View Full Version : Question about police body armor

06-28-2008, 06:17 PM
Would the typical police body armor stop an AK-47 round to the chest? If so, would such a hit likely cause the heart to stop? (I know that used to be a problem with bullet proof vests, but they've added some improvements since.)

Histry Nerd
06-28-2008, 07:05 PM
Hey, Hammer -

I'll extrapolate based on what we had in Iraq. I assume the tactical body armor worn by law enforcement is similar in its capabilities.

A tactical vest probably would stop an AK47 round. Tactical vests (the kind worn by SWAT teams, and by officers going into high-risk situations) are equipped with trauma plates front and back that will stop rifle bullets up to a 7.62 x 38mm (the caliber the AK fires). They probably will not stop a 7.62 x 51mm (the caliber most medium/general purpose machine guns fire). They definitely will not stop .50 cal rifle ammo, but probably will stop .50 cal pistol ammo because of its lower velocity.

The impact of the AK round will probably not stop the wearer's heart, but he will definitely feel the impact--heavy bruising (over the entire area of the trauma plate as it distributes the impact force) and possibly broken ribs are the most likely injuries. Enough to knock a man on his tail and put him out of action for anywhere from a few moments to the duration of the fight, depending on his constitution and the tactical situation.

Of course, this assumes the bullet hits the trauma plate. If it hits soft kevlar outside the trauma plate, it will almost certainly penetrate, and even if it doesn't it will cause massive blunt force trauma.

I'm not sure about the capabilities of a service vest (the kind your average patrol officer wears under his uniform). Maybe one of our police officers will chime in.

Hope this helps.

Michael Davis
06-28-2008, 09:55 PM
Second Histry Nerds view. Plus there is a new material out now to replace kevlar that is suppose to be much better. Search for kevlar replacement or new body armor, you might find it.

06-29-2008, 12:24 AM
Normal kevlar vest will stop the AK-47 round (the round won't penetrate the vest), but as mentioned above, the impact energy will probably take the officer out of action for some period of time. Big, strong guy - a few seconds, 99 pound wimp, it will be like getting kicked by a big horse, probably take him out of the action completely.

The kinds of rounds cops are worried about are the teflon coated beasties. They penetrate the kevlar. They come in various calibers.

Robert Toy
06-29-2008, 12:36 AM
Here is a direct link to protection against AK-47 rounds.


06-29-2008, 12:43 AM
the "cop-killers" or teflon coated are illegal and not made anymore. You can get your hands on them, because people collect them, but they're expensive. A normal AK round can be stopped by a kevlar vest, but I have heard that up close and personal there would be problems.

06-29-2008, 01:11 PM
I'm looking at a fun picture on my desktop right now, of a nice young man holding up his SAPI plate. It has an AK-47 round (I presume) buried in it, just above where his heart would be.

In the original invasion (Thunder Run, baby!) we didn't have plates in our vests. We had kevlar inserts that were designed to stop 9mm rounds, and some fragmentation shrapnel. We actually didn't get the plates until some months into the invasion.

Then we got the Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) plates, which added about 8 more pounds onto the vest we wore, but were designed to stop high velocity rifle rounds, like from an AK-47.

Then in about 2005, the military started replacing all SAPIs with eSAPIs, which just means "enhanced" Small Arms Protect Insert. eSAPIs are slightly heavier, but they protect from armor piercing rounds. Or so they tell me. :) We also wear side-plates now, because insurgents got smart and started aiming for the bits on our vest that didn't have protection. The vests are wicked heavy, but apparently the newest version (the IOTV) is lighter. My unit hasn't been fielded those yet.

Anyway, I'm rambling. If police officers wear the same thing that we wear, then yes, the plates can definitely stop a bullet from an AK-47. The plates are designed to stop three hits from a 7.62 caliber bullet before they're no longer effective.

06-29-2008, 05:30 PM
Thanks everyone, I guess that pretty much clears it up.

The Grift
07-01-2008, 08:43 PM
Body-armor is rated according to this (http://www.nlectc.org/pdffiles/0101.04RevA.pdf) scale by the National Institute of Justice. Do a quick search on the net and you will be unlikely to see anything concealable over level IIIa protection. Which means that unless your cop is rich and can afford Dragonskin, or is wearing bulky external carriers with plates, his armor will probably not stop an AK round.

I am not in the industry, never worn a vest, and never been shot at, but from my research it does not appear any CONCEALABLE vest (with the exception of the state-of-the-art costs-an-arm-and-a-leg not-approved-by-most departments stuff) would reliably stop a 7.62 AK round. Bigger military/SWAT vests with plates are purported to reliably stop AK rounds.

I dont know about the heart stopping stuff.