To meet the mandates of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sponsors the Standards and Testing Program. This is part of a broader research effort that determines the needs of justice system agencies and sets minimum performance standards that must be met in order for commercially available equipment to qualify for purchase consideration.
Manufacturers voluntarily submit laboratory testing and evaluation figures to show that they meet these standards and can reliably meet specific agency needs. The NIJ standards help protect buyers, ensuring that they know the quality of provided armor. Maintaining the NIJ seal is also important for manufacturers, as it allows them to qualify for grant funding.
The standards are not regulatory in nature; rather, they articulate best practices. NIJ standards are also subject to change as continued research and development (R&D) efforts allow for industry improvements and agency operational environments shift. Put simply, this means that the NIJ reserves the right to modify their existing requirements to ensure they’re addressing any perceived weaknesses in different body armor designs.
With this in mind, it’s critical that body armor and tactical gear manufacturers carefully consider how to best comply with evolving NIJ standards.
Changes to the NIJ Standards
In the summer of 2017, the NIJ introduced Standard-0101.07, which will replace Standard- 0101.06 in late 2018. In this interim period, ballistic fiber armor manufacturers have a head start to begin certifying their products to the new standards.
Changes to the standards include new threat levels (patching the gap between current III and IV), changes to test-round velocity in order to expose both new and conditioned armor to the same impact, and elimination of the lowest threat level for soft armor.
So, when equipment manufacturers complete sourcing, it’s critical that they assess how a certain material or supplier will help ensure the end product meets the required standards in order for it to be a viable purchase option. Being able to meet these standards creates consumer confidence, and can make all the difference in securing a sale.
Exceeding the Standards With Core Matrix Ballistic Material
Core Matrix Technology™ from Tex Tech Industries allows manufacturers to create lighter, flexible, and more comfortable body armor designed to meet all NIJ standards. The unique 3D structure of Core Matrix effectively dissipates energy along three separate axes, creating a 360° ballistic event. This serves to disperse energy efficiently across three planes so that the energy from an impact moves spherically throughout the entire vest, reliably protecting personnel and ensuring optimal safety on the job.
To learn more about the new NIJ standards or discuss ballistics material options with an expert, reach out to the Text Tech team today.