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NIJBallistic Info

Introduction to Ballistic Protection

While the term “bulletproof” is thrown around in the media, in movies, and on television, this is a misnomer. The correct term is “ballistic protection” or “bullet resistant”. Since the purpose of body armor is to protect the wearer from bullets, it is important to understand bullets and ballistics. This page has been authored by Mr. Mathew D. Ingalls, one of our Personal Account Managers and a school-trained and certified gunsmith. We hope you find this information informative and that it assists you in selecting the best ballistic protection for your needs.

Selecting the Correct Protection Level

What ballistic protection level should I order?

  • NIJ Level II is a good balance between comfort, ease of concealment, and protection from blunt trauma.
  • NIJ Level IIIA and Level III is worn by many police officers and law enforcement agents. This is the most widely utilized type of vest in the industry for safety, cost, and the ability to be worn under another garment.
  • Level IV tactical vests require ballistic inserts and are thus heavier and also a bit more expensive. The plates will provide better blunt trauma protection and preserve the wearer’s ability to return fire after taking a hit. These vests are highly desirable when facing threats from high velocity rounds.

Please refer to the ballistic test chart for more detailed information on the protection specifications.

  • NIJ Level IIIA and Level III is worn by many police officers and law enforcement agents. This is the most widely utilized type of vest in the industry for safety, cost, and the ability to be worn under another garment.
  • Level IV tactical vests require ballistic inserts and are thus heavier and also a bit more expensive. The plates will provide better blunt trauma protection and preserve the wearer’s ability to return fire after taking a hit. These vests are highly desirable when facing threats from high velocity rounds.

Please refer to the ballistic test chart for more detailed information on the protection specifications.

Threat levelBullet caliber and typeBullet image (Fit to scale)Bullet mass (grains)Imapact vilocity (ft/s)Imapact vilocity (m/s)
IIA9mm full metal jacket, round noseImage1241120341
IIA40 S&W full metal jacketImage1801055322
II9mm full metal jacket, round noseImage1241205367
II357 magnum jacketed soft pointImage1581430436
IIIA9mm full metal jacket, round noseImage1241430436
IIIA44 magnum semi-jacket (M80 Ball)Image2401430436
III7.26 NATO full metal jacket (M80 Bali)Image1482780847
IV30 caliber armor piercing (AP M@)Image1662880878

Ceramics

NIJ Level IV utilizes ceramic inserts. Ceramic inserts are special bulletproof plates with a ceramic coating strong enough to protect people from high velocity rounds. It protects against 7.62mm Full Metal Jacketed bullets and U.S. military M80 shot. It is a bulletproof plate of great strength providing protection against 30 caliber armor-piercing bullets as well.

Standards and Testing

 
What is NIJ .06 Standard?
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) 0101.06 is the compliance standard in modern body armor.
What does it mean to be NIJ compliant and what does that mean to me?
NIJ .06 compliant armor ultimately means increased protection for you.  It means a better piece of mind knowing that you are wearing the most current and up-to-date ballistic-resistant armor available.
Why do you call your products bullet resistant and not “bullet proof ??
A bullet resistant door, window or fiberglass panel offers a certain level of resistance to a bullet. The resistance level is usually described as protection from a caliber of munitions.  If that resistance level is exceeded, typically expressed as a Underwriters Labs (UL) or National Institute of Justice (NIJ) numeric ranking, you will have a penetration which is considered a failure.  No amount of armor can protect from every single type of bullet.  Your personal account manager can assist you in choosing the right protection for your needs.
Does Miguel Caballero Ballistic Resistant Armorer meet these standards?
Yes, certification can be provided upon request for potential customers.
Currently there are five types of Body Armor Classifications per NIJ specifications. Users need to determine which level of armor best suits their operational needs.  For threats against small caliber rounds, Type II and IIIA are the most widely used by law enforcement.  Users will typically notice a slight increase in weight and stiffness as you go up in protection.  This is due to the more stringent environmental testing protocols as well as increased threat protection and shot placement requirement.
What kinds of firearms are used in testing?
None.  Barrels with the caliber to be tested are attached to a firing apparatus.  This ensures standardization in laboratory testing.  Each level of body armor is tested against certain calibers. There are rifles that fire handgun ammo and handguns that can fire rifle ammo.  The firearm is nothing more than a delivery system; the ammunition is where the danger lies.  Discuss your needs with your personal account manager in choosing the best protection level.