U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Questions for Vests (Eligibility, Types, Standard, Care, Purchase)

Description:
Below are the list of questions that relate to Vests (Eligibility, Types, Standard, Care, Purchase). If you don't find a question that relates to your inquiry, you can click your browser's back button to Return to the List of Topics and view a section that might better fit your inquiry.

Yes. NIJ issued its stab resistant body armor standard 0115.00 in September, 2000. Several dozen vests are now listed in the acceptable list, accessible through the vest application.

Threat level I and above vests are eligible for funding. Specific makes and models of all NIJ-approved level IV vests are online and viewable, once you register; or you can link to http://www.nlectc.org/ for a current listing through the NIJ JustNet site.

BVP funds can be used for tactical-level armor, but only 1 vest per officer in a replacement cycle. It the agency purchases a tactical-level vest for an officer, it must be his primary vest; they can not then use BVP funds to purchase a regular-duty vest for the same officer during the same replacement cycle.

BVP funds can be used for tactical-level armor, but only 1 vest per officer in a replacement cycle. It the agency purchases a tactical-level vest for an officer, it must be his primary vest; they can not then use BVP funds to purchase a regular-duty vest for the same officer during the same replacement cycle.

BVP funds may not be used to purchase used body armor, regardless of the age of the vest or the agency selling it, since the conditions in which the used armor was stored and the conditions in which it was exposed to can not be verified. Its prior use could have accelerated product deterioration, resulting in vest failure.

Simple Answer:
Using BVP funds to purchase trauma plates for existing vests is not permitted.

More Detailed Answer:
This practice may provide additional protection for your officers but would divert scarce federal resources that would otherwise be used to purchase new or replacement vests for officers and is therefore not permitted. The program does permit the use of federal funds to offset up to 50% of the Total Vest Cost, that includes the cost of the vest, vest carriers, attachments, inserts, trauma plates, and covers considered integral or essential for its proper care, use, and wearability, shipping, handling, fitting charges, and applicable taxes. However, this total cost assumes that the vest is being purchased, along with the attachments and inserts.

Vests provided through this program must be tested and found to comply with the applicable NIJ standard. Vests modified for K-9 units have not been tested by NIJ and are therefore not eligible for matching funds.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) recognizes that law enforcement agency operational and equipment needs may change. Consequently, participating agencies are not required to purchase the exact number, type or model of vests contained in the approved application. Vests may be purchased at any threat level, make or model, from any distributor or manufacturer, as long as the vests have been tested and found to comply with applicable National Institute of Justice ballistic or stab standards and are American-made. The original application cannot be changed; any changes in actual purchases are reflected in the online Receipt of Vests, as you prepare an online payment request. All payments are made after applicable vests have been ordered and received.

Check with your department to see if they have a policy regarding the disposal of used body armor. If they don't, there are several organizations that accept donations of used vests for distribution to law enforcement agencies here in the U.S. Check with your local Fraternal Order of Police. If you are not comfortable donating your armor to another agency, you may also contact the manufacturer of your vest to determine if they will dispose of your armor. Some agencies have also used retired armor in the door panels of police cars or special operations vehicles.

Helps to prevent fatal/harmful injury caused by a severe cut and/or tear by a sharp object such as a knife.

More Detailed Answer:
Stab and puncture resistant armors are made from a variety of materials. The most commonly used materials are made from extremely strong fibers, which can be either woven or laminated together. Other materials used are metals and composites. As the threat impacts the armor, the materials either deflect the threat, or due to their very high level of cut and/or tear resistance, they 'stretch' and the impact forces are dissipated over a larger area of the armor

There are a number of factors that can influence the service life cycle of body armor. NIJ has sponsored research that indicates that age is not the only factor in determining the service life of armor. Other factors to consider include: how regularly the armor was worn; how it was cared for; does the armor fit the wearer properly (most people lose or gain weight over a period of years); and the overall condition of the armor (do the fasteners still work properly, and so on). We encourage departments to have a routine inspection program for body armor, just as they would for weapons, vehicles, and other types of issued equipment. The Selection and Application Guide to Personal Body Armor contains a sample form which can be used as a checklist when inspecting armor.

Simple Answer:
Not necessarily.

More Detailed Answer:
The materials technology that makes body armor ballistically resistant does not necessarily make it stab or puncture resistant (and vice versa). The IACP/DuPont KEVLAR Survivors Club. has documented a number of incidents over the years where ballistic resistant armor has provided some protection against attacks from a variety of sharp edged and other weapons. However, one should not presume that a ballistic resistant vest will protect against non-ballistic threats, or that a stab resistant vest provides ballistic protection. Armor that complies with NIJ Standards will clearly identify the types and level of threats that they are designed to protect against.

