Understand, as it stands, there are currently no bulletproof body vests available on the market. Body armor does give protection to the wearer from various kinds of handgun ammunition. However, officers should always remember that armor’s threat level is classified and rated differently.
When certain officers – Special Operations officers, hostage rescuers and SWAT team members – face a weapon threat that is greater than regular body armor can provide, they should wear additional protection.
When body armor is being tested, self-regulating NIJ-certified laboratories will put the body armor through various tests to ensure they are up to NIJ code and performance standards.
The NIJ has the authority to retest body armor already on the manufacturer’s floor to ensure performance standards are up to code as time passes. This is part of the NIJ’s excellence and audit procedure.
Their performance standards means commercially available body armor will meet the minimum performance requirements it sets forth. In fact, personal body armor’s ballistic and stab resistance standards have been published by the NIJ. An overview of both the NIJ 0101.04 Standard as the NIJ 0101.06 Standard can be found below.
NIJ Body Armor Standards
Table Ballistic Requirements Penetration / Back Face Signature NIJ 0101.04
- Backing is conditioned Roma Plastilina® nr. 1
- Bullet manufacturer is not specified
- All armor panels (including carriers) will be sprayed during three minutes on both sides before testing.
- Shape of impact pattern is given, shot 4 and 5 have an impact angle of 30 degrees
- Minimal distance to edge of sample is 76 mm
- Minimal distance to previous impacts is 51 mm