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Advanced Armor

Saving Lives Through Advanced Materials


Italian freelance photojournalist, Marco di Lauro, took this photo of his ceramic armor vest after he was shot in the back with a Taliban AK-47 at point blank range. Left for dead, Marco woke up in the hospital with only a bruised torso and returned to his field photography just two days later.

Fortunately, Marco was wearing a protective vest with a CoorsTek CeraShield™ ceramic armor insert. 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.


Press photographer Marco DiLauro poses with a CoorsTek armor plate.

Vehicle Solutions

CoorsTek has been a supplier to defense manufacturers and contractors for decades, integrating lightweight ceramic armor plates into ground and air vehicle systems.

Light Armored Vehicles

DEW Engineering, a CoorsTek Company, has been the strategic supplier of the exterior ceramic add-on-armor to light armored vehicles manufactured by leading military vehicle providers. These composite armor systems improve both the mobility and protection of soldiers, using specialized ceramic tile forms to stop ballistic threats while keeping the overall weight down. 

Stryker Armored Vehicle

Police Vehicles

CoorsTek ballistic door panels are being implemented in the newest generation of Ford Police Interceptors.

CoorsTek company DEW Engineering partnered with Ford to help create the first door panels that meet NIJ Level IV requirements, providing superior protection against high-velocity armor piercing round to protect officers.

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 5 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. 


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