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NIJ Ballistic-Resistance Body Armor Standards Updates

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2023
2 pages

This brief fact sheet describes updates to the National Institute of Justice performance standards for ballistic-resistant body armor; it lays out NIJ's goals for the standards, what differentiates the new standards from previous versions, and information about standard-compliant products and the NIJ compliance testing program.


The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research, development, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, has been publishing performance standards for ballistic-resistant police body armor for over 50 years. For many, knowing and understanding NIJ’s standard for the testing and certification of ballistic protection gear is a critical first step in a body armor purchase. Standards are crucial to informing buyers and ensuring officer safety. Working through ASTM International, NIJ collaborated with the U.S. Army, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, ballistics laboratories, body armor manufacturers, materials suppliers, and other stakeholders over the last decade to harmonize laboratory test procedures and practices relevant to ballistic testing. They produced a suite of ASTM test methods and laboratory practices that are used as the building blocks of NIJ Standard 0101.07. The new standard contains: Improvements to the test methods for armor designed for women; perforation-backface deformation testing, updated to include an additional shot on soft armor panels near the top center edge; reconfigured perforation-backface deformation testing on hard armor plates, to include striking the crown on curved plates.

Date Published: November 1, 2023