The Truth About ShotStop Ballistics Body Armor
ShotStop Ballistics LLC is an armor company based out of Stow, Ohio. This company came onto the scene about 2 years ago, claiming to offer new and innovative body armor products with their “Duritium” technology.
I’ll cut straight to the point – Duritium is a meaningless marketing term, there is no so-called “Duritium technology”. Shot Stop is not an innovator. Many of their products are made by other manufacturers such as TenCate, with Shot Stop simply putting their branding on the plates. Shot Stop often obfuscates or outright lies about their armors capabilities.
Shot Stop is conveniently located ~130 miles, or a two and a half hour drive away from TenCate’s armor plant in Hebron, Ohio. Shot Stops models numbers for their GT, HS, PA, and PS plates match TenCate model numbers, though they have recently tried to obscure this fact by updating their product data sheets to use their own model numbers.
The GT plate appears to be an unmodified TenCate 2000SA (model D1789). The HS plate appears to be a modified 5200SA (model D1581). The PA is a modified 3600SA (model D1652). The PS appears to be an unmodified 3600SA (D1652).
The PA plate has the most obvious modification. It appears that ShotStop contracted TenCate to manufacture a 3600SA without the integral foam backer on the body side of the plate. This is a polyethylene plate, hence the low weight. Most rifle plates composed strictly of polyethylene incorporate a foam backer as an energy mitigation device, reducing blunt trauma and bringing BFS (back-face signature) depths down.
ShotStop claims the PA plate meets the NIJ standard for level III rifle armor. However, their website includes no data from testing with M80 ball, the NIJ level III threat projectile. They only include data from testing with 7.62x39, a cartridge that produces ~1000 foot-pounds less energy at the muzzle than comparable 7.62x51 loads like M80 ball.
BFS readings were overall high for 7.62x39 against a level III plate, but most notably on one of their available lab reports the 5th shot of 7.62x39 PS Ball on a PA plate exceeded the NIJ maximum BFS limit of 44mm, with a reading of 45mm. Against M80 ball this plate would most likely fail the BFS limit on more than one shot (the NIJ requires 6 shots of M80 ball for level III Certification testing), meaning the plate would not qualify for Certification as a level III armor plate by the NIJ. These high BFS numbers are caused by the plate lacking its foam backer, a critical component for absorbing imparted kinetic energy from the striking projectile.
What this means in terms of the plates capabilities as body armor is that it is most likely dangerous to rely on it for protection against M80 ball or similar .308 and/or 7.62x51 loads and any other cartridge that is roughly equivalent to these. High BFS alone will produce excessive blunt trauma, but it must also be brought into question at what rate that BFS is occurring – meaning how fast did the plate deform? A slower deforming plate will produce less blunt trauma compared to a plate that produces equal BFS depths but deforms faster. Without the foam backer, this plate may deform or transfer kinetic energy at levels that are hazardous to the wearer.
I consider ShotStop's presentation of the PA plate as a full-fledged level III armor plate to be, at best, highly disingenuous and at worst an outright lie.
Further, ShotStop previously claimed their GT plate (a TenCate 2000SA – which is a Special Threat plate and never intended to be a level III plate) was a level III plate, claiming the ability to stop M80 ball. It is easy to find these old claims, namely in a video posted by The Firearm Blog on March 12, 2018 wherein the GT plate was presented as a “III+” plate but rather conveniently no .308 was fired at the plate in this video.
The TenCate 2000SA is NOT a level III plate and will fail to stop M80 ball at muzzle velocity ~75% of the time, resulting in full penetrations. The presentation of this plate as level III plate is an outright lie that had (and still has) the potential to result in fatalities for users of the plate who expected it to perform as advertised against M80 ball or similar threats.
ShotStop quietly retracted their claims of the GT plate being level III around June of 2019 and did not issue a notice to previous purchasers of this.
These are only the most glaring and egregious issues with the company. The bottom line here is that ShotStop is a company that preys on ignorance and intentionally misrepresents their products in order to make a sale, potentially at the cost of the lives of their customers. I do not recommend the purchase of their products and I do not recommend seeking any advisement or other services from the company. One must always be diligent in procuring lifesaving products such as body armor to avoid companies lacking in the integrity necessary to accurately portray their products.
I am capable of providing ShotStop’s original product documentation with TenCate model numbers listed upon request.