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The first form of hard armor was made of metal. It was bulky and ineffective. Nowadays, hard armor comes in many different materials. The most common types of plates are made of ceramics, or ceramic composites, and are sometimes backed with Kevlar(r). While ceramic is still the most popular type of hard plate, it is also one of the heaviest. In order to combat this, manufacturers have come up with polyethylene-based and monolithic based hard armor, which are lighter but more expensive.

These vests are made from fabrics that do not deform. For example, the 2-grain (0.13 g) FSP bullet is very strong, but it cannot penetrate a vest made of fibers. Because of its weight, soft armor can only be worn by people with limited mobility. Unlike hard plate armor, which can protect against all fragments, these materials are extremely light and breathable. These properties make them ideal for use by people with active lifestyles or those who do not work in a rigid environment.

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Dyneema hard armor raises the bar for protection. While traditional steel plate-based armors are more bulky, Dyneema hard armor offers the ultimate protection and is lighter than conventional steel. This makes it a more convenient solution for those who want to protect themselves while wearing them. Its lightweight, breathable and flexible material makes it ideal for active lifestyles. Its low density means it is more comfortable to wear and can be worn for extended periods of time.