A quantitative knowledge of stabbing ability is a pre-requisite to establishing protection standards for stab resistant body armour. In order to determine the validity of measurements it is necessary to understand all the mechanisms that determine performance. This paper describes a series of tests that were performed in order to determine the effect of handle size and shape on the forces and impact energy that could be produced during stabbing of an armoured target. It was found that the single largest variable was that of the test participants with all other variables such as handle size and shape having only slight effects on the magnitude of impact energy. The use of a finger guard or hilt was shown to increase the mean energy delivered to the target by approximately 5 J compared to a handle having no guard. It was also found that the characteristics of energy delivery were strongly influenced by the position of the grip relative to this guard. This reinforces the conclusions of previous work (Horsfall et al., 1999; Chadwick et al., 1999) on the serial nature of momentum transfer during a stabbing impact.
Keywords: Body armour; Stabbing; Handle geometry