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New Standard '4' Body Armor

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2000
3 pages
This article describes the testing of body armor under the revised NIJ (National Institute of Justice) Standard-0101.04, the most recent body armor standard.
The revised NIJ Standard-0101.04 reflects the state of the art in threat and body-armor design and incorporates and streamlines the administrative changes. Compared to the previous standard, it better reflects the actual threat to law enforcement officers from ammunition and weapons currently used by criminals. The standard measures the quality of body armor according to its ability to resist the penetrating power of bullets commonly used by criminals as well as its ability to prevent blunt trauma caused by the deformation of armor against the wearer's body under a bullet's impact. Testing of body armor under the new standard began in the fall of 2000. The rounds selected for use in the testing were based on a combination of factors, including the type of firearm carried by law enforcement personnel, the type of firearm and ammunition carried by criminals, the type of firearm and ammunition used when an officer is killed, and the capability of various types of ammunition to either penetrate a vest or cause blunt trauma. Other features of body armor being tested under the new standard are the smoothing of the armor panel between shots and the performance of the armor when it is wet, due primarily to rain or perspiration. As part of the standard's revision, a performance assurance program has been developed to determine the ongoing performance of body armor currently in service as well as new units of a previously tested and approved model.

Date Published: January 1, 2000