Lightweight Armor from RMA Armament

SRT Plates Front Small

Those of you have that have worn plates, did you wear steel or ceramics?  I was issued ceramic plates (ESAPIs), and while lighter than steel (the ESAPIs were somewhere around 6 lbs each, if I recall correctly), were pretty bulky.

RMA Armament has a solution that is roughly a third of the weight, their new “SRT” Hard Armor Plate.  And even cooler is that they are about a half inch thick.

Bottom profile shot

Bottom profile shot

RMA’s “SRT” hard armor plate is designed to provide multi-hit protection against some of the most common high speed rifle rounds in the world today – the 7.62×39 (M67 Lead Core), 6.8×43 FMJ and .556×45 ball rounds.

Most impressive is that this SRT plate – comprised of UHMWPE material – can stand up to a ballistic beating of the aforementioned nature while weighing just 2.05lbs, which is just a fraction of the weight typically needed to defeat such high velocity rounds.

 

DETAILS

  • Special Threat, Multi-Hit Tested by an NIJ Certified Laboratory
  • Special Rifle Threat Stand-Alone
  • Constructed with Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene
  • Single Curve
  • Shooter’s Cut
  • Positive Buoyant
  • Waterproof
  • Made in the USA

SIZING

  • 10″ x 12″
  • 2.05 lbs (.93kg)
  • Thickness: 0.56″

I suppose it is cool that they are buoyant, but I’m not sure that will make much of a difference with all of the other crap that is generally attached to a plate carrier.  The savings of weight that is equivalent to a gallon of water, along with the lower profile would definitely have been nice.

Okay, so now let’s queue up some stories of the armor you all have carried…



Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of IronSights.com; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


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  • Will

    Is it NIJ certified?
    Will it reduce the effects of a Tazer if taken from an officer and used on him?

    • GunKnowItAll

      Great questions!

    • Spencer W

      From my understanding most Polyethylene is non-conductive, even if it is conductive the arc will take the path of least resistance and no do that much to the officer anyways. Plus at hand to hand distance a tazer is not that effective in the first place.

      What I don’t like is that pure PE plates do not stop m855. Love the lightweight but m855 is a very popular round here.

      • Squirreltakular

        Exactly why I’m still rocking lvl IV ceramic plates. Green tips are my main concern.

        Pounds equal pain, but holes in your vital organs probably hurt more.

        • Spencer W

          I went with a III+ ceramic/PE composite for the weight, price and m855 protection. I do want a set of IV some day when I find one I like(cost/weight).

      • JoelC

        A lot of these poly plates will stop m855 out of 16″ barrels at about 100yds. It isn’t ideal, but they are better than the spall-loving AR500 plates that a lot of people use.

        I really hate the gap in rating between level III and level IV plates. Some level III are far superior than the base level III that isn’t rated for any 5.56mm.

        • Spencer W

          I have never seen a pure PE plate that would stop m855 even from a 16″. Do you have a link to one?

          • JoelC

            I found quite a few for M193 point blank, didn’t find any reliable ones on M855 at distance. the m193s are not really deformed when they hit the PE though, it kinda more catches the bullet than smashes it like ceramic. That leads me to think that it should work similar on M855 at distance, but that is speculative. I have a piece I might test sometime, but it is an expensive test.

            Whose brand did you go with for Composite? I’m interested in that stuff.

          • Spencer W

            From the limited reading I have done the best guess I’ve got is with lead core the PE can compress and deform it to the point it can stop it. The steel penetrator of m855 will not compress or deform.

            Tactical Armor Products Gamma Plus single-curve

  • Joshua

    Can’t wait to see the price. Their IIIA hard plates run $400 each.

  • nova3930

    I’d like to see exactly which flavor of 5.56 FMJ it’s rated against. Most of the plates I’ve seen have either been rated for M193 or M855 but not both…

    • Jim

      To date there are NO 100% UHMWPE “poly” plates that will stop M855 or M855A1 and similar steel core rounds. Given the fact that any Bubba can run down to Walmart and buy a box of XM855 it’s kinda dumb to use a set of poly plates. How the heck is anyone able to say with 100% certainty, ” I’m so glad the bad guys are not gonna be using green tip or old chicom steel core today.”?

