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Assessment of Uncertainty in Ballistic Response Estimates Obtained from Ballistic Limit Testing



Michael A. Riley, Kirk D. Rice, Amanda L. Forster


Ballistic limit tests are widely used to assess armor performance, particularly to determine the velocity at which half of all projectile impacts will perforate the armor, a velocity typically described as the V50. For armor designs where the armor's performance transitions quickly from stopping all impacts to being perforated by all impacts as a test projectile's velocity increases, the V50 can often be determined with acceptable certainty with only a small number of shots. When the transition is more gradual, such as is common with soft armor designs, significantly more testing may be necessary to determine either the V50, or the performance at other velocities, with reasonable levels of uncertainty. In the case of armor designs with gradual transitions, the estimated performance may be influenced by a variety of factors, including the number of shots used to assess the performance, the starting velocity of the shot sequence, and the model chosen to represent the armor performance. This paper describes work to assess the uncertainty in performance estimates obtained from ballistic limit testing. Monte Carlo style simulations of ballistic tests are used to asses the influences of starting velocity, shot sequence length, total shots, and armor performance on the uncertainty of performance estimates. Based on a better understanding of the performance uncertainty that is inherent in the test methods, ballistic tests can be planned such that the uncertainty is reduced to an acceptable level with a minimal amount of testing.
Conference Dates
September 17-20, 2012
Conference Location
Conference Title
Personal Armour Systems Symposium 2012


Body Armor, Ballistic Testing


Riley, M. , Rice, K. and Forster, A. (2012), Assessment of Uncertainty in Ballistic Response Estimates Obtained from Ballistic Limit Testing, Personal Armour Systems Symposium 2012, Nuremberg, -1, [online], (Accessed February 23, 2024)
Created September 20, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017