Review:
6b33 Personal Body Armor

 

6b33_coverIt’s been a while since I wanted to make a review on the 6b33 Personal Body Armor, but to be honest I lacked the time and several information I still wanted to gather and had to investigate. But, it was worth it, at least in my opinion

6b33_BodyArmor_21

Have you ever wondered what this name maybe means? 6b33 or other items like the Russian Helmet 6b27 are often quite similiar in names. I’ll give you a little insight from where the name comes and why.

The Russian GRAU (ГРАУ) Index is a designation system for weapons, ammunition and equipment which have been and are used by Soviet and Russian land forces. GRAU stands for Main Missile and Artillery Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (Главное ракетно-артиллерийское управление МО РФ) and is the Ministry that started with the indexing in 1938.

GRAU_INDEX

The GRAU Index is categoried in 17 Main Groups:

  1. Optical and Radio measuring instruments, guidance systems
  2. Artillery and mortars
  3. Artillery ammunition
  4. Propellant charges for artillery ammunition
  5. Anti air
  6. Infantry weapons
  7. Infantry ammunition
  8. etc…

The list goes on, but you get the point.

Now the sub categories for the Infantry weapons groups in even more details, however for us is now the subcategory “B” or to be precised “6b” () relevant, since this indicates “Personal Protective Equipment”6b33 stands then for Personal Protective Equipment No. 33 – Yes it is as simple as that. Don’t be dissapointed…

I have to start with an all known Body Armor – The 6b23, which was until a few years back the “standard issue Body Armor or all Russian Troops”, mostly only used with Kevlar as a Flak Vest against shrapnel, but with pockets for heavier Steelplates which has the property of the protection Level Type 4 (US). (detailed review coming soon)

The replacement or phase off happened during 2008/2009, but affected mostly VDV (Airborne) Troops, due to logistical “issues” with the Manufacturing time. During the INDRA 2010 Joint Military Excercise with Indian forces, the 6b33 have been primarily used by the attending 34th Mountain Brigade, especially because of the protections against debris and shrapnel.

You can watch several interesting excerpts of the INDRA 2010 exercise here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yzgznlgPss (6 Parts)

6b33_BodyArmor_01          6b33_BodyArmor_02
Above you can see the 6b33 with only the Kevlar inlays (not visible). It got one relevant updated that apparently a lot of Troops requested, which also is the Main difference between the older model 6b23, which is the ease of wear. You can simply put it on like a Jacket.
6b33_BodyArmor_03You open the Body Armor via double Velcro straps (few male strips from behind and a long strip from the front). This keeps the “jacket” really tight on your body. The gap of the Opening part is covered with Kevlar via the left (as seen on the picture), so there are no unprotected parts in the front, as you may excepted.

6b33_BodyArmor_043 Main Parts make the 6b33 as you can see above. They are held together via straps, that can be adjusted and fastened. In the Inside are several foam filled rectangles, which helps to dampen the impact of potential hits and to help the ventilation underneath.

6b33_BodyArmor_05Here you can see the Body Armor Type and manufacturing date (Year 2008, Month 09/September). The other Numbers probably indicate the Factory, where it has been made.

6b33_BodyArmor_06On the very same, where the date and details are imprinted, you can open the 6b33 via Velcro and uncover the Kevlar inlay.

6b33_BodyArmor_07To keep the Kevlar in place, inside the Body Armor, there are loops that reach out, which are then via button and loop secured. Pretty simple but it works well .

6b33_BodyArmor_116b33_BodyArmor_08 6b33_BodyArmor_09
The adjusting/fasteing straps are also sewn on the Kevlar, which helps the fixiation of it even more.

Both frontal Kevlar parts of the Body Armor are in the same way mounted and fixed as the backside shown above.
6b33_BodyArmor_12       6b33_BodyArmor_13

Another difference besides the ease of wear to the predecessor of 6b33 is the additional Steelplate that can be attached in Front of the Body Armor. This gives it also the Type 4 protection Level (US).

6b33_BodyArmor_14The inside of the Steelplates shows a label, which tells us the specific protection against small arms in examples and that the Cover is until 100 degree Celsiuis protected.

Protection against Rifles with Ball Ammunition until 50m distance

  • AKM & AK-74 with FMJ (ТУС)
  • M16 & SVD with Steelcore ( ЛПС)

In combination with a Ceramic Plate (wich I sadly do not have), the Protection against Rifles with Armor Penetrating Ammunition until 100m distance is as follows.

