Could Soft Armor Ever Stop a Rifle Round?

This is a guest post by Andrew Bettssoft armor

Body armor is an important part of the home defense plan for many people. There are a variety of factors to consider, such as weight, cost, threat level, flexibility, and other issues so people may legitimately arrive at very different conclusions as to what best fits their needs. Depending on the layers of defense you have in your home, and if you have loved ones in other parts of the house, you might decide that speed and violence of action is a priority.

Another person may decide that the likelihood of a threat gaining entry quickly is low, but that law enforcement might take several minutes to arrive and it would be wise to put on body armor while waiting behind a barricade for the professionals to sort out the bad guys. If you do not consider rifles to be a likely threat, you might decide to choose soft armor for its relative comfort, ability to cover a wider area, and ability to conceal during periods of civil unrest.

If you do choose soft armor, you are likely very aware of the fact that it is not designed to stop rifle rounds. We were surprised to find out recently that soft armor is not exactly useless against rifle rounds, though.

What’s interesting here is that the rifle bullet doesn’t just slam through the barrier, vest, and a couple feet of backing material as we expected. Make no mistake, if you get struck by a rifle round while wearing soft armor, you are likely to be seriously injured, but based on these results, it appears that the combination of a barrier and soft armor can significantly reduce the severity of a wound.

As with all knowledge, this cuts both ways. If you have to engage someone wearing armor, it is wise to consider that your rifle may not be the hammer of Thor that you might think it to be. As always, constantly reassess the threat and apply more plumbum as needed. Of course, this amateur testing is by no means exhaustive or conclusive, but it is enlightening and it did produce some unexpected results.


Andrew Betts served with the Arizona National Guard for over 12 years, including a tour to Afghanistan. Visit his YouTube Channel for more great shooting information.

Photo Credit – The Chopping Block @YouTube

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