Research on Trauma and Injuries to Officers Wearing Body Armor

On this page find:

Treating an Officer Who Is Shot While Wearing Armor

Even if an officer is wearing body armor, the risk of injury still exists, either from perforation of an overmatched round (a bullet the armor is not designed to stop) or through blunt trauma injuries, such as lacerations or contusions directly behind the area of impact. Each incident should be assessed.

During the past several years, an NIJ-funded interdisciplinary review panel reviewed the specifics of officers who have sustained behind-armor blunt trauma. The panel identified some key findings, including the need to establish guidelines for routine medical care when an incident has occurred. See Medical Management Guidelines for Impacts to Body Armor.

NIJ-funded researchers also are reviewing real-world incidents of officers shot while wearing armor and are recreating the incidents in a laboratory to improve understanding of blunt force trauma caused by the impact.

Understanding Stab and Slash Weapons and Wounds

NIJ has funded research to better understand injuries sustained during assaults on officers with knives or other cutting or slashing instruments.

NIJ also has funded a project to characterize the different types of weapons — both manufactured and improvised — used against law enforcement and corrections officers.

In both projects, researchers will survey agencies and review data from actual incidents.

 NIJ will use the results of these research projects to improve the stab- and slash-resistant standard and test methods. Manufacturers can also use the results to improve the effectiveness of the armor itself.