(NewsNation) – Sales of bulletproof backpacks rise following mass shootings in the United States This year alone, there have already been 29 school shootings resulting in injury or death, according to a database. data managed by Education Week.
As parents look for ways to protect their children, bulletproof bags are now being sold online and on shelves at retailers like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
NewsNation asked, do these bulletproof bags work and would they have prevented a single death in the recent mass shootings in our country?
Guard dog safety is one of the most available brands on the market. NewsNation’s Natasha Zouves took some of their bags to the range and tested them against three different bullets – a 9mm, a .44 Magnum and an AR round.
These backpacks can cost hundreds of dollars and are clearly advertised as bulletproof, but the type of bullet used is important. In the fine print, you’ll see that all of Guard Dog Security’s bulletproof backpacks have an IIIA security rating. This covers virtually all handguns, but not rifle ammunition.
The test started with a 9mm pistol. NewsNation set up a slow-motion camera that clearly shows the back of the bulging backpack when he managed to catch the ball.
Next, NewsNation tested the bag against a more powerful .44 magnum revolver. Again, the slow motion camera revealed the back of the bag billowing backwards as he caught the ball. He stopped the .44 from passing.
The problem is that most fatal mass shootings involve an AR-15. From 2009 to 2022, the six deadliest mass shootings have all involved an AR-15.
Described as “America’s Rifle” by the NRA, the AR-15 is semi-automatic. An AR-15 was used in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers died. Also at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people died.
A similar semi-automatic rifle, the Bushmaster XM-15, was used at Sandy Hook where 20 children aged six and seven died, along with six teachers.
Guard Dog Security President Yasir Sheikh confirmed in a previous statement that these backpacks are not designed for AR caliber bullets. But he added: “This protection can lessen the impact of bullets from larger caliber weapons such as an AR-15 when packed with normally carried items (books/file cabinets).”
NewsNation tested this claim. If, when filled with these “normally carried items”, would these backpacks reduce the impact of an AR-15?
First, the empty backpack was tested against an AR-15 bullet. The bullet pierced the bag so easily that the backpack barely moved. Vietnam veteran and ballistics expert Tom Zeman was at the range. He described the AR-15 cartridge as cutting through the body armor “like a cheesecake”.
NewsNation filled the bag with a hardcover textbook and a binder. The AR-15 went through the bag. The test failed with two manuals. He also failed with three. Four of the hardcover books couldn’t stop the trick, it still easily pierced the back of the bag.
Zeman examined the bullet holes. He said: “I’m absolutely amazed he made four pounds so easily and how clean the holes are. It shows very little indication of bullet slowing. These holes are extremely clean.
Together, the four hardcover manuals were 4.5 inches wide. We increased the next test to 6 inch textbooks.
Finally, six inches of textbooks slowed the AR-15 down enough for the back of the backpack to catch it. The slow-motion camera showed the telltale bulge on the back of the bag. We cut into the back panel and found the round warped. He didn’t break through.
We shared our findings with the president of Guard Dog Security and asked if they had any plans to develop a bag that could withstand AR-15 fire.
“You’re looking at metal plates or ceramic plates, at this point impractical for everyday use,” Yasir Sheikh said, “and certainly for children, especially for carrying a heavy metal plate in their backpack. , that’s definitely not practical, so while we’ve looked at all the options, we find that Level IIIA is a reasonable level of everyday protection.
Luis Yanez was the shooter who helped us test at StanMorr Sports Inc., he is also a gunsmith, NRA instructor and father of two. After seeing the results of our survey, we asked him if he wanted one of these backpacks for his kids.
“I mean it’s a great concept and I would feel comfortable with them having some level of protection and that would definitely facilitate that,” Yanez said.
Yanez said that for his own children, he would add an extra layer of protection, an AR-15 fire-rated steel plate that can be slipped into the back of the bag. It can potentially cost a few hundred extra dollars and add more weight, but he says it’s worth it.