Backpack Shield

A company called Backpack Shield is manufacturing Level IIIA (9mm FMJ, .44 Magnum SWC) ballistic plates designed to fit into typical high school and collegiate backpacks. The company says that these are carried by Federal Air Marshalls.

I can see the benefit of these shields for businessmen and woman travelling in unsafe countries but unable or unwilling, for whatever reason, to wear a ballistic vest

The plate is 17” high x 12 wide” x .375” thick and weighs 2 lbs. It can be purchased for $235 from LaRue Tactical.

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.


  • 032125

    If by ” unsafe countries ” we mean US government enforced helpless victim zones….

  • Pepin the Short

    The best image they could offer for this thing is a picture of some High Schooler cowering behind it?

    Something about that just seems wrong.

    • Aurelien

      Especially when the way it is shown offers little protection against gunfire.
      If that’s the way they train people to do it, they should sell a folding kevlar protection sheet, as used by bodyguards.

  • elleerre

    There’s something wrong when schoolpacks have to be filled with ballistic plates…

    • Robert

      You’re making a mistake assuming “have to” versus someone defining a niche and filling it, ridiculous as it may be.

      • elleerre

        I wasn’t talking about the producer/product itself. It was a larger reasoning…

        Producers make products, there’s no doubt about it.

  • schizuki

    Never underestimate the power of groundless hysteria to move product.

    I love capitalism. I love my wife, too. It’s just that sometimes she pisses me off.

  • Paul O.

    Better than nothing, I guess. . .

  • rzeznicc

    seems appropriate given the average media news about incidents in USA highschools ….

  • Aurelien

    Eagle made a similar type of product for the Marines, a backpack with a space for a SAPI-sized plate. I believe i still have one (with the corresponding ballistic plate).

  • Blackhawk2001

    Since the “weapon of choice” in “unsafe countries” is usually an AK-47, I’m not sure what good a pistol-caliber plate would be. This is a sop to parents who want to protect their children in school, but don’t understand that “weapons free zones” equal “criminal free fire zones”.

  • gunslinger

    cool invention. i don’t see where it would fit in though. if you are going to a place that you’d need that, you would probably have security to begin with.

    as for US schools… a sad state if we have to have these for our kids to attend class

  • tincankilla

    just make your kids take tough classes that require a lot of reading. a pile of textbooks will probably be just as effective, if not a bit more expensive…

  • Justin

    From a high schoolers point of view, I don’t think the protection offered is worth the hassle of the extra weight

    • Avery

      If these are ceramic plates, then wouldn’t they be prone to breakage from ordinary everyday use, requiring them to be replaced constantly? I’m not sure I could expect a child to keep them together in one piece.

      Also, 2 pounds is a lot to carry when you’re a kid. It might give them better protection running away and worn on the back, but holding it as a shield would get tiring.

  • Swami Rabbitima

    Couldn’t they make a pack & plate combo shaped like Captain America’s shield?

    • Nadnerbus

      Or maybe one that fits inside a Dukes of Hazard lunch box.

  • Nothing like this is BulletPROOF…
    When a round hits this.. IF it is stopped, the enegy keeps going. This is not like a shield.

    • gunslinger

      what do you mean by “the energy keeps going. this is not like a shield.”?

      i would say this is exactly like a shield. when a projectile hits a shield (bullet, sword, etc) the energy from said projectile is dissipated through the medium of the shield. there is some momentum that is “pushed back” to the holder of the shield, there is sound generated, heat generated, etc. until all the kinetic energy of said projectile is converted to other forms of energy.

      • David/Sharpie

        He means if this stops the bullet, the energy will push the pack into the students face/back.

    • Gryphonlore

      Remember the maxim “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Forgetting the small losses and inefficiencies, absorbing the impact from a bullet is exactly the same as the recoil from firing the appropriate pistol/rifle/whatever. If you can keep it from penetrating, it would usually just be like holding the pistol against your body and firing it. In this case, I suspect a headache and landing on her kiester, but nothing further. If she were balanced and braced, just a dull thud against the shield.

