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Body Armor

ASTM International is launching an initiative to develop a suite of standards for body armor worn by military and criminal justice personnel. This effort is being supported by the National Institute of Justice, the U.S. Army Program Executive Office – Soldier and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, who are working together to harmonize existing ASTM body armor standards, especially test methods, where practical. The proposed standards will be developed by Subcommittee E54.04 on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), part of ASTM International Committee E54 on Homeland Security Applications.

“Developing these standards through ASTM International provides a forum in which federal agencies and other stakeholders can collaborate to develop common test methods, practices, and guides,” says E54 member Casandra Robinson, Standards Coordination Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology. “The intent of this collaboration is to help eliminate the duplication of effort, to more effectively use resources and to reduce testing costs. The ultimate goal is to provide the best protection possible for the wearers of armor using the combined knowledge and resources of federal agencies, law enforcement agencies, testing and certification bodies and manufacturers.”

The new initiative will ensure that individual standards are consistent and compatible with each other.

Earlier this year, Committee E54 approved ASTM standard E2902, Practice for Measurement of Body Armor Wearers. The purpose of E2902 is to increase consistency in how measurements are made by specifying the process for measuring officers being fitted for body armor. A proposed standard currently in development, WK41172, Practice for Determining Body Armor Coverage, will address how measurements are translated into an armor that provides coverage of the torso while allowing for range of motion and comfort.

Work has recently begun in Committee E54 to develop the following two standards:

  • Specification for Clay Backing Material Used in Ballistic-Resistance Testing, and
  • Terminology for Body Armor.All ASTM International members having interest in body armor are encouraged to participate.

CONTACT Technical Information: Casandra Robinson, NIST Standards Coordination Office • Gaithersburg, Md. • Phone: 301-975-2546 | ASTM Staff: Rick Lake • Phone: 610-832-9689 | Upcoming Meeting: Jan. 27-29, 2014 • January Committee Week • Houston, Texas

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.