U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Body Armor Standards: The Latest Q and A (Questions and Answers)

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1989
2 pages
Questions and answers on body armor standards cover such issues as when to replace it and how to purchase body armor that complies with National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standards.
A particular department's body-armor replacement policy should be based on the use and care of the armor and the kind of threats officers face. Replacement should not be based on age alone. Although tests indicate the ballistic resistance of armor remains high even in armor more than 10 years old, the only sure way to know if armor should be replaced is through ballistic tests. Purchasing armor that NIJ has tested and that complies with the latest standard ensures that the armor meets minimum performance requirements established by the Federal Government. The bid process for armor should be competitive and specify that price quotes will be accepted only for armor that has been tested as part of the NIJ compliance program and been found to comply with the standard. The latest NIJ Consumer Product List, which lists body armor models tested and results, should be used to specify in the contract the model number desired. No other models should be accepted. The article lists the documents that can help departments in making body-armor purchasing decisions.

Date Published: January 1, 1989