DFNDR Body Armor Review: The Gear Locker

  • Author | Nashville Armory Staff
  • Date | 5/6/2020
DFNDR Level III Armor

Body Armor

Armory Ranges - Gunsmithing


Deciding what armor plates to purchase is a tedious process that does require some research. This is definitely one of those cases where cheap does not equal better. First, you have the steel versus ceramic debate, then price range and the weight of plates. I’m going to explain why I bought what I did and my thoughts on the options I dismissed.


DFNDR Armor has been in armor development since the 1970s and in the last few years has won contracts from the U.S. military to research and develop armor. Their industry track record alongside tons of other reviews online piqued my interest over other options on the market. DFNDR only offers ceramic style plates which after doing a few Google searches on the pros and cons of ceramic plates, seemed like the right choice. Ceramic style plates are a newer concept, lighter weight and can stop the same types of bullets steel plates can. The only real reason a person might choose a steel plate is because of the cheap cost and the misconception that they are stronger than ceramic. If you are considering body armor, investing in a cheap option to protect yourself and your loved ones isn't a good idea.

Armory Ranges - Gunsmithing 

So after making my decision on plates and receiving them in over a month's time, I was pleasantly surprised that they were exactly what I expected. I had ordered the medium SAPI cut Level III rifle plates that are rated to stop 7.62 ball, 5.56 M193, and 7.62x51 M80 ammunition. I decided on rifle ballistic rated plates because the main purpose of armor for me is an SHTF scenario where threats around me might be using rifles over pistols. Additionally, if I ever attend a carbine course that requires ballistic PPE I wanted to be prepared. The beauty of these rifle rated plates is that they only weigh 2.9lbs each! That is incredibly light for plates (were military-issued plates could be 5-9lbs per plate) and the weight is almost unnoticeable in my plate carrier. The plates themselves are slightly thick and are snug inside my carrier. I have not had any real experience with military issued SAPI plates but the DFNDR plates seem a bit larger for the 10x12 size. That size isn’t a drawback of the plates but actually a benefit. There is zero wiggle room inside the plate bag of the carrier and I feel confident that they will not obstruct me from doing anything with the carrier on.

Armory Ranges - Shooting Class


Now with all that being said on DFNDR armor, it is a hefty investment. A pair of DFNDR level III’s will run you around $800. Other popular brands like Hesco and Hoplite are around the same price range, give or take $100-$200 for the same level of protection. If armor is in your budget and you feel the need for it, I would say its worth the investment!

Do you own body armor? What do you have and why? Let me know in the comments!

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