The National Institute of Justice sets voluntary standards for ballistic body armor (aka bullet resistant vests). Currently, the standard is referred to as 0101.06.
As part of the current standard, a committee meets in July 2012 to evaluate the current standard and make recommendations for changes, if any, they deem appropriate for the standard. It is not likely the committee will suggest major revisions to the current standard, but anything is possible. Especially in light of several vests that failed to stop bullets in follow-up testing.
Unlike under prior standards, the .06 standard requires manufacturers to allow NIJ inspectors to conduct spot inspections in the manufacturing process of armor that previously met the standard. This means that members of the FIT (Follow-Up Inspection and Testing) program will go to a factory and randomly pull vests as they are made. These vests are then re-tested to the .06 standard to ensure that the production models of armor are still meeting standard.
According to the NIJ, 191 body armor models were tested between September 2010 and December 2011 under this program. Of those, three models failed to stop bullets they were rated to stop. Obviously, follow up inspections are valuable!
While major revisions to the standard are not likely, fine tuning aspects of the testing and/or follow up process would not be surprising in light of the results from the FIT program.
If changes are proposed, we’ll keep you informed.