Is the NIJ raising standards on bulletproof plates?
The National Institution of Justice is the governing body that set standards for ballistic, stab, and strike resistance technology. This year the organization has come together, to alter a few requirements and procedures associated the NIJ approval process. Apart of the process is manufacturer and user input on the new regulations. The full list of additions will be released later this year, but it has announced a few concrete changes. In these changes the NIJ’s overall goal is to progress safety standards followed by body armor manufacturers to increase the protection level, and to increase longevity of the vest. Each major change made, was made to accommodate and protect the consumers of body armor.
The official release of the NIJ 0101.07 drafted standards, are planned to be available for public comment on JustNet.org later this year. To date, there is a plan to make several changes to the requirements for NIJ verification. The first is to establish a proper testing procedure for body armor that is manufactured specifically for women. This will establish a proper testing protocol made by a staff of engineers and female officer input. This is to increase precision of the protection levels created by NIJ by implementing specific testing for the female body. In addition, they will also be announcing the addition of two new types of ammunition. These include 7.62 x39 mild steel core and 5.56mm ammo. With the addition of these, the divide between levels in 0101.06, will close and NIJ can get a better baseline of protection for all users. Another addition is the change in the velocity, all body armor new and used, will be required to undergo firing at the same velocity. The organization has also stated that they will rename everything in their ranking system. Instead of using roman numerals, the naming system will be informative and direct. The new names of the ballistic protection levels will be comprehensible to majority consumers. It will also give a clear understanding of the type of protection provided. New terms will also decrease any misunderstandings between all involved operating bodies, like government facilities, testing centers, and manufacturing.
Effects on Everyone
The effects of these changes will benefit all consumers of body armor in the long run. The addition of the new ammunition, will help the NIJ more precisely rank the protection level provided by each vest undergoing testing. This proper ranking could help anyone who utilizes body armor understand the reality of the protection provided by their armor. Furthermore, the NIJ has decided to retire NIJ Level IIA. One positive thing for manufacturers of body armor is they have a chance to gain verification under new standards. Currently, the NIJ has listed 5 facilities manufactures can send their current product to be tested at the updated standards. The ultimate end result from these changes are to provide a safer and more reliable testing method. Proper testing can improve longevity of the vest for all consumers. It can also make it easier to purchase the right level of protection. Increasing these two elements can provide a generally safer product. The buying and selling of Body Armor regulations are still effective in each perspective state, and federal levels.
Since it is the duty of the NIJ to regulate standards for law enforcement on a national level, you can depend on their ratings of armor to be accurately labeled. Body armor is a great protection tool that could be the difference of life or death for some users. Understanding and taking advantage of regulatory information provided by the NIJ can help anyone better understand the type of protection they will need. The NIJ has made it their mission to establish superb standards to guarantee that proper protection can be regulated.