Body armor for law enforcement officers falls into three categories: ballistic-resistant, stab-resistant and combination (ballistic and stab-resistant). Ballistic-resistant body armor has been widely available for use by law enforcement personnel for more than 40 years. The most common threat faced by correctional officers comes from sharp-edged and pointed weapons. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has developed standards for ballistic- and stab-resistant body armor, but there is not a single NIJ standard for combination threat vests. A manufacturer must test the vest independently to the current NIJ Standards for ballistic resistance and stab resistance. Any potential buyer should check both the ballistic and stab Compliant Product Lists to make sure the model designation appears identically on both. For information on selecting, wearing, caring for and storing body armor and an explanation of the levels of body armor go to www.policearmor.org.
Find a downloadable fact sheet, Understanding NIJ 0101.06 Armor Protection Levels here.
You can also download the NIJ Selection and Application Guide to Ballistic Armor (PDF) from the NCJRS website.
Alex Sundstrom, Testing Coordinator