Body armor is really cool, and a whole lot of fun, but as exciting as it may be wearing a pair of plates at the range users often forget trauma pads as an important part of their kit.

Body armor trauma pads enhance protection for the user, despite not being bulletproof.

In all likelihood, you will never be shot in your armor plate, the odds are simply against it (thankfully). 

But keep in mind, bullets are no joke and if your plate is hit by a bullet of a caliber it is rated for, the plate will stop the bullet but there is a whole lot of energy going into the plate that will go into you. 

Body armor trauma pads protect the user in two ways, first by absorbing some of the energy that would be transferred into the wearer’s body, and by minimizing the effects of back face deformation. 

There are other benefits as well that we will discuss, as well as who should wear trauma pads and the drawbacks of plate carrier trauma pads.

What Are Body Armor Trauma Pads?

Trauma pads are specially designed pads worn behind body armor plates to help reduce impact and blunt force trauma.

Trauma padding is made from Non-Newtonian foam, the same material used in motorcycle protective gear. 

Because of their design, they distribute the force of an impact across a larger area, minimizing the risk of injury.

Body armor trauma pads
Tacticon Armament Trauma pads

Purpose of Body Armor Trauma Pads

The primary purpose of trauma pads is to reduce the risk of injury caused by blunt force trauma associated with bullets striking body armor. 

When a bullet hits a rigid armor plate, the force is dispersed over the surface of the plate. 

This can result in significant energy transfer to the wearer’s body, causing bruising, potentially broken bones, and internal organ damage. 

Trauma padding helps to absorb and disperse this energy, reducing the risk of injury.

A trauma pad also protects the wearer from back face deformation. Back face deformation occurs when a plate is struck with a bullet and deforms inward towards the user.

Back face deformation on armor plate
Gnarly Back Face Deformation

Who Should Wear Body Armor Trauma Pads?

Basically, if you wear body armor, especially hard armor plates, you will benefit from trauma pads. 

Trauma padding is essential if you wear steel body armor, which offers no trauma mitigation if struck by a round compared to other types of plates. 

Standalone ceramic composite plates typically come with a polyethylene backer built in, which will absorb some of the blunt force, reducing the need to wear trauma pads.

Benefits of Trauma Pads

Body armor and trauma pads
Body Armor and Trauma Pad

Trauma pads provide additional protection by reducing the blunt force trauma experienced when a bullet strikes body armor.

Trauma padding can make wearing body armor more comfortable by providing a cushion between the rigid armor plate and the wearer’s body.

Additionally, trauma pads protect against back face deformation, which is when the plate catches a bullet but deforms inward towards the user.

Plate carrier trauma pads can be used in conjunction with soft body armor or hard armor.

The use of trauma pads may help to prevent serious injuries, such as broken bones or internal organ damage resulting from the blunt force trauma of a bullet striking body armor.

Downsides to Trauma Pads

The only real drawback of trauma pads is bulk.

A pair of trauma pads weighs almost nothing, however, they are about ½ and inch thick.

This will make your kit slightly bulker, which will have an effect on those who use thicker armor such as polyethylene or ceramic composite.

Steel, especially our AR600 Level 3+ Boday Armor plates are fairly thin, adding a trauma pad will not add much bulk. 

Final Thoughts on Body Armor Trauma Pads

Body armor trauma pads are a beneficial addition to your personal protection system.

They offer enhanced protection by reducing the blunt force trauma experienced when a bullet strikes body armor and reduce risk of serious injury.

Overall, they are relatively affordable, and the benefits far outweigh the risk, especially if you run steel.

If you run steel, you absolutely need trauma pads- this is just my friendly opinion.

If you own body armor you clearly care about your well-being, so why skimp on an affordable piece of additional protection and get yourself a set of body armor trauma pads today!