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Third Status Report to the Attorney General on Body Armor Safety Initiative Testing and Activities

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2005
47 pages
This status report presents results from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) testing on used Zylon-based bullet-resistant armor.
Following the 2003 failure of a relatively new Zylon-based body armor vest worn by a Pennsylvania police officer, the NIJ was directed by the U.S. Attorney General to examine new and used Zylon-based bullet-resistant armor, analyze upgrade kits designed to retrofit Zylon-based bullet-resistant armors, and review its current system of testing bullet-resistant armor. This status report presents findings from NIJ’s testing on 103 used Zylon-based body armors provided by law enforcement agencies from around the country. During testing, 58 percent of the body armor was penetrated by at least one round of a six-shot test series. Of the armors not penetrated, 91 percent displayed backface deformations in excess of the NIJ standard for new armor. The findings indicate that used Zylon-based body armor may not provide proper ballistic resistance. Moreover, upgrade kits did not bring Zylon-based armor up to the performance level of new armor, but did improve the bullet resistance of used armor. Finally, upon review of its current system of testing bullet-resistant armor, NIJ notes that its testing program only assesses the ballistic resistance of new armor. As such, NIJ will incorporate into its testing program the assessment of ballistic performance degradation over time. Figures, tables, footnotes, appendixes

Date Published: August 1, 2005