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Bulletproof Backpack Options for Safety

College sports practices have already started! We are filled with excitement, anticipation and some anxieties. While dorm rooms are being stocked with favorite items from home, and care packages are sent with goodies and treats, we wonder how we can really protect our students when they are so far away.

One item can be added to any backpack to give them and you piece of mind as they walk onto campus is a bulletproof backpack panel. Just like laptops, books and notebooks, backpacks equipped with bullet proof protection is becoming common practice.

In a world where personal safety is increasingly becoming a priority, body armor panels for backpacks are emerging as a practical and innovative solution. These panels are designed to provide both convenience and an additional layer of protection, making them a popular choice for students, travelers, and professionals.

What Are Bulletproof Backpacks?

CaliberX IIIA Soft Armor Vertx Combo Package

Bulletproof Backpacks are backpacks equipped with special body armor backpack panels that transform regular-looking backpacks to provide ballistic protection. These panels are designed to stop common handgun bullets and provide protection against other threats. Backpacks come in various styles, sizes, to suit your needs and location. The body armor backpack panels can then be added to provide bulletproof protection levels to your existing backpack. No need to carry around a tactical backpack or a one style fits all look. Adding a bulletproof panel gives you the flexibility to change out backpacks to fit your needs.

Key Features 

Lynx Backpack Panel
  1. Discreet Protection: Unlike traditional body armor worn outside of your clothing, these lightweight armor backpack panels go into your ordinary bags, making them ideal for everyday use without drawing attention.
  2. Ballistic Panels: The core feature of these bulletproof backpacks is the ballistic panel, which typically provides protection from most handgun rounds which is categorized by Level IIIA / HG2.
  3. Multi-Functional: Besides providing protection, these affordable bulletproof backpacks offer ample space and compartments for carrying books, laptops, and other personal items.
  4. Lightweight and Comfortable: Designed for daily use, the concealed carry backpack panels are made with lightweight materials and ergonomic designs to ensure comfort.
  5. Easy to Use: In an emergency, the backpack can be quickly positioned in front of the body to shield vital areas. Or in the Run, Hide, Fight Scenario, you are protected on your back as you run away.

Who Can Benefit? 

  • Students: With increasing concerns about school safety, parents are considering the best backpack armor for school for their children.
  • Professionals: People who travel frequently or work in high-risk areas can benefit from the added security.
  • Travelers: For those traveling to areas with higher crime rates, bulletproof backpacks for travel safety offers peace of mind.
  • Everyday Use: Anyone looking for an added layer of protection in their daily routine can find these backpacks useful. From tactical backpack armor inserts to everyday carry armor. Portable body armor solutions and affordable bulletproof backpacks are offered throughout our site.

Top Options for Backpack Armor:

At Caliber Armor, we offer a comprehensive range of premium backpack panels tailored for leading brands like Vertx, 5.11 Tactical, Viktos, Lynx Defense, Haley Strategic, and SOE (Special Operations Equipment). We meticulously craft these panels to deliver high-quality, lightweight armor solutions, ensuring optimal protection and functionality for both tactical operations and everyday carry.

  • CaliberX IIIA/HG2 Body Armor Panels: Designed to fit most backpacks with an 11×14 size, these panels can be discreetly placed in the laptop section or against the back. Lightweight at just 1lb, ensuring minimal intrusion on comfort.
  • CaliberX IIIA & Vertx: Tailored soft armor panels for Vertx backpacks, providing covert protection ideal for urban environments and beyond. We also offer a CaliberX IIIA Soft Vertx Backpack Combo: the ultimate all-in-one solution. Perfectly blending security and convenience, it’s your go-to for versatile protection on the move.
  • CaliberX IIIA & 5.11 Tactical: Innovative soft armor panels designed to integrate seamlessly with 5.11 Tactical backpacks, offering advanced protection and tactical functionality.
  • CaliberX IIIA Viktos: Soft armor panels compatible with Viktos backpacks, offering rugged durability and tactical functionality without compromising comfort.
  • CaliberX IIIA & Lynx Defense: Specifically designed soft armor panels for Lynx Defense backpacks, known for American-made quality and robust design.
  • CaliberX IIIA & Haley Strategic: Lightweight, high-performance soft armor panels compatible with Haley Strategic backpacks, designed for dynamic environments and mission-focused operations.
  • CaliberX IIIA & SOE (Special Operations Equipment): Superior protection and durability with soft armor panels crafted for SOE backpacks, trusted by elite operators worldwide.
  • CaliberX Gray Man Package: Includes two 10×12 or 11×14 body armor panels and a lightweight carrier. Offers bulletproof protection inside the backpack or can be quickly deployed for personal use.
  • Custom CaliberX Panels: We at Caliber Armor provide custom manufacturing options to fit any backpack. Use our form HERE for a quote for your custom body armor panel.

