Improving Standards and Compliance Test Methods

The performance standards and the methods used to test equipment against those standards help ensure the effectiveness of body armor. Approaches to improving standards and test methods include:

Simulating extreme conditions — Looking for ways to simulate extreme temperatures and other environmental and physical conditions and improve related testing mechanisms for wear and tear.

Testing for multiple shots — Developing a protocol and specifications for testing the capacity of a vest to withstand multiple gunshots within a very small target area. This work is being done in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada's Defense Research Establishment.

Determining impact of mechanical damage — Conducting research on the associations between mechanical damage (such as stitching, bending, folding or stretching) of common body armor materials and ballistic performance to determine how well the test protocol in the current ballistic-resistant body armor standard simulates mechanical wear in the field. Learn more from the Material Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Identifying exemplar threats — Developing a database of weapons used to stab or slash officers that describes in detail the weapons' physical characteristics. These data sets ultimately will be used to identify exemplar threats that could be included in future revisions of the NIJ stab-resistant body armor standard.