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Posted: 8/18/2019 2:19:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/30/2019 8:40:29 PM EST by 6GUNZ]
Please help me add missing information and correct any errors. @CAKEPWNER

Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI)

Overview:

-Ceramic armor plates made from laminate of silicon carbide and spectra
-Consists of front and back plates
-Only rated for use in conjunction with (ICW) the soft armor of the Outer Tactical Vest (OTV)
-Plates may stop specified threat without passthrough, but backface deformation (BFD) may still be fatal without soft armor backing*
-OTV soft armor rated to stop 124gr 9mm FMJ at 1400 fps**
-Plates are approximately equivalent to NIJ Level III ICW (in conjunction with)
-First developed for Interceptor Multi-Threat Body Armor System (IBA) in late 1990s
-Also used in the Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) and Modular Tactical Vest (MTV or MoTaV)
-Manufactured by Ceradyne (3M) (possibly also by BAE Systems and ArmorWorks???)

Sizes and Weights:

Front and back:
Extra Small: 2.8 lb | 7¼ x 11½ in
Small: 3.5 lb | 8¾ x 11¾ in
Medium: 4.0 lb | 9½ x 12½ in (NSN: 8470-01-497-8710)
Large: 4.6 lb | 10? x 13¼ in
Extra Large: 5.3 lb | 11 x 14 in

SAPI thickness:
0.8 in

Threats:

Rated to stop 3 rounds of 7.62x51 M80 Ball at 2,750 fps in ICW configuration
Will stop multiple hits from M855 and 7N6
M855A1???
M995???
other specific threats???

MSAP Side Plates: (NSN: 8470-01-536-7215)

Overview:

-Standalone (does not require soft armor backing)
-Manufactured by Ceradyne

Size and weight:
6x6 | 1.7 lb

Thickness:
0.85 in

Threats:
???

Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert (ESAPI) & Enhanced Side Ballistic Insert (ESBI)

Overview:

-Ceramic armor plates made from laminate of boron carbide and spectra
-38% heavier and 50% more expensive than SAPI
-Began replacing SAPI plates in 2005
-Consists of front and back plates (ESAPI), as well as two side plates (ESBI)
-Rated for standalone use against SAPI threats (M80 Ball)
-Rated for specified threat (M2 AP) only in conjunction with (ICW) the soft armor of the Outer Tactical Vest (OTV)
-Plates may stop specified threat without passthrough, but backface deformation (BFD) may still be fatal without soft armor backing*
-OTV soft armor rated to stop 124gr 9mm FMJ at 1400 fps**
-Plates are approximately equivalent to NIJ Level IV in ICW configuration
-Plates are approximately equivalent to NIJ Level III in standalone configuration
-Manufactured by Ceradyne (3M), BAE Systems, and ArmorWorks

Sizes and Weights:

Front and back:
Extra Small: 3.75 lb | 7¼ x 11½ in
Small: 4.60 lb | 8¾ x 11¾ in
Medium: 5.50 lb | 9½ x 12½ in (NSN: 8470-01-520-7373)
Large: 6.30 lb | 10? x 13¼ in
Extra Large: 7.20 lb | 11 x 14 in

Enhanced Side Ballistic Insert (ESBI): (NSN: 8470-01-536-7227)
6x8: 2.3 lb
7x8: 2.55 lb

ESAPI thickness:
0.9 in

Threats:

Rated to stop 3 rounds of M80 Ball in standalone configuration
Rated to stop 2 rounds of M2 .30 cal. AP (30-06 black tip) at 2,715 fps in ICW configuration
Will stop multiple hits from M855 and 7N6
M855A1???
M995???
other specific threats???

Notes regarding SAPI/ESAPI plates and commercial carriers:

-Commercial 10x12 plates (actual 9.5x11.5) roughly equivalent to size medium SAPI/ESAPI plates
-Commercial carriers sized for medium SAPI/ESAPI plates usually accommodate commercial 10x12 plates
-Commercial 10x12 standalone plates normally thicker than SAPI/ESAPI plates by ~0.2 in
-SAPI/ESAPI sized plate carriers may or may not have provisions for soft armor backers inside plate bags
-Soft backers or trauma pads may be required for correct fit of SAPI/ESAPI plates in commercial carriers

