What are the Differences between Armor Levels?
When considering an armored vehicle, not all are created equal. The first step to deciding on an armored vehicle is determining your ideal protection level. The protection level you need depends on a few factors. First is how you will be using the vehicle and the perceived threat level. Will the vehicle be used for tactical purposes or for day-to-day activities? In addition, factors like cost, vehicle type, and number of passengers all affect the level of protection needed.
A ballistic protection level tells you how much security a certain level of armor can provide – or rather, the level of assault that in can withstand. A commonly followed (and the one we will discuss) benchmark is the EN 1063 standard set forth by the European Committee for Standardization (BR1-BR7). But there are others such as the National Institute of Justice, British Ballistic Standard, and German DIN that share protection requirements. Ballistic standards exist to make sure that armor consistently meets these pre-set conditions.
The level of a security threat due to a gun generally depends on the shape, composition, caliber, mass, and velocity of the bullet. To determine the standards, tests are performed using specific guns to ensure that the glazed shielding must stop a specified number of bullets placed within 12 centimeters of each other. In order to comply, the glass must be shatterproof and not crack or flake after impact.
Ballistic Protection Levels
Although able to withstand a 9mm, these two classes are rarely employed within armored vehicles.
These classes can withstand assault from weapons including sporting rifles and handguns—generally guns that are shot at a close distance and a lower bullet velocity, such as a .357 Magnum (B3) or .44 Magnum (B4).
This rating provides protection from AK-47s and other assault weapons and requires a ballistic steel thickness of at least 7.5 mm.
This rating has a high level of security and is meant to stop armor piercing rounds. This is among the most popular protection levels as it is still straightforward to implement while adding a huge security advantage.
The strongest protection often offered, the B7 protection level stops various armor piercing rounds fired from super high-velocity rifles, even sniper rifles. This is in many cases the highest feasible protection available within civilian-grade armored vehicles. Although, special purpose vehicles can and frequently do accommodate higher protection levels.
Remember, a happy median need to be found when selecting a protection level as more armor equals more weight. If a vehicle’s performance is hindered to the point where escape becomes difficult, no amount of armor will benefit its occupants. INKAS® implements a CEN B6 level armoring package for the vast majority of its civilian vehicles, a B4 armoring package for its cash-in-transit vehicles and up to B7 or even B7+ within its special purpose vehicles.