RMA SRT Lightweight Armor – Level IIIa+ (#1003) Review

RMA SRT front of plate

Body armor has always been essential for those who find themselves in situations where safety is a top priority.

With experience in law enforcement, I learned that quality body armor can make a crucial difference in the field.

I’ve used and tested various body armor throughout my career and was responsible for the program to source and replace body armor for my agency.

Over the years I’ve learned the importance of having protective equipment that doesn’t compromise mobility.

I hate big, bulky, heavy gear for my personal use case.

Depending on your use, sometimes you need kit that is a balance between protection and maneuverability. Insert this armor as a possible solution.

In 2016, I opted to invest in a couple of RMA SRT Plates (Model #1003). I was searching for a specific balance of attributes in body armor, so I decided to give these a try.

JPC 2.0

I was impressed with the context of their specific use, especially if you are concerned with weight.

The RMA SRT Lightweight Body Armor Plate (Model #1003) has been designed to be incredibly thin and lightweight, weighing in at just 2.53 pounds per plate.

This feature allows you to remain agile and quick on your feet, while still providing top-tier defense against projectiles from common firearms, such as 5.56x45mm FMJ Ball and 7.62x39mm FMJ Ball rounds.

As you venture into situations where you have specific needs, the Model #1003 plates may help to ensure that you have the best protection possible without compromising your mobility or comfort.

Overview of RMA SRT Lightweight Body Armor Plate (Model #1003)

When it comes to body armor, you want protection that’s effective, reliable, and comfortable. The RMA SRT Lightweight Body Armor Plate – Level IIIa+ (Model #1003) offers all of these qualities, ensuring that you feel secure and agile on your feet.

Weighing just 2.53 pounds, the Model #1003 plate is designed to offer outstanding ballistic protection without compromising your ability to move swiftly.

Constructed with ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene composite materials, this plate combines rugged durability with an impressively low weight.

Some of the key features of the Model #1003 plate are its stopping power and high resistance to multiple threats, which include:

  • 7.62×39 (AK 47) rounds
  • High-speed M193 rounds
  • 7.62×51 (M80 steel) rounds

When incorporating the Model #1003 plate into your gear, a compatible, dependable plate carrier is paramount.

In my experience, the Crye Precision JPC 2.0 serves as an outstanding companion to these plates.

Known for its comfort and mobility, the JPC 2.0, when coupled with the Model #1003, offers a blend of protection and flexibility that is hard to beat.

Level IIIa+ Protection and Performance

The SRT Plates offer a high level of protection against common handgun rounds, as well as some popular rifle rounds, including 5.56×45 FMJ Ball, high-velocity M193, and 7.62×39 FMJ Ball.

This model complies with the NIJ 0101.06 standard in terms of ballistic resistance.

Despite its lightweight nature, the Model #1003 doesn’t compromise on performance.

While it’s not quite at the same level of protection as a Level III plate, it is rated as Level IIIa+.

This means it provides more comprehensive coverage than a standard Level IIIa plate against handgun rounds while remaining lighter and more versatile than Level III rifle plates, which are designed to protect against six .308 NATO rounds.

Comparing Materials and Technologies

When considering body armor, it’s important to understand the differences between the materials and technologies used in various products.

The key materials used in body armor include steel, ceramic, and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE).

Each of these materials offers unique advantages and trade-offs.


Steel has been a popular choice for body armor in the past due to its durability and resilience against various threats.

However, steel plates tend to be heavier than their counterparts, which can decrease your mobility on the field.

Additionally, steel plates may be susceptible to spalling, which can result in fragments causing secondary injuries or death.


Ceramic plates, on the other hand, are known for their effective stopping power and low weight compared to steel.

However, ceramic materials can be more fragile and prone to cracking or shattering under extreme conditions.

This can lead to reduced ballistic protection over time, particularly if the plate experiences multiple impacts.


UHMWPE is a newer material used in lightweight body armor like the plates we are discussing today.

This incredibly strong, yet lightweight, polyethylene fabric offers excellent ballistic protection while minimizing the overall weight of the armor.

By understanding the different materials and technologies available for body armor, you can make an informed decision about which option best suits your needs.

While steel and ceramic plates offer strong protection, UHMWPE allows for lighter-weight options.

Ideal Users and Applications

These plates are an excellent option for those in need of a lightweight body armor plate that has pretty stopping power for their weight.

The Level IIIa+ rating falls within a particular niche and as mentioned above, the armor provides ample protection against common handgun rounds as well as rifle rounds of 5.56×45 FMJ Ball, high-velocity m193, 7.62×39, and .308.

If you’re an individual working in a field that requires a balance of agility and protection, the RMA SRT Lightweight Body Armor Plate – Level IIIa+ (Model #1003) is a great choice for improving safety and effectiveness in fulfilling your objectives.

Manufacturer and Production Information

The RMA SRT Lightweight Body Armor Plate – Level IIIa+ (Model #1003) is manufactured by RMA Armament, Inc in Centerville, IA, an American-based company known for its body armor.

This armor plate is produced entirely at RMA’s factory in Iowa, ensuring a reliable and consistent product.

The Model #1003 plate boasts special features, such as its polyethylene water-resistant cover, positive buoyancy, and multi-hit capabilities.

One of the standout features of this body armor plate is its positive buoyancy.

This means that it will not weigh you down in the water, giving you an additional layer of protection and mobility when working in or around water.

Tested by an NIJ certified laboratory, the Model #1003 plate is capable of withstanding multiple hits from various calibers.

