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When school goes back into session, there will be the usual safety concerns for all involved. Sadly, because of issues unrelated to items, we aren’t doing a good job addressing it as a society. There will be more than a few parents and students concerned about violence on or near campuses. Add to those concerns, we have an election that is likely to deepen an already wide divide. Then there are on-campus protests and all the drama that goes with them.


The bottom line is that parents and students (both kids and young adults) have a right to be concerned about their safety at school. This concern can also extend to the workplace.

Very few outward appearances of what the pack is designed to do.

Law enforcement was wearing soft armor well before I hit the academy in 1989, and designers and manufacturers have improved greatly in producing viable products.



Realistic Threats?

Going back at least fifteen years now, I have been seeing armor solutions for those who might be caught in an active shooter, active killer attack. Yes, these are not always done with firearms – explosives, fire, knives, and vehicles have all been used when attempting to kill as many others as possible.

ALERRT directs readers to this page at ActiveAttackData dot Com for information on the type of weapons used.

After removing fire and vehicles from the equation, there is one thing that could provide some protection for anyone caught in one of these events – armor. While we have covered it before, as recently as the article on the new NIJ body armor standards, there are essentially two kinds – hard plates and soft panels. Generally, soft panels will defeat handgun and shotgun ammunition while providing some protection against fragmentation and edged weapons (slashing more so than stabbing). While some plates are only capable of stopping handgun and shotgun projectiles, most of them are designed to defeat rifle ammunition as well as the others. The biggest issue with those plates is their weight. Those plates quickly increase the weight being carried by those relying on them for protection.

Data

Aside from the weight, is there anything that weighs in on the choice? One thing that is often recommended is an analysis of the actual threats one is exposed to. Before writing this, I looked for data on the percentages of weapons used in active shooter, active killer attacks. Per the people at ALERRT – Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training – it breaks down to handguns were used most frequently (60%), followed by rifles (20%), then shotguns (10%). And 3.3% used an improved explosive device. Those numbers mean that about 70% of the time, soft body armor can defeat the threat. But only if you have it with you. If the armor is too heavy, your loved one will not bring it with them – neither to school nor work.

 

Enter Bullet Proof Body Guard.

Even with the two deployment straps for the front panel in plain view, there are minimal visible indicators.

They have designed a nondescript backpack, or book bag, that conceals soft armor panels and converts to an external vest with some very simple movements.



What Level?

I am more concerned about the armor’s capability than I am about the pack’s carrying capacity – if I am going this route.

 

BPBG, for short, says their armor panels comply with the previous NIJ 0101.06 body armor standard. They note that IIIA armor, which their panels are labeled as will defeat up to five (5) shots of .44 Magnum chronographed at 1474 feet per second at just over seventeen feet. You can substitute ballistic plates for the soft armor.

The test certification from National Technical Systems for a 240gr jacketed hollow point .44Magnum round.

The website hosts a test report supporting that claim from National Technical Systems in Wichita, KS.

The Pack

The pack itself is plain black with some red accents and stitching. There is no visually noticeable MOLLE (PALS webbing) on the outside of the bag, like too many other packs have.

Except for the logo, it just looks like a backpack.

What looks to be the main pocket contains the rear soft armor panel along with what becomes the front panel.  It is closed with a magnetic snap, which facilitates pulling the armor out of the pack – rather than a zipper or hook & loop tape. At the bottom of the panel are two long straps that secure to the front of the shoulder straps. You, the user, pull those out and forward to remove the armored panel from the pack. Those straps then attach to the out of the waistbelt, which then holds the front panel in place.

The center pouch in the pack is where you would place what you will be carrying – books, clothes, etc. One side of the pack has a mesh water bottle holder; the other has a similarly sized zippered pocket.

The Cobra-like buckle could be the only “tell” on this pack.

A COBRA-style buckle secures the padded waist belt, helping to hold the front armor panel in place. One thing about the belt is that the padding sits on the outside instead of between it and your body.


Coverage

The front panel and the coverage it gives – on a Mr. Target manikin.

10” x 12” is a reasonable size panel for most people’s torsos. The soft armor panels save a tremendous amount of weight compared to hard rifle-rated armor. Additionally, they address the most common firearms threat—handguns and shotguns—with IIIA armor defeating that 70%. You can use rifle rated plates with this pack and BPBG sells them.

Your editor pulling the front panel out of the pack and over his head.

A quick note – regardless of the armor’s design or capability, it only protects what it covers. 10”x12” armor panels only protect that much of the human body. It is not an all-encompassing shield.

Very few outward appearances of what the pack is designed to do.

Citizens & Armor

One other note – if you are not L/E or Mil, please be aware there is another attempt in Congress to ban you from buying armor. Look into HR 8388. Remember, when we retire, those bad laws impact us too.

Final Thought

Armor only protects what it covers. This complete pack with panels is light enough that most people can carry it daily – at school and work – or those who need it for professional reasons and need a bag that passes at least cursory inspection.

Resources:

Bullet Proof Body Guard

Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training

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