Ballistic Performance

Rigorously Tested // Certified Protection

NIJ Performance Standards

There are two components to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Ballistic-Resistant Body Armour Standards and Testing Program. The first is the performance standard; the second is the accompanying Compliance Testing Program (CTP).

The use of NIJ Standard-0101.06 is voluntary. Public safety agencies can choose whether to purchase body armour that is found to be compliant with the standard. Similarly, participation in the NIJ CTP on the part of body armour manufacturers is also voluntary.

Participation offers advantages to both public safety agencies and body armour manufacturers. Because the standard was developed with input from law enforcement and correctional officers, it informs manufacturers of what their customers need.

Purchasing armour listed on the Compliant Product Listing (CPL) provides agencies confidence that an armour will meet their needs. It also provides them with a resource allowing them to see a full list of compliant models that may meet their needs. In turn, the knowledge that agencies are likely to buy armour listed on the CPL provides suppliers with an incentive to have their armours listed.

Why should you choose NIJ Compliant armour?

While organizations have many options in the marketplace, here are three reasons you should choose NIJ 0101.06 compliant models:

1. The NIJ 0101.06 Compliant Testing Program has worldwide recognition

The NIJ 0101.06 standard is currently the most rigorous body armor testing standard that has worldwide recognition. NIJ throughout the years has established several testing protocols and standards dating back to the early 1970s. The NIJ 0101.06 standard covers personnel soft body armor as well as hard rifle armor.

2. NIJ 0101.06 is the most rigorous body armor testing standard

Where the rigorous part of the NIJ 0101.06 test protocol comes in, is the conditioned and environmental portion of the NIJ 0101.06 standard. Both soft and hard armor will be subjected to a 10-day conditioning cycle and a thermal cycle. For the 10 days, soft armor cycle, the armors are tumbled while be subjected to heat and humidity.

The hard armor samples will only be subjected to the heat and humidity during this process. The Hard armor sample is also subjected to the impact testing on the “Strike Face” of the armor.

After all the conditioning and impact testing of the armors, before ballistic testing, all armors are submerged in water for up to 30 minutes before it is shot. This ensures that all the materials are protected from moisture and that it does not degrade the materials.

Soft armor models have 324 rounds tested against it during the test protocol. The hard armor level III has 48 shots and the Level IV has 36 shots.

All compliant models should have an official NIJ CTR available for the end user to review along with a notice of compliance letter.

3. NIJ Label Mark is trademarked 

The Body Armor Compliance Testing Program (BACTP) has issued a trademarked logo to all compliant models for applicants that must be present on any compliant model built on March 1st of 2017 and after. There shall be no more language or wording stating “Complaint” of any kind on a compliant label. A sample of the mark and what a label should contain can be found in NIJ CTP Product Conformity Assessment System – Ballistic Body Armor Scheme. What an end-user should be aware of is when a supplier only shows one report from a lab with a single test or series of tests. The end user should request a copy of the Compliance letter issued by the NIJ along with the full NIJ compliance testing report which consists of 5-12 pages of ballistic data including v0 and v50 ranges as well as the status of conditioning protocols, weights, and thicknesses.

Related External Resources

NIJ Compliant Products Listing (CPL)

Learn about the testing process

Review NIJ Standard 0101.06

Understanding NIJ Protection Levels