All these attributes contribute to the exceptional performance and reliability that you can expect from a product made in the USA.

Complementary Gear and Accessories

When considering these plates for your personal protection needs, it’s important to also invest in high-quality complementary gear and accessories to maximize their effectiveness.

Let’s look at a few options to enhance the performance of your body armor.

Incorporating a suitable plate carrier is essential for the optimal integration of these plates.

Two options from RMA are the Tactical Rift Plate Carrier and the Tactical Sierra Plate Carrier.

Both carriers are designed for versatility and ease of use while maintaining a secure, comfortable fit.

To maximize the benefits of your body armor, it’s essential to invest in high-quality, compatible equipment and gear that keep you protected and agile in any situation.

Alternatives and Comparison to Other RMA Plates

If you are considering these plates, you may want to take a look at alternative options within RMA’s product range to determine which best fits your requirements.

One alternative to the Model #1003 plate is the Model #1155.

This plate is a Level IV, multi-curve hard armor plate, providing you with a higher level of protection than the Level IIIa+ plate.

Weighing in at 8.3 pounds per plate, it is significantly heavier than Model #1003 but can withstand multiple impacts from armor-piercing rounds.

Another similar option is the Model #1155MC Level IV plate.

What sets this armor apart from the Model #1155 is its multi-curve shape, providing enhanced comfort and better compatibility with various plate carriers.

However, the added benefits come at a higher cost, so you must consider your budget and specific protection requirements.

If you’re looking for something lighter, RMA also offers Level III body armor plates.

Although not as light as the Level IIIa+ Model #1003, these plates provide higher protection against rifle threats while maintaining a manageable weight.

In terms of warranty, RMA Armament stands behind its products with a robust RMA Hard Armor Warranty Policy.

This policy covers your purchase for material defects and workmanship, ensuring that you can trust the quality and longevity of your chosen body armor plate.

Remember to assess your specific needs when choosing between these options.

Handling, Care, and Warranty Information

Like any ballistic protection, proper maintenance is crucial for ensuring optimum performance throughout its lifespan.

Regularly inspect your plate for any damage or obvious wear, and store it in a cool, dry place when not in use.

In the event of an incident, RMA Armament, Inc. offers a free replacement policy.

If your plate is struck in the line of duty, RMA will replace it at no cost, subject to the provision of relevant documentation, such as a police report.

This commitment to customer satisfaction demonstrates how RMA stands behind the quality and performance of its products.

For added peace of mind, RMA provides a ballistic lab report with each armor plate, demonstrating the rigorous testing procedures their products undergo.

This ensures they meet the highest standards of ballistic protection, keeping you safe in challenging situations.

Finally, it’s important to know the RMA return policy.

Due to the life-saving nature of the product, all sales are final.

If you need to return any other items from your order or have concerns about your plate, contact RMA directly for support.

They can advise you on the best course of action.

Remember to inspect your plate regularly and follow best practices for storage and use to ensure it remains effective throughout its service life.

Cost-Effectiveness, Sizing, and Availability

These plates offer a cost-effective solution that may fit your personal protection needs.

The sizing for the Model #1003 plate is 10″x12″ and comes in at .8″ thick.

Unfortunately, RMA Armament does not offer international shipping for the Model #1003 plate.

If you are located in the State of Connecticut, please note that sales for this product are also prohibited.

Nevertheless, sales are allowed in New York, so long as you have the appropriate credentials approved for purchasing body armor.


In summary, the RMA SRT Lightweight Body Armor Plate – Level IIIa+ (Model #1003) is an impressive piece of gear, designed to provide you with optimal safety and agility in various situations.

Weighing just 2.53 pounds, this lightweight plate allows you to move quickly and easily while still offering the stopping power to defeat multiple hits from common rifle threats such as the 7.62×39 (AK-47), high-speed m193 round, and 7.62×51 (m80 steel) rounds.

As an added benefit, this RMA Model #1003 body armor plate comes in a 10×12 inch single-curve, stand-alone SAPI/ESAPI-Cut design that can accommodate different body types and preferences.

With its advanced materials and construction, you can trust this plate to provide reliable protection in high-risk environments without inhibiting your ability to perform.

Its combination of weight, stopping power, and design features make it a versatile solution for various scenarios.

Frequently Asked Questions

What threats can the Level IIIA+ armor protect against?

The Level IIIA+ armor is designed to stop a variety of threats, such as 7.62×39 (AK 47) rounds, high-speed M193 rounds, and even hard-hitting 7.62×51 (M80 steel) rounds. This makes it a versatile choice for law enforcement, military personnel, and private citizens concerned about personal safety.

What is the weight of the RMA SRT Model #1003?

The Model #1003 weighs a light 2.53 pounds, making it one of the lightest armor plates in its class. Its lightweight design allows for increased agility and comfort, making it a popular option among tactical units and law enforcement.

Are there any multi-curve options for Model #1003?

Currently, Model #1003 is offered with a single curve design to provide the optimal balance of comfort and protection. For those seeking a multi-curved option, RMA also offers Model #1155mc, a Level 4 Multi-Curve Body Armor Plate.

How does the Level IIIa+ armor differ from Level 4 body armor?

Level IIIa+ armor, such as the Model #1003, is designed to protect against high-speed bullets and select rifle rounds. In contrast, Level 4 body armor is typically fabricated as a hard plate and offers even greater protection, including from armor-piercing rounds like the 30.06 M2AP. The choice between Level IIIa+ and Level 4 body armor will depend on your specific needs and threat assessment.

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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