Equip your chosen backpack with our advanced protection solutions to meet your tactical and everyday carry requirements effectively.

Body armor backpacks are a practical investment for anyone looking to enhance their personal safety without compromising on convenience. With various styles and protection levels available, there’s an option for everyone. As always, ensure you choose a reputable, established American made brand to buy bulletproof backpacks from and check the product specifications to meet your specific needs. Stay safe and Be Prepared for Anything with a body armor backpack and the best body armor panels.

 
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Is it legal for civilians to purchase body armor?

Is it legal for civilians to purchase body armor?

Is it legal for civilians to purchase body armor?  

Body armor is a safety product. It is legal in most states in for law abiding civilians to purchase body armor. You have the right to protect yourself and your family from harm. As a citizen of the United States you have the legal right to purchase and wear body armor for personal or professional use. Currently the exception is New York state who has limited the rights of its citizens. We’ll talk about NY state and give you all the details below. 

Body Armor does not require any special paperwork or background checks. It is YOUR responsibility to determine if YOU are LEGALLY able to purchase and use body armor in your state.  

Who Cannot Buy Body Armor Legally? 

Convicted felons surrender their right to own body armor legally pursuant to (18 U.S.C. 931). However, felons can purchase bulletproof vests if their employer requires it and they get written permission to do so. It is the responsibility of the felon to refrain from buying body armor. They can be prosecuted if they make an illegal purchase. Retailers are not liable for what happens to body armor after it is sold.  

Different States have Different Rules for Buying Body Armor Legally 

Depending on where you live, different states have different regulations for civilians who want to buy body armor.  For example, it is legal for civilians in Connecticut to buy body armor, but it must to be done by a face-to-face transaction. There are exceptions to the Connecticut law for police departments, and other public officials. Please call one of our sales representatives for more information. In New York you must be employed in an approved profession and make a face to face transaction. Learn more details about the NEW YORK BODY ARMOR RESTRICTIONS HERE.

Other Rules for Civilians to Buy Body Armor Legally 

There are other rules to consider when civilians look to buy personal body armor protection.  You cannot ship or bring body armor outside the United States without Federal permission, for example.  In many states it is also illegal to wear body armor while committing a crime. Doing so will result in more and harsher legal charges.  

Below we’ve provided some helpful information about current state laws for civilians to purchase body armor legally.  This information provided is current to the best of our knowledge as of the publishing of this article. It can change at any time. This information should NOT be interpreted as legal advice. You should contact a licensed attorney in your state, local government or law enforcement agency for the most current regulations in your area for civilians to purchase body armor legally.  

Alabama 

Alabama does not have any additional laws for civilians to purchase body armor legally. In Alabama, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest legally, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person. 

Alaska 

In Alaska, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face by civilians legally. 

Arizona 

Like many states, Arizona has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. 

Arkansas 

In Arkansas, it is a Class A Misdemeanor to possess body armor if you have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, aggravated robbery, assault, or battery, and this law does not affect body armor retailers. 

In any other case, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

California 

In California, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Colorado 

In Colorado, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Connecticut 

Of all the states, Connecticut has the toughest law on body armor, prohibiting residents from buying or selling body armor except through a face-to-face sale. Online retailers cannot market and sell to Connecticut residents. 

In Connecticut, it is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, to sell or deliver body armor unless the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish the sale or delivery. 

The law exempts sales or deliveries to: 

  1. authorized officials or sworn members of local police departments, the State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Department of Correction, or the Board or Pardons or Parole; 
  2. authorized municipal or Department of Administrative Services’ officials who buy body armor for the above agencies; 
  3. authorized Judicial Branch officials who buy body armor for probation officers; 
  4. members of the National Guard or armed forces (CGS § 53-341b). 

