.308 Vs. 30-06 M2 AP | 7 Questions to Help Choose the Best Body Armor

.308 Vs. 30-06 M2 AP | 7 Questions to Help Choose the Best Body Armor

There are 5 classifications of ballistic resistance that are stringently tested to ensure they meet quality control standards. There are very slim margins of protection between each of the armor types, so it’s important to know which armor is best for you.

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We get a lot of questions through email and many more on our social media channels, but I picked 7 that should help you when choosing your next set of ballistic armor plates. 

1. What are the different levels of body armor?

  • NIJ Type/Level IIA Body Armor

Level 2A body armor is the lowest classification that the NIJ accepts as ballistic protection. They tested this classification to stop the penetration from a 124 Gr 9mm FMJ with a 1,225 FT/S bullet velocity. 

Level 2A body armor


According to the NIJ, Level 2A also tests a 180 Gr .40  S&W Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) with a bullet velocity of 1,155 FT/S. 

  • NIJ Type/Level II Body Armor

They tested level 2 body armor to prevent the penetration of 2 specific bullets; 9mm FMJ and a .357 Magnum Jacketed Soft Point (JSP)


NIJ Level II Calibers

9mm 

.357 Magnum

Bullet Velocity

1,305 FT/S

1430 FT/S

Bullet Weight

124 Grain

158 Grain

Bullet Type

FMJ Round Nose (RN)

JSP

  • NIJ Type/Level IIIA Body Armor

Since we’ve written only on the different body armor classifications, we never want to make things seem too redundant.  

NIJ Level IIIA Calibers

.44 Magnum

.357 Sig 

Bullet Velocity

1,340 FT/S

1,470 FT/S 

Bullet Weight

240 Grain

125 Grain

Bullet Type

Semi-Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP)

FMJ Flat Nose


I’m linking the top 2 blogs that we have on body armor for a better understanding of all the Levels of armor.


NIJ Level IIIA Calibers

.44 Magnum

.357 Sig 

Bullet Velocity

1,340 FT/S

1,470 FT/S 

Bullet Weight

240 Grain

125 Grain

Bullet Type

Semi-Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP)

FMJ Flat Nose

  • NIJ Type/Level III Body Armor

Level III body armor is the start of wearing hard plate inserts to protect from rifle-caliber bullets. 

The NIJ test Level III against the M80 bullet to stop 6 consecutive shots and stay within the range of backface deformation. 

ShotStop Level 4 Body Armor


NIJ Level III Calibers

7.62x51mm (M80)

Bullet Velocity

2,780 FT/S

Bullet Weight

147 Grain

Bullet Type

FMJ Steel-Jacketed

  • NIJ Type/Level IV Body Armor

Level IV body armor is the highest threat-protection classification with the ability to stop a 30-06 M2 Armor Piercing bullet.

NIJ Level IV is what soldiers wear in their Interceptor Vest because it will stop multiple hits from almost any shoulder-fired weapon in production.


NIJ Level II Calibers

.30 Caliber M2 AP

Bullet Velocity

2,880 FT/S

Bullet Weight

166 Grain

Bullet Type

FMJ Round Nose (RN)

 


2. Can civilians own Level 4 body armor?

Yes, refer to Is it Legal to Wear Body Armor in Public? Each state may have some minor tweaks, so be sure to check with your specific state before you buy. As long as you’re not a convicted felon or wearing the armor to commit a crime, then you’re ready.

ShotStop Level 4 Body Armor

3. What Size Ballistic Plate Do I Need?

Finding the right fit for your body armor can be a very challenging thing to do. The best part about it is we already published a guide for you to follow, so you know for sure how to wear body armor and how to get the right fit

4. What is the difference between 30-06 and 308?

The fundamental differences between the .308 Winchester and the 30-06 (M2 AP) is the charge capacity, case length and overall length. The M2 AP bullet punches through drywall, car doors, and light armor. The bullet is longer and handles a larger charge, which increases the amount of force the bullet. 

ShotStop Level 4 Body Armor




30-06

.308 Win

Case Type

Rimless Bottleneck 

Rimless Bottleneck 

Bullet Diameter

.308” 

.308” 

Land

.300”

.300”

Neck 

.34”

.34”

Shoulder 

.441

.453”

Base

.471

.471”

Rim

.472

.472”

Rim Thickness

.053

.053”

Case Length

2.49”

2.015”

Overall Length

3.34”

2.80”

Case Capacity (Max)

66.6 gr 

54.0 gr 

Primer Type

Large Rifle Primer

Large Rifle Primer

Max Pressure (SAAMI)

60,190 PSI

62,000 PSI

Max Velocity

3,484 FT/S (110 Gr)

3,480 FT/S (115 Gr)

Max Energy

3,036 FT-LBF

2,718 FT-LBF

5. Will Level 3 Body Armor Stop a .308 Winchester?

Yes, a NIJ Level III body armor plate will stop a 7.62 x 51mm bullet from penetration. As with anything, there are caveats to what armor will stop hand-loaded ammo. For example, since a .308 Win and a 30-06 share the same bullet size, hand-loaders can alter the .308 cartridge to fit an AP bullet made for a 30-06. 

6. Can Hand-loaded Ammo Defeat Level 3 Body Armor?

If you buy Level 3 body armor and don’t know that people can use AP bullets and work around legal loopholes to defeat Level III armor with a (technically) legal bullet. Since the M2 AP bullet is a military surplus bullet, people can find them if they look hard enough. 

By hand loading an M2 AP bullet inside a .308 Winchester case, civilians can have ammo that will defeat every level of protection, except NIJ Level IV. 

ShotStop Level 4 Armor on Police

This is important because if someone is shooting a .308, you’ll be fine if you’re hit with the bullet, but what if it’s more like a 30-06 through customization? 

Level 3 body armor is normally lighter and thinner than Level 4 armor, so I understand why most people prefer it over Level 4. However, I always felt like I performed better under pressure knowing I can trust my gear to handle anything coming my way. 

7. Will Level 4 Body Armor Stop a 30-06 Armor Piercing Bullet?

Yes, an NIJ Level 4 body armor plate will stop an AP bullet fired from any shoulder-fired gun made today. Our Level Duritium® IV+ HA plate has proven its effectiveness against M2 AP bullets with our independently tested lab reports

Why Choose ShotStop®

ShotStop® sells both NIJ Level 3 and Level IV body armor that meets and exceeds all standard testing procedures. 

Even though NIJ tests Level 3 armor to stop an M80 bullet, our Duritium® Level III+PA and PS plates will stop a 7.62 x 39mm and a 5.56x45mm NATO (M193). 

This means that our Level 3+ plates will stop 6 rounds of the most common calibers fired from an AK-47 and an AR-15 platform.

ShotStop body armor

Our Duritium® Level IV+HA plate is the lightest, thinnest, and most comfortable multi-curve plate in production. At just 4.5 lbs per plate for the standard 10” x12” plate, we offer each of our plates in either SAPI, Full, or Shooters Cut. 

We’re excited to get to know our future customers and look forward to serving our community with the best possible ballistic protection. If you have questions please contact us at sales@shotstop.com. 


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1 comment


  • Very good info.

    steve on

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