Soft armor is a type of body armor that can be easily worn by the wearer. It is usually made from synthetic fibers, such as nylon or aromatic polyamide, and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. These high-performance fibers are lightweight and have good molding properties. They also offer high resistance to bullets. Some people are skeptical about the ability of soft armor to stop bullets, but it is true that the impact force of a bullet develops into a shear or tensile force that dissipates to the periphery of the impact point.
In addition to soft armor, there are several types of hard armor. These are made of laminated textile materials. Aluminum oxide, boron carbide, silicon carbide, and other materials are commonly used to make armor. Fibers used in hard armor are similar to those used in soft armor, although high-pressure lamination of ultra-high molecular-weight polyethylene is used for rifle protection.
New developments in material science have opened the door to a “bulletproof vest.” A “bulletproof vest” would be a lightweight, textile vest that could stop both handgun and rifle bullets without ceramic or metal plating. While this idea has been discussed in circles since 1996, it is still a ways away from becoming a reality. In the meantime, soft body armor is effective at stopping most handgun rounds. However, steel-cored handgun rounds require armor plates.
There are three levels of soft armor. The most common ones are Level IIA and level IIIA. These are not as strong as the more advanced hard armor (click here). Level IIA body armor can withstand shots of up to.357 magnum, but soft armor can protect the torso and abdomen.