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.
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.
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.
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.