DIY vehicle armour? 3mm mild-steel plate vs AK47 round

SVI Engineering, leading specialist manufacturer of armoured products, has released the tenth episode in its innovative Shoot Through series of videos, this time emphatically answering the question of whether a mild-steel plate is capable of stopping an AK47 round (see Episode 10 here).

“Ever thought you could armour your own vehicle using little more than a handful of 3 mm mild-steel plates and some basic DIY skills? Well, this episode is for you,” quipped Nicol Louw, SVI Business Development Director.

With a mild-steel plate secured at the far end of its dedicated underground shooting range, SVI unleashed a round from an AK47 mounted in a test rig. As shown in the footage captured by a Photron Fastcam SA4 high-speed camera – generously supplied by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and set at 30 000 frames per second – the 7.62x39 mm conventional steel-core round penetrated the plate with ease.

“The slow-motion footage shows the round punch right through the mild-steel plate, with seemingly very impact on its velocity. That just proves the penetrating power of the AK47 round and is the reason our B6 armouring packages include specialised materials such as custom-fabricated armoured steel plates and high-grade 38 mm ballistic glass,” said Jaco de Kock, CEO of SVI.


Conceived to both inform and entertain, the full 14-episode Shoot Through video series – an episode is published on SVI’s //">YouTube channel approximately every two weeks – sets out to answer whether various (mostly standard) automotive components can stop a round discharged by a firearm.

The subject of the first episode in SVI’s Shoot Through series was a ventilated steel brake disc from a Toyota Land Cruiser 79 bakkie, while the second episode featured a Volkswagen Polo engine block, the third a shock absorber, the fourth a Polo cylinder head, the fifth a seatbelt mechanism, the sixth a window lifter motor, the seventh a Ford Everest owner’s manual, the eighth a car battery and the ninth three layers of Kevlar.