Can A Bullet Proof Vest Stop An Arrow? [Unravel The Truth]




You have often seen the defence team wearing the bullet proof vest as it can protect them from getting hurt by the bullets. Most people wonder if a bullet proof vest can stop an arrow as well. But the question is, can a bullet proof vest stop an arrow for real?

Can A Bullet Proof Vest Stop An Arrow

Bullet Proof Vest Stop An Arrow

Wondering if a bulletproof vest can stop arrows or not. It may or may not because it depends on things, such as the arrow velocity, draw weight, design and material of the vest and arrows, etc. To protect yourself from arrows, you can always use alternatives, such as stab vests, plate carriers, etc.

Key Takeaways

  • Bullet proof vests stop bullets by reducing the speed and force of the bullet.
  • Bullet proof vests have limitations and can’t resist all kinds of bullets.
  • Bullets and arrows have opposite mechanisms which makes it harder for bullet-proof vests to stop arrows.

This is a small preview. There’s a lot more to this. Want to learn more? Then, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive into it!

So, Can A Bullet Proof Vest Stop An Arrow For Real?

Depending on the material and thickness of the bullet-proof vest, kinetic energy (the energy of the object because of its motion), etc, a bullet proof vest may or may not be able to stop an arrow. Sounds confusing? Let me explain in an easy way.

Bullet proof vests are made of ballistic materials (a type of material used in body armor, vests, helmets, etc), for example, kevlar fabric. These materials are designed to stop bullets by reducing their impact. It reduces the kinetic energy of the bullet, slows it down, and catches it. Which minimizes the damage. That means, rather than having a hole in your chest, you get a huge bruise.

Now, arrows react differently. Why? Because when you hit a target with a bow and arrow, it penetrates the surface. Arrows are made of hardened steel. The sharp tip of an arrowhead is supposed to penetrate the object and the rest of the arrowhead is to cut deeper inside. So, you can’t be sure whether it can pierce Kevlar or any other ballistic material or not.

Can an arrow go through a bulletproof vest? As Kevlar (poly-para-phenylene terephthalamide, a nylonlike polymer)is thin, there are chances that a bullet proof vest may not be able to stop an arrow. However, it may be able to stop low-power bows. Even though bullets are heavier than arrows, they move much slower than bullets. 

Difference Between A Bullet Proof Vest And An Arrow Proof Vest

The main differences between a bullet proof vest and an arrow proof vest are their design, structure, and purpose. Also, the difference between bullets and arrows.

Bullet proof vests are specifically designed to protect from bullets by reducing the impact. It is made of multiple layers of specialized fibres that catch the bullet in the air while reducing its energy and risk. 

Difference Between A Bullet Proof Vest And An Arrow Proof Vest

What makes arrow proof vests different from bullet proof vests is that the design and structure of an arrow proof vest are different from a bullet proof vest. These are specifically designed to protect against arrows by preventing penetration.

CrossBow Vs Body Armor 🏹🎯

What Materials Are Used To Make Bulletproof Vests?

Can an arrow penetrate bullet proof vest? It is essential to learn about the materials of the vest to answer this question. Among the fibers of bulletproof vests, some of them are made of aramid fiber. The rest is made of polyethylene fiber. Similarly, there are different types of armor, such as soft body armor, hard body armor, etc. The materials used to make bulletproof vests are:

What Materials Are Used To Make Bulletproof Vests


It is a fabric popularly known for its amazing tensile strength (the maximum energy a fabric can bear before tearing when stretched or pulled). It makes Kevlar better for making body armor than other fabrics. Also, kevlar is flexible, resistant to heat, and doesn’t cut or puncture easily.


It is the most popular fabric after Kevlar to make bullet proof vests. Like Kevlar, It also has a high tensile strength which protects the wearer from cuts, punctures, and penetrations caused by arrows, knives, bullets, etc.

Spectra Shield

  • Spectra is a lightweight. 
  • One of the high-strength polyethylene fibres. 
  • It has excellent impact protection.
  • Often used with other materials to create a multi-layered protective vest.


Dyneema is also a  high-strength polyethylene fibre known for being lightweight and flexible. Just like spectra, dyneema is also used with other materials to create a multi-layered protective vest.

These are a few examples of the materials of bulletproof vests. There are a lot more than these. The wearer needs to find the one that he might need. 

How Do Bulletproof Vests Work?

It is amazing how a few pieces of fabric can stop a bullet. This is not about owning a bow and arrows. You may not have anything to do with archery and still be curious to know how bulletproof vests work.Even you may also be curious about will a bulletproof vest stop an arrow? Here you go;

  • Bulletproof vests are made of multiple layers of specific ballistic materials. These are tightly woven together which forms a strong protective barrier.
  • This barrier catches the bullet midway, distributes its energy, and stops it from penetrating further.
  • The ballistic material interrupts the friction of the bullet and slows it down.
  • The wearer may not get heavily injured. However, some friction of the bullet will hit the wearer. To prevent trauma, foam padding can be incorporated to absorb the rest of the energy.

Everything has limitations, the same thing goes for bulletproof vests. A bulletproof vest can’t stop a 50 cal bullet. The protection level depends on many different things.