Simple Answer:
Yes, the female vest is stitched with bust cups

More Detailed Answer:
Generally speaking, the difference between male and female models is that for the female body armor, most manufacturers cut and stitch the material to create bust cups. This is why the NIJ Standard views male and female vests as separate models, even though they may be made of exactly the same type and sequence of layers of ballistic materials. When a female model is tested, the laboratory is instructed to locate the seam that is created by folding and/or stitching the material to make the bust cup, and to place one of the shots on that seam. This is done to ensure the weakest point of the vest (typically a seam) provides the minimum level of ballistic protection required by the standard It is important to note that this is a generalization. There are many different types and styles of female vests, and ways of fitting vests to accommodate all of the various sizes and shapes needed for female officers. Some manufacturers have developed methods which 'mold' the bust cups into the material, negating te need for cutting and stitching to create a bust cup. Other manufacturers simply alter the outside dimensions of the panel (i.e., enlarging the arm hole openings) to accommodate certain types of builds and body types (commonly referred to as a 'unisex' vest). In summary, when selecting a female vest, NIJ and NLECTC recommends that an agency look at and have their officers try on a variety of models from different manufacturers, which have been tested and found to comply with the NIJ Standard for Personal Body Armor. This will assist in selecting the model that provides the best combination of comfort, fit, protection capability, as well as accessories and features. Be sure to ask the manufacturer's representative about ongoing customer support, and what steps they will take to properly measure and fit the vests, as well as making adjustments once the armor have been delivered. Ask the representative for references from other agencies that have purchased their armor, and contact other agencies in your area who have recently purchased armor to learn about their experiences.

The NIJ Selection and Application Guide 0101.06 to Ballistic-Resistant Body Armor, contains important information to assist agencies and individual officers in selecting, purchasing, and caring for body armor. Please see the link here: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/247281.pdf.

Trauma Plates are devices which can be added to the vest over a localized area (most commonly the mass center of the torso) to increase the wearer's protection against blunt trauma injuries. Blunt Trauma injuries are caused by the impact forces of the bullet against the armor, resulting in non-penetrating internal injuries, such as bruises, broken ribs, or other injuries to internal organs. Trauma plates can be made of a hard substance, such as metal wrapped in rubber or ballistic fabric, or they can be made of additional layers of ballistic fabric, similar to an armor panel. Some manufacturers even build trauma plates into the armor panel itself.

You may call or email the BVP Help Desk using the contact information below. If an email is sent, please include your name and the name of your jurisdiction in the correspondence. Every effort will be made to respond to your request within 24- business hours of your call or email.

Follow the manufacturer's care instructions provided with your armor or refer to the instructions on the armor labels. Failure to follow these instructions may damage the ballistic performance capabilities of the armor. The Selection and Application Guide to Personal Body Armor contains general guidelines on how to properly care for armor. This document can be obtained by calling NLECTC at 800-248-2742 or 301-519-5060, or can be downloaded from http://www.nlectc.org.

Over the last 20 years, new materials and fabrics have been introduced which have contributed significantly to the wearability of body armor. Body armor manufacturers have also made a number of advances in design technology resulting in body armor with increased ballistic protection capabilities, as well as more flexibility, less weight, and ultimately more comfortable. New materials have also been developed which provide protection against sharp edged and pointed weapons.

Simple Answer:
That depends on the user and the environmental risk level of the wearer.

More Detailed Answer:
First, assess the type of threat you face on a daily basis. Review data from shooting incidents in your area, as well as the types of weapons (firearms, knives, etc.) being confiscated from suspects. Also factor in what type of sidearm and duty ammunition you are carrying; FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data indicates that approximately 1 in 6 officers that are killed in the line of duty are shot with their own weapon. Other considerations are: the climate in which you work, typical duty assignment, and personal preference considerations (comfort and fit). Again, the decision is ultimately yours. The same concepts apply for correctional officers seeking stab or puncture resistant armor.

Body armor can be made from a number of different types of woven or non-woven materials. One of the first fibers used for modern ballistic resistant material was Kevlar., which is made by DuPont. Other materials include Spectra., which is made by Honeywell (formerly AlliedSignal); Twaron., made by Accordis (formerly Akzo Nobel), and Zylon., made by Toyobo. These materials are manufactured in a variety of styles, and can be woven or non-woven (laminated). Hard (non-fabric) armor plates can be made from a number of materials, to include metals, ceramics, and other composite materials

The NIJ Standards for Personal Body Armor (Ballistic and Stab/Puncture Resistant) establish minimum performance requirements to evaluate specific designs, or 'models' of armor. The standard is not intended to be a design specification, which would require manufacturers to use a specific type of material and/or design pattern to achieve a required level of protection. Instead, by measuring only the performance capabilities of the model, this allows armor manufacturers the ability to innovate by using any type or combination of types of materials, as well as design methods, to achieve the required level of protection.

Simple Answer:
Yes

More Detailed Answer:
BVP payments and transactions are subject to audits by the General Accounting Office, Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General, and applicable state/local auditors. Jurisdictions must follow their local procurement policies and procedures including maintenance of reliable and accurate accounting systems, record keeping, and systems of internal control. Recipients of federal funds are expected to retain documentation supporting all BVP transactions for at least three years after the closure of audit reports related to such funding. If any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, or other action involving records has been started before the expiration of the three year period, the records must be retained until completion of the action and resolution of all related issues, or until the end of the regular three year period, whichever is later.