JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD, Wash. – The first shot sent Sgt. Daniel Malm to his knees.

The second knocked him to the ground.

He said there’s no doubt the bullets would have killed him if he wasn’t wearing his body armor that day in September 2011.

Monday the US Army presented Malm with the ceramic piece that may have saved his life.

“It’s a little surreal,” said Malm.

Malm requested to receive the “Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert” plate when he was recovering from his broken ribs. The military took five years to reunite him with it because it had to be analyzed.

“We’re looking to make our plates even better with higher ballistic integrity,” said Lt. Col. Kathy Brown, product manager for the Army’s Soldier Protective Equipment division.

“I finally got it back,” said Malm, who isn’t sure where he’s going to keep the body armor, which was given to him in a wooden frame.

“It's just a cool thing to have,” said Malm. “I’m going to have this for the rest of my life.”