Level IV Body Armor Plates

Level IV Body Armor Plates

Posted by 2ASR on 10th Sep 2022

Level 4 Body Armor Plates 

AceLink Level 4 Ceramic Armor Plate

In the current environment of uncertainty and unrest, interest has grown in protection and personal body armor plates. Body armor is made to protect your vital organs so that if you are hit, it will be in a place that will allow time for you to get medical attention before the wound would kill you. Level 4 body armor, sometimes written Level IV body armor, is the highest level of protection available to civilians. This is also likely to be the highest level military and law enforcement officers would wear as well.

Level 4 vs Level 3 Body Armor Plates

The difference between a Level 3 and Level 4 body armor plate is the weapon caliber they will stop. There are different versions of Level 3 plates, but Level 4 body armor plates are NIJ 0101.06 certified to stop 30.06 armor piercing rounds (black tip). Level 3 body armor plates will stop .308 rounds, but 5.56 rounds move much faster, and green tip 5.56 is a light armor piercing round. You will either need a special Level 3 plate that is designed to stop 5.56, or you need a Level 4 plate in your plate carrier.

30.06 black tip ammo

Plate Carrier Compatibility

Level 4 plates are utilized in the same standard carriers as any other type of armor plate, so you don't have to worry about compatibility with the plate carrier as long as the body armor plate is of the correct dimensions.

HRT HRAC Plate Carrier

Level 4 Ballistic Plate Materials

So what makes the personal protection of a Level 4 plate so good? Level 3 plates are usually steel plates. This causes a big problem when moving to level 4 protection levels as the steel plates would have to be extremely thick and therefore heavy to stop 30.06 armor piercing rounds (black tip). New materials have been developed to keep the mass low and the plate lighter and thin. Lighter plates are a huge bonus for law enforcement officers or military members that wear their plate carriers for long periods of time.

Ceramic plates are the secret to stopping higher caliber rounds. It is usually mixed with Polyethylene and has a long acronym of UHMWPE. Ceramic plates are great because ceramic is a very hard material. However, its hardness makes it brittle. The Polyethylene keeps it together and allows for a lot of plates to be multi hit rated. If a shot hits at exactly the same location as a previous hit on the strike face, it will likely penetrate the armor plate. However, the UHMWPE plates have a better chance of more of the strike face staying intact, and the multi hit rating comes from this.

The brittleness of the Ceramic plates means that if you think it may have suffered any damage, you should either get the plate an x-ray or just purchase another one. Something as simple as dropping the plate or plate carrier or falling while wearing it may damage the plate. You would not want a round to hit a crack in the strike face and penetrate the plate. This armor typically has a 5 year expiration and should be replaced after this date. Some plates may have up to 10 year expiration dates now.

The Polyethylene also eliminates the need for trauma pads under the plate because it dissipates the impact more evenly. In short, UHMWPE ceramic body armor can be very light weight, offer protection from multiple hits, and more recently are available at a good price offering high value.

Ballistic Plates Shape: SAPI cut vs Shooter's cut

Level 4 plates can be had for a reasonable price, but the different options can adjust the price. You can get most plates in a SAPI cut or a Shooter cut. SAPI cut is the "standard shape". The Shooter's cut gives the ballistic plate more of a cutout shape at the top so that you can shoulder a rifle without hitting the plate with the stock. The SAPI cut is more of a straight hexagon shape at the top.

Ballistic Plates Shape: Flat vs Single Curve vs Multi Curve

Armor plates are very rigid whether they are ceramic or steel plates. Your chest is not flat, and so a flat plate does not conform to the body very well. To deal with this, you can get plates in single curve or multi curve. Single curve plates add a curve to match across your torso. Multi curve plates curve to match across your torso and over your chest. The more curves the plate has, the more it costs generally. If you are wearing your armor for long periods of time, this will likely be a reasonable price for the comfort. Side plates are available and can be curved to fit the side of the body.

Acelink Multi Curve Level 4 Ceramic Armor Plate

How do I purchase Level IV Ceramic Body Armor?

Level IV body armor can be purchased by everyone in the US as long as you are not forbidden because of a previous crime. New York just passed a law to ban body armor, but only banned soft body armor by mistake. Level IV body armor is still legal to purchase until they modify the law. In Connecticut, you have to buy all body armor in person and cannot buy it online. You should review your state and local laws to be sure you know the current laws as they can change suddenly.

Most armor plates are sold as a single plate and not as a pair. You can usually get a set of Level IV ballistic plates in a package deal with a plate carrier, some will also offer a pair deal. This can be quick and easy. You may not want to buy a package if you want to save some money or make a special change. You may want to buy a Level IV plate to get more protection for the front, and then other plates, like a level III plate for the back. You can also buy a single plate instead of the pair and save up for a back plate at a later time. This gives you Level IV armor where you need it most, and allows you to save some money.

A lot of plates are in stock and ready to ship with a short lead time of around a week, but they generally ship in a timely manor. Most plates are drop shipped from the manufacturer, and they have fast shipping when the plates are in stock. Check the lead time on the manufacturer site or inquire with the site you are purchasing from if they don't show the lead time on the page. You'll have great quality Level IV plates for your personal protection in no time.

Level 4 Body Armor Summary

Level IV plates have amazing quality and are a good price with high value. Protect your vital organs from that black tip ammo by finding a great company with excellent customer service and fast shipping to help you pick out the best multi hit level VI protection for you and your budget. With the extra personal protection, and lighter weight over a steel armor plate, you can't go wrong. The world can change extremely fast, get the Level IV protection you need!

2A Strategic Reserves sells armor plates from the best companies and offers Level 3 and Level 4 plates as well as the plate carriers for them. You can shop our protective gear section to see everything that's available or read more about Level IV Body Armor Plates.

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