Advanced Armor

Saving Lives Through Advanced Materials

CoorsTek has been employing advanced ceramics to manufacture life-saving armor components for over fifty years, from lightweight body armor plates that keep soldiers more nimble to ballistic armor panels which protect vehicles and aircraft. Every day, ceramic armor helps protect the law enforcement, security, and defense personnel who protect us - uniquely combining light weight with unsurpassed hardness to deter increasing threat levels.


Amazing story: Marco di lauro

Marco Di Lauro, an Italian photojournalist, was one of the first journalists to cross the border into Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. 

Marco was wearing a protective vest with a CoorsTek CeraShield™ ceramic armor insert when he was shot in the back with a Taliban AK-47. 





amazing story: gary worthy

Gary Worthy was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam war. While on a scouting mission, Gary's helicopter was riddled with over 75 bullets, including one to his chest. Fortunately, Gary was wearing his protective "chicken plates" with ceramic inserts. Read more.



Gary Worth in Vietnam.

Evolution of Armor Graphic


Armor and weapons have always progressed in tandem. As weapon threat levels increased, armor was designed with increased stopping power. Modern body armor began as several layers of meshed high-tensile-strength fibers designed to slow down and dissipate the bullet’s energy.

However, as armor piercing rounds became more common, the hard-metal cores of the bullets would pierce through the layers of fibers. To match this threat, steel plates were used as inserts. However, these were heavy and impeded the mobility and effectiveness of their users.

CoorsTek has developed over a dozen unique technical ceramic formulations, optimized for different armor applications and ballistic threat levels from advanced materials. Kilogram for kilogram, these ceramics are more than five times harder than steel and titanium alloy armor. Lightweight body armor makes personnel more nimble, and more likely to wear their protective gear. Lightweight ceramic armor helps vehicles accomplish their mission by improving speed, range, performance, and protection over conventional armor systems.

Material Progression Chart for CoorsTek Armor

Continuing Progress

As ballistic threats become more sophisticated, so must the methods of protection. CoorsTek continues to work at developing advanced ceramics, always looking for ways to improve protection rates through:

  • Lowering weight: maximizing mobility
  • Increasing hardness: neutralizing increasing ballistic threats
  • Improving integration compatibility: providing more creative solutions


Material Developments

CoorsTek has dedicated experts who work to understand evolving threats and develop unique solutions to neutralize them. Our experts approach each problem knowing we, at CoorsTek, are not the heroes — just those who help.

This mentality has helped CoorsTek develop over 17 unique formulations, tuned for different protection grades and applications. These compositions are spread across several material families including:


Material Highlight: Boron Carbide

Boron carbide has a very low density while maintaining its characteristic extreme hardness. Through careful manufacturing, boron carbide can be used to create the hardest and lightest parts known to be manufactured. Boron carbide is:

  • 44% Lighter than Titanium
  • 4.5X Harder than RHA Steel

This unique combination led to the rapid adoption of boron carbide for high-end armor systems — allowing them to be lighter and more effective. Applications for boron carbide plates have included aircraft armor and elite body armor.