How Is Body Armor Rated?

Dec 6, 2019 9:00:00 AM / by Mike DonDiego

Many people think of body armor as something law enforcement wears like a bulletproof vest, but everyday body armor is becoming very common – even to the point of having body armor-type school bookbags. Body armor has specific ratings evaluated by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). They are in charge of setting, testing and enhancing ballistic protection standards that are tied to body armor consumers purchase. The standards are responsible for ensuring certain levels of safety and can assist when deciding the type of protection that works best. There are currently five basic NIJ ballistic protection ratings that are associated with the type of armor. These range from Level IIA to Level IV.

Soft vs. Hard Body Armor

Along with the protection levels comes soft and hard body armor, with distinct differences in both. Soft body armor is more movable and comfortable. It is very strong, but can be work with other tools. Worn in conjunction with hard body armor, it provides an added layer of protection. Made of super-high strength synthetic fibers, it is mostly known as the Kevlar vest. This is mostly used to stop small arms and should not be used against high-powered guns and rifles.

Hard body armor is made of ceramics, steel or composite material plates surrounded and interlocked with one another. This helps increase the level of protection. This body armor is heavier and less flexible, but provides protection from high-caliber rifles. This can include AR500 body armor. 

What Level of Body Armor Do I Need?

While no specific body armor is 100% fail-safe, this protection can make the difference between life or death. For everyday occurrences, Level II-A would work. It is the thinnest and best concealed for comfort. This is not a popular option, and is usually acquired by special order. Level II provides protection from blunt trauma and higher velocity rounds. This is highly recommended for those who wish to conceal they are wearing this type of protection. Level III-A provides the highest blunt trauma protection in soft body armor and allows the individual to return fire. Levels III and IV are for rifle protection.

Contact Kontek Industries 

Having the right information when seeking protection from body armor is key, and Kontek Industries is ready and able to assist. A global leader in tested security and defense solutions, they offer blast, ballistic, force protection, tactical and training solutions. Known within the industry to offer recommendations and advice that offers the highest protections, your team will be able to make the best choices that work well for your organization. For more information on body armor and which level may work best for you, contact a member at Kontek Industries today!

Topics: Body Armor

Mike DonDiego

Written by Mike DonDiego