How much does body armor weigh? Top Brands Compared!

Body armor and bulletproof vests can protect you, but they also come with a significant weight. Since the material and size of the armor can have a significant impact on the thickness and weight of body armor, we’ll break down body armor weight by material and size.

So, how heavy is a bulletproof vest? Body armor can weight between 1 to 13 pounds and will have a thickness between .10″ – 1″ depending on the material and size of the armored plate. Soft armor will normally be between 1-4 pounds and 0.25″ – 1″ in thickness while steel plate armor will normally be between 6-10 pounds and 0.15″ – 0.4″ thick.

Weight and Thickness of Steel Plate Body Armor

One of the cheapest armors available is steel plate body armor. Steel plate body armor is cheaper due to the wide availability and cost of steel. Composite armors require different material and a more complex manufacturing process causing higher prices.

AR500 Armor
Steel Plate
Level III8.0 lbs.26”$65
Steel Plate
Level III8 lbs 10oz.25″$79.49
Body Armor Direct
Steel Plate
Level III6.9 lbs.19″$139
International Armor
Steel Plate
Level III 7.6 lbs.39″$99
Tactical Scorpion Gear
Steel Plate
Level III7.8 lbs.19″$44
Prices subject to change. Updated 2020

AR500 Armor Steel Plate – Weight: 8 Pounds

Our Level III armor is manufactured from AR500 steel and, with a 20-year maintenance-free shelf life due our proprietary FragLock coating, will outlast ceramic and UHMWPE body armor.

Available in right and left handed configurations, our patented ASC affords you additional room for your rifle stock, improving comfort and shooting ergonomics. Compatible with all standard plate carriers that accept SAPI or traditional Shooters Cut body armor with appropriate chest plate pocket size.

Level III armor is rated to stop 7.62×51 M80 NATO Ball (.308 Winchester) at a velocity of up to 2,780 feet per second. Our armor has been independently tested in accordance with NIJ 0101.06 threat levels through Oregon Ballistics (OBL), and H.P. White Laboratories.

Excerpt from

Spartan Omega Steel Plate – Weight: 8 Pounds 10 Ounces

You have the choice of getting our Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 Body Armor formed on a continual radius die. Or with our Advanced Triple Curve ™. Instead of bending our formed plates in 2 different locations as we used to, we have machined custom tooling to give these plates a nice curvature to best conform to the side of your torso. Spartan Armor Systems™ is proud to be the FIRST in the industry to commercially offer triple-curved Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 Body Armor.

Body Armor Direct Steel Plate – Weight: 6 Pounds 9 Ounces

Body Armor Direct’s steel plate comes in at 6.9 lbs. each with a thickness of
13/64 or 5mm. The standard size for the plate is 10” inch by 12 inch and it is rated to an NIJ III 0101.06 certification. In addition, it is backed by a 10 year warranty. This is the only plate on the list that comes in the curved fit only. No flat plates are available at a discounted rate.

International Armor Steel Plate – Weight: 7 Pounds 6 Ounces

International Armor’s Steel plates are capable of stopping multiple hits from 7.62mm X 51 mm (.308 caliber) FMJ and lesser threats such as AK-47/Kalashnikov 7.62 X 39 mm (FMJ). With such protection and at 30% less the weight than our competitors steel hard armor plates, our Steel Hard Armor Plates are the best valued hard armor plates on the market today.

Excerpt from

Tactical Scorpion Gear Steel Plate – Weight: 7 Pounds 8 Ounces

The Scorpion Gear Steel plate is a stand alone armor plate with multiple hit capability and is manufactured from certified AR500 steel with a hardness Rating of 505-518BHN. All plates are laser cut for precise fit and tested by an independent lab for quality.

Steel Body Armor Awards

In the above table, the winner of the lightest steel plate armor goes to Body Armor Direct coming in at 6.9 lbs. All of the armor listed above is in a 10″ x 12″ size. The thinnest steel plate armor award is a tie between Body Armor Direct and Tactical Scorpion Gear coming in at a thickness of 0.19 inches thick. The lowest price award goes to Tactical Scorpion Gear by a decent margin coming in at only $44.

The overall winner that we believe fits the best weight, thickness, and price point is the Tactical Scorpion Gear Steel Plate.


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Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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