The stopping capabilities of security barriers are set forth in several crash rating standards.  Learn more about standards developed by the U.S. Department of State, American Society for Testing Materials, and the International Works Agreement. These classifications can guide the selection of the right barrier for any location.


The Department of State introduced K-ratings in 1985 and revised these standards in 2003. The letter “K” refers to the kinetic energy of an object, and these ratings are based on how far the front bumper of a vehicle weighing 15,000 pounds (6,800 kg) can travel past a barricade. K-ratings limit certification to 50 inches (1.27 m) of penetration or less. There are three common K-ratings:

  • K4 barriers will stop a vehicle traveling 30 miles per hour (50 kph)
  • K8 barriers will stop a vehicle traveling 40 miles per hour (65 kph)
  • K12 barriers will stop a vehicle traveling 50 miles per hour (80 kph)

Many barrier manufacturers now rely on M-ratings established by the ASTM. These ratings account for a wider range of vehicle sizes, velocities, and penetration distances.

ASTM Ratings

The current ASTM standard F2656 includes C-class and PU-class ratings for lighter vehicles. Vehicles in the 15,000 pound (6,800 kg) range are considered M-class:

  • M30 barriers will stop a vehicle traveling 30 miles per hour (50 kph)
  • M40 barriers will stop a traveling 40 miles per hour (65 kph)
  • M50 barriers will stop a vehicle traveling 50 miles per hour (80 kph)

Barriers capable of stopping 65,000 pound (29,500 kg) vehicles are designed H-class. There are also four penetration levels: P1, P2, P3, and P4. A rating of P1 allows penetration up to 3.3 feet (1 m), while a rating of P4 allows for 98 feet (30 m) of penetration or more. An ASTM rating of M50-P1 is equivalent to a K12 rating.

Delta recently released the highly anticipated newest M30 Certified Beam Barricade, the DSC1500 Portable Beam Barrier for temporary drop arm barricade solutions.

IWA 14-1 and 14-2

The IWA 14-1 standard combines elements of the PAS 68 classification from the United Kingdom and ASTM International standard F2656. Standard 14-1 applies to the performance requirement and impact test method for vehicle security barriers. IWA 14-2 covers the selection, installation, and operation of barriers.

It is important to select a barrier with an appropriate rating. Start by considering usage, such as closing off open lanes, deterring theft, or stopping a vehicular attack. Factor in the distance available for acceleration, safe stopping distance, and the width of clear opening for authorized vehicles. Contact Delta Scientific at (661) 575-1100. to determine the best beam barricade solution.