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Common Lies Body Armor Companies Will Tell You


True or false: All levels of bulletproof backpacks stop AR-15s and AK-47s.

Body Armor Lies

Bulletproof backpacks have different levels of protection, and lower levels do not stop AR-15s and large rifles. Many body armor companies use deceptive strategies like this to entice you to buy their products. Don’t fall for these tactics!

The answer: False. 

If you’re looking for body armor but want to avoid myths, keep reading. We break down the most common lies that people fall for.

Lie #1: Our bulletproof backpacks can stop AR-15s and large rifles.

Many body armor companies are unclear about what their bulletproof backpacks will stop, or they’ll falsely claim that their backpacks can stop rifle rounds.

If you have a “Bulletproof Backpack” that weighs less than 4 or 5 pounds, it does not stop AR-15s or AK-47s (or nearly any other common rifle). Sadly, no armor technology in the world is that good yet.

Manufacturers suggest that lightweight backpacks (like Level IIIA) can stop rifle rounds, including bullets from the AK-47 and AR-15. However, in these video tests, lower caliber ammo rounds are often used, often 9mm or .22 Long Rifle. 

In real-world settings, these rifles use higher caliber rounds that are faster moving and harder for armor to stop, including 5.56x45 NATO, .308, 30-06 and 7.62x39.

On the other hand, Atomic Defense has Level III backpacks that stop an AR-15 at 5.56. This is because we test our bulletproof backpacks to surpass NIJ standards. Our Level III backpacks start at weighing only four pounds. If you need help with choosing the right bulletproof backpack, check out our guide.

Bulletproof Backpacks

Lie #2: Our body armor protects against black tip ammo.

Some body armor companies will argue that their armor can withstand black tip ammo. 

What is black tip ammo? 

  • Bullets with black tips that have armor- piercing strength

  • Made of a harder material designed to help the bullet penetrate through thick armor plating. 

  • Usually built around a “penetrator” of hardened steel, tungsten, or tungsten carbide.

Black Tip Ammo

Fake Black Tip Ammo

During tests, sellers will actually paint regular bullets black. Then, they’ll shoot their armor with the faux black tip ammo and argue that their armor wasn’t penetrated. 

If you watch legit test videos, Level III armor doesn’t stop black tip ammo at higher caliber rounds. However, it can stop armor-piercing/black tip ammo from typical pistol calibers like 9mm, .45, .40, etc. To stop armor-piercing rifle calibers, you will need to buy Level IV armor.

Also, black tip ammo isn’t readily available to buy because of legal restrictions. Armor-piercing ammunition is federally banned for civilian use or ownership in the U.S. Per 18 United States Code, 921(a)(17)(B).  Even M2 AP ammo, which used to be in plentiful supply, is hard to find. Although it’s legal at the federal level, it is no longer produced.

Is Black Tip Ammo Illegal to Own?

Black Tip Ammo vs. Body Armor

Almost any rifle-caliber bullet designated as “AP” (armor-piercing) is designed to go through vehicles, windshields, and Level IIA, II, IIIA & III personal body armor. Black tip rifle caliber bullets can go through 1” of steel, including AR500 and AR550 steel plates.

The Ammo Channel shot .308 Black Tipped AP projectiles at various steel targets up to 1" thick. As you can see from the image below, it punched right through! 

Some calibers of black tip ammo can even pierce through a car’s and a truck’s engine block…from 500 yards away! If a company is advertising body armor that can withstand black tip ammo….it’s most likely not true. 

Lie #3: Our body armor is the best. 

Often, body armor companies will brag that their products are better than their competitors and will show a video or image of the competition’s armor being defeated.  

However, they will sometimes use a thinner or modified version of a competitor’s gear in order to make their products seem like the winner. 

Companies will sometimes even use armor that offers a higher level of protection (such as a Level IIIA vest) and use it in a test against a lower level (Level II vest) from a competitor. This simply isn’t a fair or accurate test. 

Bulletproof Gear That You Can Count On

Have you fallen for any of those lies that body armor companies will tell you in order to make a quick sale? If so, you know what to look out for now. At Atomic Defense, our ultimate goal is to make sure that you make the best purchasing decisions. Browse our website for best-in-class body armor, and use code SRA22 at check out for a 5% discount.


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