What to keep in mind before buying level 4 plates

According to the NIJ ratings, level 4 plates only need to be able to stop one round.30-06 Black Tip ammunition that can break through armour. During the NIJ.06 Certification testing, however, a lot of level 4 armour must also be dropped, submerged in water, put through a temperature cycle chamber, and go through other essential tests to see how well the ballistic materials hold up. Before the ballistic test is done, all of these tests are done.

If you’re considering buying level 4 body armour, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about one of the most popular levels of body armour. First, though, let’s talk about what level IV armour is.

What does body armour level 4 mean?

Even though many other types of level 4 plates body armour have been tried, the hard plate is the only one proven to work. This is because the 10 x 12 hard plate is the most common size of level 4 body armour. Most adults can wear a 10 x 12 plate that covers their torso and back, but there are other formats like SAPI/ESAPI, shapes like shooters or swimmer’s cut, and larger and smaller sizes.

Types of Steel armour plates:

Steel Body armour:

Steel Body armour is the most common type of body armour and also the cheapest. The “Mil-Spec A46100” is one of the best.

Steel is graded between 100 and 900 on the commercial market, but Mil-Spec steel is checked against ballistic dangers. 

MIL-DTL-46100E says that A46100 steel has been tested and found to stop all small arms and explosion shrapnel.

The U.S. military makes armour plating for vehicles and body armour out of A46100 steel.

The only steel that can stop a bullet from moving faster than 3,200 feet per second is A46100 steel (fps). So if a bullet moves faster than 3,200 fps, it will go through your steel armour and hit you in the chest.

Ceramic armour plates:

Ceramics is a material that is inorganic and not made of metal. It is usually made from carbide or nitride. 

Since the Vietnam War, it has been used in body armour because of its light.

Because technology is constantly changing, many soldiers have worn body armour plates made of steel and ceramic.

Ceramics is better than steel at taking in and spreading out energy. This will make it less likely that someone will break their ribs, sternum, or lungs. Also, it is better than steel armour at stopping supersonic and armour-piercing bullets.

But ceramic armour plates are usually thicker than steel, can’t take more than one hit in the same spot, cost a lot more, and only last about 5 to 7 years. Also, ceramic plates must often be checked for cracks with x-rays because drops and other impacts can break them. These cracks can make the armour plate useless, which makes the person wearing it vulnerable.

Polyethylene Body Armour:

The most common kind of plastic used today is polyethylene.

Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is a type of polyethylene that is often used to make body armour.

The UHMWPE is thought to be the thermoplastic that lasts the longest. In addition, it is known to be chemically stable, self-lubricating, and strong against impacts.

Body armour made of polyethylene is lighter than steel and ceramic plates and can take more than one hit in the same spot.

The price is a bad thing. Steel and ceramic plates cost less than polyethylene ones.

Duritium Plates of Armor:

Duritium is a patented technology for making the lightest, thinnest, and most durable body armour. It combines UHMWPE with composite materials.

Duritium plates are made with sheets of polymer cut with a 3-axis CNC machine. After the plate has been hardened and strengthened with polymer, it is finished with vulcanization to make a perfectly shaped armoured plate.

This step ensures that all Duritium plates can take multiple hits in the same spot without breaking.

How heavy are tier-four plates?

Depending on the plate manufacturer’s design and size, Level 4 plates can range in weight from a few pounds to 9 pounds. However, due to the high cost of production, lighter ballistic materials result in a higher price tag.

Does the law prohibit level 4 armour?

No. If you’re a United States citizen and don’t have any criminal records, you can legally own a set of Level 4 armour in any of the 50 states.

When it comes to hits, how many can a ceramic plate take?

Although NIJ testing shows that any level 4 certified plate will deflect a single M2AP 30-06 cartridge, some plates are capable of deflecting multiple rounds. The vast majority of 9mm, 5.56mm, and other rounds with significantly less impact force than M2AP can be stopped by a level 4 ceramic plate, which is already quite resilient. In addition, multiple hits can be scored on each of RMA’s ceramic discs.

Can a level 4 body armour plate block edge hits?

The edges of the plates used in RMA armament are also meant to deflect bullets. However, not all manufacturers create level 4 body armour plates in this fashion. Check out this demonstration of the effectiveness of RMA’s plates in preventing edge strikes.


Level 4 armour protection under NIJ certification is a decent place to start. Still, you should also consider the plate’s weight, price, and the overall number of bullet impacts it can withstand before making a purchase. If you buy armour, do it from a reliable vendor for making sturdy gear. Don’t risk your life on a shoddy alternative.