Most often than not, sometimes, we people can’t help but interchange the description of level IIIA and levelIII body armor. In this article, you will learn the difference between the two and some similarities to help protect the wearer from ammunition.
First off, level IIIA belongs to the soft body armor area while level III belongs to the hard body armor group. From that alone, we can conclude that the materials being used are different. However, there are times that the hard body armor is placed outside the soft body armor for more protection just like what happened to level III body armor.
Level IIIA body armor protects the wearer against all lower levels and 9mm FMJ Round Nose (FMJ RN) rounds, with nominal masses of 8.0 g (124 gr) impacting at a minimum velocity of 427 m/s (1400 ft/s) or less and .44 Magnum JHP rounds, with masses of 15.6 g (240 gr) impacting at a minimum velocity of 427 m/s (1400 ft/s) or less. It also provides protection against most sidearm threats.
Level III body armor which is a hard body armor is the first vest level that mandates the use of a heavy bulky hard plate with the soft body armor to protect the officer from rifle rounds. Soft body armor absorbs some of the trauma to minimize injury to the officer. This level vest must withstand 6 shots from a 7.62 x 51 NATO ball to travel up to 2800 ft/sec.
Level III body armor protects the wearer against all lower levels and 7.62 mm FMJ rounds (US military designation M80) with nominal masses of 9.6 g (148 gr) impacting at a minimum velocity of 838 m/s (2750 ft/s) or less. It also provides protection against the threats mentioned in the lower levels – level I, level II and level IIIA body armors.