Read this before you buy any ballistic protection product!

The National Institutes of Justice, a branch of the Department of Justice, establishes the U.S. standards for ballistic testing of body armor and other ballistic protection products.  NIJ Standard 0101 specifies testing for body armor, and NIJ Standard 0108 specifies testing for other ballistic protective materials including shields.  The standards are identical in terms of threat level definitions, and vary with respect to fixturing of test devices and acceptance criteria.  Soft armor is tested over a clay block and a maximum of 44 mm of blunt trauma deformation is considered acceptable, while ballistic shields and similar items are tested with a witness plate behind them to confirm penetration of any projectile or fragment.

There are currently five commonly used threat levels specified in the current NIJ standards, as shown in the adjacent table. NIJ I for .22 Long Rifle and .38 Special is effectively obsolete.

The NIJ is currently in the process of updating these standards and have published a draft 0101.7 standard with "HG1" and "HG2" handgun protection levels, and "RF1", "RF2", and "RF3" protection levels. The updated standard is still being refined and has not been implemented yet.

The Alpha Advantage

Here's what an Alpha Shield™ looks like after absorbing thirty stout NIJ IIIA .44 Magnum test rounds per the above protocol.   Most of what you see is lead splash blasting off the powder coating;  deformation is only occurring in the dark circles in the middle of each strike.  The shield is fully functional, with no cracks and a maximum backface deformation of about 1/4".

Bravo Tough

And here's what one of our Bravo Shields™ looked like after absorbing over sixty 5.56x45 mm M193 and M855 test rounds on a single shield!  The upper strikes with the wider tears in the titanium facing layer were the M855 hits, while the lower strikes with the clean hole in the titanium were the M193 hits.  In all cases the bullets fragmented upon hitting the steel core, with the majority of the debris trapped between the layers.

One Delta Shield likewise successfully absorbed over 60  5.56x45 mm and 7.62x39 mm hits, before we switched to heavier calibers and kept shooting it until we started to see significant failures (hence no picture).