Delaware 

Delaware has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. 

Florida 

Florida has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime, and, and this does not affect body armor retailers. 

In Florida, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Georgia 

Georgia has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a violent crime, or while trafficking drugs. This does not affect body armor retailers. 

In Georgia, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Hawaii 

In Hawaii, all civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Idaho 

In Idaho, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Illinois 

Illinois does not have any additional body armor laws pertaining to retailers. In Illinois, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

However, it is illegal to for individuals to wear body armor while in possession of a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm, during the commission or attempted commission of any offense. Unlawful use of body armor is a Class A misdemeanor. 

Indiana 

In Indiana, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person. 

A person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Class D felony (up until July 2014, when a new law takes effect). The new law states that a person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Level 6 felony. Again, this law effects criminals, not retailers. 

Iowa 

In Iowa, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Kansas 

In the city of Topeka, Kansas, it is illegal to possess, carry or wear a bulletproof vest during protests, parades, rallies, assemblies and demonstrations. This statute does not affect retailers. 

In Kansas, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person. 

Kentucky 

In Kentucky, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Louisiana 

Louisiana has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime or on school property. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Louisiana, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

It is illegal to wear body armor on the premises of a school 

Maine 

In Maine, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Maryland 

Maryland law mandates that all civilians with a prior conviction for a crime of violence, or a drug trafficking crime, are prohibited from using, possessing, or purchasing bulletproof body armor without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Maryland State Police. 

A civilian with a prior conviction for a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime may file, for good cause shown, a petition with the Secretary for a permit to use, possess, and purchase bulletproof body armor. 

Massachusetts 

Massachusetts has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. In Massachusetts, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Michigan 

In Michigan, any civilian of age can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that civilian has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

In Michigan, an individual who commits or attempts to commit a crime that involves a violent act or a threat of a violent act against another person while wearing body armor is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. This is not applying to state officers and security officers performing their duties while on or off a scheduled work shift. 

Minnesota 

In Minnesota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Mississippi 

In Mississippi, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Missouri 

In Missouri, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Montana 

In Montana, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Nebraska 

In Nebraska, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Nevada 

In Nevada, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

New Hampshire 

New Hampshire has laws in place that make committing a crime while wearing a bulletproof vest a felony, but does not have laws in place that prohibit sales of bulletproof vests by retailers. 

A person is guilty of a class B felony if he commits or attempts to commit any felony while using or wearing body armor. 

New Jersey 

In New Jersey, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Additionally, in New Jersey, a civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts. The practical effect is more jail time and fines. Separate penalties have a wide range depending on the seriousness of the underlying crime. 

New Mexico 

In New Mexico, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

New York 

Effective July 6, 2022, when not being engaged or employed in an eligible profession, the purchase, taking possession of, sale, exchange, giving or disposing of body armor is prohibited.  People engaged or employed in eligible professions include. New York gets it’s own article since it has become complicated. WHO CAN PURCHASE BODY ARMOR IN NEW YORK ARTICLE.

North Carolina 

North Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In North Carolina, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

North Dakota 

In North Dakota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Ohio 

Ohio does not have any additional body armor laws. In Ohio, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Oklahoma 

Oklahoma has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Oklahoma, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Oregon 

In Oregon, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania does not have any additional body armor laws. In Pennsylvania, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Rhode Island 

In Rhode Island, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor and bulletproof vests, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

In 2012, Rhode Island’s General Assembly passed a bill that forbids anyone convicted of a felony that is a crime of violence from buying or possessing body armor. This does not affect retailers of bullet proof vests. 

South Carolina 

South Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In South Carolina, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

South Dakota 

In South Dakota, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Tennessee 

Tennessee also has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. The unlawful wearing of a vest is a Class E felony. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Tennessee, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest legally, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Texas 

In Texas, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Utah 

In Utah, civilians can purchase body armor legally and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Vermont 

Vermont does not have any additional body armor laws. In Vermont, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Virginia 

Virginia has one additional body armor law, like many states: Any person who, while committing a crime of violence or a felony violation, has in his possession a firearm or knife and is wearing body armor designed to diminish the effect of the impact of a bullet or projectile, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. This law does not affect retailers. 

