Review of the LEVEL III+, 10” x 12” body armor plate from Test includes four shots with a variety of 5.56mm ammo (including milspec surplus) at 50 feet with a 16” barrel AR15. Review of the plate’s performance follows each shot.


Trust me, I prefer 20″ barrels for this caliber. Neutering the barrel length of an AR in this caliber is compromising one of its strong points…..VELOCITY. Had I used a 20″ or even 24″ barrel there would have been a majority wanting to see 16″….because it is what they own. I can’t even find a 20″ AR at any major gun show. I was in the market recently for a 20″ AR10/.308 and they are hard to come by. I certainly understand the value of shorter AR’s with the military, working in confined spaces, HUMVEE’s, etc., but there is a downside in the ballistics….and it can matter.

I also have to look at reality, which is, the bad guy could be wearing body armor and first responders, LEO, and even civilians with long guns are most likely to have a 16″ AR, or worse. Their holy grail milspec or TAP ammo won’t cut it here, as we have observed. Consider that the high end of velocity from this barrel on some of these loads was approaching the velocity “we think” would chew a hole in this stuff, and it still barely made a scratch, which should provide some insight.

My comment at the end of the video referencing my 10 year old AR500 plates (not the company, the spec) was spot on. I’ve hit those plates at 50 yards using M193 and Green Tip and they will divot. At a much shorter distance here it wasn’t an issue. Not a slight on Mike Gibson Targets or makers of similar steel, but a valid comparison for the strength of this product.

And for the record, a few months ago offered to send me free product for testing; I turned them down, as I do everyone. I paid for the plate. Just to convey that I’m not a paid spokesperson for their company writing a glowing review.

CAMERAS: SONY camcorders HDR-CX650, and HDR-CX900.
EDITING: Sony Vegas 13 Pro, MP4, 60p.

20 thoughts on “AR500 LEVEL III+ BODY ARMOR VS. 5.56MM AMMO”

  1. Great to see a professional, accurate body armor test.
    On another channel, they rig the test by using an (unrealistic) longer barrel, overpressure rounds at half the distance.
    Their "penetration" consisted of tiny deformed fragments, NOT intact rounds.
    It's easy to scare people (and pump-up your viewer hits) with a biased test. Thanks for not doing that.

  2. Great vid as always. I've never personally cared if they ban green tip or not. There is literally nothing M855 will penetrate that M193 will not. Add to that the fact that M193 does better against non-armored targets than M855 and it just makes the green tip nothing special for me. Speed is what defeats body armor when talking about a small/lightweight projectile. In fact, when I ordered my plates for my personal carrier I ordered an extra to shoot at in the yard. From my ARs it stopped all 5.56, but from my 24" bolt gun M193 went clean through when even M855 did not. The plate also stopped 147gr FMJ .308" bullet at 2840fps. I did not own my SoCom16 at that time so I couldn't crank the .308 bullet faster (I was using .300 Savage brass) but with a .308 case only offering slightly more volume for powder I still don't think it would have defeated it. On the other hand I loaded some .30-06 AP pull downs on the .300 Sav brass around 2790-2800fps and that went through the level 3 as expected.

  3. Nothing, nothing, nothing and nothing. Keep it up, you're proving how excellent modern body armour is.

  4. I didn't want to scroll through all the 300+ comments, but what's up after the 1st shot with the 193 55g? You fire and there's clearly a wound canal in the ballistic gel that appears. Not spawling, but a deep wound canal???

  5. LOLOL, "and that threat probably won't go away anytime soon." LOLOL, you know he's saying that to stay neutral. That threat probably won't go away till Obama's out of office. You know that's what he's thinking. Of course if Hillary wins, that threat will become more pronounced.

    In fact, if Hillary wins, she'll appoint a left wing justice, and left wing justices already never vote against the Democrats, so we won't be having any ammo if she wins. Guns will probably end up banned via Executive Order, and SCOTUS will just vote that it's constitutional since left wing justices will have the majority.

  6. Last I read, there is no official standard for III+. It's something that body armor manufacturers invented to give customers something better than III, but not as expensive or perhaps bulky as IV.

  7. i understand why you used a 16" barrel but that, combined with pushing the target out to 50 feet, pretty much guaranteed that even the M193 wouldn't penetrate. For penetrating steel armor, velocity is king…

  8. Would love to see a Mk318 gel test.  Or better yet, a comparison gel test between M193, Mk262, and Mk318.

  9. independence 5.56 xm193 out of a 16" breaks 3200 fps. you should give it a try. There's plenty of videos of a 55gr xm193 punching through it, but the velocity has to be over that 3200 fps threshold.

  10. I was able to get a 20 inch upper from Windham Weaponry that is government profile chrome lined 1/7 twist 5.56 nato and is a tac driver.  They make great weapons and uppers.  The people who work there use to be bushmaster.  So if you are looking for a good 20 inch upper try them.  Thanks.

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