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Bulletproof Backpacks Your Child May Already Have One By Mark “Six� James Recently we have seen an increase in advertising of bulletproof backpacks and inserts designed to help keep our kids safe from most small arms fire (traditional handgun calibers). Despite being touted as high effective by the manufacturers, all parents unfortunately don't have the ability to plunk down $200 - $500 for a bulletproof book bag or backpack. However even these backpacks won’t stop rifle fire or hybrid handgun calibers that fire rifle velocity bullets.

To help demonstrate the kids active shooter survival strategies we discussed, I recently took some parents to the range so they could experience the live fire results for themselves. For the demonstration, I purchased an inexpensive backpack from a major big box retailer for $16. I then filled it with 4 books (2 hard bound and 2 soft bound) designed to simulate the thickness of a typical students backpack filled with textbooks.

While it is disappointing to even have to discuss this

as responsible adults we realize denial and hope are not effective protection strategies. If there is a bright spot it topic

may rest in the fact that your child's existing backpack may contain most of the protection they need against traditional small arms fire.

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I then fired 4 shots into the backpack with both a 9 mm handgun and a .45 caliber handgun. I fired two (2) shots from each with both full metal jacket (hardball) and personal defense ammunition. On the next page please find the results.


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The first picture shows 4 shots fired into the backpack from approximately 5 yards away.

The rounds did not penetrate into the third or fourth books. As you can see from the photo below, there was no penetration out of the backpack.

The below picture shows the bullets penetrating the books. I found the 4 rounds within the first two books. The rounds penetrated approximately 2.5 - 3.5 inches into the books based on the different calibers and types of ammunition used. This is not an exact science as there are considerably more ammunition types available.

However I tested two of the more readily available and frequently used types of ammunition on the market. First bullet is a 230 grain Full Metal Jacket .45 caliber bullet (Winchester). The second bullet is a 185 grain Personal Defense .45 caliber bullet (Hornady Critical Defense). The third bullet is a 115 grain Full Metal Jacket 9 mm bullet. The fourth bullet is a 124 grain 9 mm Personal Defense bullet.

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While we cannot guarantee your child will be protected from injury or possible death in an active shooter situation as there are way too many variables. Utilizing their backpack as an improvised bulletproof vest may however help save their lives against an attack by a handgun. If they are moving away from the active shooter in their attempt to escape they should position their backpacks on their backs in the traditional position to help protect their heart, lungs and other critical organs. If they are forced to move toward the sound of gunfire in order to escape, then they should place their backpack on their chest to help enhance their safety.

Mark “Six� James is the Executive Director of Panther Protection Services a full service protection agency and an internationally published author. To find out more about Panther Protection Services visit or 5

Bulletproof Backpacks  

This article focuses on the benefits of teaching your children how to use their backpacks as an improvised bulletproof vest in an active sho...

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