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"I shot it twelve times with a mix of 9mm full metal jacket and Hornady hollow points. It didn’t even phase it, so I tried stabbing it with a sturdy knife. The blade couldn’t get through, so I tried another knife and stabbed harder. I almost broke the knife!
Reading about the National Institute of Justice Threat Level IIIA rating for bullet resistant products and experiencing it are definitely two different things. I was privileged to be given the opportunity to test and evaluate a backpack from BulletBlocker’s line of bullet resistant products that showed me what a good product can do.
Here is a photo of the test pack alongside a Build your Own Backpack Large Panel for use in a customer’s own backpack. The large panels are BulletBlockers number one selling item.
Our society has brought about the necessity of such a product being created. I could quote the statistics of school violence. I could take the time to discuss the probability of such horrible crimes being repeated again regardless of the precautions that have been taken by the powers that be. I think that would just be preaching to the choir. We know it is just a matter of time before some psychopath goes on another rampage.
We know it is a dangerous world. One thing we are not, as a group of concealed carry permit holders, is delusional. We have taken steps to have a method of protecting ourselves and our loved ones from violent crime.
There is usually an evolution of citizens who finally realize they are not immune to violent crime. They watch the news and they see the horrors, or maybe they have had direct experience of a horror happening to them. This causes recognition of the need to take personal responsibility to provide for their own protection against such horrors.
It might start with a stronger lock, a can of pepper spray, moving to a so-called “safer” neighborhood, and finally gets to the point of purchasing a gun. Then, many will seek a permit to carry a firearm concealed. This is an excellent thing for any responsible, law abiding, adult citizen to do. But what about our children and grandchildren? They are children and cannot arm themselves for protection as many adults can. There are also the citizens to consider who live in a political geographic location that may forbid the personal ownership or carrying of firearms. Some of those locations forbid even pepper spray! Hopefully the laws of where they live won’t prohibit them from at least owning a bullet resistant backpack. The folks at BulletBlocker told me that they are not aware of any restrictions on owning a bullet resistant backpack, which is not considered body armor, and that the body armor laws in existence are about committing a crime while wearing it.
As for our children in school, they are unfortunately at the mercy of those who are in charge of our school systems who do not seem to follow a normal pattern of logic. They still do not understand that to effectively make a stand against a psychopath with a gun, it requires a responsible citizen with another gun. However, maybe they are starting to come around because of the ongoing discussion of arming teachers in some schools.
Before I leave the house, I check my gun and put it on my person. If I should be unfortunate and meet someone who wanted to maim or kill me, then at least I have something that may provide an effective means of protection. But what can the kids do to help facilitate surviving a shooting or stabbing attack at school?
For the price of an iPod, we can equip our children and grandchildren with a means of defense— and quite an effective means at that. The backpack that I tested has a ballistic resistant panel incorporated into the design of the backpack. The one I shot up had the company’s logo on it, but they are available without any markings that indicate that the backpack is bullet resistant. The panel doesn’t add much weight to the empty backpack, and anyone picking it up wouldn’t be able to tell that there is a bullet resistant panel designed into the pack.
Now when I say bullet resistant I say it because no vest, or other such product could be truly called bullet proof. The backpacks are National Institute of justice (NIJ) Threat Level IIIA rated for up to and including a .44 Magnum handgun round. I proved that they can take 9mm hardball and hollow points with absolutely no penetration through the backface of the panel. I’ve got a video to prove it, and you can watch it at the end of this article.
After I shot up this pack and cut it open to look at the ballistic panel, I recovered all of the bullets. Here’s a photo of those twelve rounds. Check out the level of deformation on the full metal jacket rounds. The one on the top right is the bullet that was fired into the far edge of the panel.
When the live fire session was over I took half the thickness of the full panel. The full panel was eight layers so I took four and stabbed it with a knife like I was trying to kill it. I could not get the knife to penetrate even half the thickness of half of the layers of the ballistic panel. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I tried another knife and stabbed harder. That knife blade bent sideways. The only way that I would even attempt to test stab the panels even harder would be to have gloves made of the same stuff that the panel was made of.
