Armor Works will soon offer a new line of ballistic knee pads designed to shield soldier's and Marine's knee caps from enemy AK-47 fire.
The Arizona-based armor firm showed off a Level 3A version of the new ballistic knee pads on the Shot Show floor. Level 3A protects against 9mm rounds and shrapnel. A more protective version capable of stopping 7.62 x 39mm will be available soon, said William Perciballi, president and founder of Armor Works.
The new knee protection is the result of an 18-month effort with PEO Soldier to continue developing "extremity protection" options for soldiers in combat.
"For law enforcement, we are offering a level 3a, and for the military we are offering an assault-rifle version that is being tested right now," Perciballi said. "It's a good application for composite armor because composites have very good shaping capabilities. ... We are adapting our military composite armor technology to this product where we mold the product to shape and come up with a ballistic component that hopefully people think is comfortable."
On the level 3A version, the composite armor sits behind a hard outer shell. For the AK47 knee pad, the impact-resistant plastic outer shell will be replaced with a composite armor shell with an abrasion-resistant coating.
It's not clear right now how much heavier the level 3 knee pads will be compared to what soldiers currently wear.
"Every time you go up in protection, you add more armor and it gets a little heavier," Perciballi said. "The balance we are trying to achieve is a protection level that isn't too heavy and prevent people from wearing it."The less-protective, level 3A version on the floor didn't feel that much different from standard knee pads.
The increased protection isn't going to be cheap, though. The level 3A version is slated to retail for $150 a set. The price for the AK47 version has not been announced yet.
Armor Works will also be offering ballistic elbow pads with the same protection levels in mid March, Perciballi said.