Ballistics Protection Levels

There is a lot of confusion surrounding ballistic levels, as various agencies from differing countries have established their own standards, and often for differing ballistic material ( i.e. ballistic vests, ballistic glass, steel etc) In order to simplify these standards and make the understanding thereof a little easier, we use the European EN 1063 Ballistic standard. We have simplified this further by grouping all calibre’s that pass a certain ballistic level together, e.g. BR4 Covers all handgun calibre’s up to and including .44 magnum, BR6 Covers all commonly encountered rifle calibre’s up to 7.62x51mm. We have analysed the attacks on our and other civilian armoured and non armoured vehicles, and have a good understanding of the potential threat levels and what armour level is needed to defeat these threats.


Level BR4 covers all the handgun calibre’s likely to be encountered in general crime and hijacking scenarios. Handguns are commonly used due to the ease with which they can be concealed. Take a look at the video which clearly illustrates this.

Level BR6 covers the most commonly used military calibre’s. These are used in rifles like the AK 47 (7.62X39mm). R4,R5, AR15,M4 (5.56X45mm). R1,FN,G3, HK91(7.62x51mm). Level BR7 is required to stop armour piercing ammunition fired by the above mentioned BR6 rifles. It is generally only required for military or ultra high risk applications.

Recent prevalence of steel core ammunition in Southern Africa.

Traditionally bullets were composed of a lead core, with a copper jacket. Lead deforms easily and is easy to defeat in ballistic armour terms. Due to a change in manufacturing processes, this is now being phased out and replaced by a mild steel core with a copper jacket. Most of the 7.62x39mm ( AK 47) ammunition now found in Southern Africa is Chinese or Russian steel core. Steel core bullets retain their shape and integrity far better than lead core, resulting in deeper penetration of armour. Our level B6 armour is able to comfortably defeat these steel core rounds.

About 7.62x39 mm and 5.45x39 mm Steel Core Projectiles

Both the 5.45x39 mm 7N6 and the 7.62x39 mm M43 utilize steel core projectiles. These projectiles are not considered armour piercing because the steel used in the cores are mild steel and not harden steel as used in armour piercing rounds. These mild steel core rounds would not penetrate armor like true armour piercing rounds. There are also lead core only commercial versions of the 7.62 x 39 mm and 5.45x39 mm rounds used for target shooting.

AK47 and AK74 Rounds in Regards to the UL752 and EN1063 Ballistic Standards for Testing

7.62x39 mm Rounds
The closest representation for the 7.62x39 mm in regards to the UL752 Ballistic Standard would be both the UL Level 5 single-shot and Level 8 5-shot 7.62 NATO standards. In regards to the EN1063 Ballistic Standard, it would be the BR6 3-shot 7.62 NATO Standard.

The UL752 Level 5 and 8 7.62 NATO standards utilize a 150 grain lead core FMJ projectile traveling within a velocity range of 2,750 to 3,025 ft/s. The EN1063 BR6 7.62 NATO standards utilize a 147 grain lead core FSJ projectile traveling within a velocity range of 2,690 to 2,756 ft/s. The commercial 7.62x39 mm utilizes a 123 grain lead core FMJ projectile traveling at an average speed of 2,362 ft/s. The Military 7.62x39 mm M43 utilizes a 123 grain mild steel core FMJ projectile traveling at an average speed of 2,421 ft/s.

5.45x39 mm Rounds
Both the 5.45x39 mm 7N6 steel core and the commercial lead core rounds are the Russian competitors to the 5.56 x 45 NATO M855 / SS109 steel tipped round. Therefore, the closest Standard would be the EN1063 BR5 standard. The EN1063 BR5 standards utilize a 5.56 mm 62 grain lead core steel tipped FMJ projectile traveling within a velocity range of 3,084 to 3,150 ft/s. The 5.45x39 mm 7N6 utilizes a 53 grain mild steel core FMJ projectile traveling at approximately 2,900 ft/s. The 5.45x39 mm commercial round utilizes a 60 grain lead core FMJ projectile traveling at approximately 2,900 ft/s.

In regards to the UL752 Standard, the closest Standard would be the UL752 Level 7 .223 caliber 55 grain lead core FMJ round.

7.62x39 mm and 5.45x39 mm Projectile Specifications

5.45x39 mm  Cartridge:

  • Cartridge: AK74 (5.45 x 39mm 7N6 52gr FMJ steel core)
  • Bullet: 3.37 gram (52 grain) 7N6 FMJ mild steel core
  • Velocity: 914 m/s (3,000 ft/s)
  • Energy: 1,408 J (1,039 ft·lbs)

5.45x39 mm Commercial Cartridge:

  • Cartridge: AK74 (5.45 x 39mm 60gr FMJ lead core)
  • Bullet: 3.89 gram (60 grain) FMJ lead lead core
  • Velocity: 884 m/s (2,900 ft/s)
  • Energy: 1,519 J (1,120 ft·lbs)


    7.62×39mm M43 Cartridge:

    • Cartridge: AK47 (7.62 x 39mm M43 123gr FMJ steel core)
    • Bullet: 7.97 gram (123 gr) FMJ mild steel core
    • Velocity: 738 m/s (2,421 ft/s)
    • Energy: 2,171 J (1,601 ft·lbs)

    7.62×39mm Mil-Spec Commercial Cartridge:

    • Cartridge: AK47 (7.62 x 39mm 124gr FMJ lead core)
    • Bullet: 8.04 gram (124 gr) FMJ lead core
    • Velocity: 720 m/s (2,362 ft/s)
    • Energy: 2,083 J (1,536 ft·lbs)

    FJ – Full Metal Jacket

    RN – Round Nose


    PB – Pointed bullet

    Sc – soft core (lead)





    Level BR4


    • 357 Magnum (FJ/ CB/ SC)
    • 9X19mm Parabellum (FJ/RN/SC)
    • 44 Magnum (FJ/CB/SC)


    • 158 gr
    • 124 gr
    • 240gr


    • 425 mps / 1395 fps
    • 427 mps / 1400 fps
    • 440 m/s / 1443 fps
    Level BR6


    • 7.62 X 39mm, (AK 47) (FJ/PB/SC)
    • 7.62 X 39mm, (AK 47) (FJ/PB/SC
    • 5.56/223 (FJ/PB)
    • 7.62 x 51mm (FJ/PB)
    • 7.62 x 51mm M80 (FJ/PB/SC


    • 145 gr
    • 123 gr
    • 45 gr
    • 150 gr
    • 147 gr


    • 740m/s / 2,430 fps
    • 715m/s / 2 346 fps
    • 919 m/s / 3015 fps
    • 820m/s / 2690 fps
    • 840m/s /2,756 fps
    Level BR7


    • 7.62 X 51mm Armor Piercing


    • 150 gr


    • 830 m/s/ 2723 fps

    To read more about European Ballistic Standards