AR500 is offering lightweight ballistic armor plates at an incredibly affordable price. The AR500 lightweight armor weighs just 5.5 pounds while having a profile of only 0.21 inches. The AR500 lightweight ballistic plates are some of the lightest and thinnest steel plates on the market today.
When AR500 entered the market just a few years ago they immediately gained attention by providing outstanding armor plates for well under half the price of most competitors. The company has expanded its product offerings to include soft body armor, armor and plate carrier combinations, and advanced armor plates as well. Whether you are going into harm’s way, or training with rifles, the need for ballistic plates is a must. The AR500 lightweight plates are some of the best.
AR500 Armor® Lightweight Level III+ Body Armor
The AR500 lightweight armor involved scientific and manufacturing innovation to provide perhaps the best ballistic steel core body armor on the market today. AR500 claims the lightweight armor is genetically similar to our standard level III+ ballistic core, but their re-engineered formula yields a 30% increase in strength, and they were able to make it thinner and lighter as well.
The result is what AR500 claims to be “an industry first” ballistic steel core chest plate weighing in at just over 5 pounds, and cut in a 10” x 12” Advanced Lightweight Shooters Cut (ALSC). The ALSC cut still provides protection of the shooter’s vital organs, but trims the angle of the upper corners to allow greater flexibility. The Lightweight Level III+ body armor is also the thinnest on the market, measuring in with a core thickness of only 0.21”. The ultra-thin profile should improve comfort when shouldering a rifle and reduces overall bulk of the officer’s gear. All of these features should reduce bulk of the officer’s kit, and improve ergonomics and mobility, particularly when operating with a long gun.
The AR500 Advanced Lightweight Shooters Cut (ALSC) is slightly undersized on the horizontal axis to ensure compatibility with all plate carriers. Buyers should expect several weeks in delivery time, as AR500 is making their plates to specific orders. In addition, the company is preparing to move to a larger facility, but is still considered a small business.
AR500 Lightweight Armor Features
- Made of Ultra High Hard Ballistic Steel
- PAXCON (a division of Line-X) spall and fragmentation protection coating
- Stress fracture resistance
- Multiple hit sustainability
- Long shelf life – 20 years
- Superior performance – exceeds Ceramic/Composite, Dyneema, UHMWPE
- Protection – 5.56×45 M193, 5.56×45 M855/SS109, 7.62×39 (AK), and 7.62×51 M80 Ball (.308 Winchester) rounds.
- Size – 10″ x 12″ ALSC
- Weight – 5.5 pounds
- Thickness – 0.21 inches
- AR500 ALSC plates fit medium to large SAPI plate carriers
- Fully sealed design protects from Liquids, Chemicals, and Harsh Elements
- Independent, and In-House Ballistic Resistant Testing & Quality Control
- Designed for use as front or back plate
- Maintenance Free
- 100% made in the U.S.A.
- MSRP – $135.00 per plate
AR500 Lightweight Armor Threat Rating
The AR500 lightweight armor plates are given a Level III+/Special Threat Tested rating. AR500 Armor® body armor is Stand-Alone and Multi-Hit capable. Designed to defeat the most common rifle threats in existence. 5.56×45 M193 and 5.56×45 M855 SS109 at a velocity of up to 3,000 feet per second, and 7.62×39, 7.62×51 M80 NATO Ball (.308 Winchester) at velocities up to 2,850 feet per second. (Not rated for AP rounds).
Ballistic Resistance Certifications and Tests:
V50 – (5.56 M193, and 7.62×51 M80 Ball) by Oregon Ballistics Laboratory. V50 testing consists of increasing bullet velocity on each subsequent shot until penetration is achieved, and then determining at which point 50% of the rounds at a given velocity penetrate the body armor. V50 is used to determine top end velocity limits of body armor.
Penetration Test – (5.56 M855/SS109, 7.62×39 Mild Steel Core) by H.P. White Laboratory, Inc. Penetration tests test for complete penetration of a given round at a specific velocity in a controlled setting.
Penetration Test – (7.62×51 M80 Ball/.308 Winchester) by H.P. White Laboratory, Inc. Penetration tests test for complete penetration of a given round at a specific velocity in a controlled setting.
Armor Plates and Shoot Houses
Recently I attended a week-long advanced SWAT course that was held at an Army National Guard base. The base has been continually upgraded over the last decade, including the addition of a very impressive shoot house. Designed with the latest advancements in bullet resistant materials, the shoot house allowed our operators to live-fire train inside a building structure at the same time.
Operators could enter adjacent rooms, and engage separate targets within those rooms, without the fear of a friendly fire casualty. However, no operator was allowed inside the shoot house without rifle-graded ballistic plates. This was to ensure that officers had the highest personal body armor protection should their room entry partner not fully clear their lane of fire.
When serving high risk search warrants or arrest warrants most tactical teams do not go into the field without ballistic armor plates to provide protection from most rifle rounds. These lightweight plates from AR500 could provide a similar protection for about 2/3 the weight, and in a much more compact configuration allowing operators the greatest potential for maneuverability in tight spaces.
I have seen and handled the AR500 plates on several occasions. They appear to be well made, and the studies show their capability at stopping several popular rifle rounds. My current plates are heavy ceramic plates, that weigh about 9 pounds each. They are each nearly an inch thick as well. There is no doubt they are cumbersome to wear. However, despite the heavier weight and bulk, the ceramic plates are rated to stop .30-06 armor-piercing rounds.
These AR500 Lightweight Armor plates are awesome in size, shape, weight, and function. I have seriously considered purchasing a set for my personal rig, though I have hoped to see a price reduction in Dyneema plates that weigh only about 1.5 pounds each. Still, the AR500 Lightweight Armor plates offer a lot of protection, and would be an outstanding addition to any officer’s carrier. Officers must remember, though, that the AR500 plates will not stop larger rifle rounds like the .30-06.