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Ronald_55

Anyone use Ar500.com Armor ?

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I have been seriously looking at some armor to add to my gear. Rarely am I really looking at tactical style gear. I like to be a little lower profile than that. So I have no experience with it. I also need to keep it in a budget that keeps me out of the dog house. My better half does not approve of my, as she calls it, "crazy ideas." I fully know the old "you get what you pay for". That is why the prices I am seeing from AR500.com make me ask. I see sub $200 plate carriers with level III armor plates. I know the carriers are not ballistic, so that explains part of it. 

So does anyone have one if these? Do you like it? Is it comfortable? I have a gut, so that is a worry for me. I don't want it riding up to my chin. 

Btw, I did look st some older posts, but they were old enough that I thought it wise to get updated info.

Thanks in advance

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I have a couple sets and I'm very pleased with them. I recommend getting on their email distribution as they have 20% off sales a couple times a year. Black Friday is probably their next big sale, that's when I have bought mine. There are pros and cons to steel plates vs ceramic or more exotic styles of armor. It just comes down to your budget and intended use. When Ar500.com was first starting out they made a plethora of YouTube videos shooting their plates with everything imaginable and showed the viewer the success and failures. Demolition Ranch also has numerous videos destroying or trying to destroy plates sent to him by Ar500.com. Check out some of these videos and you might be surprised how well these plates hold up. They are certainly heavier than ceramics, but they are a fraction of the cost, multi-hit capable, and don't need to be x-ray tested periodically like the ceramics. Very low maintenance. I don't drop my plates or treat them bad, but it's nice knowing that if I did drop them or if they bounced around in the back of the truck they wouldn't potentially be getting cracks that lower their protection ability. When I was in the Army our ceramic plates were collected up and x-rayed twice a year, and we were always amazed how many had to be replaced from normal wear (not from being shot). I personally cracked a ceramic plate on an obstacle course. Not that I do anything crazy like that anymore but I don't have the money or desire to deal with ceramics. To me the only plus side to ceramics is the weight, specifically the lack thereof. So if someone is wearing their plates for hours at a time or wearing them everyday then it might be worth looking at ceramics. But for most of us that just want a "just in case" set I would advocate strongly for the Ar500 plates. 

Edited to add:

They are as comfortable as wearing a weight around your neck/shoulders can be :) a lot of that comes down to the carrier style you choose. I have a bit of a gut now and they certainly are not as comfy and maneuverable as they used to be. And I think it's hard for anyone (myself included) with a pronounced gut to not look ridiculous wearing body armor, it's kind of an oxymoron situation I think. Picking a carrier with straps that are a bit wider will help distribute the weight across the shoulders and mitigate the "cutting in" feeling, though it will still be uncomfortable after a couple hours.

Edited by Danger Rane
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I recently bought a set of spartan armor AR650 triple curve with the thick spall coating... I’m 6’4” a well built 250 lbs and so ended up with the11x14... let me tell you the weight on paper doesn’t seem like much but that #### is heavy as a mother... wish I would’ve gotten something else and spent the cash... awesome quality and I’m sure it would stop bullets but gd it’s too much with all my other ####... soon will be relegated to back up or spare

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Just looked it up and Sorry it’s shooters cut AR550 and  weighs in at 11 ####ing lbs a plate! have them in a quick release London bridge trading 6094 carrier and they barely fit

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@Ronald_55 I have the 10"x12" Level III, Advanced Shooter Cut, curved, with the upgraded (thicker) spall mitigation coating. I strongly advise against steel plates without some form of spall mitigation. Mine are about 7.5-8lbs per plate. I went with Tactical Tailer plate carriers but I would not do that again as I think they are pretty overpriced for what you get. My Dad got his plate carrier from Ar500 when he got his plates and I think his is as good a quality as my Tactical Tailor stuff and only 1/3rd the price.

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I'll do counterpoints to the above. If you wait and pay attention you can get ceramic plates, multi curve, and level iv from places like Highcom or similar for close to the same price as steel. Whatever you do don't buy a cheap carrier though, it will suck. Grey Ghost Gear makes a decent minimalist carrier but you will want to add padded shoulder covers. Spiritus Systems new carrier is supposedly nice but I haven't handled one of those. My personal carrier is a First Spear Strandhogg but those don't come cheap, though it is the most comfortable one I've worn. Outside of those there are plenty of good companies like TAG, Crye, BFG, and others that make fairly priced, not China made gear, like what AR500 sells. 

Edited by gjohnsoniv
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@Danger Rane and @gjohnsoniv

Thanks for the feedback. What has held me back from this before and makes it a harder decision is that this will be insurance only. I won't be wearing on a daily basis unless the world falls apart.  I don't compete or go places I think it would be needed. In fact my job would prevent me from having it with me outside the car. If I need it, I want it to work, but it will ride in my car or on a peg mostly. So that makes cost a big factor. Plus as with all things, I gotta keep my better half from having me committed. She thinks I am overly paranoid about stuff. 

From what I have read of ceramic, I don't think it is for me. I don't want it cracked from getting tossed around and I can't be testing and replacing the panels every couple of years. I understand that the upgrade to curved and better spall mitigation costs, but is a good idea. I will have to look at carriers. I do want to avoid the bottom end, but I have to see how high I am comfortable going. 

Do you guys use trauma pads?

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To me the reality is for most people going with the steel is better than nothing. The weight sucks, but the weight will suck if 5 pounds a plate or 10 pounds a plate. On a set of steel I had I glued some thin foam to the backside and cut airflow slots into it and wrapped it over the top edge. Idea being A) air and some padding so it's not straight steel to chest  and B ) when the plate inevitable rides up you don't get cracked in the jaw.

Carrier wise I'm thinking the TAG Banshee is somewhat of the go- to for a decent carrier and decent price. In any case lots of good ones out there, just don't go Condor/Voodoo.

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