Bulletproof Clipboard

Impact Armor Technologies, an Ohio-based manufacturer of ceramic armor, has developed a ballistic armored clipboard for law enforcement officers.

I have never been involved in law enforcement, and don’t profess to know a thing about police tactics, but I can’t help wondering how useful such a device is in the real world. Its only practical use, that I can see, is protecting the head or, if not wearing a ballistic vest, the chest in a situation where both retreat or returning fire is not an option. On the other hand it does look like quite a decent clipboard with a large rubberized grip.

Current and former peace officers, please tell us what you think in the comments below.

[ Many thanks to Victor for emailing us the link. ]

[Hat Tip: GizMag]



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • I’m a retired Police Officer from the UK. As a Traffic Patrol officer I was issued with a similar item. In the 1980’s long before the regular issue of personal body armour. The one I had was a similar size but had a kevlar sheet sandwiched between light alloy plate. There was a clip on the front to hold paperwork and a large wooden handle of the rear.

    It was designed for use at a roadside check point where you would be speaking to the driver of a car. There had been a previous incident, of a road side checkpoint being carried out in the search for a gun man, where an un armed officer had been shot in the head by a seated gun man. The gun man made his escape in his car.

    The idea was to cover the window of the suspect to provide some immediate ballistic protection upon the suspects production of a gun, thus allowing the officer to make some sort of getaway. The other theorised use was to crouch and hold the board at arms length thus maximising the cover and minimizing the target to the shooter.

    They were largely regarded as a bit of a joke and a cheap skate way of providing some protection. They were rarely used and never really caught on.

  • Pietro

    In this video you can see the former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi being protected with something similar to this Bulletproof Clipboard.
    http://youtu.be/MjPAjCEfpAA
    From 0:15 on.
    I guess this can be useful, having a more regular shape than a Bulletproof Vest Plate therefore being more concealeable.

    • Interesting. Those are some nervous looking bodyguards.

      • Pietro

        Maybe cause Berlusconi’s bodyguards failed alredy…
        Months before this video was taken, Berlusconi had been hit in full face with a stone-made souvenir thrown by a mentally ill guy (broken tooth if I remember correctly), and got hit by a camera tripod as well…

        To shake his bodyguard’s nerves, in a couple of occasions he decided to improvise speeches mounting on his car’s sidestep, as in the above-mentioned video. There, he was cheering people outside the Justice Hall, where supporters were organized but contesters used to gather as well.

        In all these occasions, a normal briefcase with this clipboard inside could have been useful. Maybe bodyguards prefer to have free hands, dunno.

        But the tactical nightmare of protecting Berlusconi is just beginning if we consider the free access to PM houses and offices for hot girls.

  • Alex-mac

    This would come in handy for bodyguards. Instantly at hand and available, it would protect your head as you use your body to protect the client from pistol fire.

    Might also be useful to use with a pistol. Getting shot in the head at close distances around doorways is always a danger.

    You’d have to be wearing body armor already to justify using it though.

  • Back in the 70’s my parents ran a sewing shop. One of the things that they were asked to bid on was bomb and bullet resistant clothing. The guy we knew in the business talked about the original bulletproof clipboard. He said that frequently when cops were shot at traffic stops, the bullet passed through the clipboard they were carrying. He said that they decided it was a natural reaction. Suspect pulls a gun on a cop writing on his clipboard, cop raises hands and clipboard as an automatic reaction, trying to put something between himself and the gun. They thought it would be a good idea to make the clipboard bulletproof, giving the cop a fighting chance to avoid the bullet. It was never intended as a battle shield, just a recognition that cops were getting shot through their clipboards.

    In the end, they were dropped because the stuff they were made out of disintegrated after a short time exposed to the sun. They were wildly expensive and lasted about 6 months or less during normal use.

    A better solution to the problem is to have the cop go back to his car to fill out the ticket. You will notice that cops no longer approach your car with a clipboard in hand, nor do they stand outside your window and fill out the ticket.

  • BoonDocks Buccanner

    I could actually see some potential applications for something like this, especially at checkpoints and DUI stops

  • West

    New from RONCO: The Tactical Pizza Box.
    Guaranteed to protect your pie on high-risk missions!

    Have you ever stormed an airliner on an empty stomach for fear of having your sausage and cheese shot up?
    How many times have you fast-roped onto the fantail of a suspected mine-layer in the Gulf and had to leave your triple cheeser on the Blackhawk?
    No more!

    Watch out Al Qaeda, there’s a new kid on the block when it comes to ballistic pie protection!

    • Other Steve

      Kinda lame dude.

  • Kurt

    Steve Camp’s company Safe Direction makes something similar – the idea is to have something at which to point your pistol if you’re in a hotel room or other location with no “safe direction” and need to unload for cleaning, etc. John Farnam uses one.

  • Lance

    Aha for writing speeding tickets for Armed Bank Robbers ah. LOL

  • Matt

    This is the answer to the question “Am I being careful enough?”. Perfect for the mall security professional who duct tapes extra strike plates to his chest and back.

