Steel Armor Shenanigans From screenshot

    A screenshot from the video where AR500Armor claims their plate stops 5.56mm armor piercing ammo.

    It’s natural for a manufacturer to want to portray their product in the best possible light. But when the capabilities of your product are technical in nature, it can be tempting to advertise in such a way that less informed consumers might get the wrong idea. AR500Armor makes some very tough steel armor at a reasonable price. Their product is quite solid, really. But their enthusiastic marketing has moved into an area that is frankly misleading. They recently posted a video to their Facebook page that features their level III+ plate being hit by 5.56mm “API”. So far as I am aware, there has never been any “real” armor piercing incendiary 5.56mm issued by any military. When I asked them what the nomenclature of the ammunition was, they deleted my post and blocked me from further comment. When several other users pressed them, they eventually admitted that it was actually a commercial offering. You might fairly inquire “So what?”. Why would it matter? Because the velocity recorded in their test was only 2,700 fps and the manufacturer of the ammo says that the penetrator is just “an M855 style penetrator”. M855 is easily stopped by all level III steel armor at substantially higher velocity than that seen in this test so the ammunition cannot be considered to be armor piercing either by military designation or by any stretch of the imagination. It is quite literally just a label applied by the ammo maker.  AR500Armor’s III+ plate actually is a very tough plate and has been shown in independent testing to stop actual armor piercing bullets from a 7.62x51mm rifle. Real AP ammo in 5.56mm would have no trouble defeating this plate, though. M995 would slice through like butter. M995 is rare as unicorn farts so it is unlikely that we will see any testing of it, but even the Army’s standard 5.56mm ball cut through their III+ plate so it’s likely that true 5.56mm AP would get through.  To be clear, AR500Armor hasn’t technically lied and they really do make a solid product, but this video seems to be intended to imply to viewers that their level III+ plate is able to stop all 5.56mm ammunition or even that it is able to stop armor piercing 5.56mm. That is most definitely not the case, which is unfortunate, because their III+ plate is otherwise a great plate.


    Andrew is a combat veteran of OEF and has performed hundreds of ballistic tests for his YouTube channel, The Chopping Block ( He is an avid firearm collector and competitor and lives with his family in Arizona. If you have any questions, you may email him at [email protected]