Having the right body armor makes all the difference in your day-to-day job. For situations that require more than the everyday protective carrier, there are hard, ballistic plates. Thicker and heavier in nature, they are often cumbersome. However, with the latest technology, these protective plates are now easier to carry then ever. We were given the chance to test and evaluate two new rifle plates from L. A. Police Gear and we found they held up well.
LA Police Gear's Level III and IV rifle plates are a highly effective, budget conscious option for anyone looking to add protection to soft armor, or outfit a their shooting or hunting equipment. These plates are lighter than most in their class without skimping on protection. We had the opportunity to test the capabilities of these plates against some of the odds and ends of our arsenal, and were quite pleased with the results. The plates were set up at about 15 yards and tortured to the best of our abilities.
Beginning with the level III, and starting out small, the first course was .380 ACP. Probably an unlikely round to encounter in a situation where body armor is a necessity, but we really wanted to see how well this armor could shrug off small caliber handgun rounds before the abuse of rifles and shotguns. As expected, the .380 punched a hole in the fabric covering, but did little more than leave a small crack in the armor itself. Next up, 9mm Luger. This time a small chip, but no loss of integrity overall. The .38 Special was the next contestant, it and did about as much damage as the 9mm. The .45 ACP followed, punching a hole about halfway through, however the plate was still intact with no deformities, other than the craters on the front side. The .223 Remington was the first rifle round, and the first round to do significant damage, knocking out a large chunk of the ceramic armor, and leaving a small lump on the back of the armor. It was the first round to do anything more than damage the face of the plate. The next rifle round, the .30-30 Winchester, proved to be the devastator for this plate. The impact annihilated the upper left quarter of the face knocking out most of the ceramic. Aside from the frayed fabric, however, the remaining armor still looked like a rifle plate, at least from the back. There was no penetration, but it was evident this armor was nearing its demise. Next came the 12-gauge, starting with 00 buckshot. No surprise, the remaining armor still held up well against the peppering of the small projectiles. But based on the way the armor was sent tumbling upon impact, the wearer would definitely know they were hit by a shotgun round. The icing on the cake was the good old 12-gauge rifled slug. By this point there wasn't much armor left that hadn't been affected by the compounding effects of the other rounds, and the slug made easy work of the rest, blowing straight through to the other side. After the excellent performance of the level III rifle plate, the remaining parts were buried and given a 21-gun salute. This is no doubt a fantastic option for a vest. The Level III ballistic plate is NIJ Level III tested, and only weighs 5.29 pounds and has a slim profile measuring at measures 9.85" x 11.8". Though very light in weight, it was able to withstand multiple rifle rounds and has a five-year shelf life. The plate is comfortable and easy to wear and most of all, it is extremely durable too.
Next was the Level IV plate, and after experiencing the durability of the level III, we had high expectations, and they were surpassed. This high performance plate weighs a mere 6.5 pounds and has a shelf life for 5 years. With a slim profile measuring at 9.85" x 11.8",and an ergonomic curve for health, support, and comfort, this ballistic plate is comfortable even when your environment may not be. The .380 barely made it through the fabric before flattening out entirely. The 9mm cracked the surface, just barely. The most surprising was the .38 special. It looked more like a dimple made with a hammer and center punch than a bullet impact, though it did cause ripple in the layers of ceramic. The .45 left a mark, but noticeably smaller than what it did to the level III. The .223 took a triangular chunk out, but it is important to not the points of the triangle were where the handgun rounds had hit. It really didn't hurt anything that wasn't already damaged. The 30-30 reaffirmed our belief in a lever action rifle for home defense, as it walloped the upper half of the plate, knocking much of the ceramic that survived the .223. The 00 buck once again hit the plate and sent it flying, but not much damage compared to the rifles. The slug was once again the killing blow, leaving a distorted heap, but this time, no penetration. Though we would certainly pass on being the poor sap to take that hit. The level IV proved to be outstanding against everything we used, and impressed us. We would certainly recommend it. A great choice for hard armor, with the level III very close behind.
No matter how hard we tried, both plates stood the test. Either of these would bring officers comfort and confidence out in the field.
Sig Sauer Ammo
Sig Sauer was kind enough to provide us with a few boxes of 9mm ammunition to play with, and we were happy to oblige. Sig's 365 Elite Performance 9mm ammo comes in two varieties: V-Crown Jacketed Hollow Point, and Full Metal Jacket. The hollow point and FMJ rounds have identical specifications, allowing the shooter to get the feel of the rounds through the FMJ, without blowing through much sought after hollow point rounds. The 365 ammunition was designed as the perfect accompaniment to the Sig P365 compact pistols, as well as any other short barreled pistol designed with concealed carry in mind. Both rounds boast a grain weight of 115, muzzle velocity of 1050 feet per second, and muzzle energy at 282 ft-lbs, fired from a 3.1 inch barrel, just like the P365 compact firearm.
After firing a few magazines worth of each of the 365 rounds and we can happily say this will be the round of choice for our P365 for the foreseeable future. For a 9mm compact focused round, it definitely packs a punch, which is what you want in a concealed carry weapon. With smaller magazine capacity, you need to be confident your round of choice can get the job done, and the 365 ammo will do it all day long. That punch however, is not to say the 365 power is uncomfortable. Quite the contrary. The recoil is very manageable, and with a proper grip on the firearm, shooters shouldn't have any trouble quickly regaining their sight picture in between rounds. Through nearly 100 rounds fired there were zero malfunctions, which is no surprise given the high quality products Sig Sauer has become known for. Each round was consistent and gave us 10+1 more reasons to love our P365. In short, Sig Sauer's 365 Elite Performance ammo made range time fun, smooth, and easy. It is definitely one of our top choices when it comes to ammunition.