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Differences in Various Models of Ranger Body Armor?

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#1 MEversbergII

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 01:43 PM



While researching Ranger Body Armor, I found this post:





Unfortunately a number of pictures simply do not show for me (I have a triangle with an ! in the middle for a few, but not all).


I have come to understand that there are eight distinct models listed there.  What I'm not clear on are some of the differences.  Here's what's on my mind.


Model 1:  Single front plate, angle cut on right shoulder. 30 layer Kevlar vest.  The basic original model.  Comes in about 1991?  No picture in post, but that's easy to hunt up.


Model 2:  Two plates - front is unchanged, rear seems to be the same plate without the cut but it is hoisted higher up on the back, leaving the kidney area exposed (I presume due to the straps).  This is after Op. Gothic Serpent, so 1994?  Perhaps later?  Why just one plate now?


Model 3:  Back to only one (front only) plate, and it is "smaller".  In what way is it smaller?  Surely it can't be thinner because it would compromise the protection rating, but I'm not seeing LxW changes in the picture provided.  Evidently this is from 2000 or 2001?


Model 4:  Back to two plates.  Post mentions "two smaller plates instead of larger ones" - does this mean the front and back plates are now "smaller", or is it that one or both areas are now two smaller plates individually (for a total of four)?  Former seems more likely.  Also some cosmetic changes like more Velcro and side-mounted straps for some reason.  Now features a front pocket.  No idea on date.


Model 5:  Back to "larger" plates, which to me sounds like the size we had in Model 2, though the picture makes the back plate look like it comes down way further, down into the kidney area.  No idea on date, but sometime after we invaded Iraq.  Pocket is gone and doesn't seem to come back.


Model 6:  Same as 5, but without the "rifle cut" in the front plate for some reason.  No picture in post.  No idea on date.


Model 7:  No rifle cut on the front plate, and in desert color.  Seems like the rear plate is lower down than before, leaving the shoulder region more exposed on the back.


Model 8:  No picture but I could google around for the SPEAR stuff it mentions.  Seems no rifle cut, no pocket, but it does have MOLLE and an optional groin protector (of...kevlar?  Plate?).  Possibly also a throat guard of some kind.


So, does all that seem right?  Also some general questions:


1)  Is the plate on the originals offset to the left a bit or is that an illusion?  It seems off center.


2)  Why did the rifle cut go away in later models?


3)  Why does the rear plate seem to move down later?


4)  What's up with some of the later models simply not having a rear plate?


5)  When they made the plates "smaller", was it just a LxW thing?  Anyone know the details on weight and measurements?


6)  Anyone have knowledge on which (if not all) of these were The Real Deal in standard issue, vs being specialist items?


7)  Anyone know *when* these were in use?  Some are clear, others are not.  Reading into ISAPO, it *seems* like the rear plate wasn't even standard until 1996 or later, since ISAPO documents state it is more protective than RBR due to having two plates (evidently the same materials as the RBR plate)


8)  Why do the pockets Velcro-open downwards?  I can get ease of self-removal but it seems like it would be disadvantageous if you're crawling forward or moving around a bunch, since it goes against gravity / crawl direction.


9)  Did the vest material change, or did it remain the 30 layers of KM2 throughout?





Edited by MEversbergII, 01 February 2017 - 01:44 PM.


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Posted 11 April 2017 - 05:50 PM

We used RBA from around 91 until GWOT.
-single ceramic plate was used until around 1995

-team leader and above added front and back ceramic plates around 1995/96 for about a year due to risk of #1 or #2 being hit by young, inexperienced soldiers in Ranger Bn. Direct result from real life event at Ft. Benning in tire house. I say 95, because it was Post Haiti/Cuba and Thailand deployments.

Color was woodland camouflage until GWT. Delta wore black. We always wore woodland. We did experiment with rack systems and velcro add ons to rba. Was not liked.

RBA was controlled at company level. We had size Medium, Large, X-Large. Young rangers usually got the bigger sizes. Medium fit tighter and made it easier during cqb for smaller rangers.

#3 Mercenary25

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 06:35 AM

The newest "Ranger Body Armor Model 8" is actually Cerdayne body armor, not labeled as RBA. Also issued to the SF and NSW (not as many as SPEAR), so it was not limited to Rangers only. So technically the name is incorrect but collectors called it RBA anyway.

The RBA is same as SPEAR body armor (BALCS cut, has soft armor and uses SAPI plates) but with key differences. SPEAR has vertical MOLLE on front while "RBA" has horizional. On back SPEAR and "RBA" is similar with MOLLE webbing but "RBA" has extra features: additional LC-2 (or ALICE style) webbing on bottom and pull handle.

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