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King of Armor King of Armor

What is Level 4 body armor?

Level 4 Body Armor is the highest level of armor according to the National Institute of Justice. NIJ standards state that a Level 4 plate must defeat a single 30.06 M2AP round with a mass of 166 grains at a velocity of 2880 ft/s for compliance.

Level IV body armor has become the most popular body armor level on the market. Why? Because in most cases, it defeats the largest rifle calibers at the most affordable pricing. RMA Armament manufactures affordable and lightweight level 4 body armor. Plus, we make the world’s strongest level 4 body armor plate ever to exist. All RMA Armament level 4 body armor plates are available to American civilians, law enforcement, and military agencies and personnel. RMA currently manufactures level 4 body armor in 6×6 side plate sizing and 10×12 for the front and back plate. We also manufacture a Level 4 11×14 plate as well.  [+] Read more

The United States Justice Department’s research and evaluation division is the National Institute of Justice – or NIJ. NIJ Certification on a body armor product is indicative of a minimum level of protection to achieve standard compliance. However, RMA overbuilds all of our plates to rate multiple hits for their threat level, whether the NIJ requires it or not.

Level IV Plates

RMA boasts a variety of certified and compliant Level IV body armor. RMA’s popular the 1155 ceramic plate continues its reign as the King of Armor with shooter’s cut and swimmer’s cut options. Both are available in single-curve and multi-curve. Every 1155 plate is rated for Level IV multi-hit protection. Plus, they’re 100% Made in America. The 1155 body armor plate is also built in a 6×6 side plate size as well.

Manufacturing American-made lightweight ceramic body armor with Level IV protection isn’t cheap or easy. However, RMA has created the Lightweight Level 4 Plate model 1165 which combines a lightweight and thin profile at an affordable price. But if you’re looking for an even lighter plate, our  model 1192 Level 4 body armor plate in multi-curve medium sizing may be for you.

RMA’s Level 4 armor selection is built with a high content purity ceramic strike face. Ceramic breaks apart the round and a polyethylene backer that catches the slug and remaining fragments like a catcher’s mitt. By any metric, RMA Armament makes the best ceramic armor plates on the market.

Kit out our body armor with plate carriers, ballistic helmets, bulletproof vests and so much more. All of our ballistic protection is 100% Made in the USA!


What Rounds Will Level 4 Body Armor Defeat?

Level 4 ceramic body armor plates are required to defeat one 7.62×63 (30.06) M2AP round with a backface deformation of 44mm or less. In RMA’s independent testing, the model 1155 level 4 armor plate defeats between 2-3 M2AP strikes. RMA also tests plates at NIJ approved testing laboratories. Oregon Ballistics Lab (OBL), NTS Wichita, and NTS Chesapeake reports are available for anyone to see on each product. You will also many independent tests done on all of RMA’s Level 4 plates on RMA’s Youtube page. Plus, search Youtube for “RMA Armament Level 4 Armor” to see independent tests and also reviews of our armor.

RMA’s level 4 body armor plates defeat a wide array of other common rifle rounds such as M855A1, M855 green tip, 7.62x54r, M80 NATO, 7.62.39 MSC and much more. Please see our Body Armor Levels Ballistics Chart for a more basic representation of body armor ballistic standards.

You may also be wondering what can penetrate level 4 body armor as well. One of the most common rounds we get asked about is a .50 BMG. Currently, the NIJ 0101.06/07 standard does not list .50 BMG as a test round – though in independent testing, our model 1189 level 4 body armor plate has stopped a .50 BMG from 100 yards. Here’s the evidence! It’s important to note that the plate held the round. However, the back face deformation and energy transfer would still be enough to kill you. Our advice? Don’t get shot by a .50 BMG.

Is Body Armor Legal To Own?

Can Civilians Own Level 4 Body Armor?

Absolutely. We sell Level 4 body armor to all law-abiding U.S. citizens, Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders, Military Personnel, etc. However, Connecticut and New York do not allow online sales of body armor. It is legal to own armor in Connecticut as a civilian. However you must purchase armor face to face. Residents of New York state may not purchase body armor unless their profession falls into one of the categories listed here (New York Body Armor Laws).

It’s possible that more states will implement laws restricting armor in the future. Make sure you get yours before the next ban. However, it is illegal for any felon to own armor in the United States.

Armor Construction

How is Level 4 Body Armor Made?

Level 4 is the highest level of armor on the market, built to be the most rugged armor among all the body armor levels. As such, the main components of all level 4 body armor is a ceramic strike face and a composite backer. But that’s where plates diverge between companies.

RMA builds its NIJ .06 certified 1155 Level 4 plates with an alumina oxide ceramic strike face and a polyethylene composite backer. The ceramic breaks apart and also slows the armor-piercing rounds. Then, the composite backer acts as a catcher’s mitt and stops the remaining bullet fragments. These work in conjunction to reduce the energy impact transferred to the body.

Typically, the lighter the armor, the more expensive it is. Stronger and lighter materials have higher prices, additional machine time, and also additional labor. Please see the “Details” section on each of our product pages to see the materials RMA utilizes to manufacture them.

What is the World's Strongest Body Armor?

To our knowledge, our very own model 1189 Level 4 hard armor plate is the strongest body armor in the world. To prove it, we had a plate tested at Oregon Ballistics Laboratory to not only stop SIX 30.06 M2AP rounds, but also pass the backface deformation requirement of 44mm or less. You can review that testing data here: 6 Hit Test Report

We’ve spoken to dozens of people in the industry over the years who also have yet to hear of a single 10″x12″ body armor plate capable of performing such a feat. That’s why we claim our model 1189 Level IV body armor plate is the strongest body armor in the world!

Armor Sizing

What Size Armor Plate Do I Need?

You can figure out what size armor plate you need with a tape measure. You want the plate width to be just inside your nipples. Measure from the top of the sternum down to one or two inches above the belly button while sitting.

A majority (75-80%) of people wear a 10″x 12″ plate or also medium SAPI armor plate.

Armor Care & Storage

Can I leave RMA Body Armor in My Car?

One of the most common armor questions we get is in regards to its temperature sensitivity. Simply put, RMA’s ceramic armor will continue to work as intended in just about any temperature environment. During NIJ .06 certification testing, each plate sits in a temperature chamber for two weeks. The temperature ranges from as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 194 degrees. Temperature changes over those two weeks ensure that the materials used in armor plates can maintain their form and function.

So can you leave your armor in the trunk of your car in and rely on it to perform? Simply put. Yes.

What Happens if I Drop My Level 4 Body Armor?

If you happen to drop your level 4 body armor, train with it, or are one of those guys who toss your rig around after you take it off, your armor from RMA should be just fine.

We build 1155 Level IV plates with a protective padding on the strike face to protect the ceramic. This ensures it doesn’t crack under normal use. However, we do suggest that you take care of your armor as best you can, to ensure it performs to its highest level of protection.

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