Ultimate Level 4 Body Armor Q&A

Ultimate Level 4 Body Armor Q&A

We’ve written a lot about the different levels of body armor and which armor will stop what kind of bullets. ShotStop even has an extensive FAQ section on our site that can answer many questions about our armor and other topics of interest.

However, just like anything in life, the more you learn about a topic, the more questions you have. As a former history teacher, I was always fascinated with learning about new topics and it only fueled my interest, which caused me to ask even more questions. 

We’ve recently learned that there are many new questions that many of our readers have. This blog is going to answer all those questions related to Level IV body Armor. 

Is it Illegal to Wear Body Armor in Public?

We’ve answered this question in our FAQ, but we continue to get asked whether or not it’s legal to wear Level IV Body Armor in public. Instead of regurgitating the same lines over and over, I’d like to elaborate. 

 For most Americans, it’s 100% legal to wear body armor in any setting, from public shopping malls, schools, and even federal buildings. However, if you’re a convicted felon of a violent crime, you’re not allowed to wear any kind of ballistic protection. 

To make it clear, if you’re a felon and the crime was non-violent, you fall into an exception and are allowed to wear a Level 4 ballistic vest anywhere you want. According to the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School, any civilian can wear body armor if they’re not a violent felon and not trying to commit a crime while wearing it (i.e. bank robbery, mass shooting, etc…). 

(In case you want the official regulation, 18 U.S.C.A. Section 931)

What Will Level 4 Body Armor Stop?

The good news about the NIJ, is it provides a standard of measurement that is concrete and withstanding.

The biggest take away from Level 4 armor is that it will stop any round fired from a shoulder-fired rifle, including the infamous Dragunov. Level IV body armor that is NIJ-Listed can stop the following bullets:

  • 5.56x45mm 55 grain ball (M193) 
  • 7.62x39mm PS ball (MSC)
  • 7.62x51mm 149 grain M80 FMJ
  • NATO M855 (SS109) 5.56x45mm 62 grain steel core (SS109)
  • M855A1
  • 7.62x63mm M2 AP

  • Can Level 4 armor stop 50 BMG?

    Absolutely not! Unfortunately a 50 caliber BMG is just too fast and powerful for the human body to stop. With a muzzle velocity of 3,044 ft/s and an energy of 13,310 ft-lbs force, this bullet impact alone will destroy your skeletal structure. 

    To put it in perspective, I was a .50 Cal (M2) gunner for my 2nd tour and I’ve split a toyota corolla in half like a knife through butter with less than 30 rounds. Even with our Duritium® technology, there is no chance a ballistic vest can stop a .50 cal BMG. 

    Is Ceramic Armor Better Than Steel Armor?

    This is a great question we’ve started to get more often and have explained the differences in many blogs, including, What Are the Different Types of Body Armor? | Steel, Ceramic, and Polyethylene Vs.  Duritium® Body Armor

    To simplify this answer, we believe that both full steel and full ceramic armor are subpar compared to Duritium®. However, if we had to choose between the 2, most of us would choose ceramic because it’s lighter.

    As everyone who’s ever worn body armor will tell you, weight is everything. Steel armor is always heavier than ceramic and that matters, regardless of what our competitors selling AR500 Steel armor tell you. 

    Is Ceramic Used in Level IV Body Armor?

    We can’t speak for every company, but ShotStop® uses ceramic in conjunction with our Duritium® technology. Unfortunately, ceramic is more of an umbrella term that could include millions of combinations of elements and textiles. For a full explanation of how we produce the best body armor on the planet, read our FAQ section

    What Are the Best Level IV Bulletproof Vests?

    This is an example of a loaded question we often get because to say something is bulletproof would mean no bullet can penetrate it. With the advancements in ballistics and components used in bullets, there will always be a bullet that can defeat armor.

    With that being said, there are no better Level 4 ballistic armor plates than our Duritium® Level IV+HS armor plates.

    Duritium® Level IV+HS

    We can talk about what calibers a Level IV armor plate will stop, but it’s just as important to know if an armor plate will stop multiple hits. Essentially, a Level IV plate that is NIJ-Listed has to be able to stop at least a 5.56x45mm 62 grain steel core, NATO M855 (SS109), 7.62x63mm M2AP. 

    According to the NIJ, the armor plate has to be able to stop penetration from 1 AP bullet. Just like every other armor plate we sell, we don’t settle for minimum requirements. Our Duritium® Level IV+HS plate stopped penetration from 6 AP bullets!  

    With an overall weight of only 5.3 lbs per plate, there is no other plate on the planet that can guarantee you the level of protection, comfort, or mobility that our Level 4 plates offer. 

    The first time I held our Duritium® Level IV+HS plate, I immediately thought there’s no way something this light and thin can protect me in a warzone.

    However, the NIJ confirmed what our engineers already knew and listed our Level IV+HS armor as Level 4. It’s truly something you have to feel to believe. 

    How Long Does Level 4 Armor Last?

    Not all Level 4 armor is equal and not all companies offer the same warranty. The standard length of a Level IV armor plate is 5 years for our competitors.

    Our Duritium® Level IV armor plates are guaranteed to last at least 10 years! We challenge anyone to find an armor plate with a longer warranty than ShotStop®. 

    What is the Lightest Level IV Body Armor?

    Duritium® Level IV+HS is not only a great source of pride for our team, but it’s also the most unique Level IV body armor ever produced. I know many companies give you this same line about how great they are, but we have facts on our side. 

    During my research for this article, I’ve searched everywhere online with dozens of ballistic armor companies and haven’t found any armor that comes close to our specifications. 


    This may not be our normal style of blog, but all of these questions have come directly from the people searching for body armor. As always, here at ShotStop® we pride ourselves in only disseminating factual information to better assist our clients.

    If you’re looking for the lightest, thinnest, and most durable body armor on the planet, ShotStop® is your answer. If you’re interested in learning more about our Level IV body armor, please contact us at sales@shotstop.com

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    • When were level 4 plates developed

      Shane on

    • Agilite makes a IV+ that stops M855A1 and M80A1, but they don’t have the same warranty period, and I believe the Duritium is lighter, not to mention cheaper!!! Shot stop Duritium LVL IV is still probably best bang for the Buck out there.

      Johnny V on

    • I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but I believe I have found a plate manufacturer that is better than ShotStop. They go by Dayton Armor, and there’s a video showing that their plate stopped a .50 Cal. No joke, see for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGEBN1LrfpU. If you decide not to watch the video, then let me explain it. The plate was incredibly deformed after both shots, (it stopped 2 by the way) but it still stopped and the gelatin dummy they strapped the plate to had no damage done to it whatsoever. There is a downside to them however. There is very little information about them online, and without owning one, I can’t officially confirm the quality of the plates, nor can I say that they are worth purchasing or not. Take this with a grain of salt, as I could be wrong, but they seem to be by far, the strongest plate I have ever seen in my entire life.

      Josiah T. on

    • There ARE 12.7mm rated plates, you know. Like SARVIP issued to heli crew and North Ireland 80571 issued to brit troops.

      Ceradyne on

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