Bulletproof Backpack Buyers Guide
HISTORY OF BULLETPROOF PROTECTIVE ARMOR
Bulletproof backpacks and body armor have come a long way. Originally bulletproof panels were made of steel. These panels weighed over 15 lbs and were very uncomfortable. By chance a new material was discovered. The light weight material was first introduced by DuPont in the 1960's. A new fiber was discovered that made bulletproof panels light weight and reliable. In the early 1970's. DuPont's Kevlar ballistic fabric was invented. The original intended use for this new fabric was for steel belt . It soon became apparent that this new material was also able to stop bullet penetration. Over the years bulletproof vests have become much lighter weighing in at an average of 2.3 lbs and are now water resistant. The light weight and flexibility of the ballistic protective material has allowed for countless products such as backpacks, clothing, vests and cases to be converted into bulletproof protective gear.
ARE BULLETPROOF BACKPACKS & BODY ARMOR LEGAL?
Ballistic protective armor can be purchased, owned and worn legally for U.S. citizens under the Federal and State statutes. There are exceptions
to this law based on these 3 factors:
• It is illegal for a convicted felon to purchase, own or wear bulletproof armor.
• In the state of Connecticut the purchase of bulletproof armor must be purchased face to face. Not through internet, by phone or through the mail.
• In Louisiana it is illegal to wear body armor on school grounds.
ARE BULLETPROOF BACKPACKS AND ARMOR ALLOWED ON PLANES?
WHAT DO THE NIJ LEVELS MEAN?
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) established ballistic resistance standards which classifies body armor by levels of ballistic performance. For any performance level, NIJ's test protocol requires that the bullet does not perforate the vest and that the vest protects against blunt trauma.
WHAT ARE THE NIJ RATING LEVELS?
SOFT ARMOR LEVELS
Level IIA - Tested to stop 9mm and .40 S&W ammunition fired from short barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.
Level II - Tested to stop 9mm and .357 Magnum ammunition fired from short barrel handguns. No rifle ammunition protection.
LeveI IIIA - Tested to stop .22 LR , .22 Magnum, .25 ACP, .32 ACP, .380 ACP, .9 MM, .357 SIG, .40 SW, 10 MM, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, 12 Gauge Buck Shot, 12 Gauge Slug
HARD ARMOR LEVELS
Level III - Tested to stop 7.62mm FMJ lead core rifle ammunition.
Level IV - Tested to stop .30 cal steel core armor piercing rifle ammunition.
There are two types of body armor. Soft Armor and Hard Armor. Each has its own unique purpose, advantages and disadvantages.
SOFT BODY ARMOR
This type of soft armor is meant for light combat, civil crime, and other types of situations. Hence, they have some intrinsic benefits:
Concealed armor – can be worn by anyone without being visually detected
Soft and flexible material – high on comfort and feels just like a flannel shirt
Lightweight – does not add to the overall weight of security gear
High deflection range – can effectively counter a wide range of bullets and shrapnel
On the flip side, soft body armor cannot withstand heavy gunfire
HARD BODY ARMOR
Extremely bullet resistant – ideal for heavy combat
Can be worn externally – this eases some of the inconvenience associated with hard armor
Unlike the concealed vest, it is not required to be worn all the time – it is easier to take on and off as needed
Uncomfortable (certainly in hot/warm weather) and bulky
Increases the overall weight of safety gear
Can hurt the wearer in case they slip, fall, role on the ground, or are in a crouching position
WHICH ARMOR IS BEST FOR ME?
Concealed, lightweight Armor is for law enforcement vests, bulletproof backpacks, clothing, luggage and bags. It can be easily concealed, is flexible and comfortable when worn. Hard armor is best for armed military, where heavy ammunition is expected. Ideal for S.W.A.T., Extraction Teams and when inside combat zones.
NIJ IIIA is the most common and recommended body armor today.