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Body Armor: Details Count

NCJ Number
Date Published
2 pages
This article briefly discusses the thoroughness and detail undertaken by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center’s testing program to ensure that the body armor used by public safety officers is at its intended level of protection in the field.

When law enforcement personnel are in the field, they do not think about the “details” of their body armor; their only concern is the ability of the body armor to stop a body-piercing bullet. However, body armor testing technicians at the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s), National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC)-National located in Maryland pay close attention to the “details” of ballistic body armor. This article briefly discusses how NLECTC-National has provided third-party oversight and management of NIJ’s body armor testing program since the mid-1980s. An average of 250 to 300 models of ballistic body armor are tested every year, with about 50 percent of everything tested failing. Since 1987, almost 3,000 armor models have undergone NIJ compliance testing. With more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, NIJ’s testing program can help them make informed decisions about body armor at no cost to them. In over 20 years of testing, NIJ approved armor has never failed to meet its intended level of protection in the field.