An owner of one of these packs could hold it up against a violent attacker wielding a weapon. It held up against all that I could give it with a knife, and it performed flawlessly when shot with 12 rounds from my Kel-Tec PF-9. I shot 9 rounds in the center of the pack, and it did not weaken the panel to let any through. One hardball round shot into the edge of the panel didn’t get through either.
On any bullet resistant panel, there is a level of deformation on the opposite side of the strikeface which is considered acceptable. All of that energy needs to go somewhere. The one round at the edge of the panel caused the most deformation, but there was zero penetration of the bullet through the backface of the panel. In fact, none of the rounds penetrated any farther than four of the eight layers of the panel. If there was a person on the other side of that backpack when I fired into it, they would still be alive to tell about it.
The panel is constructed of a proprietary high density polyethelene fiber that is interwoven at opposing angles and then formed into multiple layers. This gives the panel superior strength. The panel is also resistant to moisture and sunlight.
If any of the readers of this review have any children or grandchildren who carry a backpack everyday to school, whether it’s elementary school, high school, or college, they all should have one of these packs. Just in case! We carry our guns for the just-in-case scenarios that run through our minds, and now our children can have something on their person that can help them survive a violent attack.
BulletBlocker also makes a great option that gives front and back coverage called the Executive Vest. It is an alternative to a wraparound vest for us permit holders that may desire to wear something that is more comfortable than a traditional style vest. This type is also an option for the more portly among us such as myself. I can also get custom panel sizes made to specifically suit me. BulletBlocker also makes full vests, ring folios, briefcase liners, various styles of backpacks and bags, an Executive Traveler, and will even make custom panels for those who already have a favorite bag or other item that they carry.
Here is a quote from the National Institute of Justice Ballistic Resistance of Personal Body Armor NIJ Standard–0101.04, “Type IIIA body armor provides the highest level of protection available in concealable body armor and provides protection from high velocity 9 mm and 44 Magnum ammunition.” The next higher level is level III which protects from rifle rounds, so the BulletBlocker products are not some bargain basement alternative to top quality bullet resistant products. On the contrary, they are top quality bullet resistant products that are available at an incredibly competitive price point.
Obviously my test and evaluation of this product was not under strict laboratory rules, but I do want to share something interesting about the NIJ standards for level IIIA testing along with some data from my live fire test. The NIJ standard considers a “Fair Hit” in their testing to be no closer to the edge of the panel than 76millimeters, and the rounds to be no closer together than 51millimeters to be considered passable if there is no penetration. The one round of full metal jacket 9mm that I put into the far lower left edge of the panel was 29 millimeters from the edge, and the 9 rounds I put in the center were on average 17 millimeters apart. The greatest distance between rounds in the center was 33 millimeters and the smallest distance was 11 millimeters. That means the panel I tested exceeded the level IIIA standards in the test that I did.
Something to make note of is that the NIJ places its test panels up against an oil based clay material to check backface deformation. I shot the backpack while it was tacked to a rubber material that the shooting range has up to hold targets. This made it so that I could not determine if deformation of the backface met the NIJ standards. The only round that showed any significantly apparent deformation was the one at the edge of the panel. That was a full metal jacket round that did not penetrate even though it was closer to the edge of the panel than the NIJ standard for a Fair Hit. Backface deformation is important because a bullet could push the material of a bullet resistant product into a person with enough force to cause serious harm or death if the deformation is beyond a certain limit. The maximum deformation allowed per NIJ level IIIA standards is 44 millimeters (1.73 inches).
The backpacks are superbly designed of high quality materials, and they aren’t just made for kids. There are some models that will look good even on someone dressed in business attire. Great products at great prices. Forego the latest iPod for yourself or the kid and get something that could save a life instead.
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