Stab-Proof Vests


Sort by

Level of protection


Sort by



NIJ0115.00 Levels of Protection

In the US, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is responsible for setting standards for body armor, and their standard 0115.00 is designed specifically for stab-resistant body armor. It was developed by the NIJ with the collaboration of the Police Scientific Development Branch (PSDB) from the UK, where stab protection vests are a lot more prevalent and regularly used by law enforcement officers and police body armor.

The NIJ 0115.00 standard dividends stab-proof body armor into three different protection levels. These are Level 1,2 and 3. Here is a more detailed analysis of these three levels and what kind of stabs knife protection they can offer.

How does the stab armor rating system work?

First of all, you need to know how these stab-resistant vests are tested to ensure protection. The ideal is to replicate the force with which an average mad would stab. The stab tests are done using two kinds of knives, and a spike, which are used to attach the vest straight on and at a 45-degree angle.

Two levels of energy are used, the first level, E1 is how much energy the stab resistant body armor needs to stop, and the second, E2 is E1 plus 50% more energy, to test the penetration against the energy that the vest is not rated for. For the E2 level, only a few millimeters of penetration is permitted, which would break the skin but prevent any serious injury or damage to any vital organs.

Level I protection:

A Level I stab proof vest needs to resist knife attacks of up to 24 joules, and allow only 7 mm of penetration at most for an edged blade of spike attack of up to 36 joules. This is the lowest level of knife protection available on the market and is typically used as a standard for concealable stab protection.

Level II protection:

The level II vests are designed to prevent knife penetration with the energy of up to 33 joules and allow only 7 millimeters of penetration at most from an attack of up to 50 joules. These vests are more common and are used as overt armor by law enforcement, and police officers.

Level III protection:

This is the highest level of stab, slash, and spike protection that you can get. According to the NIJ standards, it needs to stop knife penetration with up to 43 joules, and allow minimal penetration with forces of up to 65 joules. Level III stab vests are used by law enforcement and correctional officers in prisons, and apart from stopping attacks from edged blades, and spikes, they can also dampen the force of an attack from blunt objects.

What is a stab proof vest?

Though a bulletproof vest can stop gunshots, many people don’t know that they don’t offer much protection against stabs from sharp objects. So, Stab proof vests are specifically designed to stop pointed instruments (knifes, blades, spikes) attacks to the chest, back and sides of your body. A stab vest can also be needle-proof and slash-proof.


Some stab vests also offer protection against small pistol calibers. Stab vests are used by police officers as a part of their standard-issue uniform.

Do stab proof vests work?

Yes, Stab vests can be very effective against stabs and slashes from knives, and they have saved thousands of lives. Knife crimes are quite relevant in the US, and the fact that the police use these vests for their protection is a solid testament to their effectiveness.


On several occasions, civilians in the US have also used a stab vest for their protection against stabbing attacks. These vests also protect correctional officers from getting stabbed in prison all over the US.

What are stab proof vests made out of?

Most stab vests are made from high density aramid fabric, however, some manufacturers use other materials like Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene. Kevlar (Aramid) fibers are very strong on their own, and when they are tightly woven or coated with proper substances, they can stop an edged weapons from penetrating your panel and then your skin. It is similar aramid that is also used to make ballistic body armor.


When someone tries to stab a aramid stab resistant vest, the blade gets caught in the fabric layers instead of penetrating. These vests can also offer spike protection against improvised weapons like ice picks, and needles.


Some stab proof armor is also created from chainmail, which is woven between the fabric of coats of jackets. They are stab and slash resistant, but they are heavy, bulky and don’t work well against spikes and needles.

Is wearing a stab vest illegal?

Now, the answer to this question depends on which country or state you are from, however in the US, wearing any kind of body armor is perfectly legal in all states. Therefore, you can also wear a stab vest without any worries. It is perfectly legal for a civilian to own and wear stab resistant body armor in public.


However, though it is not illegal, wearing stab resistant armor over your clothes as a civilian can draw some unnecessary attention. This is where concealable stab protection vests come in handy.


More info about levels of protection can be found in Armor Guide.

How much is a stab proof vest?

As far as costs are concerned, stab and spike-proof vests are considerably more affordable than a ballistic vest. Ballistic vests might cost anywhere between $300 to $1500+, but you could get a good stab proof vest for as low as $280. If you are looking for more affordable options, you should check Apex Dual Protection Armored T-shirt – it’s available with anti-stab panels for less than $300.


General-purpose stab and spike proof vests may cost between $300 to even $1,500. The prices vary depending on fabric thickness and material used in the manufacturing process.


The big question now is whether or not these vests will suit your particular needs. To determine whether they do or don’t, you’ll need to know how much protection you require. This can vary significantly depending on where you plan on wearing your vest and what kind of activity may lead up to a violent encounter.