Although lasers could probably burn through most body armor fairly easily they would have a problem similar to that of flechettes: a laser would only create a wound channel the same diameter as the beam itself.
In the late 1960s, American defense contractors worked on a radical new small arms weapon system designed to penetrate body armor.
The U.S. Army, concerned that current 5.56mm ammunition is insufficient to pierce body armor at combat ranges, has invented the XM1158 7.62mm Advanced Armor Piercing (ADVAP) round.
Other armor types include ceramic body armor and ultra-high density polyethylene, or plastic capable of stopping bullets up to armor-piercing .30-06 rifle rounds.
A compromise of equipping a soldier with enough steel to stop light shrapnel, ricochets and other flying objects—but not actual bullets—held from World War I to just after the Vietnam War.
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