Makes me think of the movie "Back to the Future," when Marty was in a gunfight and put the door off the wood stove under his shirt.
I'd be worried about spalling.....
That's really where the commercial steel body-armor industry has really done a rather amazing job: the various types of "anti-spall coatings" that hobbyist have been able to vet (not in small part due to the affordable nature of these plates) actually makes this type of armor actually viable.
What do I mean?
Take a look at what happens in the area adjacent to a steel target:
^ In this night-time video taken by the YouTube Channel Factor 5 Defense, you can see where the "spall" goes, from the bullet's contact with the steel. That spall is literally hot bullet fragments generated from the impact of the bullet on the hardened steel plate, and it can cause significant injuries, even *_yards_* from the target, much less the inches that's typical when you're actually wearing the armor on the body.
Here's another great demo - take a look at the 0:50 time-point on -
It's not simply a mount-and-shoot affair, steel targets take special consideration. Get the info you need to shoot safely at steel.
I've actually got a set of AR500 Armor Lvl-III+ plates with their anti-spall build-up, and I honestly wouldn't think twice about using them. I think that for either home-defense or for "prepping" purposes, they're great: they're relatively low-cost, and what's more, they really don't need any special kind of care/treatment (dropping a ceramic plate, particularly on its edge, can be devastating, and some PE armor should not be stored where they can experience higher temperatures, such as in the interior of vehicles in warmer climates). They're also relatively light *and* thin, and both of these factors can not only drive up cost, but also carries significant implications where it comes to the end-user's physical capabilities.
However, if I were knowingly going into harm's way (and this includes for those who train in a setting/facility where PPE is required), yes, I would spend the extra money (sometimes only marginally more, if the user is willing to compromise on weight and/or thickness) for the stuff that's NIJ certified and professionally vetted. Today, a smart shopper will easily be able to find Hesco BL-400 series (4400 or 4401) Lvl-IV Stand-Alone plates which will readily defeat the most common stateside AK and AR threats (including both M193 and M855) for well less than $200 a plate (here's the AT Armor retail page for this item - https://store.atarmor.com/Hesco_4400_Level_IV_Stand_Alone_Plate_p/hs-4400.htm)...and
that's a price that matches that of steel armor.
I've got an old Shellback Mayhem that has a set of AR500s in there, as I noted above. It's not bad (especially for the $70 I paid for it, on closeout from TAG back in 2014), but it's definitely old-school, and both more cumbersome to put on as well as hotter to wear than the more modern plate carrier that I use for training classes where PPE is required. At least it carries the weight very well.
That said, compared to my class carrier, it's not even in the same ballpark.
Below are a few pictures of what I use - I'm the porky Chinese guy.
It's an ESSTAC Daeodon (https://www.esstac.com/daeodon
), with a pair of HESCO 4400s. The carrier was state-of-the-art back in 2017, when I bought it new, and it still stacks up well even today, in terms of non-jumpable carriers. It's exceedingly comfortable (particularly when paired with a full set of PIG Pontoons front and rear), and I've got its placard configured to help me get the most out of my training days - pictured below:
There's a utility light front-center, and just below that is an APALS holder for low-light safety marking. To the immediate left is a tourniquet carried in a North American Rescue C-A-T Holder, and outboard of that is a Benchmade 7 Rescue Hook. On the right hand side of centerline (but not blocking my access to my handgun) is an LBT Modular Utility Pouch, in which I store my cell-phone as well as note-taking materials. This pouch has been replaced with a generic made-in-China phone/notepad/pen holder, which I actually find more useful - since durability isn't really an issue here, the switch to a lower-grade product really doesn't bother me much.
On the rear of the carrier, which you can't see, is an RE-Factor Aggressor (https://www.refactortactical.com/products/the-aggressor
), which I carry empty as an utility pouch (my war-belt carries my main med pack, an HSGI M3T). Aside from a couple of nerdy patches - Trekkers should note my front-facing patch; on my rear is a Thundercats emblem and - the only other piece of gear that's worthy to note back there would be a Propper Hi-Vis safety marker, again for low-light safety marking.
^ Oh, and yeah, that's my hand duct-taped to the fire-control of my gun, courtesy of Joe Weyer of the Alliance PD Training Facility.
Because apparently Italians aren't the only people who love to talk with their hands!
Trust me, this completely cured me of my hand-gesturing problem when it should be on fire control. Like I said to Joe a the end of those 3 days, as he patted me on the back and gave me the title of "Most Improved," - "You'll find my dead hand still on fire-control, sir!"
I've got another placard with a double-stack of ESSTAC 5.56 pouches and handgun pouches for when the zombies come out, but in all honesty, I'd probably just put a can of NOS and some Bridgeford links in the utility, and throw the extra mags in my dump pouch behind the belt, instead.
Hey, a man's gotta snack, you know?!