    • Wow.. no one likes me now… I will not get into the complete science of this as it is a massive topic. I develop the materials for such things for a living. A few years ago, I was actually contacted by a few companies to try to produce materials for said backpacks. I investigated it by producing many things and combinations for it. Can it work.. yes, depending on what it is shot with and what it consists of. Is it bullet PROOF? The word we use in the industry is RESISTANT. The best SHIELD is one that is solidly-stationairy, with great size and mass and not attached to the body. If a round IS stopped, there is backface deformation to have to deal with. This is what happens to the material behind the striking surface and subsequently what is against that material. I used the word “shield” in the vernacular. You can shield yourself with your arm.. but I meant vs. a ballistic shield, such as those carried by law enforcement such as I am sorry for not being more specific. Yes, forces are transferred. I base all the polymer treatments I do to these developments on that principle… but there has to be solid force behind it for a lot of that transfer to take place efficiently. Hence the comment on a solid stationairy backing not attached to the subject to protect. Of course that is not always possible, that is why they make resistant vests. That is also different from putting something reisitant in front of you with your arms. Also you have to take in account the size and mass of the shield you are using. The direction of the forces are absorbed more with increasing area and mass. The backpack has little mass and requires a fulcrum point to attach to it.. It will pivot. The SAPI plate helps… but there is added weight.. it is a trade off. Have any of you here had any experience with these backpacks?

      • Sian

        I dare guess that no matter the impact or backface deformation, the resulting injury is better than a new hole.

  • Jeff

    That girl is going to get a concussion or worse if she gets shot the way she’s holding that backpack…

    • noob

      depends on what she’s shot with. i’d still prefer blunt trauma to cranial perforation any day.

    • FormerSFMedic

      In that position, if the bullet is stopped by the armor she probably wouldn’t even know it was hit. Bullets don’t throw people across the room like Hollywood.

  • Esh325

    Of all the things that could kill or injure the average person, being a victim of a mass shooting is really low on the list.

    • 032125

      Yeahs ago I read an article discussing how badly wired our brains are at estimating the probability of risk, and instead focus on severity.

      Our minds worry about our kids being eaten by a grizzly bear because it’s severe, even though the most probable risk they encounter in our homes is getting sick from that unwashed stuffed bear they sleep with every night.

      This is also the foundation of lot of ridiculous firearms flames wars; people arguing over ridiculously improbable sets of conditions and/or pouring money into mitigating already infinitesimally risks at great expense.

      • 032125

        Pardon the typos. Lesson: DYAC.

    • Duray

      Where does it say the average person should have an armored backpack? Straw man alert.

    • NyMike

      Perhaps if you lived in Juarez Mexico you would move that possibility a bit higher up on your list.

  • Other Steve

    Pfft, almost no protection for the feet.

    • SGT Fish

      i think those are ballistic kevlar pink socks

  • howa

    They could save 1 000 000 more lives by educating their customers (American adult males) about heart disease.

    Actually that number might be low.

  • Reading the ignorant comments on here… wow.

    You internet SME’s apparently know the best way to use a shield/body armor.

    • schizuki

      We’re all ears, Jonathan.

  • Chris

    Does anyone know what backpack that is in the top picture?

  • James

    Wouldn’t the Ares R.A.D. pack be a better alternative?

  • SGT Fish

    I actually made something similar for afghanistan. Almost everyone doesnt wear their body armor when they are on a FOB so i decided to take a backpack that I carry everywhere (my “go to hell pack”) and i lined the back with kevlar panels. the reasons are that if i were to get messed up on the FOB, it would most likely be from an explosion or handgun shot. And if the incoming alarm went off i could jump into a ditch and cover my head/torso with it for extra protection.

    I would like to get an Ares RAD pack but i dont have extra plates to throw in it and i dont carry a pistol (as much as id like to).

    • SGT Fish

      i didnt find this until after i made my own but
      offer packs and briefcases (including the fold out shields). they also sell custom size panel to insert into your own pack or whatever you need it for.

