TR Armor Standard (Germany)

The Technische Richtlinie (TR) Ballistische Schutzwesten is a regulation guide in Germany for body armor. It is mainly issued for body armor used by the German police, but also for the German armed forces and civilian available body armor. Producers have to meet the criteria of the TR, if they want to participate in open competitive bidding made by German agencies. The TR specifies different Schutzklassen (SK), which translates to protection classes, which a body armor can have. It specifies five different classes ranging from L to 4 of ballistic protection (e.g. SK 4). It also gives specifications for additional Stichschutz (ST), protection against knives, using the same classes as the ballistic protection, but giving it the additional ST label (e.g. SK L ST). The ballistic tests to determine a class are now integrated into the VPAM guidelines, so that the tests differ just in minor details and only one test (SK 1) is significantly different as of 2008.

The TR scale is as follows:

Armor LevelProtection
SK L
9×19mm Parabellum
This test is based on VPAM PM 2, but it tests also for point-blank shots.This armor would protect against three hits, fired from 5±0.5 meters, as well as point-black shots, of:

* 8.0±0.1 g (123±1.54 gr) 9×19mm Parabellum DM41 FMJ round-nose lead-core bullets at a velocity of 360±10 m/s (1181±33 ft/s)
SK 1
9×19mm Parabellum
This test is based on VPAM PM 3, but it adds two police special rounds, with the following modifications:This armor would protect against three hits, fired from 5±0.5 meters in an angle of 25°, as well as 3 shots at point-blank, of:

* 8.0±0.1 g (123±1.54 gr) 9×19mm Parabellum DM41 FMJ round-nose lead-core bullets at a velocity of 415±10 m/s* 6.0±0.1 g 9×19mm Parabellum QD-PEP II/S police special round bullets at a velocity of 460±10 m/s* 6.1±0.1 g 9×19mm Parabellum Action 4 police special round bullets at a velocity of 460±10 m/s
SK 2 (PM 5)
.357 Magnum
This armor would protect against three hits, fired from 5±0.5 meters, of:
* 7.1±0.1 g (109±1.54 gr) .357 Magnum FMs (brass at nose) bullets at a velocity of 580±10 m/s (1902±33 ft/s)
SK 3 (PM 7)
5.56×45mm7.62×51mm
This armor would protect against three hits, fired from 10±0.5 meters, of:
* 4.0±0.1 g (62±1.54 gr) 5.56×45mm SS109/US: M855 FMJ bullets at a velocity of 950±10 m/s (3116±33 ft/s)* 9.55±0.1 g (147±1.54 gr) 7.62×51mm DM111 steel-core bullets at a velocity of 830±10 m/s (2723±33 ft/s)
SK 4 (PM 9)
7.62×51mm
This armor would protect against three hits, fired from 10±0.5 meters, of:
* 9.7±0.2 g (149±3.08 gr) 7.62×51mm P80 armor-piercing bullets at a velocity of 820±10 m/s (2690±33 ft/s)

The German TR are generally comparable to the American NIJ, but the German TR usually tests more threat scenarios, as there are no point-black shots as well as no police special rounds. In contrast the NIJ tests for bigger calibers and higher man stopping power. And while the German TR tests smaller calibers and lighter bullets, it also tests more aggressive rounds, as the first test already uses steel FMJ bullets, while the NIJ uses normal FMJ rounds. In addition SK 4, the highest protection class, is specified to withstand three hits, while Level IV needs only to withstand one hit – although by a bigger caliber (7,62×63mm).

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