Inspecting Plates

For SAPI, MSAP, ESAPI, and ESBI

-Shake plate, listening for rattling
-Grab plate by opposing corners and torque, listening for crunching, creaking, or squeaking
-Pinch corners, feeling and listening for crackling

For ESAPI

-Place plate with strike face facing down on your fingertips
-With a solid cylindrical metal object, tap around the circumference of the plate, avoiding the tags and the center
-Listen for chimes, indicating a good plate, and for thuds, indicating delamination

Attachment Attached File

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Marine Corps Tap and Torque Tests for E-SAPI plates


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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*The lot acceptance scoring criteria were based on catastrophic and limited failures and a penalty point system that was applied to the limited failures.  A catastrophic failure was defined as a complete penetration of both hard and soft armor on the first shot, or a BFD of greater than or equal to 48 millimeters on the first shot.  A limited failure could occur on either a first or second shot and was assigned penalty points as follows:

-A complete penetration of the hard armor and a partial penetration of the soft armor on the first shot received 1 point.
-A complete penetration of both the hard and soft armor on the second shot received 1.5 points.
-A BFD greater than or equal to 44 millimeters but less than or equal to 47 millimeters on the first shot received 1 point.
-A BFD greater than or equal to 44 millimeters on the second shot received 1 point.

The points resulting from limited failures are assigned only when testing against threat D.  For threats A, B, or C, any complete penetration on the first, second, or third shot resulted in a failed first article test.  For threat D, the accumulation of more than six penalty points resulted in a failed first article test.

Report No. D-2009-047, January 29, 2009


**NIJ rating for OTV soft armor cannot be determined, but is consistent with IIIA performance against 9mm.
Link Posted: 8/18/2019 2:19:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/18/2019 2:29:33 PM EST by 6GUNZ]
future placeholder for info on the various OTVs
Link Posted: 8/18/2019 11:17:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/18/2019 11:31:29 PM EST by zombiegristle]
Minor correction to the above, according to page 8 of DoD Report No. D-2009-047 (I can email you my PDF copy if desired), ESAPI plates are tested for TWO hits of AP ammunition, not three, in addition to the standard SAPI testing requirements. In addition, ESAPI plates are tested to meet the threat requirements for regular SAPI in a standalone configuration, while requiring the soft armor for their improved rating against the AP threat. The report dates to 2009, so things may have changed since then, but this is the only one I actually have on hand.

"According to PEO Soldier officials, the ESAPI lot acceptance scoring
criteria, which were documented in solicitation W91CRB-04-R-0033, were used as a
baseline for scoring the ESAPI first article tests. The lot acceptance scoring criteria were
based on catastrophic and limited failures and a penalty point system that was applied to
the limited failures. A catastrophic failure was defined as a complete penetration of both
hard and soft armor on the first shot, or a BFD of greater than or equal to 48 millimeters
on the first shot. A limited failure could occur on either a first or second shot and was
assigned penalty points as follows:

- A complete penetration of the hard armor and a partial penetration of the soft
armor on the first shot received 1 point.
- A complete penetration of both the hard and soft armor on the second shot
received 1.5 points.
- A BFD greater than or equal to 44 millimeters but less than or equal to
47 millimeters on the first shot received 1 point.
- A BFD greater than or equal to 44 millimeters on the second shot received
1 point.

The points resulting from limited failures are assigned only when testing against threat D.
For threats A, B, or C, any complete penetration on the first, second, or third shot resulted
in a failed first article test. For threat D, the accumulation of more than six penalty points
resulted in a failed first article test."

SOURCE: DoD Testing Requirements for Body Amor, Report No. D-2009-047

EDIT to add, if we assume the unspecified AP threat for the ESAPI is indeed .30-caliber Armor Piercing M2, then according to TM 43-0001-27 the velocity is spec'd at 2715 fps.
Link Posted: 8/19/2019 6:10:53 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/19/2019 6:12:15 AM EST by 6GUNZ]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zombiegristle:
Minor correction to the above, according to page 8 of DoD Report No. D-2009-047 (I can email you my PDF copy if desired), ESAPI plates are tested for TWO hits of AP ammunition, not three, in addition to the standard SAPI testing requirements. In addition, ESAPI plates are tested to meet the threat requirements for regular SAPI in a standalone configuration, while requiring the soft armor for their improved rating against the AP threat. The report dates to 2009, so things may have changed since then, but this is the only one I actually have on hand.

