This post will cover the second AR500 plate company to respond to my request for a plate to test and review.
When I had originally sent the email off to AR500Armor.com I really hadn't expected to receive a response knowing that they are a very busy company, and there are already dozens of videos showing just how tough their plates are. I remember watching the Military Arms Channel video where Tim shot the AR500Armor plate with both XM855 and XM193 and both were stopped, and I couldn't figure out why the IBA plate didn't do the same since it "is" AR500 steel also.
When I heard back from AR500Armor it was awesome to be able to talk about the differences in the quality of the AR500 steel and how that would affect the way that the plates perform. They were upfront about the fact that XM193 is beyond the FPS limitations of their plates, but that doesn't mean that the plate wouldn't stop it.
They also explained the difference between the coating that they use for the antispalling and what other companies are using, it kind of made sense over the phone but really made sense once I actually had the plate in my hands. The AR500Armor plate's antispalling coating is much tougher than what was on the IBA plate, it had a completely different texture and feel to it.
A set of AR500Armor.com plates runs right around $200 if you get them with the ASC and built up coating and weighs in close to 9 pounds due to the coating. However they tend to run really good package deals that include a carrier along with the plates.
When we took the plate out to the range we wanted to shoot it with the same rounds that we did with the Infidel plate to see if it would hold up any better.
The rounds that we used for testing were as follows:
7.62x54R (mild steel core)
.270 130gr and 150gr
We started with the XM855 to see if it would blow the antispalling off of the plate like it had with the IBA plate. I know from our original testing that the antispalling coating will stay intact much better when the plate is inside a carrier, however it makes it harder to tell if a round has penetrated the plate or not without removing the plate every time.
As you can see in the picture above the XM855 entered the coating and was completely captured by it. Instead of the coating blowing off it instead partially separated from the plate.
Also in the picture above is the XM193 round that we shot at the plate, just low and left of the XM855 round. The XM193 was completely stopped by the plate, there wasn't any rearward deformation of the plate and from what I can see under the coating it barely dented the front of the plate.
Next we tested the plate against the same 7.62x51 round that had defeated the other plate. The biggest thing that we noticed was that it blew off I good chunk of antispalling, but as I said before when in a carrier results will differ.
Rearward deformation from 2 rounds of 7.62x51 was very minimal, you can feel a bump when you run your hand over it but that's about it.
Since the plate refused to fail with the first three rounds we decided to kick it up a bit with some heavier rounds and faster rounds.
The first round we hit it with was the 7.62x54R mild steel core from the Mosin Nagant. The plate took the round with very little deformation, and hardly a dent.
The same went for the .270 rounds (130gr 3,060FPS and 150gr 2,850FPS) when the plate was hit by these rounds there was surprisingly less rearward deformation than what we saw with the 7.62x51.
The plate was shot with an additional 7 XM193 rounds just to make sure it would hold up against them. The same results as the first shot were observed, no deformation or piercing of the plate, and no antispalling blow off.
Overall we abused this plate to the furthest extent that we could with the firearms and round selection that we have.
So as you can see the the plate from AR500Armor.com is the clear choice if you are going to purchase steel plate armor. It can take a beating and continue to protect, and there is no expiration date on the armor so it can be stashed away for as long as you need it to be.
I personally would have a set as a last resort option for the entire family because it won't break the bank, and as I pointed out above there is no expiration date for them. However my go to plates would still be a set of Level IV's from EnGarde or US Palm due to the extra protection and padding that they offer.