      There are a few company’s out there that are starting to make hybrid plates that use layers of ceramic, UHMWPE, and or steel/titanium that are in the 3-5 pound weight class and that will stop M193 and M855. The catch is they are usually $500-$1200 per plate.

      I think Tencate is making one or two different ones now but they are wholesale only and you have to buy them through a distributor who may or may not have rebranded them as their own plate. It’s a P.I.T.A. because there is so much marketing BS and down right lying snake oil salesmen in the body armor industry. It makes it hell for the enduser to know for sure what they are getting and if it works.

  • Airborne

    When we were pulling 20 hr guard shifts on our little FOB, I knew a certain E-4 that really hated his SAPI plates. So, being an E-4, he traced the outline of the plates on to one of the cardboard boxes that the water came in. After laminating several layers of this cardboard with glue, he had what looked exactly like hard plates once they were inserted into the plate carrier. Of course everything went swimmingly, until the 1st Sgt gave him a slap on the back for a job well done and noticed a certain “spongyness” to his body armor. The sweat had penetrated his little experiment and made it less than hard to the touch. I’ve never seen someone do so many burpees in my life 🙂

    • Madcap_Magician

      … And thus he learned that next time he would have to also laminate his cardboard armor by melting on a black plastic garbage bag… or, if desperate, by making a patchwork waterproofing consisting of squares of plastic cut from MRE bags.

  • Bear The Grizzly

    Gecko45 will be pleased to hear this.

  • Sulaco

    When I left LE for retirement only the SWAT guys had the full size hard plates and hated them but knew they were best for standoffs and door busting. Patrol was issued “soft plates” multi layered armor cloth cut to patrol vest size to fit in the plate pocket. Seems the hard plate in patrol vests had a tendency to skip rounds upwards sometimes into a jaw. Least that’s what were told….

  • Vhyrus

    Price? 2 pounds a plate is great but if they cost $500 a piece I can’t afford it.

  • Ben

    What kind of 5.56 are we talking? ar500 was stopping 62 gr stuff and the newer models are rated for 55gr xm193 now. Plus they have a newer lightweight 5lb plate. Now if you say theyre rated for quicker buggers at fairly close distances and theyre comparable to the price of steel plates I;m going to be uber pissed I just bought another set of steel plates ahah. Hopefully we get pricing soon and some reviews on them hoping they are good plates.

    • Mark

      You have a link to where to find xm193 rated ar500 armor?

  • seb

    UHMWPE Can denature in prolonged exposure to heat…making it essentially nothing more than a chunk of plastic.

    For example: you store it in your car trunk and when you finally need to use it and get shot it denatured in the trunk and now you are full of bullet holes. This is the same stuff Spartan Armor is selling…and I have looked into this stuff in the past before I bought my hard plates. Don’t take my word for it. Do a search on UHMWPE and prolonged heat exposure. The corresponding pictures are less than impressive.

  • Nathan Duclos

    FWIW, they claim these plates will stop most regular 5.56 (not m855 or m193) and all lead core 7.62×39 as stand alone plates. With a IIIA vest supporting, they will stop .308 (7.62 NATO m80) and m193, but still not m855. Considering my local threat is Wolf or Barnaul 7.62×39 and some cheap .223, these plates would work for me. I reserved a pair a few days ago.
    The company had a pre – sale special were these were going for $237 each, but I think that sale ended yesterday. Not sure what the regular price will be, but they’re aiming for less than $300 each.
    Read up on RMA. The founder/CEO is a Marine and former street cop who’s partner was killed on duty. It’s a new company, but they seem to be legit.

  • CavScout

    These plates don’t compare to ESAPI with their level III rating, they compare better to SAPI (which are only 3-4lb each). SAPI are thinner than ESAPI as well. This isn’t very amazing.

  • The Brigadier

    A five inch plate will stop 7.62 x 51, 30’06, and 7.62 x 54R. Its level 4 armor. The only problem is polyethylene fails at freezing temperatures and temps found near the equator. Since bad guys do operate in both temperature extremes, hang on to your SAPI plates.

  • MikeSmith13807

    Anybody like Armour Wear? They have a III+ plate that’s rated for 855 that is 4.5 lbs…