"According to PEO Soldier officials, the ESAPI lot acceptance scoring
criteria, which were documented in solicitation W91CRB-04-R-0033, were used as a
baseline for scoring the ESAPI first article tests. The lot acceptance scoring criteria were
based on catastrophic and limited failures and a penalty point system that was applied to
the limited failures. A catastrophic failure was defined as a complete penetration of both
hard and soft armor on the first shot, or a BFD of greater than or equal to 48 millimeters
on the first shot. A limited failure could occur on either a first or second shot and was
assigned penalty points as follows:

- A complete penetration of the hard armor and a partial penetration of the soft
armor on the first shot received 1 point.
- A complete penetration of both the hard and soft armor on the second shot
received 1.5 points.
- A BFD greater than or equal to 44 millimeters but less than or equal to
47 millimeters on the first shot received 1 point.
- A BFD greater than or equal to 44 millimeters on the second shot received
1 point.

The points resulting from limited failures are assigned only when testing against threat D.
For threats A, B, or C, any complete penetration on the first, second, or third shot resulted
in a failed first article test. For threat D, the accumulation of more than six penalty points
resulted in a failed first article test."

SOURCE: DoD Testing Requirements for Body Amor, Report No. D-2009-047

EDIT to add, if we assume the unspecified AP threat for the ESAPI is indeed .30-caliber Armor Piercing M2, then according to TM 43-0001-27 the velocity is spec'd at 2715 fps.
View Quote
Thank you! That’s exactly the point of this thread is to correct all the wrong information out there. I really appreciate you taking the time to help. Hopefully everyone’s collective knowledge will make it comprehensive enough to deserve sticky status and people asking questions about milspec armor can be directed here. As soon as I get a chance I’ll update the op with your corrections.
Link Posted: 8/19/2019 7:06:26 PM EST
Some of these statements are not conducive to figuring out what the armor will defend against.

The soft armor isn't rated for .357 but we don't know if it could be rated for it. It wasn't tested.

I'm sure it's a way if reducing liability and cost of testing.
Link Posted: 8/19/2019 7:23:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/19/2019 7:26:01 PM EST by zombiegristle]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 03RN:
Some of these statements are not conducive to figuring out what the armor will defend against.

The soft armor isn't rated for .357 but we don't know if it could be rated for it. It wasn't tested.

I'm sure it's a way if reducing liability and cost of testing.
View Quote
DoD soft armor is tested against 9x19mm, 124gr FMJ at 1400fps with a V50 velocity of more like 1550fps, fragment simulators, and no other projectiles. That 9mm test puts THAT threat in the NIJ level IIIa bracket, however DoD panels are usually thinner and the materials/layers/construction of panels can greatly affect their performance in various ways (many NIJ panels nowadays use layers of stiff UHMWPE for better impact absorption, etc).

Soft armor isn't just about stopping penetration, as you can easily see for yourself in scads of youtube videos and the like. Many beat-up old IIa panels will readily stop a .44 Magnum from PENETRATING, but the impact will turn your ribcage inside-out. A DoD panel "may" reliably stop the penetration of a wide variety of common handgun and shotgun rounds just like an NIJ-tested IIIa panel will, however the NIJ panel is specifically tested to have a survivable level of blunt trauma WHILE stopping those rounds, and the DoD panel is NOT, so how well any given panel will perform while stopping them is a gamble, and any claims around such use is conjecture at best.
Link Posted: 8/19/2019 7:55:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/19/2019 10:06:41 PM EST by 6GUNZ]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 03RN:
Some of these statements are not conducive to figuring out what the armor will defend against.

The soft armor isn't rated for .357 but we don't know if it could be rated for it. It wasn't tested.

I'm sure it's a way if reducing liability and cost of testing.
View Quote
That's a good point. And if the OTV armor is really closer to IIIA, then I certainly don't want to give people the impression that level II will be sufficient as a substitute. I'll have to reword that.

ETA: updated.

