In 10 Things to do Until the Revolution, I encouraged you to check out the new AR500 body armor and even consider adding it to your preparedness arsenal. Having never seen the armor up close and personal, Sir Knight and I were relying on the reviews we had read and videos we had seen, to determine whether the AR500 body armor was all that it was cracked up to be. Well, recently, Infidel Body Armor sent us a plate to test for ourselves. Wow! You can only imagine how much fun we had sending hundreds of rounds down-range, putting Infidel Body Armor through its paces!
This is the first in a number of articles we will post about our AR500 body armor experiments. We thought we would start with the smaller calibers - the ammunition we would be most likely to encounter, and work our way up to the big boys - .308 AP, 30-06 AP and even ..... something bigger!
Wanting to get a really accurate idea of how Infidel Body Armor would perform in the field, Sir Knight framed it in 2x4's and stapled cardboard around the 2x4's. The idea was to be able to shoot the armor center-of-mass and have the cardboard absorb any potential "spall" (spall is essentially ricochet - the bullets coming apart and the fragments exploding).
|Framing the plate|
|Adding cardboard to recover evidence of spalling|
We originally learned of the existence of Infidel Body Armor from SurvivalBlogs product reviewer Pat Cascio. He had a great, comprehensive review, which you can read in entirety here. After reading his review, we determined that the AR500 body armor had numerous advantages for the prepper, specifically, that it was capable of taking literally hundreds of hits without failing. In a TEOTWAWKI scenario or even a short period of civil unrest, that fact alone puts the AR500 body armor heads above the standard military issue ceramic plates (which are rated to take 3 hits only and must be replaced if dropped).
So, back to the fun part - field testing! Sir Knight and Master Hand Grenade got the shooting range ready. We set the shooting bench up at 50 yards, hauled out an AR-15 (5.56/.223 AP), a 12 gauge shotgun (with 1oz. slugs), an AR-10 (7.62x51/.308 win) and a 1911 (.45 acp).
|AR-15, 12 gauge shotgun, AR-10, 1911|
|M855 .62 gr. ammunition|
|Sir Knight with the armor in his sights|
|Splits in the coating after being hit with steel penetrator|
|Tiny bits of the coating from the plate|
|A better look at the damage|
Next up was the battle rifle - the AR-10, chambered in 7.62x51 (we were shooting standard military hardball - 147 gr. FMJ). With Miss Serenity behind the scope, 5 rounds found their way downrange. They hit center-of-mass. Interestingly, the damage to the outer coating, with the larger and heavier .308, was extraordinarily minimal. The dimples no larger than a pencil point, however, the spall did cause the coating to separate from the plate, and on careful inspection, we could feel small indents in the steel plate itself. When turning the plate over for further inspection, it still showed no sign of impact whatsoever. And still, our cardboard (what was left of it) showed no sign of spall. The impact of the .308 (after 10 rounds) did break the 2x4's and send the plate flying to the ground. The plate survived the engagement.
|7.62x51 (or .308)|
|The plate is on the ground, but undamaged|
|The coating split|
|Tiny dimple where the projectile made impact|
|12 gauge shotgun|
|1 oz. slug|
|From about 20 feet|
|The slug holes are obvious but only penetrate the coating, not the plate itself|
|And the back of the plate (this would be next to you)|
An interesting note on spall. We made no attempt to repair the coating before shooting the plate with the .12 gauge slugs. We found some spall on the cardboard, right at the bottom of the plate where the coating had split, but even at that, it did not penetrate the cardboard, but left small impressions in the top layer. If we had repaired the coating with duct tape, I believe that this would not have happened at all and the coating would have continued absorbing the spall.
|This is spall that came out of the bottom of the plate, between the steel and the cover.|
It did not penetrate the full thickness of the cardboard - just some little
particles on the surface
|1911, .45 acp|
|Ready, Aim, Fire|
|Can you see the small indentation in the upper|
right hand corner?
|Fragments from 230 gr. hollow point ammunition recovered from between|
the coating and the steel plate
|Infidel Body Armor plate - still standing|
The Bad: This body armor is heavy. There is just no way to get around it. Each plate weighs 8 lbs., and typically, you would carry two plates (front and rear). Although in real life they are the same, or only slightly heavier than Threat IV rifle plates, Threat IV is considered multi-hit 30-06 AP. We will be putting these plates through that test in another post - however, these plates are only rated for Threat III.
The Ugly: Just because you are wearing body armor doesn't mean you can't get killed. We had one round of .308 that just clipped the edge of the plate and would have been a fatal shot. There is no "silver bullet" when people are shooting at you. Infidel Body Armor is awesome - but, you can still be killed. You are not bullet proof - you can still be shot were the armor is not protecting you and you can die. You are wearing body armor for real - you are not in a video game - you will not "respawn".
In our humble opinion, if you are wearing AR500 body armor, you will survive the engagement. I pray you never have to.