The Role of Steel in Bulletproof Plates

Ceramic and steel are popularly used for blunt force trauma protection gear. Wearers of body armour require very specific bulletproof plates.

Most of us recognize the traditional bulletproof vests used by TV characters, but can they stop a bullet in real life?  Take this short read and you’ll see just how.

Steel Over Ceramic Bulletproof Plates

Given a choice between ceramic protection gear, which is a standard 25mm (an inch) thick, and steel plates, steel will always be the better option. Here’s why.

Steel bulletproof plates are less than half the weight of the popular ceramic plates, significantly cheaper, and can take multiple hits to the same plate. You get the picture.

Abbreviations for Bulletproof Steel

If you need to kit out a bodyguard or are considering becoming a PI (Personal Investigator), you’ll need to understand terminology and abbreviations. The only shortcut here is to go straight to your professional steel company.

When you see NIJAR500, here is how to break it down:

NIJ references the National Institute of Justice

AR references Abrasion Resistant, and military-grade AR steel undergoes a further ballistic limit testing, which is yet another grade up

BHN references the particular Brinell process of hardening of steel, of which there are four main categories, 500, 550, 600, and 650

That means that Brinell AR500 steel is superior to regular AR500 steel. The NIJ further classifies body armour into five threat levels: Level IIA, Level II, Level IIIA, Level III, and Level IV.  So you saw there’s no Level I, so yeah, if you see one of those, it’s obsolete, save it as memorabilia.

Each category is based on ‘ability to stop specific rounds at specific velocities’. And then there’s the little “+” grading in addition and well, any plusses in this game have to be plus!

These ballistic masterpieces have taken the hardness of steel to a whole new level. To qualify for bulletproof plates, the steels used are required to be:

  • Flexible or at least bendable
  • Fatigue resistant
  • Weldable

The Bottom Line On Bulletproof Plates

The principle here is that it’s all about the incredible properties of steel. Steel that technology has rendered strong enough to stop bullets. That is good to know. And should you ever need bulletproof steel plates, you can acquire the exact specs for your needs. Just be sure to get professional help.

Steelmor is a leader in the steel industry. If you would like more information, contact them today and speak to one of their friendly and professional staff.