  • AK-74 with Steelcore (ВК8 )
  • SVD with FMJ (ТУС) and Incendiary (Б-32) Ammunition


6b33_BodyArmor_17         6b33_BodyArmor_16     
With a Velcro piece secured, a Kevlar Flap can be additional be folded down, to protect the Groin.

6b33_BodyArmor_18Same as with the “Vest” Part of the Body Armor you can open via Velcro the lower Part to reveal the Steelplate and additional Kevlar Layer.

6b33_BodyArmor_20 6b33_BodyArmor_192 Straps (left and right) secure the Steelplate over cross on the back and are secured on the Front of the Panel, where a Hook and D-Ring are located on both sides (left an right as well).Only after releasing the Straps, which are on tension, you can take the Steelplate out.

6b33_BodyArmor_22 6b33_BodyArmor_24On the left picture you can see both straps, which hold the Steelplate on the backside. You can also see the extra Kevlar layer inside, which is sewn in place – you can’t take it out.

6b33_BodyArmor_25    6b33_BodyArmor_26
As you may guessed, this is the Steelplate that protects your vital body parts. It weighs around 5 Kg and is concave shaped, so it aligns with the body. Again you can see the Manufacturing date on the Steelplate (November 2008 in this case).

6b33_BodyArmor_276b33_BodyArmor_28 6b33_BodyArmor_29To mount the Steelplate on the “Vest” you have to align and clip 2 the Plate with the D-Rings on the “Vest”. One additional Note: The right D-Ring (as shown on the picture) is double fixed with an additional Loop, this means that you need to clip this D-Ring in first. The other way around does not work. This also helps stabilizing the Plate a lot. It does not tend to wobble from left to right, and due to its weight it doesn’t either up and down.

6b33 SHIT

You may have wonder at this point why the 6b33 has a additional Steelplate in comparison to the older 6b23 – isn’t this some kind of downgrade? Well, theoretical yes…but since this Body Armor is meant for all Russian Troops, there is not a necessity for everyone to have a Steelplate. The Main aspect for this Armor is to protect its user from Shrapnel and Debris of incoming Mortar and/or Artillery hits. That and the fact that the Body Armor can be put on this easy (of course without the Steelplate) makes it great for personal behind the front-line, like in Anti Aircraft Vehicles, Vehicles in general ,Radio Operators, and so on. If a Unit is certain that it will go into a firefight and/or is directly on the Frontline, they will of course mount the Steelplate, since it becomes a necessity. This makes the 6b33 actually far more “user friendly” then its predecessor, the 6b23.

So what are my final thought about it?

Well, I can’t tell you really, since I am (gladly) not in need to wear it all day nor am I in (real) firefight situations regularly. However, it is superb made, the ease of wear is really there and it is very adjustable to (nearly) any body size and form. If you want to “reenact” a modern Russian Soldier (read VDV), this is in fact a must have. You’ve probably seen it already on several pictures and videos in use during the Crimean Crisis, between all those 6b23 in Zifra (digital Flora). I personally wanted it in the classic Flora pattern, before you ask.

Here are some Impressions and more pictures I could gather around for reference.

6b33_INDRA2010_05 INDRA 2010 Joint Military Exercise

6b33_Mountainbrigade_VDV VDV Mountain Brigade Soldier with 6b33 BodyArmor6b33_BodyArmor_zifra Lieutenant and probably his Sergeant wearing 6b33 without Steelplates

6b33_BodyArmor_zifra2 Radar / Anti-Aircraft(?) Operators wearing the 6b33 indoors.

6b33_BodyArmor_zifraRadioRadar Operators with 6b33

6b33_INDRA2010_02INDRA 2010 Join Military Exercise 6b33_INDRA2010_03INDRA 2010 Joint Military Exercise

6b33_INDRA2010_04INDRA 2010 Joint Military Exercise

 

13.09.2015 – by Logisticz for Gruppa L

 

 

5 thoughts on “Review:
6b33 Personal Body Armor

  1. Nice! I didn’t even knew that there was an 6b33 flakjacket.
    Will you make a review about the 6b23 as well? also do you know where I can get a 6b33 in digital flora?

    thank you for helping!

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