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ShotStop’s new multi-strike Level IV plates offer protection and comfort

Made of Duritium, these plates offer the stopping power needed in modern law enforcement minus the weight


ShotStop’s mission over the past several years has been to improve the capability of its body armor to stop ballistic penetration while reducing the weight of the product. This seems like a straightforward goal, but the technicalities of what can be accomplished with current materials has been an evolution. Amazingly, the company’s new Level IV plates, Duritium HA (Hybrid Advanced), come in at an advertised 4.5 lbs, a noteworthy accomplishment to the law enforcement audience.

The riddle of steel

My 40-hour basic SWAT class was in the 1990s. A couple of Level IV NIJ-rated plates would add 20 lbs. to your loadout, and that’s being generous. At the time, that was about all the technology could offer, and even this didn’t always address the issue of spalling or bullet splash. Corrections to this potentially fatal consequence were slowly implemented over time.

New space-age polymers

ShotStop has developed a material they call Duritium (patent pending). This is “a next generation polyethylene that has an unusually high tensile strength” according to the body armor company. It does an incredible job of disbursing kinetic energy from projectiles, multiple projectiles that is. It’s the core of what the company has put together with the new HA plates.

Here’s the thing: it works! Head over to social media to see videos of trials people have conducted against the body armor. The typical findings are that ShotStop characteristically stops well above its NIJ rating. I’ve even seen videos of people blowing up the plates then shooting them to try to penetrate. The ShotStop body armor keeps stopping multiple rounds despite what might otherwise be considered abuse.

Traditional materials (as mentioned above) could stop higher caliber rounds but they were burdened with weight, causing the wearer to suffer for their level of protection. Duritium has now been used to not only offer the stopping power needed in modern law enforcement but save in the weight required to do so. Wearing body armor with a total weight that is effectively cut in half is an outstanding proposition, particularly if you are on a perimeter or some other assignment while kitted up for several hours.

In addition, the plates are multi-curved to fit the wearer so you don’t look like a boxcar while lining up in a stack. I have worn ShotStop plates during training and am happy to report they are comfortable during general building clearing exercises, as well as ground work. I’ve worn them for hours on end and greatly appreciated the weight savings as well as the form-fitting shape.

Finally, unlike other approaches that have filled this gap over the years, ShotStop products are not subject to fracture from drops as are ceramics. They hold up against abuse and the occasional fall won’t have you seeking an X-ray machine to figure out if you have a potentially fatal hairline fracture in your body armor. Moreover, the plates come with an outstanding warranty. The ShotStop IV+HA are guaranteed for 10 years no matter how much sweat you put into them.


There is another benefit to wearing equipment that can exceed your expectations as far as protection – trust. Whether you buy your own gear or that responsibility is assigned to a quartermaster, having a high level of trust in your body armor is like picking up a solid insurance policy. You know if things go wrong you have an answer there waiting. It may even result in another chance to respond to less expected circumstances. No one is going to sit still and take a level of ballistic abuse they absolutely don’t have to, but if that scenario happens, ShotStop has you covered. Check them out at authorized dealers, current MSRP for the ShotStop IV+HA is around $575.00.

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Sean Curtis is a law enforcement professional with over two decades of experience, serving with SWAT, diving and swift water rescue teams in Colorado. He has also served in wildland fire, search and rescue, EMS and emergency management.