AR-15 Shoots Through Body Armor

Published on Jan 16, 2015 by The Wound Channel

Since I had so many people question the likelihood of taking a round out of a 22″ bolt gun as seen in this video I decided to re-do the test using a more common platform. This is a Sig M400 with a 16″ barrel and 1:7 twist. Ammo is Independence xm193, distance is 7 yards.

Keep in mind that Level III plates ARE NOT rated for 5.56, they are only rated for 7.62 NATO @ 2800 fps. Since the 5.56 round is much faster than that it can defeat the plate. There is nothing wrong with this armor, in fact it is affordable and effective on the majority of rifles and most all handguns and shotguns.

12 thoughts on “AR-15 Shoots Through Body Armor

      1. Regardless, larger calibers are only going to knock the targets down, even at close range. You’d have to depend on making a head shot for a sure kill with those.

        Center mass shots WILL kill those scumbags at close enough range.

        1. Keep in mind that many if not most of the thugs WON’T be wearing steel plates, but something more like the SAPI or E-SAPI plates the military uses. You won’t be shooting through those with an AR. Please see my longer post below.

          1. Head shots for them, then. Or groin.

            Can’t cover ALL the possibilities, but some better than others.

  1. The 5.56 is loud & will kill if a head shot or neck shot is accomplished @ 200 yards or so . That round is readily available , stoner the man that developed the-m16 designed that rifle to maim , cripple , because if a soldier is wounded he will scream & require other soldiers to care for him !

    1. It’s actually a myth that the 5.56 round was designed to wound. Wounded soldiers can continue to shoot back and pose a threat. The 5.56 was designed to kill while still being lightweight, low-recoil, flat-shooting, etc. It’s also great at punching through soft body armor. M193 and M855 suck at penetrating a lot of common building materials, though.

  2. It’s well known that bullet speed is the key factor in penetrating steel armor. A .220 Swift will punch holes through a steel plate that will stop a .30-06 AP round.

    HOWEVER, be advised that there are other Level III plates, made from different materials, that WILL easily stop a round at even higher velocities than shown in the video.

    “NIJ Level III” is only a spec that means a plate has to stop multiple hits of 7.62×51 FMJ at a certain minimum speed. A Level III plate can be made of steel, ceramic, hard polyethylene, or a combination of materials. Which bullets are stopped and which get through can often vary from one plate to the next.

    For example, armor plates (and some newer helmets and ballistic shields) made from hard polyethylene can stop multiple rounds of .223, 7.62×39 (including mild steel core), .308, .30-06, etc., but these generally can’t stop 5.56 M855 (hardened steel insert) or true AP rounds. According to one source, heavy subsonic .30-cal rounds can also get through, though I have no hard data on that.

    (For anyone who isn’t familiar with this subject, there are also Level IV plates and the similar military SAPI plates. These are made of ceramic and can stop at least one .30-06 AP round and lesser threats. The trade-off is that Level IV plates don’t hold up to multiple hits as well as many Level III plates.)

    All things considered, I would NOT want to bet my life on being able to shoot through hard armor plates unless I was shooting .50 BMG AP rounds or maybe homemade 12 gauge AP slugs specificially designed (and TESTED) to defeat hard armor. And even if you do punch through those hard torso plates, no instant stop is guaranteed. Even a person whose heart has been destroyed can continue to shoot back at you for as long as ten seconds, since there’s still oxygen in the brain.

    At close range the danger is high, so you need instant stops. Head/neck shots are the way to go. At longer ranges, you can “anchor” an enemy with multiple hits to the legs and/or pelvis, then follow up as needed with a head shot.

    1. Thanks for that info, BMF

      “It’s actually a myth that the 5.56 round was designed to wound. Wounded soldiers can continue to shoot back and pose a threat.”

      It may be part of the same myth, but what I had heard about wounding soldiers rather than killing them is that it ties up more enemy resources. (if he’s dead you can forget about him, but if he’s alive you have to carry him off the battlefield and care for him)

      .223 also allows you to carry more bullets

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