This is a guest post by Andrew Betts
Over the past few years, a variety of companies have started making level III steel armor plates for very affordable prices. Purchasers of these plates have met harsh criticism on the gun forums because level III steel plates may be perforated by high velocity 5.56x45mm M193. It is true, that certain, very high velocity .223 Rem and 5.56mm can perforate steel armor, but not just any .223 or 5.56mm, as demonstrated here:
Just because it is 55 gr .223 does not mean that it is loaded to the same velocity as M193 and velocity is what defeats steel armor. More importantly, we are forgetting that this armor defeats all handgun threats, all shotgun threats, and many rifle threats. A level III steel plate like the CATI in the video will defeat 7.62x39mm, 7.62x54mm, .308 Win, and most .223 Rem or even M855/SS109 5.56mm. Rather than think of them as somewhat limited rifle plates, it may be better to think of level III steel plates as extremely affordable handgun armor that can also stop quite a few rifle rounds.
You may not choose to put on a plate carrier for every bump in the night, but if you know that someone is making a concerted effort to break into your home, it will be very comforting to be able to put on some body armor with a couple extra mags, flashlight, first aid, and a pouch for your phone so you can stay on the line with 911. It doesn’t hurt that catiarmor.com sells flat 10”x12” shooter’s cut plates for $55. This may not be the pinnacle of armor design, but it is also a price point that makes it easier for the working man to keep a set handy for a day that will hopefully never come.