Compliance Testing Program Checklist: Ballistic-resistant Body Armor

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has developed standards for body armor performance through its Law Enforcement Standards Office (OLES). Body armor is tested as a part of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) voluntary equipment testing program to determine compliance with the NIJ standards, and NLECTC disseminates those test results and other pertinent information to the law enforcement and corrections communities.

Manufacturers who want to participate in body armor certification process may use the checklist below.

I. Requirements for New NIJ CTP Applicants (must be repeated if changes occur)

            1. New applicants must submit signed originals of the following forms at least once:

      a. NIJ CTP Applicant Agreement

      b. NIJ CTP Authorized Representative Notification

Note: In order to avoid errors, applicants may request that the NIJ CTP review the completed forms before providing hand-signed originals.  

II. New Model Submittal (must be repeated for each model)

            2. Applicants must comply with all Program Administrative Clarifications. (See https://www.justnet.org/howto/CTPAdminClarifications.html)

            3. Applicants must select an NIJ Approved Test Laboratory to perform initial type testing. (See https://www.justnet.org/compliant/nij-approved-labs.html)

Note: The applicant is responsible for all costs associated with shipping and testing. Other than identifying NIJ Approved Test Laboratories, the NIJ CTP does not recommend any single laboratory over another or receive any compensation from the laboratories.

            4. Applicant must communicate laboratory selection to NIJ CTP on the cover page of a new model package.

            5. The following forms must be submitted for each new model:

      a. NIJ CTP Body Armor Build Sheet (part B)

      b. NIJ CTP Body Armor Agreement

      c. NIJ CTP Manufacturing Locations

      d. NIJ CTP Listee Notification

            6. The following additional construction details also must be provided:

      a. Internal build sheets, assembly instructions and/or drawings that provide additional clarification on the construction.

      b. Material specification sheets for each material, obtained from the material supplier.

      c. If the armor contains any non-uniformities (such as darts, folds, overlaps, oddly sized layers, etc.), the applicant must supply detailed drawings showing the location(s) of the non-uniformities.

      d. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all materials that are part of the construction of the armor, regardless of whether they are considered atypical or not.  

            7. The following drawings concerning armor production for this model must also be provided:

      a. The complete range of production styles and sizes that will be offered. These drawings only need to indicate the perimeter shape of the armor and key dimensions: They do not need to indicate construction information. Drawings should depict any relevant key features of the model, such as female-shaping darts, overlaps, notches, etc. For flexible armor designs, please review NIJ Standard-0101.06, Appendix C. For hard armor designs, please review NIJ Standard-0101.06, Paragraph 4.1.2.

      b. For hard armor designs, diagrams must also indicate the geometry/curvature and specific radii of those curves.

      c. The applicant must provide an actual label (not a paper printout) for each Listee identified on Form 6. Sample labels should have the following fields completed: model, threat, ballistic warranty and warranty contact information. All other fields may be left blank. The sample production label is expected to be made of the same material and printed using the same technique as the labels that are used on test samples and tested against the requirements of section 4.1.5.3.

Note: The NIJ CTP may halt this process at any time in order to request additional information concerning the design of the model or corrections to supplied information.

            8. The NIJ CTP issues a test identification number to the applicant and the test laboratory. The NIJ CTP may also issue additional testing requirements based on the specific model design.  

III. Initial Type Testing

            9. The applicant must produce the appropriate number and sizes of test items as required by NIJ Standard-0101.06, Figures 3-6 and Administrative Clarification CTP 2015:03 (see Item 2).

            10. The applicant must provide test items to the selected test laboratory.

            11. The test laboratory must provide an acceptable copy of the test report to the NIJ CTP. If the test report contains errors, the NIJ CTP shall return it to the test laboratory for correction.

            12. The NIJ CTP assembles a final report after evaluating the construction and test results and then provides a recommendation to NIJ who reviews the report and makes a final certification decision.

            13. If the model meets requirements and is approved by NIJ, an NIJ Notice of Compliance is provided to the applicant.  

IV. Follow-up Inspection and Testing (Surveillance)

            14. Before the first production run, the applicant must provide a revised NIJ CTP Manufacturing Location Notification form indicating production plans and schedule the initial product inspection.

            15. Before the first production run, the applicant must make arrangements for surveillance inspections of the manufacturing process (Follow-up Inspection and Testing) in accordance with the NIJ CTP Ballistic-resistant Body Armor Inspection Scheme. Contact bactp@justnet.org for additional information.

            16. The NIJ-approved inspection body will perform an onsite inspection and collect samples in accordance with the NIJ CTP Ballistic-resistant Body Armor Inspection Scheme (available at: https://www.justnet.org/pdf/2015-06-24-NLECTC-Inspection-Scheme.pdf)

            17. The applicant may begin shipping the body armor model as soon as the onsite portion of the inspection is completed or wait for the results of the testing and inspection of the production samples.