How do bulletproof vests work? © Getty Images

How do bulletproof vests work?

Whether it's steel plates or Kevlar, here we take a shot at explaining how body armour works to keep you protected.

Asked by: James King, Exeter


Bulletproof vests are designed to disperse the round’s energy and deform the slug to minimise blunt force trauma. Hard body armour is made of strengthened steel plates. It is strong and effective but also heavy and cumbersome. But some ammunition can even penetrate steel, requiring stronger materials still.

The latest vests employ overlapping super-strength but lightweight composites of ceramic and titanium. Soft body armour is not as strong, but it is more lightweight and less conspicuous to wear. It is woven out of interlacing strands of Kevlar. Like hard body armour, layers of this tough, net-like material deform the incoming bullet, robbing it of its energy.

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