Without just making stuff up, I want to convey that you probably need IIIA if you're using commercial panels to back up milspec plates, but I also don't want to give people the impression that milspec panels are a substitute for IIIA. I mean, people shouldn't assume that their interceptor can stop a .357 any more than they should assume that level II will serve as a plate backer. The only reason I mention it at all is because most people like to use milspec plates in commercial carriers, and will therefore be using commercial soft armor backers.
Link Posted: 9/5/2019 8:49:31 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/27/2019 11:03:51 PM EST
Okay- I have current (last week) testing results of the soft panels that you can find in the Interceptor style vests. These were the extendable side panels. Pictures for those of us that hate typing, or, suffer from TL;DR syndrome-

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Link Posted: 12/27/2019 11:08:50 PM EST
Part II
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THIS is from the Hornady hollow point. MAYBE 3/32nd inch (yep) of actual layer penetration. Mostly, just "crush" type of damage to fabric, some heat distortion.
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Link Posted: 12/27/2019 11:16:37 PM EST
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Part III

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As can bee seen, at least 99% projectile integrity intact
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Winchester 240gr SEMI-Jacketed soft nose. Left a pinpoint of LEAD on the back side (outside) of the last layer of fabric. Fabric pentration of over 75%! Heat distortion ring of almost 4" diameter also present.

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Side by side of projectiles STILL in/on fabric. SEMI-jacketed is actually buried under the layers!
Link Posted: 12/27/2019 11:20:11 PM EST
Part IV

All testing was conducted at approx. 5 yds.

Hopefully, this will be useful to those looking to acquire IBA.
Next time, rifle testing of the soft panels, 22lr and more common rifle cartridges up to and including 45-70 because I want to know about it, as well.
Link Posted: 12/28/2019 2:59:27 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Kiju:
Part IV

All testing was conducted at approx. 5 yds.

Hopefully, this will be useful to those looking to acquire IBA.
Next time, rifle testing of the soft panels, 22lr and more common rifle cartridges up to and including 45-70 because I want to know about it, as well.
View Quote
Well, I would say that pretty much confirms it. Milspec soft armor appears to be more or less equivalent to IIIA. While we can't say that it's 100% equivalent to NIJ IIIA in every way, we can definitely say that II isn't going to cut it as a backer for milspec plates.

Do you have a .357 Sig? That's the other major threat that IIIA has to stop to get an NIJ rating. The fact that it will stop .44 mag proves that it's heavier than II, and therefore IIIA is required for use as a commercial alternative for backers, but the question remains whether milspec soft armor can serve as a replacement for IIIA.

If it stops .357 Sig then it's probably good to go as an alternative to IIIA NIJ soft armor.
Link Posted: 12/28/2019 9:27:56 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/28/2019 9:48:46 AM EST by Kiju]
I will try to get my paws on a 357 Sig. I know a guy that I am pretty sure has one. He likes odd-ball calibers. I am thinking about doing a test with hand loaded 7.62x25 and see what I get from that, since I have several Toks, including a Yugo M37 and a Chinese 219 B.

EDIT- I also have a 6 3/4" bbl Smith in .357 that I am going to test with, using Speer Gold Dot ammo.

I will also post a "how many layers of Aramid fiber are in the soft plate" comment. I really should have done that in the AAR. My apologies.

I will see if I can get my paws on a piece of Civi IIIA for a side by side test to failure.

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Link Posted: 12/31/2019 5:54:16 AM EST
Okay. Quick update on the Ballistic Panel test that I recently did- the standard .MIL panels are 34 layers of fiber thick, with deformation from the Hornady load being noticeable on all layers as a "divot", while the Semi - Jacketed showed penetration (actual moving of woven fibers out of place enough to be obvious) through 12 layers of fiber. ALL layers show signs of heat damage.
Link Posted: 1/1/2020 11:07:14 PM EST
Well that's a sweet update, didn't expect this to change much over time. If you want some ammo to use for testing, let me know. I'm a part-time cartridge collector and have some odd stuff that would be neat to test, but I lack the interest/tools to make a proper test myself.
Link Posted: 1/2/2020 9:30:05 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/2/2020 9:30:38 PM EST by Kiju]
Thanks! I will keep you in mind for future "odd calibers". You never know when I might find something "different" to test with.  
Link Posted: 1/3/2020 4:18:30 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 6GUNZ:

Well, I would say that pretty much confirms it. Milspec soft armor appears to be more or less equivalent to IIIA. While we can't say that it's 100% equivalent to NIJ IIIA in every way, we can definitely say that II isn't going to cut it as a backer for milspec plates.

