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When it comes to body armor, many people believe that bulletproof vests which protect against ballistic weapons are suitable for protection against knives and other similar weapons also. However, in reality, there are different types of body armor designed for different types of weapons. The body armor used for ballistic protection may differ from spike protection tactical gear. This is because edged and spiked weapons have a different impact on the body than a bullet. So, even if ‘Body Armor’, ‘Bullet Proof Vest’, ‘Tactical Gear’, and more terms are often used interchangeably, you need to understand the different types of body armor available in the market to choose the right one. Depending on the type of protection you need and your threat level, it is important to consider certain factors.

If you’re planning to buy body armor, you need to understand that ballistic armor may differ from edged-blade protection armor. When deciding whether you need an armor vest to stop bullets or want protection against knives, you will come across two terms- hard body armor and soft armor. Understanding the difference between these two types of body armor is crucial to choose the right product. So, let’s take a look at these two types of body armor.

Soft Body Armor

As the name suggests, soft body armor is soft, lightweight, and flexible. This type of body armor is the perfect choice for those who need concealable body armor that can remain hidden under the clothes. Soft armor vests are made using high-strength synthetic fibers such as Spectra, Kevlar, and more. Typically, soft body armor can protect against pistol-caliber ammunition but not against rifle-caliber shots. The high-quality soft armor has the strength and durability to stop a bullet. The material used for making soft armor for high threat levels can be anywhere five to ten times stronger than steel. Civilians and private security guards often prefer this type of body armor because it meets their safety needs without compromising comfort. Also know as covert body armor, the Levels I-IIIA soft armor can be worn for many hours and even in hot temperatures.

Hard Body Armor

Hard body armor consists of plates made of steel, ceramics, or composite materials. It has a soft armor shell with a plate carrier and armor inserts. This type of body armor uses robust and durable materials, such as ceramics, steel, ceramic composites, polyethylene, bullet-resistant fibers, and sometimes even Kevlar. This type of body armor is typically used by military forces and police officers who need Levels III and IV body armor.  Hard body armors consist of plates that make them stronger than soft body armors. However, these are not as comfortable and lightweight as soft armor vests. Hard ballistic armor can provide protection against high-caliber rifle shots. These are overt and need to be worn above the clothes. The materials that increase the strength and durability of hard armor plates also increase their weight and make them less flexible than their soft counterpart. So, your choice of body armor depends on whether you want superior protection against rifle shots or want comfortable, covert body armor.