Body Armor Performance Standards

Comments sought! NIJ is seeking feedback from the public on two draft documents.

  • A proposed revision of NIJ Standard 0101.06, Ballistic Resistance of Body Armor.
  • A proposed specification of the threat levels and associated ammunition intended for use with voluntary NIJ Standards that specify a minimum performance requirement for U.S. law enforcement equipment intended to protect against handgun and rifle ammunition.

Comments must be received by 5 pm on May 23, 2018.

Download the draft documents and comment sheets.

Understanding Threat Levels

When purchasing armor, it is important for agencies to consider the threats their officers face. We have some new resources to help:


Published Standards

NIJ has been setting voluntary body armor standards since 1972. The NIJ standard is the only nationally accepted standard for the body armor worn by law enforcement and corrections officers. NIJ also administers a program to test commercially available armor for compliance with the standards to determine whether the vests meet NIJ's minimum performance standards.

The NIJ ballistic resistance standard classifies body armor by levels of ballistic performance. For any performance level, NIJ's test protocol requires that the bullet does not perforate the vest and that the vest protects against blunt trauma.

NIJ's stab resistance body armor standard specifies the minimum performance requirements for body armor to protect the torso against slashes and stabs from knives and spikes; it also describes the associated testing procedures. The standard includes three performance levels, which are based on the armor's ability to prevent a perforation deep enough to injure an officer's internal organs at different strike force speeds. The standard also includes two protection classes: one for high-quality, commercially produced knives and another for lower-quality knife blades and improvised spikes that are likely to be present in a corrections environment.

Date Modified: February 22, 2018