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Hard armor, also known as body armor, is a protective garment that protects the body from a wide variety of threats. However, the most effective form of armor is one that can be concealed. A lightweight, durable piece of hard armor can be worn by a combatant without sacrificing safety. The materials used to make hard armor are mainly made of polyethylene or metals. Despite the many advantages of wearing hard armor, a person should consider its weight and size.

The most popular type of body armor is made of composite ceramics. This material is used to spread the impact of a round, preventing it from hitting a person. Thinner forms of hard armor are Level IIa or II, and are designed to resemble a thick leather vest than a protective body armor. In either case, the thickness of the armor is minimal, with the only difference being the type of material and carrier.

Hard armor is more effective than soft armor in protecting the body from a single bullet. Police officers should wear soft body armor while patrolling with handguns, as this will reduce the stress on their ankles and feet. In contrast, military personnel should wear hard body armor when carrying a rifle or a shotgun. Even though most armor is rated as a barrier to rifle rounds, some types are not as effective in stopping pistol or rifle rounds.