NIJ Stab Standards

NIJ Stab Resistance Standards for Personal Body Armor (0115.00)
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NIJ Knife Stab Test

NIJ Edged Blade

The NIJ Stab Resistance standard was created to specify the minimum requirement of stab armor performance against spike and edged weapons.  The standard gives police officers choices in the level of protection for the body armor they purchase and clear guidelines for what threat those levels of protection will cover.  The NIJ standards are continually researched and updated to improve quality and safety in the body armor industry.

Determined by the results of NIJ testing, stab resistant body armor is broken down in to two protection classes each having multiple protection levels.  One protection class deals with edged weapons or knives, that would likely be encountered on the street.  The other deals with spike weapons such as shanks or other improvised weapons likely to be seen in a corrections setting.

Each class includes 3 protection levels each representing a different amount of force.  The energy levels are as follows:

  • Level 1 – Low energy strike of 24J to an over test level of 36J
  • Level 2 – Low energy strike of 33J to an over test level of 50J
  • Level 3 – Low energy strike of 43J to an over test level of 65J
NIJ Test Spike

NIJ Test Spike

NIJ Levels of Protection are determined by Drop Testing.  Using edged blades and spikes of uniformed dimension specified by the standard, body armor panels are subjected to stabbing using an apparatus that drops the knife down at different weights and heights do simulate different energy levels.  The results of the test are measured by the depth of the knife into the body armor panel and backing material.  Pass-fail criteria for low energy strikes is

7mm (0.28 in) and for over test strikes is 20mm (0.79in).