What Types Of Bullets Can Bullet Proof Vests Stop?

Bullet proof vests specialize in resisting bullets. The bullets with less kinetic energy can be easily stopped by bulletproof vests. These are;

What Types Of Bullets Can Bullet Proof Vests Stop
  • Handgun Bullets. Bullet proof vests are mainly designed to stop handgun bullets. Handgun bullets have less kinetic energy compared to others. It makes it easier for the vest to stop it.
  • Shotgun Bullets. Bullet proof vests can stop shotgun bullets depending on the speed of the bullet.
  • Rifle Bullets. Rifle bullets usually have more kinetic energy than powerful handgun bullets. However, some rifle rounds have low energy and can be stopped. It depends on the sectional density (the ratio of the weight and caliber bullet).

Bullet proof vests are supposed to stop all kinds of bullets including alloy bullets. However, the level of protection depends on the efficiency of the vest. 

Some Factors That Affect Whether Or Not A Bulletproof Vest Can Stop An Arrow

A bullet proof vest may or may not stop an arrow. How to know about: will an arrow penetrate a bulletproof vest or not? There are some factors that affect this.

Vest Design And Materials

The sole purpose of bullet proof vests is to protect the wearer from bullets. This is why the design of the vest is not effective for preventing arrows. Also, the ballistic materials used in bullet proof vests are different from the materials used in arrow proof vests. 

Design Of The Arrow Tip

The tip of the arrowhead is the most crucial part of an arrow. The penetrating ability of the arrow depends on the design of the tip. The sharper the tip, the more possibility of piercing the vest.

Materials Of The Arrow

The material the arrow is made of affects the penetration ability of the arrow. Arrows can be made of different materials, such as wood, aluminium, carbon fiber, etc. The material affects the strength of the arrow, ultimately leading to the penetration abilities.

Arrow Velocity

Arrow velocity is the speed of arrows hitting the target at an angle. As the velocity goes higher, the kinetic energy gets higher too. Which ultimately leads to an increase in penetration abilities.

Draw Weight

Draw weight is the weight that you have to pull to get a bowstring all the way to full draw. If a draw weight is 10 lbs, the shooter needs to apply 10 lbs of energy while pulling on the string. Higher draw weight means higher penetration abilities.

Make sure to consider these while you choose a vest for yourself. Address your needs and choose the one that works for you. 

The Dangers Of Wearing A Bulletproof Vest That Is Not Designed To Stop Arrows

If you want protection from arrows, a vest that is not made to stop arrows can be dangerous. Bullet proof vests are mostly designed to resist bullets.On the other hand there is a question left: Can arrows pierce bullet proof vests? There is a high chance it may. 

What happens if it does? The sharp tip of the arrowhead will penetrate the body of the wearer and hit the organs. It can cause serious damage to the body. To the point that it can lead to death.

Some Alternatives To Bulletproof Vests That Can Protect Against Arrows

Bulletproof vests are not entirely arrow proof. There is a high chance of getting severely hurt. You may wonder if there are alternatives to bulletproof vests that can protect against arrows. To answer your question, yes, there are.

Some Alternatives To Bulletproof Vests That Can Protect Against Arrows

Stab Vests

Stab vests or stab proof vests are specifically designed to protect from penetrations of sharp objects. It means protection from arrows, knife attacks, etc. These are made of multiple layers of specialized materials to prevent the tips of sharp objects from penetrating.

Plate Carriers

Plate carriers contain arrow-resistant ballistic plates or ceramic plates. These plates are designed to absorb and reduce the kinetic energy of arrows.

Chainmail Armor

Chainmail armor is a body armor that can prevent both bullets and arrows. Historically, knights used to wear these to protect themselves from combat fights.

Now you should haven’t confusion about: will an arrow go through a bulletproof vest? It is better to choose the protective gear based on your needs, possible threats, and level of protection. It is better to consult with a professional before making any decision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can An Arrow Penetrate A Standard Bulletproof Vest Designed For Bullets?

Yes,because the vest is designed for bullets, not arrows. It can slow down bullets but it may not be able to resist the sharp tip of the arrowhead.

What Type Of Arrows Can Be Stopped By A Bulletproof Vest?

Low-velocity arrows or arrows shot from a less-powerful bow can be stopped by a bulletproof vest. 

What Material Would Stop An Arrow?

There are different materials that would stop an arrow. Such as hardened steel, ceramic plates, aramid fibers, etc. Also, layers of different materials such as kevlar, fibreglass, etc.

It depends on your country. Some countries have restrictions and some don’t.


Can a bullet proof vest stop an arrow? It depends on a lot of different things, such as the design and materials of the vest, the design of the arrow tip, the material of the arrow, arrow velocity, draw weight, etc. Also, a bullet proof vest and an arrow proof vest are made with different designs, structures, and purposes. Hopefully, I have cleared your all confusions.

Bob Magic

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Bob Magic

Meet Bob Magic, the archery maestro. A National Champion, “Coach of the Year,” and gold medalist. Bob simplifies archery, ensuring your bullseye success. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, let Bob’s magic guide your arrow.

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