By Travis Cummings – SpartanTC Gear and Firearms Reviews
Over the past few months we have had the awesome opportunity to shoot at plates from 3 different companies. Each one had different results, some were what I would consider devastating, while others were extremely impressive. When we started this journey I knew zilch about body armor, and had never even seen a plate in person. Thankfully there were some companies who were willing to help us out in our endevour to learn more.
EnGarde armor plates
The first plates that we had the opportunity to shoot were the EnGarde Body armor plates, they sent us a level III dyneema plate and a level IV ceramic armor plate to shoot and abuse as we saw fit. We did just that, if you watch the video we posted you can see that we shot them with multiple rounds from multiple calibers. Both performed amazingly. I was told multiple times how fragile the ceramic plates are and how they don’t work beyond the abuse of a few rounds, but our findings were a bit different. At 25 yards we shot the ceramic plate so many times that there was hardly any of the ceramic left intact, but not a single of the rounds we put into it defeated the plate. The only round we were unable to procure were 30-06 AP rounds, and that’s due to state laws. With the level III plate we literally shot it until it had split in half after being hit with a 7.62x54R and even then it still stopped a .308 round and 5.56 XM193 and XM855 rounds.
Infidel armor plates
The next plates we shot were the Infidel Body armor plates. What I found the most interesting about these was the fact that there were so many hyped up videos and reviews about the plates, so we figured they would perform well. However they did not, we were able to defeat 2 of the plates that they had sent for testing. We used common hunting rounds, some XM193 and XM855 rounds, and were able to punch clean holes through the plates.
Not quite what I would call confidence building. Add the fact that these plates are HEAVY, the anti spalling isn’t as good as other companies, and they are made of target steel, they are not something I would ever put my life on the line with.
AR500 armor plates
Lastly we had the opportunity to test and shoot the AR500Armor.com plates. These performed leaps and bounds above the IBA armor plates, and we are still using it as a dinger target for the range to this date. It was hit with multiple calibers and multiple rounds and still hasn’t failed.
However this plate suffers the same flaw as the IBA plate when it comes to the weight, it is very heavy and makes for a very heavy setup in a plate carrier. Also a down side to using steel and antispalling is that after multiple shots the coating peeled away allowing tons of shrapnel to escape, which would lead to some pretty nasty injuries.
What I have learned is that while AR500 plates are on the less expensive side and will stand up to multiple rounds they are still not a replacement for proper body armor without some sort of trauma pad or soft body armor to go under them.