Soft Body Armor Test

by May 29, 2009 05/29/09

RVA3A Front PanelWe’ve been following the writings by Dr. Gary K. Roberts on body armor testing with great admiration. His independent analysis has been a wonderful perspective into the industry and what body armor is truly capable of stopping.

For those of you not familiar with Dr. Roberts, please read the following bio from our previous article. Dr. Roberts was an independent researcher on the most recent FBI Body Armor Test Protocol.

The following is an article Dr. Roberts posted on and has given us permission to repost here for our readers.

CAT/DBT RVA3A Level IIIa Soft Body Armor Test

We recently tested the CAT/DBT RVA3A Level IIIa soft body armor made of Kelvar XLT backed by Kevlar XP for a LE agency. This agency requires their soft body armor to meet the FBI Body Armor Protocol. In addition, they have a specific test requirement using various duty rounds. The CAT/DBT RVA3A duty round test was conducted on Friday 15 May 2009.

Front panel was shot with the following:

  • 9 mm 147 gr Fed HST–3 rounds in a 3″ circle from 10 feet
  • .40 S&W 180 gr Fed HST–3 rounds in a 3″ circle from 10 feet
  • .45 ACP 230 gr +P Fed HST–3 rounds in a 3″ circle from 10 feet
  • 9 mm 127 gr +P+ Win RA9TA–1 round contact shot
  • .44 Mag 240 gr Win Partition–1 round contact shot

Photo of front panel after test shots noted above:

RVA3A Front Panel

Back panel was shot with the following:

  • 9 mm 147 gr Win RA9T–3 rounds in a 3″ circle from 10 feet
  • .40 S&W 180 gr Win RA40T–3 rounds in a 3″ circle from 10 feet
  • .45 ACP 230 gr +P Win RA45TP–3 rounds in a 3″ circle from 10 feet

9mm 147 gr Fed HST–multiple shots in 3″ circle from 10 feet until vest penetration occurs (vest failed on shot #36)

The CAT/DBT RVA3A soft armor passed all test protocols.

Interestingly, the CAT/DBT QVA3A armor previously tested and approved by the LE agency was the best soft armor we have tested prior to this RVA3A test; during the shoot to failure test, the QVA3A failed on shot #33 with a full frank penetration, while the new RVA3A lasted until shot #36–in addition, the last shot was still entangled within the fibers of the vest on the RVA3A vest, as noted in the photo below:

RVA3A Shot 36

I believe the CAT/DBT RVA3A vest to be the best soft armor we have ever tested. Congratulations to DBT on such a fine product! It will greatly enhance the safety of LE officers. — Dr. Gary K. Roberts

To follow up, the CAT/DBT RVA3A is a new model and has not yet been released. Please contact Diamondback Tactical for more information.

The CAT/DBT QVA3A mentioned in the article is available now on Diamondback Tactical’s Web site, and has also passed the FBI Body Armor Protocol.

We’d like to thank Dr. Roberts from everyone here at ITS, for his tireless public release of body armor testing. We are all better informed because of his excellent and detailed information.

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