If you're uncomfortable with it, I totally get it and appreciate your focus of more realistic threat rounds (m193,m855,m855a1 and m80 ball vs fucking AP .30-06). But most destructive testing on quality level IV plates (highcom, midwest armor, paraclete, etc) ends up with them taking multiple hits of 5.56 and 7.62 with no penetration and survivable back face deformation. Keep in mind why you're buying these things. Get something you are actually going to be able to keep on all day if needed. You are legitimately looking at lugging around 18+ pounds of steel while still having only front and back torso protection. My plates are "only" 13ish pounds and I still hate them. If you think you can deal, then cool beans.
I would and did choose to save weight buy going with still heavy 6.3 pound level IV highcom guardians for around $300. At the time I was going to order some spartan armor steel which is supposed to be superior to AR500, but midwest armor had a sale. Following the "must have" trend on arfcom, I bought a retarded Shellback Banshee carrier and suffered practicing in that monstrosity for a couple years before realizing I had equipped myself wrong as a civilian (or as anyone, because that is a terrible plate carrier simply due to the shoulder design). I realized I was far better off with a much lower profile loadout that was concealable under an overshirt in a pinch, but scaleable to be able to hold it's own when needed at least in conjunction with a supplementary chest rig or direct to armor platform. After some research I settled on a Ferro Concepts Slickster from the great white north and it is absolutely perfect for my needs. Highly recommend.
That being said, if I were starting over again, I would save every penny to buy lighter "3+" manufacturer rated plates. I have been equipping my wife with the most cutting edge, but simplified shit I can afford from gear to weapon so that she'll actually be able and willing to practice with it, keep up with me and maybe even back me up a little bit. I bought her some 4.5 pound target man branded ceramic spectra hybrids and they're absolutely amazing. Trying them out for myself I felt like Ned Flanders wearing nothing at all. I'll be saving a few months here to get my own set and delegate my level IV's as a vehicle set.
You see plates identical in specs to these under a few names including Grey Ghost Gear, but I believe they are just rebrands from one armor manufacturer. This was the cheapest set I could find that wasn't coming from a sketch looking place.
The practice of wearing armor only waned with the proliferation of firearms
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