When it comes to plates, there are a plethora of options out there and the selection process can be daunting and confusing to go through. We can’t inform you on every option available in the market but we can educate you on which one of the Ferro Concepts current offerings will be best suited for you and why you might choose one version over the other.
Things to consider when selecting armor plates:
Protection: All of our current armor plate offerings are NIJ certified level III, stand alone, multi-curve, multi-hit plates (except the 6x6 side plates). This means the armor plates have met the requirements outlined in NIJ 0101.06 and have been tested to defeat the necessary rounds to meet the level III certification. Both our options also have special threat testing done and are outlined in the specifications list on the products page as to which extra rounds have been tested (they are not the same). If you require M855 (green tip) protection then our ARMOR PLATE SET - CERAMIC COMPOSITE LEVEL III SPECIAL THREAT will be the plates you’ll want. Be advised that extra protection against armor piercing rounds such as the M855 comes with a weight penalty.
Materials/Construction: We offer two different types of armor plates, Ceramic Composite and UHMWPE (polyethylene). Both offerings are rated to the same NIJ certification, but the big difference between these plates is the materials they are made from and how that affects other factors such as weight/construction, price, and the protection potential. Both armor plate options are a multi-curve design for user comfort and increased ergonomics.
Weight/Dimensions: Ceramic plates are generally heavier and more fragile than UHMWPE plates, but can often provide more protection by defeating special threat rounds the same level a UHMWPE plate cannot. UHMWPE plates are a more modern technology and have allowed armor plates to be manufactured considerably lighter and thinner than their ceramic counterparts (often half of the weight or more) and still meet the same certification of a much heavier plate. This doesn't make either a lesser option though, and one needs to consider the pros and cons of each to determine which option will work best for them. Both options have tradeoffs.
Price: Ceramic plates generally come in a less expensive price than UHMWPE. Most of this has to do with material and production costs. Despite not being able to stop the M855, our ARMOR PLATE SET PRO - DURITIUM® 10x12 LEVEL III+ costs more because of the UHMWPE materials, construction, and production methods. This gets the user an NIJ Level III armor plate coming in at only 2.7 lbs per plate and 0.7” thick vs. our ARMOR PLATE SET - CERAMIC COMPOSITE LEVEL III SPECIAL THREAT at 5.4 lbs per plate and 1.1” thick. Like mentioned, both options have tradeoffs and it's up to the user to make the appropriate choice based on their needs.