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Body Armor for Female Officers: What's Next?

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2014
6 pages
Since designing and manufacturing armor for female officers involves distinctive issues of coverage and comfort, this article discusses progress that is being made in this area.
Soft body armor designated for female wear differs from male and gender-neutral vests in incorporating curved or shaped protective panels that accommodate the female bust. Flat male or gender-neutral models may be suitable for female officers with smaller busts. Improvements have been made in body armor for women in terms of comfort and protection, but more needs to be done. The protection levels and test threats will be the same for armor for female officers as for male officers; however, the challenge is to design testing methods that take into account the distinctive design and manufacture of body armor for female officers. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has issued a report that breaks down the complex body armor standard into separate test methods and components that are performed independently. This enables the testing funded by the National Institute of Justice to use separate test methods for armor designed for males and females so as to ensure that the required armor standards are met for both male and female vests.

Date Published: December 1, 2014