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NIJ Standard 01.01.04 / 05

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has modified the 01.01.03 ballistic standard for the testing of Body Armor. In general, the new 01.01.04 standard is almost identical, but just slightly tougher. The interim 05 standard is simply an assurance that no Zylon is used in the manufacture of 04 Certified vests.

"Is armor that complies with NIJ Standard-0101.04 "better" than armor that complies with NIJ Standard-0101.03?

NO. It has only been tested to a different version of the standard."

...Guide to Police Body Armor, National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC.org)

The 9 mm FMJ test rounds are exactly the same, it is the secondary test round has been slightly changed...

 
01.01.03 - OLD
01.01.04 - NEW
Level II-A .357 Magnum Jacketed Soft Point at 1,250 fps - feet per second / 381 mps - meters per second .40 S&W Full Metal Jacket at 1,025 fps / 312 mps
 
Change
Threat round changed from .357 Magnum at 1,250 fps to .40 S&W at 1,025 fps
Level II .357 Jacketed Soft Point at
1395 fps / 425 mps
.357 Jacketed Soft Point at
1400 fps / 427 mps
 
Change
Increase in velocity of 5 fps / 1.5 mps or 0.4%
Level III-A .44 Magnum Lead Semi-Wadcutter at
1400 fps / 427 mps
.44 Magnum Semi-Jacketed Hollow Point at
1400 fps / 427 mps
 
Change
Bullet Velocity the same, but different Bullet Type

To keep blunt trauma under the 1.7" (44 mm.) maximum, an 01.01.04 vest might be 1 to 4 layers thicker depending on the over-protection previously built into the vest. More is not necessarily better, in fact we often recommend Level III-A in the 01.01.03 Standard to keep the vest slightly more flexible and comfortable.

The NIJ says:

"NIJ Standard-0101.04 is not intended to restrict or otherwise influence the procurement and use of NIJ Standard-0101.03 compliant body armors...

... this revision for new model compliance testing does not invalidate or render unsuitable any body armor models previously determined to be compliant using NIJ Standard-0101.03 requirements."

- NLECTC.org

So, on either standard, you can rest assured you are getting a high-quality vest. There are MUCH more important factors to consider – such as how well the vest covers your body, and how comfortable it is.

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