Soft armor is a type of body armor made of super-strong synthetic fibers, such as Kevlar. It is often credited with being more utilitarian than hard body armour. Soft armor is usually rated to stop ballistics from small arms but is not effective in protecting against high-caliber rifle shots.
The material used to manufacture soft armor includes nylon, aromatic polyamide synthetic fiber, and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. These high-performance fibers have low density, high toughness, and excellent molding property. They are also lighter and easier to wear than other types of body armor. Though many people doubt the effectiveness of soft armor, it has been shown that soft armor can withstand bullets. This is because the impact force of bullets is converted to tensile and shear force. When this happens, the energy is absorbed by the body’s soft armor, and the bullet is pushed away.
The development of soft body armor began in Joseon, Korea, in the 1860s, in response to a French military campaign in the region. Heungseon Daewongun, the leader of Korea at the time, ordered the development of bulletproof clothing. He was worried that Western armies would target the area in which the Korean people were living. Kim Gi-Doo and Gang Yoon discovered that 10 layers of cotton fabric could protect the body against bullets. This armor was used during a US Navy attack on Ganghwa Island in 1871 (click here). This armor was captured by the Smithsonian Museum, and was eventually returned to Korea, where it is on display.