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When deciding on the type of hard armor to wear, consider its weight and density. Thinner plates with less density are usually lighter and easier to wear. However, these are more expensive than the ones made from polyethylene PE, which is the least expensive material. Moreover, if the wearer is particularly wealthy, they may consider purchasing a SiC plate instead. Boron carbide is the heaviest material, and its density is about eight times that of SiC. If the wearer has to choose between thick and thin plates, however, this material is the most durable and effective.

There is no industry standard for armor plate sizes, and a wrong size is unlikely to be acceptable for safety reasons. For this reason, it’s crucial to carefully select the right size when purchasing an armor plate. The most common plate size is 10 inches by 12 inches, though smaller and larger versions exist. The smallest bois, or “micro-bouchon,” is only eight by 10 inches. In contrast, a large bois is eleven inches by fourteen inches, which is a full thigh-length piece.

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A typical hard armor plate consists of ceramic or metal plates. These materials are extremely hard and can stop high-powered rifle rounds. These armor panels are usually worn in pairs, so that they protect the vital organs. Due to the weight of the metal plates and inserts, hard armor has a smaller ballistic coverage than soft armor, but this is more than sufficient to keep the wearer safe. Moreover, these materials are not flexible, and wearing full body ballistic coverage would be uncomfortable for long periods of time.