How ShotStop® is Helping Ukraine | Best Level 3+ and Level 4+ Body Armor For Civilians

How ShotStop® is Helping Ukraine | Best Level 3+ and Level 4+ Body Armor For Civilians

At this point in April 2022, I don’t think it’s news to anyone about the atrocities currently happening in Ukraine. 

Regardless of where each of us lie on the political spectrum, it’s impossible for us to not recognize the need to protect the lives of innocent civilians. As a ballistic protection company, our goal has and will always be to assist in the preservation of life. 

ShotStop Level 4 Body Armor with Mossberg Shotgun

We hope that attention never wanes from the plight of the refugees of war that we wish to protect. 

Our Duritium® Level III+ and Level IV+ body armor plates are more than ready for this moment of extreme danger and agony that has engulfed Ukraine. 

How is ShotStop® Helping Ukraine?

Once the Ukrainian conflict started, we immediately received a dozen calls from government contractors, many inside our federal government (European governments too), to provide acceptable lightweight Level 3 and Level 4 body armor for both civilians and soldiers. 

Our Business liaison, Skip Gavorski coordinates with government contractors to facilitate the exchange of our body armor.  

ShotStop Lightweight Level 4 Body Armor

Skip can confirm we’ve already sent (We received confirmation of delivery) over 1,000 plates and have many more on the way very soon. 

"We have over 1,000 plates already there and we're working on probably 20 more deals," Gavorski stated in the Channel 5 interview.

How Will ShotStop® Continue to Help Ukraine?

Recently, The White House reported an additional $800 million U.S. security assistance package for Ukraine, including 25,000 sets of body armor. 

Even with the government aid, there are costs we incur that put a strain on the company. I only bring this up because we’re committed to donating as many sets of body armor as possible as long as we can continue to afford it. 

Like our CEO Vall says, "We'll keep sending it for as long as we can afford it and as long as they need us."

Many people may not know our history, but our leader Vall Iliev came to America from Bulgaria in 1976 as communism took over Eastern Europe during the Cold War. 

His experiences under communism have shaped his belief in democratic values and reinforced his desire to help save lives.  

As a former soldier, I’ve seen the effects of war on civilian populations and the cruelty of bad-actors. 

Similarly, Mr. Iliev witnessed many of his close friends tortured, beaten, and killed by communist dictators. This lasting impression and image of tortured friends gave Vall his purpose in life.

Why is ShotStop® Helping Ukraine?


As human beings, we’re drawn to help any human in need of personal protection. Ever since the 1880’s Ukrainian immigrants have settled around the Cleveland, Ohio region. 

Ukrainian-Americans are a part of our culture and represent a group of people many of us in Northern Ohio know as kin. 

All ShotStop products are made in the U.S.A.

As the Industrial Revolution roared on in cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago, families moved out from the crowded cities (known as Urban Sprawl). 

Ukrainian-American immigrants fleeing communism in Eastern Europe partially built cities like Stow, Ohio. 

Stow company sending vests, armor to Ukraine residents

An even more personal story that Jason Henkel, Senior Executive? Recently shared with Bob Jones of CBS News in Cleveland, is Tanya, his wife was a Ukrainian refugee.She fled Ukraine when she was only 12 years old as a refugee. 

It must be a surreal feeling to think that the body armor we make could assist in saving friends and relatives halfway across the planet. 

This feeling is obviously not lost on Jason, as he states ,"It sits on the consciousness. You think about it a lot and you just want to help people," Henkel said. "We need to support these people for more than just a humanitarian reason. People are on the run." 

Civilians in Conflict

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), there have been at least 1,417 civilians killed in Ukraine so far. This number included 59 children (22 girls, 40 boys) and over 200 Ukrainian women. 

As I write this article, a missile struck a train depot in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, killing at least 39 people. Unfortunately, the civilian casualty numbers are most likely much greater, but most of Eastern Ukraine is inaccessible for authorities to get an accurate account. 

For example, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, reports the number of children killed is at least 158 (April 3, 2022). 

