Paul Harrell on Bulletproofing a Book Bag


Paul Harrell on Bulletproofing a Book Bag

Paul starts this video by saying he really doesn’t want to talk about this, but he will because it might help someone. The subject is bulletproof book bags for kids; something that shouldn’t really be necessary but, sadly, sometimes is.

His first move is to cram 48 layers of fleece blanket into a backpack and shoot it at 7 yards with 115-grain 9mm jacketed hollowpoint (JHP) ammo. Predictably, the blanket — serving as stand-in for your jacket or PE clothes — doesn’t protect the soda jug at all.

Next comes a pair of thick books, which he assaults at 7 yards with the same pistol, this time shooting 115-grain full metal jacket (FMJ) ammo. This was nicely effective.

The same scenario is then played out with 45 ACP and 230-grain FMJs, with a pair of books that are not quite as thick as the two used above. The 45 slugs were all stopped by the books — and then before the dissection he shoots the same thing with 12 gauge 00 buckshot. The front book stopped all of the projos, although one of the buckshot busted a soda jug because it missed the books.

Now it’s AR time; Paul grabs a couple new books and backs off to 15 yards with at A1 platform 5.56 NATO rifle loaded with 55-grain FMJs. A single shot from that effectively destroys the soda jugs which represent you. Ouch.

He then repeats the same test, but places a single layer of 3A body armor behind the books and in front of the soda jugs. Fail!

Next he adds a 1/4″-thick ceramic tile between the books and the body armor. This fails to protect the jugs, but it does significantly decrease the amount of energy the bullets have when they reach the jugs.

His next recipe for backpack fill is (from the jugs towards the shooter): 3A body armor, 1/8″ polycarbonate (Lexan), 1/4″ ceramic tile, pair o’ thick books, and a not-as-thick book. When the 5.56 55-grain FMJs are fired from 15 yards, with pretty dang good results. 5 out of 6 bullets were stopped.

Done yet? Nope! Pual hauls out an AK in 7.62×39 and stokes it with 123-grain FMJs. Results this time were even better, with all 6 bullets failing to penetrate the backpack.

In summation, Paul offers “a few more things:”

  • This video was only about the bullet-resistant properties of a kid’s book bag
  • 3A body armor may be prohibited in certain areas
  • No politics!

Enjoy the video.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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