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NIJ BODY ARMOR CLASSIFICATION

U.S. Dept. of Justice - Ballistic Resistance of Body Armor
NIJ Standard-0101.06

Personal body armor covered by this standard is classified into five types (IIA, II, IIIA, III, IV) by level of ballistic performance. In addition, a special test class is defined to allow armor to be validated against threats that may not be covered by the five standard classes.

The classification of an armor panel that provides two or more levels of NIJ ballistic protection at different locations on the ballistic panel shall be that of the minimum ballistic protection provided at any location on the panel.

Type IIA (9 mm; .40 S&W)
Type IIA armor that is new and unworn shall be tested with 9 mm Full Metal Jacketed Round Nose (FMJ RN) bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 373 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1225 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .40 S&W Full Metal Jacketed (FMJ) bullets with a specified mass of 11.7 g (180 gr) and a velocity of 352 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1155 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).

Type IIA armor that has been conditioned shall be tested with 9 mm FMJ RN bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 355 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1165 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .40 S&W FMJ bullets with a specified mass of 11.7 g (180 gr) and a velocity of 325 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1065 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).

Type II (9 mm; .357 Magnum)
Type II armor that is new and unworn shall be tested with 9 mm FMJ RN bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 398 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1305 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .357 Magnum Jacketed Soft Point (JSP) bullets with a specified mass of 10.2 g (158 gr) and a velocity of 436 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1430 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).

Type II armor that has been conditioned shall be tested with 9 mm FMJ RN bullets with a specified mass of 8.0 g (124 gr) and a velocity of 379 m/s ±9.1 m/s (1245 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .357 Magnum JSP bullets with a specified mass of 10.2 g (158 gr) and a velocity of 408 m/s ±9.1 m/s (1340 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).

Type IIIA (.357 SIG; .44 Magnum)

Type IIIA armor that is new and unworn shall be tested with .357 SIG FMJ Flat Nose (FN) bullets with a specified mass of 8.1 g (125 gr) and a velocity of 448 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1470 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .44 Magnum Semi Jacketed Hollow Point (SJHP) bullets with a specified mass of 15.6 g (240 gr) and a velocity of 436 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1430 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).

Type IIIA armor that has been conditioned shall be tested with .357 SIG FMJ FN bullets with a specified mass of 8.1 g (125 gr) and a velocity of 430 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1410 ft/s ± 30 ft/s) and with .44 Magnum SJHP bullets with a specified mass of 15.6 g (240 gr) and a velocity of 408 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (1340 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).

Type III (Rifles)
Type III hard armor or plate inserts shall be tested in a conditioned state with 7.62 mm FMJ, steel jacketed bullets (U.S. Military designation M80) with a specified mass of 9.6 g (147 gr) and a velocity of 847 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2780 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).

Type III flexible armor shall be tested in both the "as new" state and the conditioned state with 7.62 mm FMJ, steel jacketed bullets (U.S. Military designation M80) with a specified mass of 9.6 g (147 gr) and a velocity of 847 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2780 ft/s ± 30 ft/s).

For a Type III hard armor or plate insert that will be tested as an in conjunction design, the flexible armor shall be tested in accordance with this standard and found compliant as a stand-alone armor at its specified threat level. The combination of the flexible armor and hard armor/plate shall then be tested as a system and found to provide protection at the system's specified threat level. NIJ-approved hard armors and plate inserts must be clearly labeled as providing ballistic protection only when worn in conjunction with the NIJ-approved flexible armor system with which they were tested.

Type IV (Armor Piercing Rifle)

Type IV hard armor or plate inserts shall be tested in a conditioned state with .30 caliber armor piercing (AP) bullets (U.S. Military designation M2 AP) with a specified mass of 10.8 g (166 gr) and a velocity of 878 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2880 ft/s ± 30 ft/s). Type IV flexible armor shall be tested in both the “as new” state and the conditioned state with .30 caliber AP bullets (U.S. Military designation M2 AP) with a specified mass of 10.8 g (166 gr) and a velocity of 878 m/s ± 9.1 m/s (2880 ft/s ± 30 ft/s). For a Type IV hard armor or plate insert that will be tested as an in conjunction design, the flexible armor shall be tested in accordance with this standard and found compliant as a stand-alone armor at its specified threat level. The combination of the flexible armor and hard armor/plate shall then be tested as a system and found to provide protection at the system's specified threat level. NIJ-approved hard armors and plate inserts must be clearly labeled as providing ballistic protection only when worn in conjunction with the NIJ-approved flexible armor system with which they were tested.

