Level IV Plates
Level IV body armor plates
For police and military personnel, making the right choice of body armor can mean life or death. Armor plates for tactical use on the front line of battle should offer the highest level of protection possible. The highest levels of protection on market is known as Level IV (or Level 4) body armor plates.
What are Level IV body armor plates?
With so many different types of body armor engineered to protect against a variety of ballistic threats, it is vital that customers know exactly what they’re buying. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) developed the Body Armor Standard which categorises armored plates by protection level, based on their performance against certain ammunition and firearms.
The NIJ’s standard ranges from Level IIA up to Level IV, making Level IV plates the gold standard in body armor. They are made from the strongest materials available and can withstand armor-piercing ammunition from a sniper rifle. However, this protection level comes at a cost. Level IV ballistic plates are heavier than armor of a lower NIJ classification, making them less suitable for everyday civilian use. They are also generally more expensive plates.
What materials are Level IV armor plates made of?
Battlesteel’s Level IV armor plates are fabricated from ceramic backed with an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) layer. These composite plates are preferable to steel plates of the same size and protection level. UHMWPE is lighter and cracks less easily than other materials. Ceramic is harder than steel, so hard in fact that it rips the bullet apart on impact and reduces the trauma to the wearer’s body; it offers better protection against armor-piercing bullets; does not cause ricochets unlike steel armor; and weighs just 5.5 lbs for a 9.5” x 11.5” plate, much lighter than steel plates.
What cut of Level IV plate can you purchase?
Battlesteel’s Level IV ballistic plates are sold in shooter’s cut. This is the most popular shape of body armor as it provides a wide area of coverage and allows the wearer to move their arms freely and shoulder a weapon, making it ideal for tactical use.
What ballistic threats can Level IV plates stop?
As the highest classification of body armor, Level IV plates can withstand .30 calibre armor piercing M2 and 5.56mm M855 ammunition, as well as ballistic threats rated Level III and below (7.62x51mm FMJ M80, 7.62x39mm MSC and M193 5.56mm).