In Virginia, it is legal for civilians to purchase body armor, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Washington State 

In Washington, civilians can purchase body armor legally, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

West Virginia 

In West Virginia, it is illegal for a civilian to wear body armor while committing a felony, an element of which is force, the threat of force, physical harm to another or the use or presentment of a firearm or other deadly weapon. This does not affect body armor retailers. 

In West Virginia, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest legally, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

Wisconsin 

In Wisconsin, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest legally, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face. 

In Wisconsin, regulations also state donning a bulletproof vest during a felony or attempted felony can lead to an additional felony conviction, or added years to the final prison sentence. This law affects certain individuals who might purchase and wear bulletproof vests but does not affect retailers. 

Wyoming 

In Wyoming, any civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest legally, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be legally purchased both online or face-to-face.

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Caliber Armor Launches New AV2 Stand-Alone Body Armor Plate

Introducing the Caliber Armor AV2 Ballistic Insert

Caliber Armor, who was the first company to bring an advanced steel body armor plate with a true multi-curve achieved with one press announces a new alloy plate that achieves the coveted NIJ-RF2 stopping power rating.

The Future NIJ 0101.07 RF2 Testing Requirements Met

For years, the industry has been anticipating the new NIJ 0101.07 standard that finally attempts to bridge the gap between 0101.06 Level 3 and Level 4. In the current standard level 3 rating the test is six shots of 7.62 x 51mm M80 FMJ at 2,780 ft/s. From there the next level is 4, which is 30-06 M2 AP at 2880 ft/s. What about everything in-between? The body armor industry has largely adopted the term Level 3+ or Level 3++, which is up to the manufacturers interpretation but generally means that it will stop higher velocity 5.56mm rounds and AK 7.62x39mm steel core projectiles.

Multi-Curve Body Armor with Advanced Spall Coating

The AV2 body armor plate comes standard with advanced PolyShield Anti-Spall coating. With a competitive price point, only half inch thin and weighing in at just 7.2 lbs, the AV2 armor plate is a superior option for your bulletproof vest that will last a lifetime. No more replacing your team’s armor set ups every five years or spending extra funds on x-ray requirements during turnover. The AV2 plate will stop everything that you throw at it. See full multi hit body armor product specs HERE.

How do we keep up?

Different compositions of body armor stop projectiles in diverse ways. For example, ceramic strike face body armor works by breaking the projectile down as it passes through the ceramic which absorbs a great deal of the kinetic energy by breaking apart with the remainder being captured by the backer. This has long been successful but has limitations with multiple hits. Ballistic plastic, UHMWPE, works by slowing bullets as they travel into the plate. Energy from the projectile is transferred through millions of individual high tensile, high modulus fibers that have been compressed into a solid plate. These lightweight plates, like our are amazingly effective at stopping lead core ammunition but fall short when facing hardened tip or core projectiles. The price can make it unattainable for most departments and security firms while leaving users vulnerable to threats like M855, green tip, a common AR15 round. Last year we launched our level 3 Maritime, it is a neutrally buoyant armor plate that passes all RF1 threats. Our Maritime UHMWPE plate is a fantastic option if you want protection with a reduction in weight. The limitations are price and that the plate does not pass the RF2 M855 at 3,115 fps test.

Why did we choose steel alloy for our AV2 body armor plate? 

High hardness steel has been used in body armor since the 14th century. It protects our military in barricade and armored vehicle applications as well as being a successful stand-alone body armor plate option. Used with an advanced anti-spall and fragmentation coating our AR550 steel plate has long been the material that hits the sweet spot for stopping high velocity rounds while having pressing capabilities. This military grade, high hardness abrasive resistant (AR) steel has been our highest selling product. Its limitations have been one threat on the draft NIJ 0101.07 threat testing.

We knew we still wanted to use steel alloy. Contrary to what is all over the internet about steel being an inferior option for body armor vs ceramic armor, we see calls for this thin, strong, ergonomic body armor plate consistently raising over our ceramic and UHMWPE options. For example the Federal Bureau of Investigation just secured $7,000,000 of body armor that specified that they wanted a STEEL Plate with Spall Protection.

