hit is smooth and the rear of the carrier unscathed. The front has splatter marks and the carrier is shredded. I can understand that perhaps backface spalling is A concern, but it is certainly not the FOREMOST concern when dealing with AR500 plates. Brittle steel not designed to stop bullets is much more likely to do this, as are various other brittle material like ceramic. AR500 Steel does not behave like this when it gets shot.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:40 pm

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/132947 ... e_OP_.html
The internet calls your friend a liar, unless you're rating the plates thicker than the rest of the world. So does my personal experience, having shot AR 500 .308 targets and gone downrange to see the havoc that spall wreaks n the ground should two rounds impact close together.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by zombiegristle » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:50 pm

That is one of the exact threads I am talking about. The wrap he did is for stopping the frag on the FRONT of the plate, and NOTHING is coming off the back. I don't understand what you're getting at.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:59 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4snp1aQ2rr0&sns=em
Can't embed from mobile. Go to 2:40 and tell my what the spray of holes behind the steel are.

Notice in that thread where he turns it over to point out that he has minimized the risk of spall, though in the linked thread he's not testing with the commonly available AP rounds. I'm gonna leave it at that. Feel free to continue disagreeing, but causing spall and stopping spall from happening was a good chunk of my training as an anti-armor bubba.

I'm out. I'm sure someone else will be along to confirm what I was saying about sandwiching the kevlar being better than just having it on the front, unless you want to carry around 1" thick plates for the first time someone sends a 7n6 downrange at you.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by zombiegristle » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:37 pm

I just watched the whole video - did you? The first two rounds were glancing edge strikes where the projectile was shattered and deflected, while the third strike which was dead center did NOTHING BEHIND THE PLATE. I can't understand how you're still arguing this point when your own evidence points out clearly how wrong you are.

The only reason I'm even bothering to argue with you about this is because you're a respected source of info around here. This means when you post advice people are more likely to take it, and in this case what you posted is completely wrong and dangerous, and might get someone hurt if they take your advice without doing their homework. I think it's great that you had anti-spalling training or whatever, sounds like fun - but that's not an argument. If you say something that is in direct opposition to my own experience and all evidence from either one of us, then I'm going to tell you you're wrong.

Look, I know how to post videos, too:








And here is the manufacturer's thread where he explores coating plates to reduce the threat of frag FROM THE FRONT OF THE PLATE:

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_2_541/2258 ... ducts.html

Please consider that maybe your training was in error, or that what you were trained for may not apply here.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by LowKey » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:51 pm

zombiegristle wrote:I just watched the whole video - did you? The first two rounds were glancing edge strikes where the projectile was shattered and deflected, while the third strike which was dead center did NOTHING BEHIND THE PLATE. I can't understand how you're still arguing this point when your own evidence points out clearly how wrong you are.
Real world experiance downrange, perhaps?

He was/is an "anti-armor bubba".
I'm a former armor "bubba".
This stuff is a huge chunk of what Uncle Sugar paid us to have professional knowlage about.
Steel armor spalls when hit hard enough. Unless you are picking the rounds fired at you, anticipate your armor spalling and and put soft armor behind it.
Neither of us is saying putting soft armor in front of it will hurt, but if the choice is between putting it on the face of the plate or the back both of us are saying you'd be better off with it on the back.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by zombiegristle » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:57 pm

I just updated my post with a bunch of videos of these plates being shot. Again, it's nice that you guys have experience getting shot at and I do respect that, but it's irrelevant to the argument. These plates don't exhibit spalling on the backface in any tests I can find, but they do exhibit a dangerous amount from the front. Maybe if you shot a thinner-than-spec AR500 plate with a round that is above the level III rating it MIGHT turn around, but I believe in one of those videos they shot the plate with a .338 Lapua and while there was a bitch of a dent, the backface was still completely smooth.

Quoting former training or saying you got paid to be "more right" than I is not a valid argument. If you have and value your training/reputation/whatever on the subject, I would think you'd take it a little more seriously when someone tries to show you that you are in error with actual evidence backing it up.
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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by doubleohseven » Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:04 pm

LowKey wrote:Real world experiance downrange, perhaps?

He was/is an "anti-armor bubba".
I'm a former armor "bubba".
This stuff is a huge chunk of what Uncle Sugar paid us to have professional knowlage about.
Steel armor spalls when hit hard enough. Unless you are picking the rounds fired at you, anticipate your armor spalling and and put soft armor behind it.
Neither of us is saying putting soft armor in front of it will hurt, but if the choice is between putting it on the face of the plate or the back both of us are saying you'd be better off with it on the back.
The Kevlar sammich might be to prevent spalling, and also to prevent deflections.

I really feel like you kids are arguing about different things.

Most people who used steel plates (10 years ago?) Stopped not because the plates weren't stopping rounds from entering the thorax, but because the bullets were going random directions and causing follow on damage after they were redirected. Not because they got shot multiple times in the same spot and the spall done killed them.

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Re: Steel ballistic plate and carrier

Post by LowKey » Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:38 pm

Actually, IIRC the switch away from steel plates was an attempt to reduce the weight.

When the gent fires some AP rounds at the plates is when you may see some spalling.

It's not a case of "being paid to be more right", or ignoring evidence. It's not tossing out huge ammounts of data collected by .mil that was passed on through training after watching video footage of a very small sample being shot with non AP rounds. When he's shot a few thousand rounds at 100-500 plates without issues it will be a different matter.
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