The right SAPI plate safeguards against shotgun shells, submachine gun bullets, hand grenades, and other projectiles. Size matters, but several other factors also determine what will work in a given situation.
Choosing a Small Arms Protective Insert
Here's seven attributes that make a difference when choosing the right shield:
- Size – The best way to determine the right fit is to put it on and see how it feels. However, online shoppers can carefully read descriptions before purchasing.
- Weight – It's best to find the lightest ones that offer the most protection. The latest designs lessen the chance of injury or death when worn. Ones often recommended include the shields with anti-spallation liners built into them.
- Strength – The material used to make a SAPI establishes its strength. The most durable ones are made from high-grade steel. However, some of the more current ones are made from boron or silicon carbides.
- Function – Some body shields will work well for diminishing impact of high-velocity rifle rounds. However, others may only protect against shotgun bullets or hand grenades.
- Capability – Some of the more current types of SAPIs spread the energy of projectile impact throughout the body. This reduces the chance that a person will suffer severe injury or end up dying.
- Mobility – The best protective inserts allow personnel on duty to maneuver quickly while staying safe. If a person can move fast, that individual can further protect him/herself from harm.
- Regulation – Some items might not meet current governmental guidelines. It's important for military officers and soldiers to find out what's acceptable for use on the field now.
Typical Plate Measurements
They usually come in five different sizes. They all have different weights, too. A brief description is provided below:
- Extra small – They measure 7 ¼ by 11 ½ inches (184 by 292 millimeters). They usually weigh about 2.8 pounds (1.27 kilograms).
- Small – The average size is 8 ¾ by 11 ¾ inches (222 by 298 millimeters) and the usual weight is 3.5 pounds (1.59 kilograms).
- Medium – This size usually measures at 9 ½ by 12 ½ inches (241 by 318 millimeters). The typical weight is 4 pounds (1.82 kilograms).
- Large – Ones of this measurement usually are about 10 1/8 by 13 ¼ inches (260 by 337 millimeters). They usually weigh 4.6 pounds (2.09 kilograms).
- Extra large – The size of this one is approximately 11 by 14 inches (280 by 356 millimeters). It weighs about 5.3 pounds (2.40 kilograms).
SAPIs don't necessarily prevent injury or death. However, they decrease instances of both.
ESAPI plates are similar in size. However, they typically weigh more than the traditional SAPIs. Whatever works the best for you is what you should use on the field, but the protective gear also has to meet current safety standards.