Is Level 4 Body Armor Legal For Civilians?

Is Level 4 Body Armor Legal For Civilians?

Level IV NIJ-Listed body armor is the highest rating of ballistic protection tracked by the National Institute of Justice.t. It’s meant for soldiers and Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) to stop any shoulder-fired rifle faced in warfare. 

Level IV Body Armor
However, there are many applications in which civilians can benefit from having the maximum allowed personal protection. 
Many law-abiding Americans have asked about Level 4 armor for events like hunting in public land or having the best protection for their families in case of a home invasion. 
The good news for most Americans is we are allowed to wear Level 4 body armor in public spaces if we choose to do so.
To keep this short and sweet, unless you’re a convicted felon or trying to perform a criminal act.
You can find the exact law that states the status of felons at USCODE Title 18- Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Police Level IV Body Armor

Can You Wear Body Armor in Public?

There are individual freedoms and rights we have in our country that are just not honored in any other place I’ve been (50+ countries). Wearing body armor as a civilian has a connotation that you’re doing something wrong or violent. 
Even though we’re all aware of the gun violence many Americans face, we want to help as many of our fellow brothers and sisters as possible. We want to show everyone that body armor doesn’t have to have a negative connotation.  

Level IV body armor with plate carrier
We believe that if it’s within state and federal laws, every American should have the opportunity to wear the highest level of ballistic protection available today. 

How Do I Know I’m Within State and Federal Laws?

As a former teacher, I used to pride myself on giving my students the tools needed to conduct independent, objective research. 
I personally believe that knowing how to find the answers for yourself is more valuable than me giving you a broad answer that may not apply to your state. Follow these links and steps below to be certain of your state and federal laws. 

  1. Read the Reasonable Body Armor Possession Act (HR4568). This is the official bill passed by Congress allowing Americans to wear Body Armor. 
  2. Search for each individual state using Google. Include your state in the search. For example, in Virginia I would type Virginia Body Armor Laws into the search engine.
  3.  Once your search results display on the screen, look for .gov or .org websites relating to the body armor laws.

Best Body Armor for Home Defense

When I think about protecting my home, just like every other American I want the best for my family. There are questions that you need to ask yourself when you consider the appropriate armor protection level for your specific situation.
  1. What type of threats are you concerned about (9mm, 5.56mm NATO, 7.62mm, 30-06, etc.)? 

The 2 most common guns in America are the 9mm pistol and an AR-15 rifle shooting 5.56x45mm NATO.
If you’re confident that you’ll only face off against a handgun or 12 ga shotgun, you don’t need Level 4 armor.

Level IV Body armor set
However, if you think you might face off against an AR or large caliber rifle, you need to have the best possible protection.

  1. How much weight can individual family members carry?

If you want to outfit your family in body armor, you need to make sure it’s lightweight. For example, the most common hard plate armor is either ceramic or steel. Both materials are much heavier than what our Duritium® Level IV offers.
Our Level IV+HA plate is only 4.5 lbs. for the large 10”x12” plate compared to the average steel plate on the market weighing about 8-12 lbs. per plate

  1. Is your body armor NIJ-Listed to stop multiple threats?

Stopping multiple rifle-caliber bullets and staying within the regulations of back force deformation is something every Level 4 body armor company tries to accomplish. 

With modern ballistic technology, most guns have higher rates of fire, which means more bullets shot per incident.
I’ve searched everywhere online and there is no other company that offers an independent laboratory test showing proven multiple stops from a 30-06 rifle.
Anytime you’re dealing with a bullet traveling 2,870 ft/sec, you need to know that your armor will hold up against multiple strikes.

Shotstop level IV+HA plate

  1. Do you have the correct body armor size for each family member?
It’s no secret that no two people are the same height, weight, and body type. Therefore, we created 5 different sizes for our SAPI and Shooters cut Level IV+HA plate. We have an 8x10”, 8.75x11.75”, 10x12”, 11x14”, and 9.5x12.5” plate.
Before you buy any body armor, make sure you measure your family members for the proper fit, according to the ASTM Standard Practice for Body Armor Wearer Measurement and Fitting of Armor.
How Do I Measure for Body Armor?  
Chest/ bust girth Measure the horizontal circumference around the torso.
Torso girth Take 3 measurements around your torso below the rib cage at your waist. (Use the largest measurement)
Chest width Measure the horizontal distance straight across the chest between the front opening around your armpits (see figure 3)
Chest width while in shooting stance Measure the body and arm position while in your shooting stances.
Back width Measure from below your shoulder blades horizontally across your back.
Underarm vertical length Measure the vertical distance between the armpit and the top of your belt.
Front center length- standing position Measure the vertical distance from the bottom of the suprasternal notch (just below your throat)
Front lateral length- standing position Measure the vertical distance from the top of your clavicle over the bust to the top of the duty belt.
Front center length seated position Measure from one armpit to the center of your chest.
Front lateral length- seated position Measure from armpit to armpit with tape measure across the center of the chest.
Back length Measure from the cervicale (last bone you can feel at top of your spine) to the top of your belt.


 Body Armor Fit test

Body Armor Fit test Chest Measurement

Best Body Armor for Hunting

Most states across the country are within two weeks of the beginning of whitetail rifle season. The leaves are falling, and the air is crisp. For me, I know this is my time to be in the woods.
Depending on where you are hunting, you may be using a small caliber like .270 Win or a larger caliber like a 7mm Rem Mag. However, the most popular hunting caliber for whitetail deer is the 30-06 Springfield (7.62 x 63mm).
Regardless of your specific caliber, the most used body armor (Level IIIA) will not protect you in a hunting accident where rifles are being used.

