The folks over at RMA Armament were kind enough to send over their level four plates so I could put them to the test for this review. I wasted no time, took a plate to the range, and got to shooting.
And I have to admit; I had a bunch of fun doing so.
Let’s get into it. I’ll let you see for yourself how these plates stood up to our testing.
RMA Armament Plate Review
Level four plates are the highest level of body armor that is available today. RMA Armament plates are built to exceed the limits of what the NIJ (National Institute of Justice) calls for in a level four plate. And we found that they do hold up better than some others.
They are also relatively affordable, which is good for shooters who want to get their hands on some plates for the upcoming boog. But do remember that you’ll also need a plate carrier. Luckily, RMA sent me one of those as well.
|Strike Face||Alumina oxide ceramic|
|Weight (per plate)||8.3 pounds|
Pros & Cons
- Exceptional durability
- Protects against typical pistol and rifle ammo
- Took at least four rounds of .308
Shooting the RMA Armament Level Four Plate
I was lucky enough to get some help from a shooter named Andrew, who owns and operates a local range in Federal Way, Washington. He let us use the private range to set up shop for this review and provided a few extra guns to shoot!
I let Andrew do the shooting while I took some videos for you. He was wearing the plate carrier with the two extra plates that RMA Armament sent me.
We used 115-grain 9mm Magtech rounds to start, which we shot out of a Glock 19 at 20 feet. As expected, there was no penetration. In fact, there was barely any sign that the bullet had hit the plate. We almost thought we missed it. All to be found was just some disfigured nylon.
Then we grabbed a Knights Armament SR-15 with a 14.5-inch barrel, loaded with 62-grain M855 5.56×45, that is designed to penetrate light armor. We stayed at 20 feet, which is pretty darn close for 5.56.
Andrew aimed the SR-15 at the plate, and bang. There it goes. We actually got somewhere.
M855 5.56×45 impact on the plate.
Still, no penetration though. You might have had your breath stolen from you, like middle of the night acid reflux, a bruise the size of my mother’s forehead, and maybe a cracked rib, but you’ll live to see another day.
We turned it up one more time. We wanted to see what would cause penetration of the actual plate, and by God, we were going to get it.
So we moved up to 147-grain .308 out of a Heckler and Koch 91 with an 18-inch barrel. Andrew slapped the round into the chamber and let it go. The bullet went downrange while the scored shell casing flew into the side of my hat.
But how did it do? Did we finally get penetration?
Almost. The crater was an inch deep but resulted in zero penetration.
You’re going to be winded; you might have a broken rib. Who knows.
Mind you. This plate is compromised at this point.
Not only has it taken four shots from the 9mm (we did some shots in between) and two M855 5.56×45 rounds, but it’s also taken a .308 Winchester at 20 yards. That’s 2,700-foot pounds of energy going into the plate.
No penetration from the .308 at all.
I’d definitely recommend running backers behind your plate to make the day suck a little less if you catch one of these.
Okay, what now? We shot it with the most powerful rifle at our disposal. What would you do?
Of course, we had to see if it could handle more.
And that is where the plate met its match. After multiple 9mm rounds, 5.56×45 LAP rounds, and a .308 at 20 feet, the second .308 eventually did the trick. The plate definitely saw better days.
And here we have it, folks – penetration from the second .308 round. It is important to note that the second .308 pinholed through the front. In other areas, the .308 was able to hold up even after taking all of the aforementioned shots.
Now we’re having a bad day.
So as long as you don’t get too close to someone with a .308 battle rifle at damn near point-blank range, you should be A-OK. But you should be able to take some of the most common rounds (9mm & 5.56) in the USA a few times.
Now to bring it all to a head, after seeing what these plates can handle, you should be able to trust them to keep you from being an expensive loot drop as long as you don’t let anyone squeeze two .308 rounds at you in close proximity.
I’m sure you aren’t planning for that to be an option.
On top of it all, the plates aren’t as expensive as other level four plates on the market. So if you’re in the market for some plates, I suggest that you consider the RMA Armament level fours.
See you on the range, fine shooter.