NIJ RF1 and RF2 Specs

The speed of the 5.56mm M193 BT in the proposed RF1 is giving the steel body armor industry some headaches. Most steel options have no problems with the higher level RF2 spec of M855 BT at 3115 ft/s. Frankly, we have not been able to make that round move fast enough to defeat our AR550 steel. The new RF1 spec is that a plate must stop the M193 BT at 3250 ft/s. This is the military spec for muzzle velocity when fired from a 20-inch standard issue barrel. This is an extremely fast speed for this projectile and most commonly available ammo will not even achieve this speed.

Research Three Years in the Making

We have tried several different thicknesses, varied materials, and heat-treating processes to evaluate if we can make an alloy product that can achieve this speed so that we can certify to the new spec. After three years of testing, we have found our solution, Caliber Armor AV2. Our objectives were to exceed the ballistic requirements of the draft RF1 and RF2 and to reduce weight. We have pushed the speed on all the requirements. We have also tested other special threats like the M855 A1, and 7.62x54mmR. We shaved off a pound from our AR550 and kept the thinness that creates an extremely ergonomic option for our customers.

American Made Quality

The Caliber Armor AV2 ballistic body armor plate is changing the way we think of steel armor. American made in Louisville Kentucky, Caliber Armor is the trusted name in quality, affordability, and reliable customer service. Let us help you find the best armor system for your application. We are here to help, before, during and after your purchase.

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Best Steel for Body Armor

All Steel is Not Created Equally

Steel Armor is typically hot rolled into sheets from a steel billet. The rolling allows for a homogenizing and aligning of the crystalline structure of the steel. The plates are heated and rapidly cooled by oil or water quenching. This process is called Austenitizing and results in a through hardened product. The armor is then tempered to decrease brittleness and increase the steel’s ability to be formed, or ductility.

Not all high hardness steel should be armor. You can often find high hardness steel at your local metal supply outlet, AR450 or AR500, but this is not the same as the armor steel that is used for our body armor. The AR stands for abrasion resistant, and the numerical portion of the name indicates how hard the steel is on the Brinell hardness scale. 500 Brinell equals 51-52 on the Rockwell C hardness scale. We use AR550 steel that is 10% harder and is produced at very tight tolerances. Our AR550 steel is used in several U.S. military projects and requires guaranteed physical properties.  While the steel sold at your local supplier may have some of the hardness of our steel armor, it will not have the same characteristics necessary to be good armor and hardness only paints part of the picture. The cheaper steel while being relatively hard does not have the same ability to be formed or the toughness required to consistently stop higher velocity threats. That steel is designed for service use on heavy equipment, such as loaders or mining equipment and is not manufactured with the tolerances and characteristics required to make high performance armor. 

The AR550 steel that we use for our body armor is the best steel that we can currently find. It forms well without cracking and retains required hardness without being brittle. We have tested samples of armor steel from all the major domestic and European manufacturers and have found that we are currently using the best steel available. Our AR550 steel at Oregon Ballistics, an independent NIJ certified lab, tested better than all other AR550 armor steel we tested and even outperformed an AR600 armor offered by another steel supplier. In fact, our AR550 had 5% better ballistic capability on hard to stop projectiles like the M193 than the supposedly better AR600.

There are many options for body armor out there, but you can rest assured that when you purchase steel armor from Caliber Armor you are receiving the best steel that we can possibly use. It may cost us more, but our customers lives are worth it. 

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The Best Steel Armor for your Bulletproof Vest

The Best Steel Armor for your Bulletproof Vest

If you have been looking for the best option for a bulletproof vest, you probably have come across the affordable option of AR500 or AR550 Steel Core Armor plates.  

Some of the nice things about steel core body armor is that it can withstand multiple hits in the same area of the plate. It is not as bulky being anywhere from .25” to .5” as traditional ceramic body armor, which typically is 1” thick. It also is in a price point that enables the modern prepared citizen, security firm or police department to outfit themselves or their employees at a fraction of the cost of other armor options.

Types of Steel Armor Plates
If you are new to the game, let’s decode some of the types of steel armor. The AR stands for Abrasion Resistant and the 500 or 550 refers to Brinell hardness of the steel. These steel products are through hardened, meaning that this plate is as hard in the center as it is on the surface. This is important as a surface hardened product would not provide the needed ballistic protection. 

