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King of Armor King of Armor

Female Armor

We’re proud to be at the forefront of developing and deploying female armor. We have women’s Level 4 plates already. We have the Queen Plate Carrier already. Today, we’re growing the FSAPI lineup.

Today, we’re excited to finally announce the availability of both women’s SRT and Level III female armor plates in addition to our Level IV women’s plates. The truth is that today’s armor wasn’t made for women. Manufacturers build armor for men. So it’s not surprising that women everywhere hate wearing it.

A Woman wears RMA 1118 Level IV plates in a QPC plate carrier.

What Makes Female Armor Different?

First, we needed to identify the existing issues with women in military and law enforcement that are using products made for men. We picked up a few key problems:

  1. Men’s armor plates are too long.
  2. Men’s armor plates are too wide.
  3. Men’s armor plates are too heavy.
  4. Men’s armor plates offer only minimal curvature.

Beyond being just uncomfortable and clunky, these issues presented real safety problems. Plates that are too long can pose a serious risk to the throat in a vehicle collision. On average, people lose about 1.5 inches in torso length when they sit down. When your armor is already too long for a woman’s shorter torso and you subtract another 1.5 inches, it becomes extremely problematic. Female armor must be shorter.

Armor plates also cannot be too wide. Hard armor plates that are too wide create a bicep barrier. That is, it’s difficult to outstretch your arms while your armor fights against you. Think about holding a steering wheel or gripping a pistol. That barrier–even if you overcome it–creates serious muscle fatigue. When you’re too tired to hold a weapon, you’re in danger.

Plates that are too heavy pose the inherent risk of fatiguing the wearer more rapidly than otherwise. When we think about something like running, we’re setting a much lower ceiling at all fitness levels than would be otherwise achievable with lighter gear.


RMA Body Armor Curve Comparison Chart

Female Armor Curvature

Men’s plates do have curvature. We make multicurve plates designed to fit the curvature of a man’s chest. But it isn’t enough for women. Crushing your chest restricts breathing and causes extreme discomfort. That discomfort leads to long-term wear issues. That leads to small problems that have cost law enforcement officers their lives. When armor is uncomfortable, people take it off. When they take it off, it can’t protect them. We need female armor to be radically different.

The most significant difference with our women’s lineup is the curvature. RMA doesn’t just randomly stab in the dark trying to figure things out. We worked closely with PEO soldier to create the world’s first women’s Level 4 plate. After conducting extensive research, an 80% solution was derived for sizing and curvature. Today, we call it FSAPI. Our Female Small Arms Protective Insert began with Level 4. But Level 4 is often a lot more protection than many people practically need. After all, M2AP is fairly rare to encounter even at a gun show.

Our original SRT plate was a look at what exactly it takes to be a rifle-rated plate in the real world. We’re talking practical threats, not theoretical lab surrogates. We build Level III plates to defeat 6 impacts of M80 Steel. That’s pretty substantial. Far less material is required to best common rounds like .223, 7.62X39, and a single impact from M80 steel. We created the SRT plate to be the lightest possible solution for rifle-rated protection at an affordable price. Law enforcement officers everywhere now have protection against the most common rifle rounds in America. But, they’re not compromising their athletic abilities to do so.

It’s been a huge success. So today, we’re bringing it to our FSAPI lineup.

Engineering Challenges

Problems inherent with ballistic helmets also present themselves in female armor. An identically-built ballistic garment generally has a tougher time defeating rounds on a curved plane rather than a flat plane. That means you’re already behind the curve, so to speak, when you’re looking at making armor curvature even more dramatic.

Plus, we needed to design all-new tooling between hydraulic presses, ceramic foundries, and more. The reason you don’t see more women’s hard armor is because it’s extremely difficult to engineer and manufacture. It isn’t just the materials themselves, but also the machinery itself that needs modification to create them.

After years of R&D, we were finally able to launch our FSAPI Women’s Level 4 plate. Our extensive experience in Level 4 plates helped us rapidly build these plates and make them available for women everywhere. Sending them to Buffman meant subjecting our new FSAPI plates to the ultimate torture test.

But while men are free to use single or multicurve plates on the front or back, women require two different plates to get the correct fit. Thus, we build an ultra curve front plate, and a single curve back plate for women’s armor.

Queen Plate Carrier

But we couldn’t stop there. An all-new plate design doesn’t do you much good without the ability to wear the thing. Since our female armor plates have unique dimensions and curvature, we needed to create a new plate carrier designed specifically for them. The biggest difference between FSAPIs and traditional men’s plates is the distinct fit. Every other plate carrier on the market is designed for men’s plates. We needed one designed for women.

Queen Plate Carrier Shoulder Strap Close Up Multicam

Our Queen Plate Carrier (QPC) is made specifically for our FSAPI plates. We built it to eliminate potential hotspots from curvature, and minimized weight and bulk. That makes it the perfect solution for staying fast. No matter which FSAPI plate you pick, each of them will work perfectly with the QPC.

What’s New In Female Armor?

Today, we launched our new SRT and Level III plates. They provide the same protection as men’s SRT and Level III plates. But there’s one huge difference beyond the FSAPI curvature and sizing: they’re unbelievably lightweight.

Our new FSAPI SRT plate is only 1.9 lbs. You read that right. Only 1.9 lbs, and it defeats many common FMJ rifle threats including 5.56 and 7.62X39. Our FSAPI Level III plate weighs only 2.4 lbs and is multi-hit rated against M80 Steel, 5.56, and 7.62X39 FMJ rounds. SRT and Level III plates are both made of 100% Dyneema® UHMWPE, so they even float in water.

A Woman wears RMA 1118 Level IV plates in a QPC plate carrier.



For women in military and law enforcement, it’s an absolute game-changer.  There’s no need to go unprotected or to subject yourself to heavy, uncomfortable men’s plates. For home defense and tactical training, civilian women now have the best options in the world made just for them. RMA’s FSAPI lineup now includes SRT, Level III, and Level IV options. Whether you’re protecting your country, your community, or your family, RMA builds the armor you need.

We build them all at the RMA factory in Centerville, Iowa. Never settle for less than American-made quality. Heck, you can’t even get these counterfeited by Chinese companies yet even if you wanted to.

Not convinced?

Alex Zedra recently put them to the test.


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