What is Level 4 body armor?
Level 4 Body Armor is the highest level of armor according to the National Institute of Justice. Level 4 body armor standards set forth by the NIJ 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 not only affordable and lightweight level 4 body armor, but also 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. Soon, we’ll be providing an 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. While NIJ Certification on a body armor product is indicative of a minimum level of protection to achieve standard compliance, RMA overbuilds all of our plates to rate multiple hits for their threat level, no matter if the NIJ requires it or not.
RMA boasts a variety of certified and compliant Level IV body armor. RMA’s most popular plate – the model 1155 ceramic plate – continues its reign as the King of Armor with shooter’s cut and swimmer’s cut options, each available in both single-curve and multi-curve. Every 1155 plate is rated for Level IV multi-hit protection and 100% Made in America. The 1155 body armor plate also is built in a 6×6 side plate size as well.
The toughest combination of armor to manufacture is American-made lightweight ceramic body armor with the highest level of ballistic protections at an affordable price point. But that’s what RMA has strived for with our model 1192 Level 4 body armor plate in multi-curve medium sizing.
RMA’s Level 4 body armor selection is built with a high content purity ceramic strike face which 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.
What Rounds Will Level 4 Body Armor Defeat?
According to National Institute of Justice compliance standards, 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 of those rounds (depending on shot placement), while passing back face deformation requirements as well.Each of RMA’s level 4 plates are tested at NIJ approved testing laboratories, like Oregon Ballistics Lab (OBL), NTS-Wichita or others and our official test reports are listed available for anyone to see.There are also many independent tests done on all of RMA’s Level 4 plates which can been seen on RMA’s Youtube page. Or you can search Youtube for “RMA Armament Level 4 Armor” and see a large amount of independent tests and reviews of our armor.
RMA’s level 4 body armor plates can also 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 also may be wondering what can penetrate level 4 body armor as well? One of the most common rounds we get asked about is a .50 cal. 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, the back face deformation and energy transfer would still be enough to kill you. Our advice? Don’t get shot by a .50 cal.
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, member of the Military, etc. There is only one exception. Because of state laws, Connecticut does not allow online sales of body armor. While it is legal to own armor in Connecticut as a civilian, purchasing it must be a face to face transaction. Residents of New York state are also now restricted from the purchase of 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, so it’s your job to know your state’s laws regarding it.
However, it is illegal for any felon to own armor in the United States.
How is Level 4 Body Armor Made?
Level 4 body armor 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 serves to break apart the armor piercing rounds, which allows the composite backer to act as a catcher’s mitt and catch the remaining bullet fragments and reduce the energy impact transferred to the body.
As level 4 body armor goes up in price, it’s because it’s built with lighter weight ceramic (either silicon carbide or boron carbide) and a lighter polyethylene material used for a backer. Typically, the lighter the ballistic material, the more expensive it is. Please see the “Details” section on each of our product pages to see the materials RMA utilizes to manufacture them.
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.
RMA’s level 4 body armor plates are built with a protective padding on the strike face to aid in the protection of the ceramic, ensuring 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.
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’ve 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!
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. As far as the height of the armor is concerned, you want to measure from the top of the sternum down to one or two inches above the belly button – when you are sitting down, relaxed.
A majority (75-80%) of people wear a 10″x 12″ or a multi-curve medium armor plate.
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 is left in a temperature chamber for two weeks, where the temperature changes periodically, from temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 194 degrees. The varying temperature changes over those two weeks ensure that the materials used in building armor plates can maintain their form and function. The temperature test is done on each test before it is ballistically tested for compliance.
So can you leave your armor in the trunk of your car in Texas, Florida, etc and rely on it to perform? Simply put. Yes.
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