In production since 2014, Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 is one of several flagship protective armor plates offered by Spartan Armor Systems. It represents years of development by the manufacturer to bring some of the most lightweight and protective systems on the market.
Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 is a single cut, multi-curve, multi-hit, stand-alone body armor system developed in-house by Spartan Armor employees with over 20 years of combined industry experience. It is made from lab-certified AR500 steel, and consumers have their choice of plates formed on a continual die (i.e. flat), or with Spartan Armor’s patented Advanced Triple Curve (ATC) process. In the ATC process, plates are manipulated using a custom machining tool that avoids “creasing” the steel to form a more anatomical curve. This attention to detail and manufacturing gives Spartan Armor an added advantage over its competitors by extending the life and durability of their products.
Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 is available in three sizes; 8”x10”, 10”x12”, and 11”x14”. This armor meets National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Level III specifications, meaning it is rated up to 7.62mm NATO and other rifle calibers as per NIJ 0101.06 standards. It includes either an ergonomic “shooters cut” or “swimmers cut” in the corners designed for improved range of motion (based on the user’s intended use) and to accommodate a variety of gear. For maximum protection, Spartan Armor Systems developed a proprietary Polyurea Coating called “Encapsaloc” to improve moisture resistance, prevent secondary injury from spalling, and reinforce against abrasion/impact damage.
The name of AR500 steel refers to its “abrasion resistance” and its 500 Brinell Hardness rating. The Brinell rating is used to rate the hardness of steel and various other materials. The higher the Brinell rating, the harder the steel. Higher Brinell ratings also translate to faster velocities and heavier caliber rounds defeated, without penetrating the plate or going beyond the maximum acceptable indentation or deformation. For AR500 steel, the National Institute of Justice has set a deformation maximum of 44 millimeters.
While the Omega includes the industry standard of a 5-year warranty and a 20-year shelf life, this is standard across a majority of body armor manufactures. Engineers from Spartan Armor maintain that, shy of droppage or extreme environmental conditions, the hardened steel has an infinite shelf life.
- 10×12 Spartan™ Omega™ AR500 Body Armor
- Shooters Cut:
- Base Coat 8lbs 10oz.
- Full Coat 9lbs 11oz.
- Swimmers Cut:
- Base Coat 7lbs 7oz.
- Full Coat 8lbs 1oz
- Shooters Cut:
Video of Spartan Armor Systems Special Threat Testing for Omega: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05n4EC6wA-o
Link to NIJ Body Armor Compliant Manufacturers: https://nij.ojp.gov/body-armor-compliance-testing
- See “Find Compliant Armor” and select Ballistic Resistance, Standard-06.
Featured in this review for the Omega, was the Leonidas plate carrier by Spartan Armor, but it did not play a factor in the evaluation of the ballistic plates themselves.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): At $151.75 for a set (two plates), $75 for a single plate, $62 for a raw steel plate, or $419 as part of a full body armor package with Spartan Armor’s Leonidas plate carrier, the Omega has a large degree of application and very good affordability. Spartan Armor’s direct competitor for steel protective plates is AR500’s version ($119 per plate) of the same design and same protective level. A simple search on the internet reveals cheaper ballistic plate alternatives, but these are often ballistic plates that are “pending” NIJ certification, or are stated as “meeting NIJ standards” but have never been certified. When your life is on the line, having questionable protective armor is not a place in your kit you want to skimp on. Spartan Armor is proud that all its ballistic armor has been certified by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the gold standard for protective armor, and met or exceeded its standards.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): The weight of the Omega’s steel plates was notable, especially after wearing it in a plate carrier for longer than an hour. The weight pulled on the carrier and on the shoulder straps, so ensure your carrier has sufficient padding in that area as well as a decent cummerbund. Despite that, the ATC curvature of the Omega was very comfortable and contoured to the chest and back, giving the plates a higher than average score. During stressor drills (sprints/lunges) the Omega’s cut and ATC did not impede flexibility.
- Durability – Good (4/5): Given that the root material for the Omega is still AR500 steel, the durability of the plates went without question. And while that means your carrier and hardware will likely wear out long before the plate or its anti-fragmentation coating, wearers should take care not to drop their plate carriers. The Encapsaloc will help ensure some mitigation from impact as well as any potential fragmentation or corrosion, but still care should be taken as it’s entirely possible the plates can still damage other items due to sheer mass.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): As previously noted, the Omega is one of many ballistic products by Spartan Armor Systems that has been submitted to the NIJ, tested, and certified as a Level III, multi-hit ballistic plate. Thus, it will provide protection against some pistol and rifle calibers, at a distance of 50 feet or more (see chart), but not others. There was little in our evaluation process that could deduce anything more that hasn’t already been done to it in a formal laboratory, and under the strictest scientific methods of measurement. The Omega’s rating is readily found on the NIJ database (link above – model AR550) While the Omega steel plates have the industry standard of a “5-year lifespan, 20-year shelf life” this merely covers the wearer in the event of droppage or damage. In reality, the lifespan of the AR500 plates to maintain their protective rating is indefinite provided they remain undamaged.
- Weight – Average (3/5): The one (and only) downside to AR500-based ballistic plates is their weight. The Omega weighed in at approximately 10 pounds per plate, and its weight varies depending on the desired cut and coating. At 20 pounds for the set, the weight of the Omega plates bared on the carrier/body after a time (1hr+). This weight is consistent to other ballistic plate models of similar design and appeared in research to be the average weight for most ballistic plates of similar material.
Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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