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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.