Do you have a .357 Sig? That's the other major threat that IIIA has to stop to get an NIJ rating. The fact that it will stop .44 mag proves that it's heavier than II, and therefore IIIA is required for use as a commercial alternative for backers, but the question remains whether milspec soft armor can serve as a replacement for IIIA.

If it stops .357 Sig then it's probably good to go as an alternative to IIIA NIJ soft armor.
View Quote
Bear in mind that .357 SIG is just 9x19mm at higher velocity, they use the same bullets. The military testing velocity of 1400fps with a 124gr FMJ 9mm bullet is only marginally slower to the NIJ IIIa test of .357 SIG with a 125gr FMJ at 1470fps (see page 3, section 2.3 of the PDF below), so in terms of "stopping" rounds I think it's safe to conclude at this point that it is a usable equivalent. The factor that needs to be put to the test is really the BFD, as the DoD panels are noticeably thinner/more flexible than most NIJ IIIa panels, so while it stops the penetration of these rounds it may not fall within the backface trauma guidelines. That being said, there are a lot of places where a thinner panel that stops the bullets but may have excessive BFD can be useful.

NIJ 0101.06 PDF
Link Posted: 1/3/2020 4:41:47 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zombiegristle:

Bear in mind that .357 SIG is just 9x19mm at higher velocity, they use the same bullets. The military testing velocity of 1400fps with a 124gr FMJ 9mm bullet is only marginally slower to the NIJ IIIa test of .357 SIG with a 125gr FMJ at 1470fps (see page 3, section 2.3 of the PDF below), so in terms of "stopping" rounds I think it's safe to conclude at this point that it is a usable equivalent. The factor that needs to be put to the test is really the BFD, as the DoD panels are noticeably thinner/more flexible than most NIJ IIIa panels, so while it stops the penetration of these rounds it may not fall within the backface trauma guidelines. That being said, there are a lot of places where a thinner panel that stops the bullets but may have excessive BFD can be useful.

NIJ 0101.06 PDF
View Quote
Good points here.
Link Posted: 1/4/2020 4:51:52 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By zombiegristle:

Bear in mind that .357 SIG is just 9x19mm at higher velocity, they use the same bullets. The military testing velocity of 1400fps with a 124gr FMJ 9mm bullet is only marginally slower to the NIJ IIIa test of .357 SIG with a 125gr FMJ at 1470fps (see page 3, section 2.3 of the PDF below), so in terms of "stopping" rounds I think it's safe to conclude at this point that it is a usable equivalent. The factor that needs to be put to the test is really the BFD, as the DoD panels are noticeably thinner/more flexible than most NIJ IIIa panels, so while it stops the penetration of these rounds it may not fall within the backface trauma guidelines. That being said, there are a lot of places where a thinner panel that stops the bullets but may have excessive BFD can be useful.

NIJ 0101.06 PDF
View Quote
Good points. I can tell you from the testing, that the divot on the backside of the soft armor was rather large, both in diameter AND in height. The diameter was in excess of three inches and the height from the semi jacketed was the better part of a 1/2 inch of "energy had to go somewhere" type of height. NO break through, BUT, you are most likely going to be dealing with broken bones, probably a blownout and relocated into your heart sternum type of problem.
People seem to think that a "Bullet Proof" vest is a one step stop-all, and fail to think about the energy having to go somewhere.... Crush damage is a *bitch*.
Link Posted: 12/25/2020 2:11:24 AM EST
Can we update OP in light of Buffman's recent ESAPI test?

Also, any interest in including foreign milspec armor info? I have some Russian boron carbide plate testing data I can provide:

Russian Type 6b5 "Karbit Bora" (boron carbide) plate, 3.75x3.75", wrapped in lacquered ballistic fiber:

  • 5.56x45mm M855A1, 7.5" barrel, 5 yards: stopped within plate, projectile not recovered

  • 5.56x45mm M855A1, 16" barrel, 5yds: full penetration of plate, stopped within IIIa backer; steel penetrator recovered, broken in two pieces at the waist

  • .300 Blackout M80A1, 6.75" barrel, 5yds: full penetration of plate AND backer, projectile not recovered



I can't find any of the photos I took at the time, I shot the plate months ago; if I find them I'll update here.
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