Body Armor

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

For more information on the importance of proper vest fitting and measurement, download these publications:

Ballistic-Resistant Body Armor Basics (
Personal Armor Fit Assessment Checklist (

For more information download these publications: Understanding NIJ 0101.06 Armor Protection Levels,  Clarifying Threat Levels, Refining Ammunition Types, Adding Female Armor Testing: NIJ Revising Ballistic-Resistant Body Armor Standard, and Comparison of Ballistic-Resistant Body Armor Standards: Why You Should Wear 0101.06-Certified Armor

You can also download the NIJ Selection and Application Guide to Ballistic Armor (PDF) from the NCJRS website.

Alex Sundstrom,
Testing Coordinator
(800) 248-2742