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Are your vest even stab proof?

When is your vest stab proof? 

This can be very difficult to determine because the bullet proof and stab proof standards are written in technical terms, which can be difficult understand.

At Protection Group Danmark we use the American standard from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which is a procedure to ensure that your bullet- or stab proof vest has gone through the correct tests to be approved. 

NIJ and HOSDB (British Standard) is the most widely used standards in the world for bulletproof and stab proof vests. They are very similar in their test methods. You can read more about here 

Today, many vendors, even if it is a bullet or stab proof vest say that the vest is stab proof and easily will be able to stop a knife. However, it should be clearly stated on the vest what it can and cannot stop. 

A stab proof vest is designed to stop a certain force (joules) which at the lowest level 1 is 24 joules for E1 and 36 joules for E2. This is the lowest level according NIJ and HOSDB. 

Stab proof vests 

A stab proof vest shall be tested by NIJ standard 0115.00, which is the standard of "Stab Resistance of Personal Body Armor". This standard comes in NIJ Level 1, 2 and 3 depending on how strong a force the stab proof vest is designed to stop. This has to be clearly on both the carrier and the panel inside the vest. 

The carrier will have a small label (mainly on the back) that states the model number, size, date of manufacturing, serial number and what standard the stab proof vest are approved after. Inside the vest it will clearly say that the panels are Stab-proof level 1, and that the vest ONLY are stab proof after the test by NIJ standard 0115.00

 It will look like this (may vary depending on who manufactured the stab proof vest.):

Therefore, always check the labels on the carrier and insert, so detect whether the vest has been tested to a certain standard or not. Many "internet" sellers will especially say that their bulletproof vests also are stab proof.

However, you will likely get a normal bullet proof vest that probably will be able to stop between 5-10 joules from a knife with a penetration of 20 mm, which means that a single attack from a knife will penetrate the vest and do lethal damage to you. 

There is a reason why the international stab proof standards have a minimum level of 35-36 joules for level 1. It is because this level is hard to penetrate, but it is still possible, which also is why there is level 2 and level 3 stab proof vests. This offer a higher level of stab protection. 

How to spot if your body armor is stab proof or not 

  1. In Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden, we have seen many "stab proof" vests made of plastic with a square metal plate on the front and back. These vests are only stab proof in the square aluminum area, and the area with the plastic provides a very limited resistance to a knife. 
  2. Ask the seller if they can provide a test report of the stab proof vest. This test report needs to show what standard and level the vest has been tested to and also the depth of each E1 and E2 pressure from the test blades. 
  3. If you have bought a stab proof vest and the label inside the carrier says, ".. It is NOT intended to protect against Rifle Fire, or Sharp Edged or Pointed Instrument". Yes, you have a bullet proof vest that does NOT protect against sharp or sharp instruments. 
  4. Take care of a stab proof vest without any labels with any information. This product will probably not be manufactured by a serious company as it is "statutory" to label the body armor with instructions on the carrier and the stab proof inserts. 
Take care of yourself and use these simple “how to spot examples” to see of your body armor offers stab protection
  • Check labels on both carrier and the inserts
  • Stay away from No-name body armor
  • Buy as a minimum a level 1 stab proof vest
  • Never buy a stab proof vest without any information about what level it can stop.