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Explanation of NIJ standard 0115.00 against knives and spikes

This article does not only explains the single stab proof levels, but also so you understand the importance that your stab proof vest has been tested and complies with NIJ standard 0115.00, as a single stab can kill you on-site.

NIJ standard 0115.00 is the standard used for stab proof vests, made by NIJ in collaboration with the Police Scientific Development Branch (PSDB) in the UK. 

"NIJ standard 0115.00 is made as a minimum requirement for body armor, which focuses on knives and spikes that you can be exposed to at work. Particular attention is given to the fact that a vest tested according to NIJ standard 0115.00 must be able to stop the highest quality of the knives that can be purchased at the local sports shop. In addition, NIJ have chosen to use the same test method for the spike, as for the knife, where this is different for the HOSDB standard from UK."

These are the precepts of NIJ standard 0115.00, ensuring you a stab proof vest that stops the threats you may be exposed to. 

NIJ standard 0115.00 is very simple in itself, and it is far from as complicated as the bullet proof NIJ standard 0101.06. We will therefore review the most important processes for the standard. 


What stab proof level should I go for?

 There are 3 stab proof levels: Level 1, 2 and 3, the latter being the strongest stab proof level.

  • Level 1 is the lowest stab proof level and is best suited for vests that can be concealed below clothing. 
  • Level 2 is mainly used for overt body armor, for example to police or military.
  • Level 3 is used mainly in high risk areas, such as prison staff or police. This is the highest and most powerful stab proof level. 

Stab proof level 2 and 3 are often used for covert vests as the stab proof vest often becomes thick and hard to conceal below clothing.


How much does each stab proof level stop?

The main idea behind NIJ standard 0115.00 and its 3 stab resistant levels is based on a study from PSDB, which tested how hard an average man could strike using different "stab" methods.


The lowest stab proof level (1) corresponds to 85 percentile, level 2 equals 90 percentile, and level 3 equals 96 percentile.


For both knives and spikes an E1 press and an E2 press is required. E1 corresponds to the percentiles described above where the edged blade maximum can penetrate the stab proof vest with 7 mm.


This is because the internal organs will not get hurt and it will only be a superficial scare. The E2 pressure has increased by 50%, and needs to ensure that body armor doesn’t completely fail at higher pressure. The E2 press cannot penetrate the stab proof vest by more than 20mm.

NIJ standard 0115.00

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Spike and blades are both allowed to penetrate with the following:

  • E1 drop maximum penetration is 7 mm 
  • E2 drop maximum penetration is 20 mm


There are 2 different knife blades and 1 spike 

The knives and the spike used in NIJ standard 0115.00 are custom-made engineered edged blades and a spike that can be stabbed in a wooden block multiple times without taking any damage.

The difference between the knives blades are the edged sides. The first knife is only edged on one side, and the other test blade is a double edged blade.

A Stab proof vest has to tested according to NIJ standard 0115.00

If you buy a stab proof vest, it needs to be tested to any stab resistant standard at least, whether it is British HOSDB, VPAM KDIV2004 or NIJ standard 0115.00. Each of these test methods will partly remind of each other, and the lowest level 1 will be around the 24 joules, ensuring you a good protection against the most normal knives and spikes.


Please note that NIJ standard 0115.00 deals with 2 different knives and 1 spike of which many stab proof vests have not been tested against all 3 test blades. Many stab proof vests are often only tested against the blades or only the spike as the construction of the stab proof vest needs to be different to stop all 3.


Keep away from all stab proof vests, which have not been tested according to the above standards, but just called a "stab proof vest". These “stab proof vests” will often not stop more than 5-10 joules, as they are made in very cheap materials. A stab proof vest like that will not meet the minimum requirements set by NIJ standard 0115.00, and thus it does not give you the right amount of protection.

You can see our stab proof vests here.