Shotstop Level IV+HA plate
The only protection level that can stop a 30-06, .308, or 7mm Rem Mag is a NIJ-Listed Level IV body armor.  Level IV can stop these rounds.  The level IV comes to the rescue when AP tips are added to these threats.  
When Would I Need Body Armor While Hunting?
Have you ever hunted on public land? Each year, I read about dozens of hunting accidents, where Americans have been shot with a 30-06 or magnum-caliber rifle. Out of those incidents, I rarely ever see hunters with body armor – but the ones who do wear body armor have on Level IIIA.
I wear our Duritium® Level IV+HA body armor any time that I go hunting on public land during rifle season. Many people ask me why I feel the need to wear such high-level armor while hunting.

The simplest explanation is that our Duritium® armor is the lightest, thinnest, most durable, and is rated to stop 3 consecutive shots from a 30-06.  It’s as close to ‘stop anything’ one can find while maintaining comfort.  Best of all worlds.
When deciding which hunting armor to wear it’s very important to consider these three essential body armor features.

  1. Fit and comfort level
  2. Reliability (NIJ-Listed?)
  3. Low-profile or high-profile?

Is There a Difference Between a 30-06 and 7.62x63 M2 AP Bullet?

One very important consideration that can be confusing is the difference between a 30-06 that we use to hunt with and the military 30-06 Armor Piercing (AP) bullet.

Shotstop Level IV armor

The distinction between an AP bullet meant for warfighters and soft-point (metal) or polymer (Blue-tip) bullets can be confusing. In general, one is used for combat and one is used for hunting.

What is An Armor Piercing Bullet Used For?

Armor piercing bullets are meant to defeat light-armored vehicles or body armor. These bullets are used in warfare and law enforcement and are sometimes illegal in some states (not all). 

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives,a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium”. 

Why Wouldn’t I Hunt With an AP Bullet?

Since an AP bullet is designed to punch through hard materials, it’s not going to expand as quickly upon impact. 

In short, if you shot a deer with an AP 30-06, it would just go through the deer and travel much further.

This presents a lot of unnecessary risk and danger to other animals, people, and property around your hunting area.

What is a Polymer (Blue Point) Bullet Used For?

A polymer bullet often features a blue tip on the bullet to signify its design. Not all polymer tips have a blue-tip, but it’s the closest thing to the universal distinction of a plastic tip vs soft metal tip. 

Shotstop logo

A polymer-tip 30-06 is used for hunting because it expands instantly upon impact and has a wider, more even expansion than soft metal. 

I hunt with both soft metal tips and polymer tips with my 30-06 (picture above) and they both work great. However, I notice through zeroing that my polymer tips are about a half-MOA more accurate through my rifle. 

Polymer tips are also much better for hunting than soft metal because there is very little ricochet with plastic vs metal. 

Why Should I Choose Shotstop® Level 4 Body Armor?
Our Duritium® Level IV+HA offers four distinct sizes in two different cuts (shooters, SAPI). Not only can we properly fit almost any size person, but all our Duritium® HA plates are multi-curve and stand-alone NIJ-Listed armor.

Shotstop Level IV body armor 
Multi-curve plates are meant to accommodate the natural curves of a person’s body. As we know, there is no NIJ-Listed body armor specifically designed for women. However, our multi-curve plates offer the most comfort for female hunters.
To be 100% confident in the capabilities of your armor, you should look for an NIJ independent laboratory test resultFor example, we offer multiple independent test results for both our Level IV+HA and our Level IV+HS.

Shotstop Level Iv+HA NIJ test result
As you can see from the test result above, our Level IV+HA plate exceeds the standards set by the NIJ in the number of rounds it can stop (3 shots from 30-06).
Even though the NIJ only requires our armor to stop a single AP-M2 bullet, we take pride in always striving to set the new standards in ballistic protection.
Whitetail deer have adapted their hearing and sense of smell giving them incredible survival instincts.
Whether you are hunting from a tree stand, ground blind, or open field you will rarely stand straight up to take a shot.
While keeping completely still and crouching low behind a tree, the last thing you want to think about is a hard plate digging into your hips or pushing up into your neck.

Also, while lying prone in an open field you want to be as low to ground as possible. Our Level IV hard plate armor is less than 1 inch thick to provide an incredibly low profile.
Part of being a low-profile plate is the thickness, but also the shape and overall weight of the plate. 
Going with a shooter’s cut plate while hunting will provide all the space you need to remain low to the ground and still be in a proper shooting position.
Is Your Body Armor Stab-Resistant?
Whether you’re hunting or wearing armor for home defense, you need to know if your armor will stop a slash or spike threat.
The NIJ tests body armor for stab-resistance in the same meticulous and thorough methodology as they do for ballistic testing.
The only regulation you should familiarize yourself with is the NIJ Stab Resistance of Personal Body Armor.

Shotstop Level 4 body armor
All Shotstop® plates are not specifically rated for the NIJ Stab-Resistance standard (0115.00) but will stop any sharp edge weapon from penetrating your armor.

One of the most unique features of our country is that there has never been a Democratic Republic like the one we have. 

There have been democracies as far back as Athens Greece (508 years before Jesus Christ was born). However, no nation has ever offered the amount of individual freedoms like our Constitution dictates.

Shotstop Logo
With that being said, the opportunity to wear the highest level of personal ballistic protection should be available to every American citizen. 

Shotstop® not only provides the lightest and thinnest Level 4 body armor, but we also offer the best and most exclusive warranty program on the planet (10 years for Level 4). 

If you’re interested in providing the best level of protection for your family, please contact our sales at

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