AR500 steel core armor plates are readily available from many manufacturers and they provide Level III protection. We have chosen not to carry this option because for just a very small increase in price AR550 Steel Armor provides you with Level III+ protection and will protect the user from numerous .556 projectiles that the AR500 fails to stop. There are AR600 and AR650 steel options, but the additional hardness makes it prone to cracking due to the inherent stress levels found in these steels after forming. The AR550 is at the perfect hardness level to provide exceptional ballistic coverage while allowing us to apply an ergonomic single press multi curve bend to the steel.

What are the differences between the levels of protection?  

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) classifies body armor into 5 different threat levels: Level IIA, Level II, Level IIIA, Level III and Level IV based on their ability to stop specified rounds at specified velocities. The NIJ’s current standard is 0101.06 with a pending update to 0101.07 slated to be finalized in 2020. 

Caliber Armor Offers Level IIIA Armor Protection & Above  

NIJ Level IIIA is designed to stop .357 Sig FMG FN bullets traveling at a velocity of ~1470 ft/s and .44 Magnum SJHP rounds at a velocity of ~1430 ft/s. The updates for 0101.07 HG2 include testing requirements for 9mm FMJ with a velocity of ~1470 ft/s and changed the .44 MAG test to a JHP (jacketed hollow point) with the same velocity requirements. Our CaliberX Soft Armor panels have been tested to meet both the .06 IIIA and .07 HG2 requirements. 

NIJ Level III rifle plates are designed to stop six spaced hits of 7.62x51mm NATO FMJ M80 at a velocity of ~2780 ft/s. Level III+ is a designation that the industry has adopted to show the capabilities of armor beyond the NIJ Level III testing. This indicates that the plate can withstand higher velocity rounds plus additional threats such as M855 and M193. The NIJ intends to address this in establishing the RF2 category of the 0101.07 standard.  

NIJ Level IV are the highest rated armor plates under the NIJ standards. They are designed to take one hit from an Armor Piercing 30.06 traveling at a velocity of 2880 ft/s. This test will remain the same for the 01010.07 standard.  

Backface Deformation of Steel Body Armor 

Steel body armor provides almost no backface deformation. Backface deformation is the protuberance on the backside of the armor plate that happens from a bullet striking the armor. Even if the bullet does not penetrate the plate it still causes some protrusion, and this is what is measured and is important to pay attention to. The NIJ allows a maximum of 44 mm to pass the Level III hard armor testing requirements. The most that happens with the steel armor is half of that amount. Still, it is always recommended to pair your AR550 steel core body armor with either a soft body armor backer or a trauma pad. This allows you to also be protected from any kinetic energy that is transferred to the plate/vest and then into the user’s body.  

How Much Does Steel Armor Weigh? 

You may be thinking that the AR550 steel armor plates are heavier than some other level III+ armor that is available, but it weighs only slightly more than the cheapest, but more expensive composite counterparts. It’s surprising to most that the thinness of this plate gives the wearer more freedom to move during high stress situations. These plates can easily be kept in the trunk of a car, without fear of temperature related ballistic degradation, for a quick response to an active shooter, or high-risk calls. Unlike ceramic/composite plates, AR550 steel cannot be damaged as easily. They have a much longer shelf life. 

The Best Steel Armor with Spall Fragmentation Coating 

Now onto another very important factor when thinking about purchasing steel body armor. Our AR550 steel armor is strong and when the bullet does not penetrate the armor the projectile fragments generated can ricochet off the face of the armor at a zero to 20-degree angle. You will want to make sure that the armor plates have a spall/fragmentation solution to protect you against this possibility.  

 What is spall? It is the fragmentation that occurs from a bullet on impact. It can cause life-threating injuries to your body. Not all steel plates are created equally. Caliber Armor offers an Anti-Spall coating for steel body armor that encapsulates the fragments. They become trapped between the steel plate and the coating. You can purchase the plates with a standard coating that will keep the plate from rust and corrosion, but it is HIGHLY recommended that you upgrade to a coating that mitigates fragmentation and spall. This is an important feature when choosing steel body armor from us or from any other armor manufacturer.  

Lastly, no body armor plate is bulletproof, only bullet resistant. It’s important to narrow your search and think about what threats you are likely to encounter. You do not want to under prepare and not have the set up that fits your situation.