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Ceramic vs. Steel Body Armor: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by Spartan Armor on

Law enforcement personnel, military combat units or those who are interested in optimal protection during a crisis already know the answer to one question about body armor.

Q: Is body armor essential for critical protection during life-or-death situations?

A: Absolutely, positively, 100% yes.

But there’s another question that many of our customers have, and it’s not so cut and dry.

Q: Which type is best, ceramic armor or steel armor?

A: They’re both great options, depending on what you’re looking for in body armor.

Spartan Armor Systems offers an extensive variety of both body armor types, so we thought it would be a good idea to compare and contrast each kind of armor.

Depending on your particular need or application, you may prefer steel body armor over ceramic armor, or vice versa. Some people like the advantages that both types of armor provide, and use both steel and ceramic in tandem for comprehensive threat protection.

Let’s review some key differences between ceramic and steel body armor.

Ceramic or Steel? Selecting Your Ideal Armor

Coke vs Pepsi. Ford vs Chevy. Apple vs Android. Some brand and product debates are seemingly timeless. For anyone that wears armor, here’s another one: Steel body armor vs ceramic body armor.

Your unique protection requirements dictate which type of armor is best for you.

Protection & Durability: Steel armor has a reputation as the most durable body armor available. Steel plates are one of the most affordable (more on that in a moment) and widely-used body armor configurations in the world. But ceramic body armor also offers impressive protection, thanks to ultra-durable attributes. While steel armor technically is a stronger material than ceramic, there are certain types of bullets (particularly AR-15 rounds) that impact steel armor more than ceramic. One drawback to ceramic armor is that it cannot handle precision rounds in the same place. There are specific grades of ammunition that cause more damage to ceramic plates than steel plates; for example, rounds over 7 mm can damage 3-4 square inches of surface area on ceramic plates. Bottom line: Both types of armor are recommended for personal protection.

Thickness & Weight: Ceramic offers a “wearability” advantage over steel armor plates, simply because they’re lighter. However, the decreased weight comes with a price – ceramic body armor is typically thicker than steel plates, which means they may not be as comfortable for certain applications. Any armor’s thickness and weight is critical for overall comfort. If you have armor that’s extremely lightweight, you don’t want too much thickness limiting movement. This part of the ceramic vs. steel armor debate comes down to personal preference; both ceramic and steel armor strike a balance between optimal threat protection and exceptional comfort.

Price point: Steel armor is more affordable than ceramic armor, which makes it a great entry-level armor type. Ceramic armor technology continues to advance with better threat protection characteristics, which is reflected in a more expensive configuration. Keep in mind that the higher price of ceramic body armor offers key advantages, including a lightweight yet durable profile. Price is just one attribute to consider when comparing ceramic and steel body armor, and Spartan Armor Systems offers exceptional value on all of our armor packages.

Spartan Armor Systems: Your Source for Ceramic & Steel Body Armor

Spartan Armor Systems carries an outstanding assortment of both ceramic and steel body armor configurations and packages for a wide range of personal protection needs.

Our steel core body armor includes Level III+ AR650 Armaply™ Spartan Armor, Level III+ AR550 Spartan Armor, Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 Body Armor Level III Armor and Steel Core Backpack Armor.

If you’re interested in our ceramic body armor, browse our entire selection. We offer Level IIIA Spartan Armor, Level III Spartan Armor, Level III+ Spartan Armor, Level IV Spartan Armor and Level IIIA Backpack Armor.

All of our steel body armor and ceramic body armor selections are made for optimal protection, premium comfort and exceptional value.

Thanks for considering Spartan Armor Systems for your complete personal protection requirements. If you have any questions about our personal armor systems, give us a call at (520) 396-3335, or send us a message on our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!


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