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If you’re on the lookout for a new body armor, you should consider hard armor. These protective suits are made from rigid, reinforced plates, and are worn by combat soldiers and police tactical units. While these suits protect against knives, grenades, and other weapons, they’re also difficult to conceal and aren’t all rifle-rated. That said, hard armor is an excellent choice for combat situations. Here are some reasons why you should choose this type of armor.

Polyethylene. The most common kind of plastic found on the market today is polyethylene. It looks like the plastic bags you get from big-box stores, but it is highly engineered and provides reliable multi-hit armor. Polyethylene is commonly used for hard rifle plates, and Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene is the toughest thermoplastic. It’s five times stronger than steel, and 15 times more abrasion-resistant than carbon steel.

Hard body armor. Hard body armor consists of metal, ceramic, or high-performance composite plates. These are generally thicker and heavier than soft body armor. Bullets strike these plates first, dispersing the energy and preventing penetration. Many armor plates are also equipped with additional layers of material on the outside, which reduce fragmenting and increase the protection offered by the body armor. Ultimately, the hard body armor will protect you better against certain calibers of bullets, and you’ll appreciate its greater protection.

Soft body armor is also susceptible to water. While neutral water does little to impact para-aramid, UHMWPE, or similar materials, acidic solutions can permanently reduce the tensile strength of these fabrics. However, many major test standards for textile body armor require testing in wet conditions. The mechanism by which textile armor loses its performance after getting wet is unknown, so wet testing is important. However, most hard armor is designed to withstand one strike from a single projectile.

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