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No one wants to need body armor: Ideally, you avoid dangerous situations, or at the very least, you don’t get shot. But when the time comes where you’ll want body armor, whether it’s a home invasion or warding off a “mostly peaceful protest,” you’ll want the best armor on the market.

Over the years, different armor materials have shown themselves to be particularly powerful for certain uses. For instance: steel armor is amazing at stopping multiple bullets — better than any other material. Polyethylene armor is very light — lighter than any other material capable of addressing rifle threats.

Earlier this year, the head of Research and Development at Armored Republic noted this and thought, What if we combined the two, using steel as a strike face and polyethylene as a backer? Thus the A3 concept was born.

The journey to getting the A3 ready for testing was long. Many iterations led to more opportunities being discovered and implemented. Now the A3 plate is one of the most impressive feats of bullet-stopping technology on the market. Its incredibly low weight even made some people wonder: Does this new armor really achieve all the capabilities listed?

The answer is yes: Across the board, the A3 achieves big.

Impressive Stopping Power

The A3 plate is classified as a level III+ plate and is part of our Alloy series in our Armored Republic Body Armor Matrix. This means it is capable of stopping many types of high-power rifle-rated rounds. It is in the lengthy process of NIJ certification and has passed all NIJ tests for 0101.06 level III certification. Since the NIJ does NOT have a threat level III+ certification at this time, the III+ standings of the plate are independently and in-house tested.

For clarity: Level III encompasses the ability to stop six rounds of 7.62x51mm M80 Ball and all lesser threats (including 7.62x39mm mild steel core), while threat level III+ is capable of addressing both M193 Ball, and M855 Penetrator 5.56x45mm high-velocity threats.

The A3 has all these abilities.

The A3 has stopping power far beyond a polyethylene plate. But here are more reasons to be excited about its capabilities.

Enhanced Durability

The A3’s closest competitor — a ceramic plate — can certainly be a good option for stopping powerful rounds. But one of its drawbacks is the need to handle the plate carefully, lest by being dropped or bumped around it could become unreliable in a gunfight.

The NIJ Drop Test is a way of quantifying the abilities of armor after being mishandled. The test requires the armor to be dropped at a free fall from 48 inches onto its strike face, with 10 pounds of weighted material strapped to the back for extra pressure. Many ceramic models struggle under the drop test. The A3 passes with ease.

Unmatched Low Weight: 4.6 Pounds

A few boxes of ammo, a slab of bacon, your daily accessories…all these things weigh around five pounds, and we carry them with ease. The A3 is no different.

At 4.6 pounds, this armor is surprisingly light. A few hours carrying it will leave you much better off than most other plates, as the A3 is significantly lighter than any other plate rated to stop M855 Penetrator threats (perhaps the closest competitor is the A2 steel plate).

Fragmentation is often the focal point of armor material analysis. But armor technology has solved the frag problem (read more below). The true focal point is weight, since your setup’s mass will influence every movement in a combat situation.

The A3’s uniquely low weight for its stopping power can save you as much as 10 pounds in comparison to other steel or ceramic setups. That’s a world of difference for your mobility and endurance.

Fragmentation Resistance

Many people are concerned about the after-effects of steel stopping a bullet, namely the fragments of the bullet flying toward the wearer after impact. But Armored Republic’s proprietary FragLock™ armor coating makes this a non-issue. The bold black coating around the alloy-polyethylene plate captures fragmentation so that steel’s multi-hit stopping power remains a feature, not a bug.

But the A3 has another way of eliminating fragmentation. Unlike other alloy plates, the steel in this plate acts merely as a strike face, slowing the bullet for the polyethylene to stop instead of shattering it.

Layers of aramid over the steel strike face also mitigate fragmentation even further, making the after-effects of a bullet’s impact nothing to worry about.

Incredibly Thin: 0.7 Inches

When shooting from a prone position, or even just maneuvering terrain, having a thinner armor setup makes for more effective tactical maneuvers. It’s easier to move with mass collected closer to your body, and easier to lay low.

Polyethylene armor is normally quite thick. That’s usually the only way to make sure it has the necessary stopping power. But the A3 uses steel’s stopping power instead, making this one of the thinnest plates in the industry.

Available Today

The time to act is now. The A3 is waiting for you with the best innovation the industry can offer behind it. View our A3 body armor and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on all things Armored Republic.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Neat idea and only one real complaint. There should be a uhmwpe strike face or something more durable for the frag/spall shield. They have claimed no issues for years and always becomes one around shot 4 or 5 but realistically it should be fine. More importantly there is a uhmwpe layer to catch the M193 that tends to go through the steel. The steel should blunt the and compress the 855 tip enough that it will not make it through the steel or at worst can be caught in the backing. 855a1……. well I would bet would probably go through. With that said a kevlar sleeve would make this a viable RF 2, VPAM 7, level 3+ or whatever covers green tip for anyone expecting mag dumps to the chest. Would prefer to see actual armor rated steel but this would be one of the first steel based plates outside of highcom that might be functional. Would still advise LTC 19513 for the same money and improved threat profile (855a1) at a bit thicker and heavier but this is not an immediate no like most steel plates…….damn I am a nerd.

