NIST, NIJ Establish Body Armor Accreditation Program

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in cooperation with the National Institute of Justice, reports in its Dec. 12 edition of NIST Tech Beat that it has established a new accreditation program for laboratories that test personal body armor. The deadline for inclusion in the first group of candidates for accreditation is tomorrow.

NIST Tech Beat reports that more than 3,000 officers' lives have been saved by personal body armor since standards were first introduced for ballistic resistance in 1972. A new draft standard is the latest recommendation following the release of interim requirements in 2005, after it was revealed that some models of body armor found to comply with the previous standard saw a significant reduction in efficacy once placed into field service.

NIST says the new standard takes these concerns and others into account, and the accreditation program it is implementing has been designed to make sure the standard is being met when the next generation of armors is tested.

Applications received after tomorrow will be considered in the order they are received. For an application, call 301-975-4016, write to NVLAP Body Armor Testing Program Manager, National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program, 100 Bureau Drive/MS 2140, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2140, or send an e-mail to nvlap@nist.gov. All applications must be submitted to: NVLAP/Accounts, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building 101, Room A800, 100 Bureau Drive/MS 1624, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1624.

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