Soft body armor consists of flexible panels of ballistic material. Soft armor is designed to offer protection against assaults with handguns. It is intended to be used for extended daily wear. It’s the type of body armor that first responders and officers would want to wear during day-to-day activities. It can be worn under a uniform or civilian clothing in an external carrier. If it is worn under a uniform, it is referred to as concealable armor.
Soft armor panels are constructed of multiple layers of ballistic-resistant materials. Each additional layer of material absorbs the energy of a bullet strike, which is caught in the soft armor’s web of strong fibers. Upon impact, the absorption and dispersion of energy causes the ammunition round to deform or “mushroom” as it protects the wearer.
Hard armor consists of rigid panels, or plates, of ballistic-resistant material and is designed to offer greater protection against higher-level threats than soft armor. Hard armor plates are used in tactical armor, which is typically worn in a carrier over the normal uniform for short periods of time.
Hard armor is engineered with layers of material that absorb and distribute the force of the impact and cushion the body from the blunt-force trauma that can still effect the body even if a lethal round is stopped.
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