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Level III+ Armor

Can you put a dollar amount on what your life is worth?


If so, what would it be?


One of the fun comments we see on our posts from time to time is this:


“Is your life really worth (dollar amount) plates? You should buy this other company’s (slightly larger dollar amount) plates instead.”


This comment equally confuses and sickens me. First of all, if you have no experience with our armor, you probably should not attempt to infer that you are speaking from a quality-comparison standpoint. Rather naive, I would say. This already gives the commenter low credibility.


Second of all, I have a difficult time understanding the logistics behind “Your life is worth exactly X more dollars than this company’s product - not because I have thoroughly tested both products, but because this company’s product simply costs more money.”


Believing that a more expensive product equates to a higher-quality product does not mean you are intelligent or wise: It means you are easily manipulated by marketing and advertising. Quality is not exclusively governed by price. If you want to know whether a product is worth your time, do your homework. Or, you know, just spend your life creating trolling pages to hate on companies you’ve never heard of before.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go trade in my 6-month-old, perfectly working iPhone for the brand new model.


The backbone of our mission at Predator Armor is to provide quality, life-saving protection at a price the everyday individual can afford.


Because EVERY individual deserves the opportunity to defend themselves from unjust harm.


Each body armor level is unique for specific situations. Level III armor is often all someone may need for the threats they foresee encountering in their area. But in certain circumstances, you just need a little more; something that provides even greater ballistic protection against a wider array of threats.


Something that still does not break the bank.


This is where Predator Armor Level III+ body armor comes in.


Okay, so what does “3+” even mean?


We’d like to resolve a few common misunderstandings here regarding body armor levels:


First and foremost - Level III+ is not an official NIJ armor rating. As such, you will not see a III+ armor requirement anywhere on the NIJ website. That is because it is a term used by armor companies to denote armor which meets Level III requirements, while also stopping additional calibers. In other words, it is a fancy up-sell. As such, each company’s III+ offering will be unique to the company offering it in terms of the protection it actually provides. No two companies' armor offerings will be equal - So make sure you do your research before buying!


Let’s back up a little though - the reason III+ armor exists in the first place is because the gap between Level III and Level IV armor is a large one. To put it in basic terms, Level III armor must stop 6 rounds of 7.62x51. Level IV armor must stop 1 round of 30-06 AP. Armor-piercing ammunition behaves in a very unique manner (ballistically) when compared with standard FMJ ammunition, so there are a LOT of rounds that fall “in-between” levels III and IV.


We’ll provide an example to illustrate this: A popular 5.56 round is the 55 grain M193 - a go-to plinking round, and what nine out of ten gun owners will have stashed away in their stockpile. Generally, standard Level III armor will stop this round out of a 16” barrel - however, it will most often NOT stop it out of a 20” barrel. This can all depend on shot distance, of course, but the problem is, NIJ requirements do not even touch 5.56 (since many of the standards were originally created for calibers encountered overseas). So, you will often see armor companies with a “standard” Level III plate that meets base NIJ requirements, as well as an “upgraded” Level III+ plate which will meet NIJ requirements, and stop M193 out of a 20” barrel, or M855 out of a 20” barrel, or another round. Again, these are just examples, and each company will generally be unique here in their offering.


In short - All Level III+ armor is technically Level III, but not all Level III armor is considered III+.


What is Level III+ armor made from?


An important question for sure - This will also vary with the company producing it. For Predator Armor, we utilize AR650 steel when creating our III+ armor. Using AR650 allows us to create a remarkably strong piece of armor, all while maintaining the same weight and thickness profile seen with our standard Level III plates (made from AR500), for only a slight increase in price. And it’s worth mentioning, even our standard Level III plates will stop a number of rounds you won’t get protection from with other companies until you upgrade to III+.


And yes, we also offer our Kevlar-lined anti-fragmentation coating options for these as well.


Now, you may have heard people say that AR650 is not suitable for body armor because it is more “brittle” than AR500, and is consequently more prone to fracturing, shattering, and so on. Is this true? Is AR650 not reliable as body armor?


The answer is this: AR650 is 100% reliable as body armor, and its alleged “brittleness” is completely relative. Yes, AR650 is technically more fragile than AR500. However, it is still… Well, steel! As such, you are not going to experience these risks from merely dropping the plate, being shot multiple times, or just about anything you could realistically do to it. The only occasions whereupon AR650’s brittleness is noticeable is when the steel is being subjected to extreme conditions and manipulations - during the forming process, mostly. But the force needed to make this happen is extreme. You would need a machine designed specifically for bending steel to accomplish this.


So in short - No, you do not need to worry about your III+ armor fracturing, shattering, or being otherwise compromised due to brittleness; that is, of course, unless you plan on being subjected to about 40,000 pounds of pressure while wearing it. You may or may not have bigger problems if that is the case.


So how good is Predator’s III+ armor?


Our Level III+ armor is arguably the best on the market.


Allow us to come out swinging. You know the military’s fancy 5.56 EPR round?


Yeah, we stopped it


It’s the real deal. With our years of experience in the steel industry prior to creating body armor, we’ve learned a thing or two about what works and what does not. While still being a “true” Level III plate (meaning it will stop 7.62x51, and will be compromised by 30-06 AP), there are not many rounds we’ve been able to observe penetrate the armor.


Some rounds we’ve seen stopped by our III+ armor include (but are not limited to):

  • 6.5 Grendel

  • 6.5 Creedmoor

  • 5.56 M855A1 EPR

  • 5.56 M193/M855 from 20” barrel

  • 300 Winchester Magnum

Truth be told, we are still working on discovering our III+ armor’s true upper limit. We’ve created ballistic calculators and impact simulation emulators to nail down where we believe that limit is, though that limit has not been physically reached, other than knowing it is below .30-06 AP. What a wonderful problem to have, right?


To provide you with a better idea, we undertook a fun little experiment to showcase both the ballistic protective capabilities of our III+ plate, as well as the general strength of AR650 steel. The tests were performed with the exact same plate, taken randomly off of our production line, and spray painted blue for proof of consistency in use:


First, we ran over it with a truck:


Then, we shot it 8 times with a 300 Win Mag:


No holes in that plate.


As you can see, the armor is more than capable of holding its own, and we are damn proud of it. Is this something you’d feel comfortable protecting your vital organs with? We sure would be. If you’re looking for Level III+ armor that will stop the widest variety of threats and do it over and over again, look no further.


We are in the business of protecting people


Our mission from the start has been to provide top quality American-made gear to those who need it; whether military, first responder, or prepared citizen. You cannot and should not put a dollar-amount on what your life is worth. What you should do is use your brain. Be free of bias, and do not be influenced because Facebook Anarchist Joe says steel armor is from the devil. Learn what works, get your own experience in, learn from others with real experience, and make an informed decision.


After all, it is your choice - and that’s the greatest thing about it.


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