In the line of body armor technology, hard armor is one of the most effective and often used. Hard armor is defined as an armored outer layer, usually consisting of heavy caliber steel, bullet resistant plate or polymer that is used in the front, back and side of many protective vests. To prevent high-powered handgun rounds, many body armor manufacturers have created metal and ceramic plates that fit very close to a standard vest’s back and front pocket. These vests are designed to quickly deflect any high caliber bullet, providing optimum protection in a non-bullet proof fashion.
Other types of bullet resistant vest materials include soft and flexible armored vests that do not stop all handgun ammo, but are capable of stopping less lethal projectiles such as pistol shots. Although soft body armors are less effective against high caliber rifles, they are still better than nothing. Flexible vests however, work more like protective vests and offer better protection levels, but they are much more expensive. Both of these varieties of body armor are capable of stopping handguns, although not stopping long range shooters.
In terms of stopping rifles, hard armor plating is the best way to go. It is nearly impossible for a human being to penetrate a hard armor panel that is bulletproof, even through the use of the most powerful rifles. The only viable option is to install hard armor panels on the vests themselves to increase their bullet protection levels. There are various manufacturers that offer different bulletproof vests with different amounts of armor, ranging from six pounds to sixteen pounds of protection. This varies according to the model and hardness of the protective layer.