Soft bulletproof vests with protection level NIJ IIIA or equivalent are the most common type of body armor vest for civilian as well as professional users. Soft body armor vests are made of para-aramid or UHMWPE fiber and common brand names on the fiber material are Twaron®, Kevlar® and. Dyneema®.
Soft body armor is good at stopping traditional lead-core pistol and revolver bullets that are relatively soft and deforms upon impact. However, a bulletproof vest of soft armor is NOT good at stopping hard bullets such as certain types of steel jackeded or steel core pistol ammunition.
For example steel core 9mm ammo has been manufactured on a large scale in several European countries and is a common threat in certain places. Handgun ammo with very high velocity like 7,62x25 and 5,7x28 are also good at penetrating soft body armor.
In the video below, you can see a demonstration of how ineffective a soft armor bulletproof vest is against steel core pistol ammunition.
Bulletproof vests with soft armor panels are also incapable of stopping rifle bullets -even at long distances. In the video below this is demonstrated with a bulletproof vest that is shot at from a distance of over 270 meters. One of the calibers used in the video is 7.62x39 (AK-47) which is commonly used by criminals all over Europe.
A soft armor bulletproof vest is a light and comfortable basic protection that often provides a large protection area, but our recommendation is that you upgrade your armor kit with hard body armor plates as well to deal with the shortcomings described above. Hard body armor plates are usually made of ceramic and PE or ballistic steel. Due to the design they can offer a much higher level of protection compared to soft armor.
An alternative is to invest in a plate carrier type vest that only carry hard armour plates. If using slim hard armor plates a plate carrier can be worn concealed. Tyr Protection offer several very slim steel core hard armor plates. In particular the multi-curved plates are great for concealment.