RMA Armament: Lightest Level IV Plate?

RMA Armament Level IV

Rifle plates – especially NIJ 0101.06 certified Level IV ones – can be heavy and cumbersome. It makes sense considering a Level IV plate is supposed to stop a .30-06 M2AP round with less than 44 mm of back face deformation. Making a plate that provides this level of protection almost certainly means it will be quite heavy when compared to armor designed for lower threat levels.

RMA Armament announced a new Level IV plate that is claims is the “world’s lightest plate in its class.” How light is light? According to the company, the ALPHA Armor Series Level IV plate is a 10″x12″, single curve plate with a shooter’s cut and it weighs only 4.4 pounds. According to the company, back face deformation from the prescribed round was only 35.58 mm.

While 4.4 pounds may seem like a lot, it is relatively light for a Level IV plate. By way of comparison, the company’s existing 10″x12″ ceramic plate weighs in at 6.9 pounds each. A Level III (a lower level of protection) 10″x12″ shooters cut AR500 steel plate weighs in at about 8.0 pounds with an anti-spalling cover.

The ALPHA plate is made of a silicon carbide composite, which is a form of hard ceramic that has been used in other armor plates. It would be interesting to know what, if any, advancements were made in the composite to give it additional strength at a lower weight.

This plate is listed on the company’s website for $399. Last year, the company introduced a multi-hit, special rifle threat plate that was also very light, only 2.05 pounds, though it did not offer the same level of protection that this one does.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


  • A Fascist Corgi

    I wonder if the police and military will adopt them.

  • xebat

    399$ ? That price seems too good to be true.

    • Edeco

      Yep, outside of my budget/priorities, but I would have expected worse.

      • yodamiles

        Yeah, was kinda expecting at least $699 for IV….. So, how about some torture test!

        • raz-0

          You can get level IV for pretty cheap. What is impressive at $399 is the weight. $399 is one good sale away from being in spitting distance of some of the best bang for the buck 7-8lb options that are 3/4″ thick. It’s a serious price point change for silicon carbide plates if they turn out to be good to go.

  • AC97

    Is this the same plate that can stop M2AP out of a .300 Win Mag?

    You’ll see the video when it comes out of mod limbo as a reply to this comment.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Seeing this and some of the affordable NV and thermal, it’s clear Firearm’s development may have plateaued, but every form of accessory seems to be advancing at a reasonable pace.

  • noamsaying

    Be interesting to see plates made out of the steel foam that supposedly shatters armor piercing. Videos are on the web from University of North Carolina or NC State.

  • roguetechie

    Firearms technology has plateaued and stagnated… However, barring other factors, it could start moving again any time.

  • billyoblivion

    So what are the *heaviest* III, III+ (I know, not a standard) or IV plates that will fit in a First Spear slick carrier?

    I’m looking for a tacticool weight vest that I can take the weights out of and put real armor in. Finding the real armor is easy and expensive. Finding cheap heavy armor is tougher than I thought.

    • raz-0

      just google for ar500 chest plate and pick the cheapest. I don’t know how much wiggle room you have with the carrier, but they’l be the heaviest 10×12 plate you can get, and a 3/8″ level III, you can likely put two up front and two in back of a carrier for your purpose in most carriers. Maybe three if they can hack the wieght and are spaced to permit level III UHMW plates. That’ll depend on how thick the spall guard is or if you can find super cheap ones without spall guard anymore.

  • valorius

    Anyone making carbon nanotube plates yet?

    • User

      Graphen is no problem, but its hard to find ways to produce actual really long nanocarbon tubes, thats what a ton of companys is searching for at the moment basicly. But im not informed anymore as much about the topic, maybe they found an adequat way.

  • billyoblivion


    But figuring out what fits this or that carrier && etc. gives me a headache.