Why Every Officer Wear Level III Armor

Why Every Officer Wear Level III Armor

Most of the press and media coverage is centered around wearing Level IIIA NIJ-Listed body armor. It’s no secret that first responders, especially police officers, have no interest in wearing hard plates for a 12 hours shift.

Even when I was a police officer, we would never wear our level 4 body armor at our bases on a normal shift. This is why there are countless organizations, such as Police1 and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) advocating for Level IIIA body armor for most officers. 

Why Do Police Wear Soft Armor Vs. Hard Armor?

Most organizations, including Police1, recommend officers to wear whatever armor coincides with their threat level. You can download their guide from the link above or read last week’s blog, How to Choose Body Armor | Buyer’s Guide From Police1. The reason everyone wants to wear soft armor inserts over hard plate armor is because of the weight, mobility, and comfort level. 

If you talk with most police officers around the country (I’d guess the rest of the world too), they would tell you that having a lightweight, low-profile, and comfortable body armor is more important than the threat level. If you’re not an officer, you might be thinking that doesn’t sound right. However, when your life matters on factors such as how you move and how quickly you can respond to aggression, mobility becomes more important. 

Why Should Officers Consider Hard Plate Level III Body Armor?

According to the current total for 2021 tallied by the LEOKA, police officers are on pace to shatter their annual total of fallen officers. At the end of June we hit 37 police officers feloniously killed in the line of duty.

The current record for our nation is 57 deaths in one year and we’re only 7 months into the year. As of now, we’ve lost 5 officers this month as gun violence starts to increase. We’re currently between 42-45 officers killed this year and we still have 5 full months to go. As we undoubtedly hit an unprecedented number of police killings before the end of the year, we must find a way to better protect our community heroes. 

According to the F.B.I. 29 of those 37 were killed by firearms and that doesn’t include the 4 officers killed by firearms this month (one officer killed yesterday in Selma, AL). At least 10 of those officers were killed with rifles ranging from AR-15s to a .308 Winchester hunting rifle. 

My .308 rifle has taken down deer, wild boar, and an elk, I don’t say that to boast, but to inform you what it’s capable of. If you’ve ever seen an Elk, you know that it must be a powerful bullet to bring one down. You’re going to need an armor that is capable of meeting that challenge and we have no doubt ShotStop® is up to the challenge. 

There are many things to consider when choosing your armor and we have those taken care of in our previous blog (listed above). Making the decision to wear soft armor over hard armor is never about the protection and always about the comfort and practicality of it. The thing is, you don’t have to choose between being mobile and comfortable or better protected anymore. 

Why Choose ShotStop®?

ShotStop® offers Level III + armor that is the lightest, thinnest, and most durable plate on the market. Before I get into specific plates we offer, let me show you why ShotStop® is better than our closest competitors. 

Oftentimes the first question we receive from potential buyers is “why would I pay more for a ShotStop® plate, when I can get another NIJ-Listed plate for half the price?” This is often a selling point for many of our competitors and we understand why they would settle on the price point. It’s absolutely true that you can get an AR550 NIJ-Listed plate for half the price of a Duritium® Level III Plate. 

There are many reasons why we feel like we provide better armor, but for starters, we offer the industry-leading 15-year warranty on NIJ-Listed Level 3 body armor. There are many companies that sell versions of the Armored Republic AR500 series hard plate inserts. Unfortunately, you can search their websites and the NIJ Compliant List and see our warranty is 3x as long. 

Yes, you’ll spend twice as much per plate, but you will save 3x the money on your ballistic protection over 15 years! This means if you’re a police officer with more than 5 years in service, this is the only armor you’ll ever need to buy for duty. Versus our competition when you’ll have to buy their armor at least 3 times in their career. 

Is ShotStop® the Lightest Level III Body Armor?

Compared to our closest competitors, the majority of their armor weighs anywhere from 5-12 lbs per plate. You might notice they’re armor is thinner than ours, but weighs up to 24 lbs of extra weight. You can get our Duritium® Level III Plates for as low as 5 total lbs of extra weight (Duritium® Level III ICW Plate). 

Some detractors might say, you’re only that low because it’s used with a soft armor insert. They would be correct, but we also have our Duritium® Level III + PS plate that is a stand-alone plate that weighs only 3.2 lbs per plate. No matter how you look at it, there is no combination of weight, durability, thickness level, and comfort on the planet today. 

Duritium® Level III ICW Plate

The reason I like this plate so much for first responders is the ability to add our ICW plate over their soft armor. We’re realists in the belief that most officers will want to wear soft armor most of the time. We also know that with more violence towards police officers will require our officers to wear a higher threat level than soft armor can provide. 

Our Duritium® Sprinter 7”x9” ICW plate is NIJ-Listed Level III ICW Level IIIA Soft Armor. If you’re under the impression that your life could be in danger, this Duritium® plate will give you protection against an AK-47, AR-15, and any sized handgun you run into. 

This plate can be easily slipped into the slot and you’re ready to go in a matter of seconds, not minutes. I suggest just wearing the Sprinter plate at all times because 2.4 lbs of added weight to your chest and back is negligible compared to our competitors at 15-24 lbs.

Shooters Cut Vs. Sprinter Cut Plate?

There are arguments for both cut styles with distinctive benefits for both. Starting with the Shooters cut, it's the standard full coverage of 10”x12”, so you’ll be given more protection from upper chest, shoulder, and lower abdomen. Our Duritium® ICW Shooters Cut is only 2.4 lbs per plate and still 0.6” thick. Once you pick up this plate, you’re not going to believe it can stop a 7.62x51mm with the help of soft armor. 

On the other hand, there is no plate as compact as the Sprinter plate and is still NIJ-Listed under Level III ICW. The Sprinter plate makes you feel like you’re wearing nothing and it will help train your body and mind to get used to wearing more protection. If you're hesitant to wear hard armor, this is the perfect place to start. 

The best part about wearing ShotStop® armor is that you know you’re getting exactly what you want, need, and deserve. We hide nothing from our customers and are willing to help out any first responder organization in the world. Yes, we strongly believe every first responder around the world deserves the best ballistic protection. 

If you have any questions about our Duritium® body armor and want to take advantage of bulk discounts for your entire department, contact us at sales@shotstop.com

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