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Armored Republic FragLock Fragmentation Coating

Newton’s Laws of Motion

When learning what a high-velocity projectile does when impacting a hard surface, it's important to understand Newton’s laws of motion. In particular the first three:

  1. An object will not change its motion unless a force acts on it - This means objects like paper, thin metal, drywall, and air resistance will all be a constantly changing factor on a projectile in motion. 
  2. The force on an object is equal to its mass times its acceleration - This is all ballistics in a nutshell. It can be the difference between when a projectile redirects when hit, ricochets off a surface, fragments on impact, or penetrates an armored surface.  
  3. When two objects interact, they apply forces to each other of equal magnitude and opposite direction - This means projectiles can be deflected or shattered by the surface they strike. Surfaces that are harder than the projectile will most certainly cause it to shatter on impact sending small particles of itself in all directions. This happens with ceramic, steel, concrete, rocks, and indoor structure walls. Likewise, projectiles traveling at a high velocity can shatter on impact even if the surface is not as hard as drywall, and vehicle paneling. 

Steel armor plates from Armored Republic stop bullets by presenting a hardened surface meant to break projectiles upon contact - interrupting and stopping their flight path. Although our plates excel at this, the energy from this violent stopping of the projectile has to go somewhere. This creates a secondary type of concern that needs to be addressed when using hard surface type armor: Fragmentation. 

Fragmentation is an outward burst of powdered metals resulting in a high-velocity projectile breaking apart and redirecting upon impacting a hard surface like steel or ceramic. 

Although fragmentation does not have the same velocity as the single projectile, this still presents an outward spray hazard of metal that can end up under your chin, neck, arms, and legs resulting in bodily damage or your death.  

We cover our bases

When we introduced our ballistic plates from Armored Republic in 2012, we knew fragmentation was something we had to address.

When bare steel is shot, fragmentation travels perpendicular to the plate’s surface. 

After experimenting with several coatings available on the market to address fragmentation, and not finding one we were happy with, we decided to make our own; FragLock™. 

Fraglock is a proprietary coating not found with any other company and is NOT a truck bed liner. Its formula was engineered to address ballistic threats from its inception. 

We offer Fraglock sprayed in two coating thickness types: Base Coat and Build-Up Coat. 

  • Our Base Coat spray does two things:
    1. Seals the plate from sweat and other elements that would cause degradation of the steel core
    2. Provides a constant path of resistance to the perpendicular travel of fragmentation - essentially redirecting fragmentation off-body at a 5-15 degree angle. Although this coating is excellent for back side usage such as on the back of a plate carrier or in a backpack, it does not address potential fragmentation on the front side that could make its way into the arms and legs and underside of your chin. 
  • This brings us to our Build Up coating. We wanted to offer a plate coating to address all fragmentation threats. After extensive testing, we found that when our coating is sprayed to a particular thickness, it will capture all fragmentation from a stopped projectile.

Spall vs Fragmentation 

One thing we see frequently are these two terms used interchangeably. Keep in mind they are not: 

  • Fragmentation: occurs when a high-velocity projectile (like a bullet) hits a surface hard enough to cause it to break. Once broken apart, the subsequent pieces or fragments that have not fully dumped their velocity begin to travel in an outward direction from the point of impact. Generally speaking, with steel core armor, due to the flex capabilities of ballistic steel, you will only deal with fragmentation if it stops a threat. 
  • Spalling: is when pieces of the armor are broken off and become a backward threat to the wearer. Generally speaking, only ceramic-type armor spalls. Spalling occurs with ceramic-type armor even when it works meaning additional safety precautions are needed with ceramic. This is why all stand-alone level IV plates have to have some type of soft armor backers. Contrary to popular belief, ceramic armor is susceptible to both fragmentation and spalling.   

Armored Republic’s FragLock Coating

Armored Republic revolutionized the armor industry by being the first to market with our fragmentation mitigation coating. Since then, we’ve continued to master the process - so much so we consider it an art form, utilizing artisan-level craftsmen in its application.

Each of our armor plates goes through a series of processes to ensure proper surface prep. This allows maximum adhesion of the FragLock coating making it as effective as possible. Our armor goes through four stages of cleaning and prep before it even hits our coating booth. Part of this process is hand applying the FragLock coating at just the right amount of thickness which has shown to be the best balance of elasticity and durability. After curing, the plates then go through a multi-stage quality control process to ensure the coating has been evenly applied and is free from imperfections.  

FragLock Base Coat and Build-Up Coat plates offer an extremely durable finish that is chemical resistant, waterproof, wear-resistant, and requires little to no maintenance during its lifetime. All coatings are applied by hand (note that due to our plates being hand sprayed, our plate weights have a variation of +/- 10% of the overall plate weight) and are proudly inspected in our Phoenix AZ facility in the USA. 

Even with all of this, we continually test our current and potential formulas to make sure we bring you the very best fragmentation mitigation coating on the market. 

Our testing is extensive and the coating's effectiveness is clear. Watch the videos below.

Steel and Ceramic Plates vs 50 Balloons

Part 1: AK-47 vs Steel Armor

Part 2: .300 Win Mag vs Steel Level 3+ Armor

Part 3: .300 Win Mag vs Level IV Ceramic Armor

Part 4: Level 3 PE & Steel Armor vs 5.56 M855 Green Tip