Iraqveteran8888 Pits Spartan AR550 Armor Against a 12-Gauge

The Target Man’s Spartan AR550 Armor isn’t just tough, it’s tough as nails – or, more accurately, tough as Level III body armor. According to The Target Man, their AR550 has a 10% harder ballistic core than its predecessor, and they’ve done the testing to prove it. Significant research went into the creation of AR550, in fact, the company tested others first, such as AR650, which they found to be too brittle for body armor. Apparently AR650’s BHN (Brittle Hardness) range resulted in fracturing, whereas AR550 is what The Target Man describes as the “sweet spot” BHN. AR550 can withstand the stress created during the manufacturing process as well as the force of higher velocity rounds, including at close range. Better still, these are triple-curved plates, which the company cites as an industry first. On their site you can see the armor go up against XM193s, M855s, and M80s, but if you want to see it pitted against a 12-gauge shotgun, head over to Iraqveteran8888’s Youtube page – or just scroll down, and watch it here.

Specs from The Target Man:

Size: Choose from 8″ x 10″, 10″ x 12″, or 11″ x 14″

Configuration:  This armor comes as a pair, meaning you will receive both front and back plates, and optional side plates

Level III+ Side Plates: Choose from either 6″ x 6″ (small) or 6″ x 8″ (large)

Chest Plate Weight (per plate): 8×10 approximately 6.4 lbs, 10×12 approximately 8.1 lbs, 11×14 approximately 9.3 lbs

Side Plate Weight (per plate): 6×6 approximately 2.7 lbs, 6×8 approximately 3.1 lbs.

Thickness: .25″ AR550 plus approximately .25″ coating makes this slim profile plate overall .5-.6″ in total thickness

Visit for a closer look at Spartan AR550 Armor

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  • PK

    Brinell. Not “Brittle Hardness”. Brinell hardness scale.

  • Uniform223

    I’ve seen plenty Youtube videos of AR550, that stuff looks impressive.

    • Nicks87

      …and affordable. At least compared to most rifle plates. Ceramic plates are better but if you cant afford the high end military stuff these are a great option.

      • Uniform223

        For some reason this brought back memories of that whole IBA vs Dragon Skin circle jerk back in 07.

        • Nicks87

          Yeah ceramic and polyethylene is the way to go but they are expensive. I don’t think dragon skin ever got off the ground. Too many flaws.

          • Uniform223

            The interconnected discs seems like a good idea and concept. But given the fact that Dragon Skin weighed something like 12lbs or 15lbs heavier than the current IBA at the time and couldn’t work under less than ideal conditions (you know the stuff soldiers and marines work and fight in)… no thanks.

          • The Brigadier

            The glue holding the disc pouches failed under relatively weak temperature extremes. The company knew it and wouldn’t pay for better adhesives to keep their product price competitive. When the DoD tested it to destruction like they do with all their equipment, it failed in short order.

        • Aaron E

          My ceramic plates are about 5 years old but they are thick and heavy – about 8 lbs. each

  • Bill

    Level 2 soft armor stops buckshot in the first couple layers, and slugs sail right through. But slugs can act funny when they hit steel, like generate a bunch of heat and splatter. And that’s heavy.

  • Anonymoose

    I wonder how these would perform against AR550:,306?lang=fr

    • nobody

      It’s rated to stop .308, a slower, fatter, heavier projectile will penetrate worse. The whole reason why companies are coming out with new, stronger steel plates is because plates just designed to stop .308 will fail to stop the small, higher velocity 5.56x45mm 55 grain M193 ammunition.

  • CS

    What kind of shotguns were they wielding for this video?

    • Bill

      They strongly resembled my Benelli M1 Super 90, at least the first guy’s did. I personally don’t believe that shooting shotgun slugs at steel targets is safe; something about the velocity and mass I believe makes them more likely to ricochet spatter and fragments, anecdotally back towards the shooter.

      I haven’t tried it, but I’d bet that high-speed photos could show the slug striking the target, the force of the impact turning to heat on an already hot slug, which being of fairly soft lead could essentially liquify or deform and bounce back. They aren’t going fast enough to essentially vaporize like a rifle bullet, and aren’t typically jacketed (except for the ones that are) so that leaves an ounce of molten lead flying around. Shot, being lighter and slower, just flattens and drops.

      For the sake of all the people shooting slugs at steel, I hope I’m wrong, and would love to see evidence to the contrary. I shoot a lot of buck at steel, but slugs stay on paper. I’m not confident that even having the plate tilted down would solve the problem as I see it, but possibly having it hung or spring-mounted so that it could soak up some of the energy in movement.

      But that’s just me, another guy on the interweb, one who doesn’t want to get shot by a pee’d off steel target.

      And unless I’m missing something, these are essentially steel targets shaped to fit plate carriers.

  • C.

    I remember them shooting an AR500 plate with a 37 mm Parrott gun and that didn’t penetrate.

  • Ben

    The real test is against solid copper, high velocity bullets. These plates are defeated by velocity, not mass. Taofledermaus used some solid copper bullets out of a .270 to drill holes straight through AR500 armor /watch?v=b0WE3GhPpZY

  • Wetcoaster

    I hate seeing tests with pedestrian calibres like 12 Ga. Show us some hot .45-70 loads or Nitro Express, magnum rifle calibres or even big handgun calibres like .460 or .500 S&W

    • The Brigadier

      Most body armor will stop round ball cartridges. Even big calibers like you wrote. Pointed bullet noses concentrate the force and drilling action. There are new thicker ceramic plates as well as the new molecular polyethylene ones that are both level 4 to counter the Nosler and Spitzer points.

      A researcher at UTEP just discovered how to make graphene out of used oil, for literally pennies of an ounce. Graphene is 22.5 times harder then our best tool steel and is very light to boot. We should have some level 10 body armor very soon.

      • Wetcoaster

        I’m not so much interested in the penetration of those big game calibres as the blunt trauma and how much deformation is inflicted on metal trauma plates (and how much damage is sustained by ceramics).

        Admittedly, I’d love to see some .338 LM results too. Those aren’t dedicated AP rounds, but as you mention, their pointed form and high energy might do the job anyway in a situation where something like M80 ball would be stopped without trouble.

  • The Brigadier

    The new Blue Stone 3/4 inch ceramic plate is a level 4, curved and weighs 7 pounds. Sportsman’s Guide has them for around $175. It will stop .30-06 and .223 armor piercing rounds. It will stop buckshot.

  • iksnilol

    What about those plastic plates that weigh very little? UHMWPE or something it was called. Everybody talks about them not taking heat well but nobody mentions what kind of heat. Also could it be isolated to protect against heat/cold?