We don’t know the exact number, but if we can save the lives of even just one of those children, we’ll gladly support them more than just humanitarian help. 

Why is Lightweight Body Armor Important For Civilians?

Many children, elderly, or injured civilians will have trouble wearing Level 4 Body Armor plates for any kind of extended time. 

We have the lightest, thinnest, and most universally accepted Level 3 and Level 4 body armor plates ever made. 

ShotStop Duritium Body Armor Plate

Normally when we speak about body armor, we’re talking about trained LEOs or professional soldiers. Asking a 10-year-old to wear probably 30% of their body weight in steel plates isn’t safe for that child's body. 

Furthermore, think about your grandparents or older uncles and aunts. Would you want them wearing AR500 steel that weighs 8-10 lbs per plate and walk miles without breaking down? 

Pounds equals pain, and no one said it better than Marine Captain Courtney Thompson in her work with soldiers. Just 15 lbs of extra weight can have irreversible damage to your joints, including your knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, and back. 

As Captain Thompson conducted her research, it’s important to keep in mind that it was used in trained U.S. Marines. To think we can hold young children or elderly grandparents to the same standard is negligent. 

Steel or full-ceramic body armor is not suitable for most people due to the excess in weight, bulk, and unforgiveness in fit. 

How is Duritium® Body Armor Perfect For Civilians?

Whether you choose a Level 3+ or Level 4+ plate, our Duritium® technology ensures access to the lightest NIJ-Listed Level III plates and most durable Level IV plates. 

Our Level IV+ plates are not NIJ-Listed, but they’re tested by the same NIJ- LIsted independent laboratories

Most Comfortable Hard Plate Armor

We understand that everyone comes in different shapes, sizes, and heights. We always want our armor to be universally accepted for women and men, so we use a multi-curve design to offer room where it’s needed. 

Lowest Profile Level IV Hard Plate Armor

It’s one thing to strap on military-rated ballistic protection to a child, but it’s another thing to have bulky armor that restricts their ability to move and react. Steel armor is thin enough for anyone, but it’s heavy for civilians to move quickly and remain healthy. 

Full-ceramic armor is too bulky, restricting body and arm movement like a scene from the Christmas Story with Randy (Ralphie’s little brother) getting dressed for the snow. 

Our Duritium® Level IV+HA plate is only 0.9” thick with a multi-curve plate for added versatility.

Lightest Level IV Body Armor Plates

We have 2 Level IV plates that are more durable, comfortable, and lighter than any AR500 steel or full-ceramic armor on Earth. 

In fact, the Duritium® Level IV+HS plate comes in a very unique size of 8” x 10” and only weighs 3.5 lbs per plate

Most Versatile Level IV Body Armor

We build 4 distinct sizes for our HA plates and 3 sizes with 2 separate cuts for our HS plates. We offer both a Shooters Cut plate and a SAPI Cut plate to provide options of level of coverage versus freedom of movement. 

Duritium® Level IV+HS Shooters Cut Plate Size

Weight Per Plate (lbs)

8” x 10”


10” x 12”


11” x 14”


Duritium® Level IV+HS SAPI Cut Plate Size

Weight Per Plate (lbs)

8” x 10”


10” x 12”


11” x 14”


Why Support ShotStop®?

One of the biggest reasons I chose to work for ShotStop® was the belief in the mission. As our leader states in a new interview with Channel 5 in Cleveland, "My mission in life overall is to save lives," he said.

As I was touring the facility, I saw banners and posters in offices that read “We Protect The Protectors”. I asked our creative director, Brian Willse and he quickly said, “this is our guiding principle and company motto”. 

He explained that everything we create is based on providing the best possible protection for those who protect our communities and nation. If the sales pitch didn’t hook me immediately, the moment I put on a Duritium® Level IV+HA plate sure did.

There are few companies that I've ever worked for that had a singular mission that was as compelling and empathetic as what we do here at ShotStop®.

The genuine belief in the mission is contagious, and as one of the worst refugee crises we’ve seen in Europe since WWII, it’s exciting and humbling to outfit thousands of Ukrainian civilians as they flee the Russian military. 

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