Selecting the appropriate vehicle security barrier

One of the more prevalent threat scenarios facing any organization, facility or event organizer, is the unauthorized, violent access to sensitive areas by speeding vehicles.

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Past experience shows that hostile elements, be they terrorists or criminal factions, will spare no efforts or resources to achieve their ends.

It is beholding on us, those responsible for the safety and security of equipment, and, more importantly, our employees and the public, to efficiently and accurately asses risk levels and provide the best possible protection to prevent or mitigate vehicle attacks.

With this in mind, ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) has developed a standardized test method for vehicle barriers designed to evaluate their performance under a wide range of conditions and scenarios with the aim of allowing those charged with implementing security to select the best barrier type for their needs.

As a public service to our customers, and based on Mifram’s decades of experience in developing and marketing a wide range of highly successful and versatile vehicle protection barriers, following is an overview of ASTM’s recommended  standard test method.


As with many things in our life, there is no single solution that can provide overall protection from all vehicle treats.

Different facilities, environments and events each have their own specific characteristics and threat sources.

Each location demands a specific solution to meet specific needs.

So, perhaps the single most important factor that security professionals must keep in mind is the need for a solution that meets their specific requirements in relation to threat assessments and levels, the facility’s operational needs, barrier system versatility and cost effectiveness.

Simulation or Real-Time

ASTM’s “Active Standard ASTM F2656 / F2656M” provides a methodology for evaluating crash barrier (passive and active) performance.

However, as stated above, no perimeter or entry vehicle barrier can provide 100% protection.

This makes the threat evaluation and protection solution testing processes vitally important.

For this reason, while computer simulations are highly effective and cost-efficient tools for simulating different threats and appropriate responses, they are still limited in their scope and it is highly recommended that physical tests be carried out in order to evaluate actual performance under real life conditions.

Physical tests allow security offers and QA to factor in varying environmental conditions such as localized terrain and  environmental conditions that may dictate the adaptation of vehicle barrier solutions to provide maximum security.

Crash Barrier Ratings

Vehicle barriers must address three basic issues:

  • The weight of the expected threat (vehicle)
  • The vehicle’s approach speed
  • The maximum acceptable distance past the barrier that the vehicle should travel.

ASTM crash barrier ratings address these three issues.

For example, the ability to stop a medium (M) sized 15,000-pound (6800 Kg.) truck traveling 50 mph (80 Kph) with a penetration distance of less than 3 feet (1 meter).

The shorter the test vehicle’s penetration distance, the higher the barrier’s rating.

Examples of ASTM’s crash barrier ratings:


Vehicle Type Weight – up to. Penetration rating at specific speed. The number refers to vehicle speed in MPH. 
Small Passenger Car (SC) 2,430 lbs. / 1102 Kg. SC30 (50 kph)

SC40 (65 kph)

SC50 (80 kph)

SC60 (95 kph)

Full Size Sedan (FS) 4,630 lbs. / 2100 Kg. FS30




Pickup Truck (PU) 5,070 lbs. / 2300 Kg. PU30




Medium Goods Vehicle (M) 15,000 lbs. / 6800 Kg. M30



Heavy Goods Vehicle (H) 65,000 lbs. / 26500 Kg. H30




ASTM penetration levels:

P1 Penetration up to 3.3 feet (1 m.)
P2 Penetration up to 23 feet (7 m.)
P3 Penetration up to 98 feet (30 m.)
P4 Penetration greater than 98 feet (30 m.)

K Ratings or M Ratings?

The previously used K Rating system has been replaced by the M Rating system. The newer M Rating system takes into account a wider range of vehicle weights, speeds and penetration distances than the previous K Rating.

Mifram experts will be happy to advise you with regard to the two systems.


Selecting the appropriate vehicle barrier is a complex process involving many different factors and considerations.  It is a process that also carries with it a great deal of responsibility for equipment, staff and the general public. Since 1962 Mifram has been developing and marketing a wide range innovative and effective crash barrier solutions. Our customers include military and security organizations across the globe, national police forces, vital infrastructure facilities and private security companies providing security for mass events.

Our expertise and experts are at your disposal.  Should you have any questions, we are ready to help you reach the decisions that will provide you with optimum, top quality, highly engineered and cost-effective vehicle security barriers.

Customers in the United Kingdom: Please note that the applicable UK standard (Publicly Available Specification: PAS 68:2007) is similar to the ASTM standard