Permit us to consolidate our various caveats and disclaimers in one place for your convenience, rather than putting a big block of text on the bottom of each webpage.
No product is "bulletproof". Purchase and use of any projectile resistant product carries the risk that threat projectiles either miss the product and directly strike the user, penetrate the product, or strike the product but ricochet or fragment off it causing injury to the user or another individual. With regards to threat projectiles penetrating a product, Hardcore Defense and most other United States manufacturers follow the National Institutes of Justice (NIJ) standards for ballistic performance. The NIJ is a branch of the Department of Justice. While they set the standards, they do not perform testing to them. All testing is performed by the individual companies selling ballistic products and/or by independent test labs hired by the companies to do so.
At this time Hardcore Defense uses only steels and titaniums as the ballistic-resistant components of our products. We do not manufacture these metals, but purchase them from metal forges, mills, or distributors and cut them into shape for final assembly. Ballistic performance of the product is determined by the material used and is ultimately under the control of the metal supplier. All steel we use is marketed by the supplier as ballistic material. No particular product or lot of products is guaranteed to meet the ballistic requirements of the reference NIJ test standard. For ballistic products sold to the public in the United States, "Tested to NIJ..." or "Certified to NIJ..." means that at least one product or lot of products (as required by the test standard) representative of the product being marketed was tested in accordance with the standard and met the acceptance criteria. Beyond this, manufacturing controls at the metal supplier are used to ensure repeatability of performance between runs. In some cases, large runs of the material allow for ballistic testing of each run of steel at the mill. In other cases chemical analysis and hardness testing as used to ensure repeatability.
Furthermore the NIJ standard only requires a select number of shots on a particular panel. Just because one plate stopped 5 bullets does not mean every plate will. Hardcore Defense performs additional testing on the Alpha Shield and Bravo Shield near the edges of the panel, at the bolt holes, and in clustered hit situations to provide increased confidence about the ability of our products to withstand hits in these areas. This provides an better indication of product performance beyond that which just the basic NIJ 0108.1 testing would, but does not represent a guarantee since we cannot control the exact location of the hits and do not have the resources to test an infinite number of samples in an infinite number of ways.
The NIJ standards themselves have myriad testing and labeling requirements. When Hardcore Defense performs internal testing to supplement the certifications provided by suppliers and/or internal test labs we do our best to comply with the standard as written but make some deviations as warranted. One example is that we use an off-the-shelf commercial chronograph rather than the particular custom layout specified by the 1980s standard. Another example is we omit irrelevant information from our labels like expiration date, and on some products split the required labeling information between multiple stickers.
Also be aware that velocities claimed match those measured at the chronograph, and the bullets will slow slightly over the distance between the chronograph and the test sample. This velocity drop ranges from approximately 75 fps for the 5.56 mm M193 projectile to less than 20 fps for the NIJ IIIA projectiles, for which the chronograph is positioned closer to the target.
To date Hardcore Defense knows of no instances in which any of our products failed to meet the ballistic resistant specifications for the product. We know of only one instance where any company in our industry had a problem with this, and in that case the company had performed a their own high temperature annealing process on their torso plate, and had been unaware that in doing so they changed the material properties and ballistic performance.
Product weights will vary slightly unit to unit depending on standard variances in material thicknesses and other tolerances. If we note that our material has been trending off nominal for a while (ballistic steel vendors often provide material on the thick side of the tolerance specification for safety) we will update the website and literature to better reflect the weight of the product being produced. This may lead to minor differences in the weights listed on the website and on hardcopy literature. Please consider all weights to be approximate, with a +/- 10% window around them.
MADE IN USA
All Hardcore Defense products are made in USA to the greatest extent possible. We use American-made materials whenever possible, and all assembly is done in the United States. There are a few components on a few products for which no US vendor is available which we source from European countries. Two exceptions: first, our sticker manufacturer is Canadian, which we didn't realize at the time we started using them, but since they've provided excellent service and the cost of each sticker is negligible compared to the sale price of the product we decided to retain this vendor rather than find a US sticker manufacturer. Second, sometimes our packaging materials supplier provides plastic bags, cushioning foam, and such sourced from outside the United States (typically Taiwan to date).
Right to refuse to sell
We reserve the right to decline to accept any order. This may be for inventory reasons (we prioritize filling law enforcement orders over selling to the general public), for fraud risk mitigation (our e-commerce website host automatically checks credit card names and billing and shipping addresses vs IP locations and provides a risk rating for each transaction) or for other reasons. If an order is declined the purchaser will be notified of such and the payment will be refunded, usually within 2 business days.