      • I hear ya! I have been working out & lost weight but if I get shot at I’d prefer to shoot back🙄🙄

        • Right now sucks for entry level plates with panic buying and pending NIJ updates (some companies paused production to wait and see if it goes through) but there are some options if the budget fits.

      • Honestly the level 3 poly only 2.5-3 pound plates with a minimalist plate carrier would probably be fine for most they are just expensive and don’t stop steel tip/core intermediate rounds reliably. Knees being rice crispies doesn’t play nice with heavy equipment.

        • What about non armor steel plates (ar 500) that stops m855 easily but m193 can perforate from 16+inch barrels? Generally would recommend stuff that falls under RF2 (m855 and 7.62×39 steel core) but ultralights have their place at half the weight of m855 rated ones

    • “Neat idea and only one real complaint.”

      Oh, there’s another, and it’s a biggie :

      From the link :

      “Short Shelf-Life and More Expensive: The polyethylene armor shelf life is 5 years, standard for most armor.”

      • Standard for how long it’s guaranteed but realistically unless you are extremely rough with it or leave it in a hot car to bake it should be fine for decades much like kevlar. Now if you see zylon for materials used yeah may not make the 5 years but that stuff was discontinued a while ago.

    • Always a fun watch but note that M193 was not tested, they have gotten better over the years but non armor steel tends to have failures at the speeds that rifle length lead core 5.56 can manage. The chans/similar boards can fill in with exhaustive detail all the other issues with the company and it’s products over the years but will look forward to a plate teardown of the new one as it looks like it may have a better strike face than I first thought. Might have issues with all 6 shots for the NIJ cert but we will see how that goes.

  2. IT won’t save that Pumpkin on your shoulders… or that pelvic area…..WHICH IS WHERE MOST PEOPLE ARE TRAINING FOR THESE DAYS…and what they dont tell you is if you are hit by a high powered rifle its gonna feel like a sledge hammer hit you….then the follow up shots (with better aim) shall follow…YOU CAN STILL GET GOT…Its just peace of mind…

    • Still makes one use a smaller target and marginal shooters have trouble when their center of mass drills don’t work. So bit of peace of mind and a bit of actual protection. Also while expensive and not as readily available thigh, stomach, hip, groin, and helmet rifle rated armor exists in varying levels it’s just when diminishing returns kick in for the user.

    • Yes and no. There is no guaranteed safety. A conceal pistol doesn’t guarantee success, it gives you a chance to fight back. Body armor doesn’t protect everything, it covers some of your most bleedy spots giving you a chance of surviving being shot.

      Personally, I went with the Fab Defense backpack. Comfortable to wear, looks nothing like body armor, useful for carrying stuff, converts in one second, and you can upgrade the plates or attach a pistol to the molle without ruining the other benefits. Best of all, it’s always within arm’s reach

      • Neat, I saw this concept a while ago but never really looked into it. Does the weight distribute well when it is not deployed and how likely are you to bash your face with a plate when you pull it over?

    • That is getting to be typical lately. Apex armor solutions and Hoplite have the better lead times I have seen lately but for NY pretty much too late for ordering so wait on court or go out of state up here .

  3. AR-500 is an unethical body armor company. To prove a point, I ask TTAG this question: can you post the testing results PDF from when the NIJ certified this product?

    I bet you can’t, because I bet it never happened. This is very common for shady armor dealers to claim NIJ level performance without going through the standard tests to actually accomplish it.

    Don’t take their money TTAG, you’re better than that

    • They had 2 nij products for a while, one was 3a pistol armor the other was rebranded hesco’s or something similar. We will see if they go through with NIJ certs for this one but of anything they have ever made this is the first one that might be marginally acceptable. With that said I personally wouldn’t buy from them until it is thoroughly tested with full speed 5.56.

      • I’ll retract my statement if they post the certification paperwork.

        I just don’t think that’ll ever happen.

        • Fair enough it was pulling teeth to get them to post velocity ratings for their earlier products and it usually was 2800-3000 max for 5.56.

  4. SO when you home is invaded you’re gonna have time to get that gear on find your gun and mow down the bad guys or gals are you? Pure fantansy. The only alternative is to wear the stuff 24/7. and use match sticks to keep the peepers open. Talk about ‘Rough Sex’. Though the .Sweaty Sex/ Might be a bit of alright. What about marketing a cast iron, Kevlar ‘PENILE PROTECTOR’ whilst we’re at it.?

    Look at me mum? Here I am down are WALMART wiv me gear on and wiv me gun in me hand just waiting to slot a Lefty, Liberal, Commie, Demonratkic, But wait the buggers go armour on! That makes sense.

    • Best you got? Honestly nothing else was coming to mind? Ok go back to waiting on hot pockets at your parents basement out in Canton there bud. Oh and bullet proof tee shirts are a thing. Little higher on the bfd than I like but easy protection without your histrionic drama mongering.

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