Last October I came across DFNDR Armor at the Big 3 East Media Event. Thanks to Phil White, we got them to send us a rifle rated SAPI plate and a handgun rated plate for backpacks.
Both of the armor plates are made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWP) which allows them to remain lightweight and stop bullets.The rifle caliber rated plate weighs only 2.875 lbs.
The lightweight backpack plate is rated for handguns up to .44 magnum and only weighs 1.3125 lbs.
I called upon my friend Brian M. to help me test these plates out. The rifle plate is only a level III rating which allows it to withstand up to .30-06 JSP so we gathered the following calibers:
- 5.56×45 FMJ two rounds
- .300BLK FMJ two rounds
- 7.62×39 FMJ two rounds
- .308 WIN FMJ two rounds
- 6.5CM ballistic tip two rounds
- .300RUM ballistic tip three rounds
I have seen the .300RUM cut through armored steel, like the type used on armored vehicles. So I figured that would destroy this armor.
For the handgun plate we used the following ammo:
- Ruger ARX 9mm two rounds
- HPR Black Ops 9mm two rounds
- .40 S&W JHP two rounds
- .45 ACP solid copper HP two rounds
- .44 Magnum casted bullets 240gr two rounds
- 9mm FMJ thirty rounds
Shooting up the armor
I thought the .300RUM would destroy the plate. I was pleasantly surprised. The first round did manage to penetrate all the way through the rubber dummy target and hit the steel plate behind it. However, I believe this is due to the fact that the bullet hit an area already traumatized by other hits in the vicinity. We re-shot the armor two more times in areas where there were no hits and the bullets never left the armor. The material of the plate did manage to exit out of the plate carrier and hit the rubber dummy.
Nik Petrakis also sent me a demo plate for comparison. The demo plate is made of out of spec materials so it is not rated for much of anything. These are sent out to LE agencies so they can check if it will fit in their issued plate carriers. I did notice a slight difference between the two plates. The demo plate fits just fine in the LBX plate carrier however the Level III plate was a hair too long and the velcro flap just barely kept it in place.
The handgun plate held up to a lot of abuse considering it only weighed 1.3125 lbs. The .45 ACP and .44 Magnum rounds really did a number on the plate.
Surprisingly only a handful of 9mm FMJ made it through the plate even in its weakened state.
DFNDR’s armor exceeded my expectations. Although I do not have much experience with armor. I have shot up a bulletproof Hummer window in the past and shot at armored steel but body armor is not the same. The lightweight of the backpack plate is truly remarkable. It does not feel like something so light can withstand .44 Magnum but it did. Best of all, they are not that expensive. They start off at just $150 on DFNDR’s website. While the Level III rifle plate starts at just $335. Really not that bad considering how much damage and punishment it can withstand.