Special Type

A purchaser having a special requirement for a level of protection other than one of the above standard types and threat levels should specify the exact test round(s) and reference measurement velocities to be used and indicate that this standard shall govern all other aspects. Guidance on common special type threats and the appropriate threat velocities is provided in appendix B, along with a methodology for determining the correct reference velocity for other threats.

Body Armor Plates

When looking for plates, folks need to assess what threats they anticipate and what is their operational environment.

For OCONUS military and para-military settings, Level IV plates capable of stopping AP rounds might be critical. For the typical LE officer within CONUS, it is highly unusual to be confronted by opponents using AP ammo; it is much more likely to be hit with FMJ and hunting rounds from rifles in calibers from .223 to .30-06, as well as 12 ga. Shotguns. Thus, multi-hit capable Level III plates are a good choice. Currently there are four main options:

Currently there are four main options for Level III plates:

5-6 mm AR500/R50c steel plates: Steel plates offer a very thin profile, but are a bit heavier than some other options. They are very durable and offer inexpensive multi-hit capability against non-AP 7.62 x 39 mm and 7.62 x 51 mm, as well as for heavier 5.56 mm loads. If you face lightweight (55 gr or less) hot loaded 5.56 mm, they will go right through steel plates. It is a good idea to wear soft armor underneath steel plates.

Hard polyethelene (Dyneema/Spectra) plates: These are very lightweight multi-hit capable plates that will stop the hot loaded, lightweight 5.56 mm ammo that defeats steel, along with the 7.62 mm threats stopped by steel. Unfortunately, they are often perforated by current military issue 62 gr M855 FMJ "green-tip" ammunition. Most of these are in-conjunctions plates, requiring soft armor underneath to be effective.

Hybrid plates: These combine both steel and hard polyethelene layers and appear to offer the best protection of any current Level III plates. They are very durable and stop multiple hits of almost all non-AP ammo, including high velocity 5.56 mm threats. These are NIJ stand-alone capable, so soft armor is not required underneath. These plates are currently available from Armored mobility Incorporated.

Ceramic plates: These plates are relatively lightweight for the protection provided, but are often more expensive, can be fragile in day-to-day use, and usually cannot withstand as many closely spaced hits as other plate types. Ceramic plates need to be x-rayed each year to ensure that hidden cracks are not present. Ceramic plates are available in both in-conjunction and stand-alone configurations. Almost all Level IV plates use ceramic elements in order to stop AP rounds.

Ratings of Bullet Resistant materials as identified by National Institute of Justice (NIJ) 0101.06

Ratings of Bullet Resistant materials as identified by UL 752

NIJ Manual

Armored Mobility Inc - Victoria Est Vita Restriction on Possession or Purchase of Body Armor. It is against Federal Law for a person convicted of a violent felony to purchase or possess body armor. In addition, various States also have laws restricting the purchase or possession of body armor by persons convicted of drug crimes, certain felonies, or other crimes of violence. By purchasing body armor from AMI you acknowledge and certify that: (1) you have no felony convictions, (2) you have not been convicted of any other crime that would restrict your ability to purchase or possess body armor under any State or Federal law, (3) you do not intend to use the body armor for any criminal purpose and (4) you are over 18 years old. AMI reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to refuse to sell body armor to any person. Additionally, the sale of body armor to residents of Connecticut is restricted to in-person sales, unless the sale is made to certain law enforcement or military personnel.
AMI will only sell to government entities, law enforcement, military (inc. AD/Reserve/NG/Ret), first responders, and other qualified personnel with proper credentials(ie. CCW permit, PI license, Armed Security Guard license, etc...).