Invented several decades ago by, Richard Davis, “soft” body-armor has since become standard equipment for uniformed patrol officers, and has saved many lives. It’s worth is no longer “theoretical!”
Some of my friends want to know if they should buy it too. My standard answer is this, YES.
Soft body-armor makes sense only when you plan to wear it routinely. Even the latest versions of soft body-armor, when thus worn constantly, are sill hot and uncomfortable. When you think you have a genuine need, and you’re willing to endure the discomfort of all-day wear, it is at least arguable.
Soft body-armor will protect you from most common pistol bullets. You’ll end-up with a nice bruise, but you’ll probably live through it. The alternative is a penetrating wound that is much more likely to be fatal or seriously injurious. Your choice is: “punched” or “pierced!”
Most soft body-armor is not designed to be donned quickly. Putting it on can take several minutes, as straps need to be adjusted, etc. It is, in most cases, intended to be worn over a T-shirt, but under the dress shirt, so it is not obvious, at least to the casual observer, that you have it on. So, keeping soft body-armor next to your bed at night is probably not the best choice, as you likely won’t be able to get it on quickly enough during a crisis.
Some manufacturers make a “tactical jacket,” which is a bulky field-jacket or vest with integral kevlar panels. Worn externally, it is designed to be put on quickly, but is not suitable for all-day wear. At your bedside, this product makes more sense than does covert, soft body-armor, described above.
There is soft (concealable) and hard (exposed in a “plate carrier”) armor. It doesn’t take up much room and is easy to put on. It’s cheap insurance even if you never need or use it. Be ready. Be aware. Be safe.