Understanding NIJ 0101.06 Armor Protection Levels
WHAT ARE NIJ COMPLIANT ARMORS TESTED AGAINST?
EXISTING LEVELS OF PROTECTION
Level IIA- Tested to stop 9mm 1225 ft/s and .40 S&W ammunition fired from short barrel handguns 1155 ft/s. No rifle ammunition protection.
Level II- Tested to stop 9mm FMJ 1305ft/s and .357 Magnum rounds 1430ft/s from short barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.
Level IIIA-Tested to stop 357 sig at 1470 ft/s and .44 Magnum rounds at 1430 ft/s from longer barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.
Level III- Tested to stop 7.62mm at 2780 ft/s FMJ lead core rifle ammunition.
Level- IV Tested to stop .30 cal steel core armor piercing rifle ammunition.
5.56mm/.223 Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) ammunition has a lead
core. Level III armor or greater is the best choice for protection among the armors on the CPL.
5.56mm/.223 Green Tip Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) ammunition has a part steel core. Level IV armor is the best choice for protection among the armors on the CPL.
What about 5.56mm/.223 ammunition?
5.56mm ammunition comes in a wide variety of constructions. The rounds with lead cores typically used for hunting and target shooting can be stopped with Level III hard armor plates.
5.56mm JHP hunting ammunition
5.56 ammunition designed for military use, with a steel or partial steel core, needs a ceramic or metallic component to the hard armor plate to stop it. Some Level III have a ceramic/metallic face, but not all. If you have identified the M855 or other similarly designed steel core ammunition as a potential threat, a Level IV plate is the best choice for protection among the armors on the NIJ Compliant Products List (CPL).
5.56mm FMJ, M855
“Green Tip” partial steel core ammunition
The above is a snapshot of select threat projectiles and classifications of armors related to these general threats. Refer to NIJ standard 0101.06 for further details.
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