Ballistic standards for body armour

There are a number standards available but the most accepted standard is that of the U.S. National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

Other standards that are widely accepted are: the United Kingdom’s Home Office Scientific Development Branch standards and the German Police Technische Richtlinie (TR) Ballistische Schutzwesten.

Product range examples

Below are examples of our current product range. This is by no means exhaustive. For a more comprehensive overview visit our catalogue

Body Armour testing

Textile armour is tested for the following:

• Penetration resistance form bullets
• Impact energy resistance for the wearer

The process followed is shooting the armour mounted in front of a backing material, usually oil-based modelling clay. This clay is used at a precise temperature and confirmed for impact flows. This is done before any tests are conducted. After the test is conducted the indentation in the clay is measured after removal of the vest. This is the transmitted impact energy.

This back face signature measurement comparisons can be difficult to compare because there are different test standards. In European, German and British standards the allowable back face signature is 20mm to 25mm. The USNIJ standard allows 44mm. This could allow for an internal injury. This tolerance allowance has always been controversial and the discussion still rages over the importance of back face signature vs penetration-resistance.

Body armour thicknesses

The different NIJ protection levels mean that there are different body armour vest thickensses. Up to level IIIA these are textile vests and are relatively flexbile. Levels III and IV have loose plates that fit in special pockets in the vests.

N

Level II-A - thickness usually 4mm

N

Level II - thickness usually 5mm

N

Level III-A - thickness usually 8mm to 10mm

N

Level III - with pockets and 15mm plates

N

Level IV - with pockets and 20mm plates

NIJ protection levels

NIJ LEVEL I BODY ARMOUR

The original NIJ Level I- now out of commission

This original Level I protection rating was created in the 1970s and is now obsolete. Therefore this level currently offers no protection.

NIJ LEVEL IIA BODY ARMOUR

Currently the lowest level of protection

Level IIA armour is the lightest and most flexible armour available today but largely out of date. Usually soft armour, it’s easily concealed beneath clothes.

LEVEL IIA PROTECTS AGAINST:

  • 9mm FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) at 1165 feet per second (ft./s)
  • 40 S&W (Smith & Wesson) FMJ at 1065 ft./s
NIJ LEVEL II BODY ARMOUR

“Handgun armour,” this level defeats up to .357 magnum rounds.

Level II vests are still relatively light, flexible, and easily discrete under clothes, but can defeat a higher range of ammunition than Level IIA. They also offer more blunt force protection than IIA.

LEVEL II PROTECTS AGAINST:

All handgun rounds, up to and including .357 magnum jacketed soft point (JSP)

NIJ LEVEL IIIA BODY ARMOUR

Good all-round for concealable, lightweight protection

Level IIIA is the most common protection level you’ll see when looking for soft body armour. Found in everything from bulletproof vests to bulletproof backpacks, it’s a bit heavier than Level IIA or II but still largely concealable.

LEVEL IIIA PROTECTS AGAINST:

9 mm rounds traveling at speeds of up to 1400 ft./s.

.44 magnum rounds.

NIJ LEVEL III BODY ARMOUR

This is also rifle-defeating armour

Level III body armour is the first level that protects against rifle rounds. This armour usually consists of hard plates as opposed to soft plates, so it’s not concealable.

Hard armour is also heavier than soft armour, but with that weight comes greater protection.

LEVEL III IS PROTECTS AGAINST:

Six shots from a 7.62×51 NATO round traveling up to 2780 ft./s

LEVEL III+ BODY ARMOUR

III+ isn’t an official NIJ rating. However, it’s used by some manufacturers to indicate that this armour has the same protective capacity as Level III but can handle extra threats like M855 “green tip” ammo or M193.

Level III+ is becoming a popular option for those who face additional threats.

NIJ LEVEL IV BODY ARMOUR

Top level protection

Level IV body armour is the highest basic level. It consists of hard plates as opposed to Level IIIA plates and below. Level IV armour achieves this standard by stopping a single bullet as opposed to Level III’s six, so it isn’t always better than a Level III armour.

LEVEL IV IS DESIGNED TO HANDLE:

One hit from 7.62MM armour piercing rifle (APR) bullet with a velocity of 2880 ft./s.

Anti-ballistic set basic

This anti-ballistic set contains a basic black cover with adjustable velcro straps and 2 pouches to insert trauma plates. Inserted in back and front are 2 removable soft anti-ballistic inserts offering protection against 9mm bullets. The anti-ballistic trauma plates can be inserted in the back and front pouches. The trauma plates offer protection up to 7,62mm armour piercing bullets. The helmet is a fits all PASGT model offering protection up to 9mm bullets.

Anti-ballistic set MK2

Tactical vest from high strength nylon fabric. Stitching of high strength nylon thread. Rugged nylon pouches and webbing. Shrink free high density mesh lining. Overall Mil-Std quality. With inner insertion system for anti-ballistic trauma plates. With quick release system. The rear part of the vest is designed to carry a hydration bag. Adjustable shoulder and waist straps for comfortable all-size fitting.

Plate carrier

Tactical vest model molle system front and back with front and back inserts for trauma plates. With high strength fabric and webbing and shrink free high density mesh padded lining. Mil-Std quality tested and certified. Fitted with quick release system, fully adjustable and with ammunition pouches.

MSS Defence Military Operators Set

MSS Defence now has complete military operators sets available. These sets are delivered from our warehouse in the Netherlands. We can also make sets to order if needed. Includes Plate Carrier and MICH Helmet.

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We have thousands of products from hundreds of manufacturers for you to select from. Feel free to check out our online catalogue, you will be redirected to our shop website

Independent trauma plate test

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