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Big News on Official Ballistic Ratings: Safe Life Defense’s IIIA+ Vest Is Now NIJ Certified

Big News on Official Ballistic Ratings: Safe Life Defense’s IIIA+ Vest Is Now NIJ Certified

Posted by Morgan Hallenbeck on 5th Feb 2021

Everyone Has Been Asking. Is Safe Life Defense NIJ Certified?

We expect nothing but the best from our products for our customers. One of the most common questions about our products is if Safe life Defense is NIJ Certified? All IIIA+ armor from Safe Life Defense was certified by the National Institute Of Justice (NIJ) on Nov 30th, 2020. Prior to this date, Safe Life Defense did extensive testing at Oregon Ballistic Laboratories, an NIJ-accredited lab, and passed a majority of the tests performed. We are very proud to be able to announce that our concealable vests and tactical level IIIA+ vests have officially been certified by the NIJ. Let’s discuss why this is such an important milestone for our company and products.

View the Safe Life Defense NIJ compliance report.

What Is the National Institute of Justice?

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the main entity that sets the standards and testing protocols for body armor ratings and levels. The main goal of this organization is to certify body armor and ensure that it does its job. That means each product submitted for testing must withstand specific and rigorous trials. They are then assigned a level of protection based on their ballistic performance results. The NIJ grade system dictates the caliber and threat level that body armor plates can withstand. This ensures that a bullet does not penetrate the plate and the wearer is protected against blunt-force trauma. These ratings range from Level I (one) to Level IV (four).

As the only certification nationally recognized for commercial use by Law Enforcement and the U.S. Armed Forces, they hold a high level of authority and responsibility. Some manufacturers claim to be NIJ rated or that they meet NIJ standards, but that may not be true. This is why looking for official certification proof is crucial. Before purchasing body armor, make sure you check for the NIJ-certified mark on the exterior of the product.

Required Testing for NIJ Certification

The NIJ certification process is a serious business. It is only performed at NIJ-authorized laboratories guaranteed to meet the NIJ standards. There are no other means by which manufacturers can get this final stamp of approval. Body armor is put through tests that simulate the dangers a person could encounter. This includes everything from hand-to-hand conflict and blunt force, to firearms and bladed weapons. The armor is gauged by how it reacts in certain environments. One single testing failure will always result in the product being denied NIJ certification. We've included the various testing types below:

NIJ Logo

  • The Environmental Test: Soft armor is made from tightly woven threads that help stop bullets. It is commonly coated with a watertight membrane to prevent moisture damage. This testing is done in several ways. This first is by submerging the vest into water to simulate humidity, rain and snow exposure. The second is by exposing the vest to extreme heat. This simulates wearing the armor on hot days and exacerbating conditions. Both of these tests help to make sure the threads do not loosen or tear in extreme environments.
  • The Five-Year Warranty Test: All body armor should have a five-year lifespan or warranty for the utmost safety. The vest is put into a constant tumbler for ten days straight to simulate five years of wear and tear. This proves whether or not the armor can maintain a full lifespan and still be able to protect after five years of use.
  • The Caliber Test: This determines the level of protection (II or IIIA) and what caliber (at a specific velocity) the vest can adsorb. This is done by shooting the armor six times with two different calibers. The Level IIIA test includes .357 SIG, 125 gr at 1470 ft/s and .44 Magnum SJHP 240 gr at 1430 ft/s.

Certified Means Safe

For the inquiring minds that want to know, yes, you should buy NIJ Certified Body Armor! Armor that is not NIJ certified hasn’t been tested for industry standards or for safety. Untested products leave a ton of room for error and may not shield you as stated. For the best protection, you want armor that is recognized by this national organization. Both Law Enforcement and the United States Military trust the NJI processes and standards.

Purchasing An NIJ Certified Level IIIA+ Body Armor From Safe Life Defense

There are plenty of options out there, but our Level IIIA+ Multi-Threat vest is one of the best enhanced NIJ Certified options on the market today. In addition to bullet, strike and slash protection, this armor provides NIJ Level 1 spike protection (up to 36 joules of force). Designed to defend against special threats like a 9mm and FN 5.7, this is the ONLY soft body armor out there that has achieved this advanced level of protection. If that wasn’t enough, our body armor also comes standard with wrap-around side protection. The protection surface area of our vests provides increased coverage of more than 15% when compared to the competition. Try it for yourself! We’re confident you’ll see, feel and experience the difference.