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BALLISTIC PROTECTION: CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE OF BODY ARMOR

BALLISTIC PROTECTION: CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE OF BODY ARMOR

Types of Body Armor

When selecting the appropriate type of body armor for your mission, our industry experts can help track down the best solution based on:

  • Certifications
  • Armor Types
  • Body Armor Ratings
  • Threat Level

CERTIFICATION: MIL-SPEC vs. NIJ Body Armor

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) certified body armor relates to ballistic threats faced in domestic situations, including:

  • Federal, State and Local Agencies
  • DoD CONUS: Army, Navy, USAF, and USMC

Mil-spec certified body armor refers to proprietary and classified in-theater military threats, including:

  • DoD OCONUS: Army, Navy, USAF, USMC, and SOCOM
  • Hard armor, such as SAPI, ESAPI, ESBI, or SPEAR rifle plates. These are certified in conjunction with soft armor packages

BODY ARMOR RATINGS, TYPES, & THREAT LEVEL

Certification: NIJ Body Armor

Armor Type: Soft

Body Armor Ratings: Level IIA, Level II, and Level IIIA

Threat Level: Shrapnel and lower velocity projectile ballistic protection, such as handguns or submachine gun ammunition

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Certification: NIJ Body Armor

Armor Type: Hard

Body Armor Ratings: Level III and Level IV

Threat Level: Rifle protection—Level III is certified for a single hit while Level IV combination plates protect against multiple hits

Elements of Body Armor Protection

STEEL PLATES

  • Thin, heavy exceptionally durable and typically constructed of MARS armored plate.
  • Recommended for concealment applications Available up to NIJ Level.

POLYETHYLENE PLATES

  • Thick, light.
  • High impact resistance and moderately durable compared to steel plates.
  • Recommended for maritime applications: Neutral or positive buoyancy
  • Poor performance against steel core rifle ammunition (standard U.S. issue 5.56mm M855)

CERAMIC PLATES

  • Weight and thickness vary greatly (highly configurable to specific needs)
  • Lower durability compared to steel or polyethylene Recommended for most situations: Industry standard and only material rated to stop NIJ Level IV threats
  • Available in NIJ level III and IV

Threat Level Protection Based on Body Armor Ratings

bullet threat protection and velocity comparison
bullet threat protection and velocity comparison

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