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King of Armor King of Armor

Lightweight Body Armor Plates

Body armor plates aren’t all lightweight. But if you’re willing to pay for more advanced materials, you can get a lot of protection for not a lot of weight.

RMA’s heaviest product is our 1155 Level IV plate. Simply put, it’s the greatest combination of price and protection you can get. The 1155 provides reliable Level IV/RF3 multi-hit armor-piercing protection at an incredibly low price point. But since everything in armor is a series of tradeoffs, it’s worth pointing out that you can get Level IV protection at a lower weight.

In a very real sense, ounces are pounds and pounds are pain. Outside the home or an otherwise confined area, the weight of your tactical gear can play a pivotal role in mission success. I often say that the value of III+ plates are found halfway up the mountain. Not all plates are made to Level 4 because in most circumstances, Level IV requires more weight and protection than you need. If you need lightweight Level 4 plates–don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there too.

Lightweight Body Armor Plates
RMA 0226 Lightweight Body Armor Plates

RMA 0226 Handgun-Rated Plates

Pictured above, the RMA 0226 Plate doesn’t offer rifle-rated protection. But because 80% of firearm homicides are committed with handguns, it makes a lot of sense to have some protection against them. The 0226 is a 100% Dyneema® Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Level IIIA solution for defeating common handgun rounds like 9mm through 44 Magnum. Now available in multicurve, our most concealable plate is only 0.25″ thin and weighs less than a pound. For ultra low-visibility protection or use in a variety of off-body options like backpacks, it’s tough to beat the RMA 0226.

RMA SRT Lightweight Body Armor Plates

Our SRT plates redefined what ‘lightweight’ meant in relation to rifle-rated armor. Sure, there’s lightweight soft armor out there. But the rifle-rated category changed when we figured out how to truly balance minimal weight against real-world performance. At only 2.53 lbs, RMA’s SRT plate is the foundation of what lightweight armor can be. Defeating rounds like 5.56 M193, 7.62X39 MSC, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 308 Winchester in such a lightweight package allows everyday use of body armor. While there are real threats to consider outside of this FMJ envelope, it is exceedingly rare that they are used in crime.

With that in mind, civilians and patrol law enforcement alike can find real utility in upgrading common Level IIIA handgun-rated vests and panels to a rifle-rated option at such a small difference in weight. In many cases, it’s an equal weight trade. Since it’s now available in a multicurve design, you’re not giving up any comfort, either. Like the 0226, the SRT is also 100% Dyneema® UHMWPE.

 

RMA Enhanced Special Rifle Threat Plates

What’s the deal with the Enhanced Special Rifle Threat Plate? Simply put, it’s the thinnest plate with this level of protection available today. Additionally, it functions as an RF2+ plate in conjunction with our 0214 soft armor panels. But depending on your mission set, you may find the ESRT to be the best match over everything else. At only 0.50″ thin, operators have concealable multi-hit protection from hard-hitting rounds like 7.62X39 Armor Piercing Incendiary and M855A1. That makes the ESRT the single best protection option for missions that require low-visibility in non-permissive or hostile environments. Easily hidden underneath plainclothes, the ESRT finally elevates truly concealable body armor to a new level: armor-piercing and penetrator rifle rounds.

Additionally, the ESRT also allows law enforcement and security personnel that are already wearing a Level IIIA soft armor vest to instantly add an extremely high level of rifle-rated protection. Simply insert the ESRT into your outer carrier to elevate your protection against both common and uncommon rifle threats.

Learn more about the ESRT here. Buy yours now by clicking here.

RMA ESRT Concealable Rifle Plate
A man wears a pair of RMA ESRT plates underneath plain clothes.

RMA 1165 Lightweight Body Armor Plates

 

Our new RMA 1165 Lightweight Level 4 Plate is the best of all worlds: Level 4 multi-hit armor piercing protection combined with lightweight Dyneema® UHMWPE. And, it’s on sale for only $249.99. There’s nothing else like it at this price. And at only 0.8″ thin, you’ll be amazed that you’re not sacrificing coverage like many popular “shooter’s cut” plates. We use our true 10X12 Alumina strike face from our 1155. We laminate the strike face to limit crack mitigation to extend its multi-hit performance and protect it from drops. Then, we combine it with a 100% Dyneema UHMWPE backer.

The 1165 is the only American-made Level 4 plate under 7 lbs and $300 per plate with true 10X12 coverage. Its closest competitors force you to sacrifice coverage or price in order to get anywhere close to its weight. Simply put, it’s the best deal in armor.

RMA 1165 Lightweight Level 4 10X12 Body Armor Plate
RMA 1165 Lightweight Level 4 10X12 Body Armor Plate

 

RMA 1192 Lightweight Body Armor Plates

Our lightest Level IV plate is the 1192. Made of a special Boron/Silicon hybrid ceramic with an UHMWPE backer, the 1192 comes in under 6 lbs. Typically with boron and silicon carbide, you have to sacrifice multi-hit performance due to their high brittleness. It’s not the case with our 1192. Available in 9.5X12.5 medium SAPI dimensions, we apply a special strike face lamination to control crack propagation during a ballistic impact. Then, we combine it with a lightweight UHMWPE backer. Together, they make the multi-hit capable 1192 one of the best lightweight Level 4 plates you can get. And at well under $1000 each, they’re also one of the most affordable ultra lightweight Level 4 options on the market.

RMA 1192 Lightweight Level 4 Body Armor Plate

FAQ

What is the lightest armor plate?

The lightest armor plate is the RMA 0226. Our pressed 100% Dyneema® UHMWPE hard plate weighs well under 1 pound and defeats common handgun rounds like 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, and also 44 Magnum.

What is the most lightweight armor?

The most lightweight rifle armor is the RMA SRT plate. At only 2.53 lbs, it defeats common FMJ rounds like 5.56, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7.62X39 Mild Steel Core, and also 308 Winchester.

What is the lightest bulletproof material?

The lightest bulletproof material is Dyneema® UHMWPE. Thanks to its ultra high tensile strength, this material is 15X stronger than steel but feels more like a flexible lightweight laminate–similar in feel to a playing card. We use it in many of our plates, including our 0226, SRT, Level III+/RF2 1090 series, and our 1165 Level IV/RF3 plates.

What is the best lightweight body armor material?

Dyneema® UHMWPE boasts the best balance of performance and weight, which is why we chose it over many other options. Additionally, Aramid is similar in price to UHMWPE but also similar in weight to E-Glass, which isn’t light at all. Dyneema® can be found in our plates all the way up to Level IV.

Dyneema UHMWPE
Dyneema UHMWPE