How to Know if a Body Armor Plate is NIJ Certified

Hey, my name is Rich Bewley with ShotStop. Today, I’m going to share with you a very quick way to determine if a specific rifle plate is actually NIJ certified.

Why is that important? Well, it’s important to first talk about what is the process in evaluating and comparing rifle plates.

Well, for many buyers, for many people making decisions on what armor is most important to them, they’re evaluating factors like weight, wearability, thickness, stopping power, warranty, price. But what we find to be the number one most important consideration, for the most part when talking to customers, it’s really an NIJ certification. It’s really about a third-party accredited lab testing the protection and the stopping power so that those who are purchasing it and those who are wearing the armor know that it is rated to protect against any specific threat level and stopping power necessary.

It always starts with, is it truly NIJ certified? Then after that, it’s those other important details such as weight, wearability, thickness, price, warranty, all those other major factors.

I want to quickly show you a way to determine if body armor is truly NIJ certified or not. In today’s world, it’s super easy to start a website, connect with specific manufacturers that have many types of rifle plates out there, and put those rifle plates on a website and say that it meets NIJ guidelines and so it’s NIJ approved. It’s super easy to throw that up on a website, but it does not mean it actually meets those specific requirements.

I’m going to show you a clear-cut way, no questions asked, there’s absolutely no other form of interpretation that can be had. This site (https://www.nij.gov/topics/technology/body-armor/Pages/compliant-ballistic-armor.aspx) will tell you immediately if the rifle plate you’re looking at is actually NIJ certified and that the NIJ has approved it.

Here’s how to use the site real quick. You click this link and it’ll take you right to the NIJ certified products list.

Real quick, just to give a shout out to NIJ, for anybody who doesn’t know what NIJ is yet, they’re an absolute great, third-party organization focused on helping buyers understand what armor capabilities are out there, what specific threat levels are out there and what armor can truly stop what specific threats.

NIJ exists to help you make the right decision in which armor is best suited for what specific protection and/or line of work is, so that you can be most protected. NIJ is the authoritative resource in our space. There is no close second to the NIJ and so it’s very important that the rifle plate you’re purchasing is certified and complies with NIJ.

Here’s how to use the NIJ website.

If you already know the plates that you’re considering, you’re down to a couple plates that you hope to make a decision on, you can look, by listed company, for the manufacturer. If the manufacturer is not on this list, that means they are not certified by NIJ.

There are a lot of other things that manufacturers can claim and/or say, such as, “A Third Party Independent Lab looked at the product,” and/or due to their internal testing, they believed the product meets NIJ-specific requirements, in which case there’s always that chance that it might, but ultimately, if it is not on this list, it means they did not work with NIJ to certify, test, and make sure that it’s approved to NIJ standards.

The very first thing you can do, if you already know the couple plates you’re looking at, look to see if the manufacturer is in here. If they’re not in here, they are not NIJ certified. That’s just a very quick way.

We don’t want to pick on any specific manufacturer, that’s not our goal or our intention here today. We’re going to go right to ShotStop, so you can see exactly what NIJ has certified from us and we’re going to show you exactly how to use the tool.

What you want to do, you want to look up the specific manufacturer, if you know who they are, and then you want to confirm that the model you’re considering is the model that’s on this list. Many suppliers, providers of body armor that you can bump into could have multiple skews and only one skew is actually NIJ certified. It’s important to match the model specifically, so that you know that it has been NIJ certified. Everything else, if it’s not here, then it didn’t happen as it relates to being NIJ certified.

Make sure you’re looking at the threat level, the model number, and if those both are correct, then you know that you have a plate that is truly NIJ certified.

Hey, we hope you found this to be helpful. If there’s anything else we can do as it relates to helping you determine which armor is best for your situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and let us know and look forward to talking with  you soon.