Level 4 body armor is, quite simply, the strongest protection you can get from bullets without being inside of a tank or wearing an Iron-man suit.
The “level 4” designation comes from the NIJ. That’s the National Institute of Justice.
They’ve been testing body armor against bullets of all calibers since 1972!
Level 4 body armor consists of two or more plates worn inside of a vest called a “plate carrier.”
The plates are big enough to cover the vital organs in your chest. It would be great if they covered your stomach, too, but it would be twice as heavy and you wouldn't be able to move or fight very well!
Plates are rated according to which bullets they can stop. The more powerful the bullet it can stop, the higher the rating.
Level 4 plates get the highest rating because they protect you from "armor piercing" rounds, which is freaking incredible.
It can stop armor piercing rounds, which puts you on about the same level as Robocop when you wear it; at least as far as your heart and lungs go.
For comparison, level II (soft body armor) stops most pistol rounds like 9 mm and .45 acp.
Level IIIA (also soft body armor) stops even more pistol rounds, including .357 mag and .44 mag.
Level III (hard body armor) stops rifle rounds, including 5.56 (that’s AR 15 ammo) and .308 (a more powerful round favored by military snipers and long range shooting enthusiasts).
Level IV stops everything the others can stop, PLUS armor penetrating rounds like 5.56 green tips and .30-06. That’s a hell of a lot of protection, wouldn’t you say?
Did You Know?
The NIJ has no official designation for Level 1 body armor.
Historically, though, “Level 1” refers to anti-shank vests prisoners make out of wet newspaper, as well as the “robot suits” little kids make from cardboard boxes and duct tape.
While level 2 is made of Kevlar and 3 is made of steel or ceramic, Level 4 is made of various combinations of ceramics like boron carbide, silicon carbide, and aluminum oxide.
These ceramics are then combined with a special plastic called “ultra high molecular weight polyethylene.”
Don’t ask me about the chemistry!
All I know is this: The NIJ swears that every time they shoot level 4 body armor with a 7.62 mm armor piercing round, the terrified watermelon inside remains unharmed.
When you buy Level 4 body armor, sometimes you’ll see “ICW” in the description.
“ICW” means the armor you’re looking at is rated level 4, but only if you use it “in conjunction with” another device, usually a separate, soft body armor vest worn underneath.
Level 4 standalone plates are exactly that: plates designed to stop armor piercing rounds with no need to add anything else.
For simplicity’s sake, I recommend buying standalone plates. Why complicate a good thing?
But, if you wear a soft body armor vest most of the time anyway, and you want the option of throwing a plate carrier over it occasionally, then an ICW system might be just what the doctor ordered.
I could go into a long speech about how law & order is crumbling, along with our economy.
I could talk about how riots have a tendency of breaking out unexpectedly, especially when fomented by violent communist revolutionary groups working on behalf of a certain political party, with the aid of the mainstream media.
But I won’t do that.
The way I see it, it isn’t a question of whether or not you need level 4 body armor.
This is America, Land of the Free.
If you want it, and you can afford it with your own freakin money, then you should have it!
Did You Know?
A man once asked Confucius, “Why do you have a bayonet on your shotgun?”
Confucius replied, “Because F*ck you, that’s why.”
Level 4 body armor weighs about 6 pounds per plate.
By contrast, AR 500 steel plates (level 3) weigh between 7 and 8 pounds per plate. So, level 4 (which offers more protection) is actually lighter than level 3.
But remember, you’re going to be wearing 2 plates in your carrier: one for the front, and one for the back (unless you don’t mind getting shot in the back like Billy the Kid).
Does 12 pounds of armor sound heavy?
It is! That’s why you should wear it from time to time at home. Train your body to become accustomed to it.
Sit with it. Stand with it. Jog in place while wearing it. The exercise will be good for you.
Of course it’s legal!
Well, not if you’ve been convicted of a violent felony. If that’s you, then you can only wear body armor if it’s required by your current job, like if you’re the security guard for a strip club in a dangerous part of town, or the security guard at a jewelry store.
You pretty much have to be a security guard (or a bodyguard). Otherwise, you may be out of luck.
Some states have restrictions on the purchase of body armor online, and a certain political party in America has been trying to ban the ownership of body armor by civilians for years.
If they ever succeed, your chance to own it will be gone. When the next riot breaks out, you’ll be doomed to make your own armor out of cardboard boxes and duct tape.
The main thing is this:
You’ve got a God given right and obligation to protect yourself and your family any way you can, and owning level 4 body armor, a tool designed 100% for defensive purposes, is one of your best options.
Did You Know?
Adolph Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung, and Joseph Stalin ALL ran on socialist platforms.
All of them confiscated guns from private citizens for "the safety of everyone."
Communism Kill Count in the 20th Century:
100 million people
Why don't they teach that in schools? Must have just slipped by them.
Online is your best bet.
Plenty of websites sell quality armor at an affordable price. Just make sure that whatever you buy conforms to NIJ standards, and that it fits your plate carrier.
For a guide on how to buy a plate carrier, including how to get the right size plates, click here!
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
But I promise I'll NEVER recommend anything that sucks!