    Seriously I would buy one of these but I’m saving up for the .300 win mag handi rifle that fits in the bullet proof briefcase.

    • Brian in Seattle

      Was that a “Legend of the Mall Ninja” reference?

  • Thomas

    This is not a new concept. During the early 1980s when aluminum report boards were popular, individual officers [and some departments] placed pieces of kevlar fabric or even shock plates from old bullet resistant vests in the portion of the clipboard designed to hold blank report forms. It had some defensive use. If a driver of a car suddenly produced a pistol, the board could be placed between the officer and the weapon to absorb rounds while the officer drew his weapon. I never heard of one being used in this case and don’t know if the cost would be worth it.

  • David

    I am into gadgets and stuff but don’t see the need for this as stated in the previous comments. As a cop you just shouldn’t have a clip board in your hands when dealing with a vehicle stop or enforcement activity. As an FTO I train my officers not to do that. It is a nice idea but not practical. You need to rely on what body armour you are wearing and hope you have some on in the first place.
    It is more important to be aware of your surroundings and resort to your duty weapon or other things. You need to have your hands free of non essential items to react to the threat coming at you.

  • Alex-mac

    Bullet proof glass shaped like this clip would be better. Allowing you to see through ballistic shielding.

  • davethegreat

    Back when I was a cop, we were trained to use smaller notepads as defensive weapons (hold it in your non-gun hand, if something happens you throw the notepad with one hand while drawing your gun with the other hand. Basically, it buys you a fraction of a second of time). It would not hurt the attacker, but the fluttering pages would be a short fast visual distraction. And some of us made our notepads weighted or edged them somehow. I guess this is similar.

    But the commenter above is right – cops are now trained to leave clipboards back in the car. There are a lot of reasons for it, but on the other hand having a bullet-resistant one can’t hurt. Unlikely to help, but can’t hurt.

  • some cop

    I think the clipboard is over the top. Im sure they are trying to target the tacticool LEO crowd. I don’t see a practical use for it. Money would be better spent on more training.

  • John Doe
  • Lurker

    I’m not a cop, never have been, probably never will be.

    Who the hell carries a clipboard? It would only be handy for the survey takers at the mall when a shopper finally snaps. I’ve never seen a cop or a bodyguard holding a clipboard while talking to a potentially violent person.

  • Billca

    This isn’t a new idea. Back in the 70’s a company made a clear police clipboard out of ballistic G.E. Lexan. Same principle applied and it had a similar hand-hold cutout on the side. It would stop everything from .25 ACP up to .44 Magnum. Even 5.56 tended to “drill into” the Lexan and stop at close range.

    A deluxe version came out about ’77 that included a translucent green self-adhesive plastic pocket for officers to stow documents quickly and keep their strong hand free. Remember, at this time, ballistic vests were a new concept and were optional at the officer’s expense.

    Should a weapon be used, the clipboard could protect the head & neck or the chest, whilst the officer retreated and returned fire.

    These were popular with Sheriffs deputies who were spread thin and where their back-up might be 20 minutes away or more. Officers in small towns used them too since they might be the only street cop on duty.

    Did they work? You bet. A CHP friend received on from his wife on Christmas in ’76. It paid for itself on New Year’s Day when a perp fired a .44 Mag SuperBlackhawk at him and the clipboard stopped it. He returned fire and survived unharmed. The perp wasn’t as fortunate.

    • I started making clear lexan clipboards in 1968 and as a full time police officer this was my extra job. Since then I have sold over 180,000 all over the world. We have progressed to a better and higher level clipboard. Thx to all that have purchased one throughout the years. John @ ballisticsystemsco.com

  • Erik

    There is a lot of “Noise Here!” Apparently, None of You have “Owned “Big Guns!” (I will stay “Only on Rifles!)
    How about a .375 H&H Magnum “Elephant Gun. (I recently gave that to “My Kid!”) The .458 Winchester Mag. is still here! (I Have “Fun” with the {Police} Letting them know, that I can “Hurt Them,” Or Protect them!
    MY Elephant guns: Would shoot the “Motor out, of “Your car!” (“N0 Question!”) I HAVE “BIG GUNS!; I hope that you wouldn’t be stupid enough to “Want to Get Stupid!

  • betty

    Maybe more useful for us regular people who can’t carry at work (teach at a university), church (attached to a k-12), or other places where guns are verboten. Hell, high schools should provide them for faculty and students.

  • steve N.

    Use your imagination people. I use mine when racking a round into my gun at home or pulling the trigger on my Glock to disassemble it. I rather shoot this then put a hole through a few walls. Much cheaper and don’t ask me how I know. 🙂 Just a few years ago I paid over $200 for a SafeDirection gun bag to use as my backstop at home. After all the gun safety rules always say to point gun in a safe direction and where exactly that be in an apartment or crowded subdivision?

    Put it into a briefcase, open your door late at night with it and who cares how it looks. My Glock does not look so good either with skateboard tape on it but I still use it. 🙂