  • Sian

    “I can see the benefit of these shields for businessmen and woman travelling in unsafe countries but unable or unwilling, for whatever reason, to wear a ballistic vest”

    a ballistic vest won’t protect your head or your arms or legs. The backpack can be great supplementary protection. I’m considering one for the emergency pack. Shield+pistol is better than pistol alone.

    • Reverend Clint

      “woman travelling in unsafe countries”
      because being shot is really what they have to be careful for.

      • David/Sharpie

        “Businessmen & women” meaning “businessmen and business women”

        I think they should take every precaution they can to protect themselves.

  • Mike Knox

    Meh, I saw a dignitary protection detail in Korea once with breifcases that carry six Type III plates that swing out providing cover enough for two people.

    In fact, almost every rucksack in the latest SurvivalAids catalogue can conceal at least two Osprey Type III plates on top of each other vertically..

  • AntiCitizenOne

    I really cannot stop laughing at the pink socks.

    • David/Sharpie

      Haha, hey man, she’s a girl, she can have pink socks.

  • Red

    “I can see the benefit of these shields for businessmen and woman travelling in unsafe countries but unable or unwilling, for whatever reason, to wear a ballistic vest”

    I am no lawer, but I do believe one could get in trouble for taking such a plate on a business trip outside of the US (de facto “exporting” ballistic armor), at least without some special permit or something like that.

  • Sid

    There is no way this product serves a practical purpose as presented.

    A gunmand open fires in a school. I want my school-age child to run. Run until they are out of range. I DO NOT want my child to cover behind a 12×17 ballistic plate hoping that the gunman is not going to try to fire a second shot or move to the side and fire.

    Training a child to be ready to react to deadly situation has to be coherent with our two basic human responses: fight or flight. If flight is not an option, turn anything and everything into a weapon. If flight is an option, get the hell out of there. There is no human instinct to whip off a backpack and shield yourself with it.

    BS on stilts.

    • David/Sharpie

      This goes into a BACKpack, so if they run, and get shot at, it would still protect them.

      Now I haven’t really looked at this much but I wonder if they weight of it could slow someone down.

      But, they could remove it and protect themselves if they couldn’t run.

    • Aof

      I agree with the shielding behind it part.
      However, if the kid is running, what if the gunman shots him/her on the back? Don’t you think a ballistic plate there would give them better chances of survival?

  • Brendan

    Cool, does the ballistic plate go in the front of the bag or the back? Because I would prefer not to hand in bullet-riddled homework.

    • SquidWithAGun

      Any teacher that makes you turn in homework after having been shot at is a jerk. On the other hand, a student who continues to class and turns in said homework is hardcore.

      • junyo

        In my day, we dodged hails of bullets going to and coming home from school, in the snow, on the hottest days of summer, uphill both ways, and handloaded ammo while we did homework, by candlelight… and we LIKED it!

  • Gerard

    In theory this might be valuable. But the position the model is using indicates they don’t understand basic tactics. Something like this is a supliment to a pistol not a substitute. Cover your torso holding the bag in one hand while holding your pistol with the other.

  • schizuki

    The pose on the left reminds me of the little square walking droid on the Jawa sandcrawler.

    (I embrace my inner nerd.)

  • JMD

    “…travelling in unsafe countries…”

    Exporting ballistic armor is illegal. I feel like i shouldn’t even have to point that out.

    • Aurelien

      Your job could allow you to get the proper papers filled to allow you to travel with your own body armor.

      • JMD

        It’s possible, but extremely unlikely for most folks.

  • So?

    Just buy your kid a MacBook Pro.

  • Brandon

    Even with ballistic plates, your backpack makes a crappy riot shield. Run away!

  • Zee

    Oh please. Make your kid enrol in any science class.
    Intro to Chem, Intro to Physics, and Intro to Comp Sci.
    .50 BMG would have a hard time cracking any those.

  • freeman

    This one is $96 and made by a company that armors DHS buildings.

  • Can you imagine a kid spilling milk all over your $235 armor plate?

  • jellydonut

    Aw shit, I guess Gecko45 was onto something.


  • J Star

    Depending on AOD, that child is just as likely to catch a bullet in the shins or feet as she is to stop it with her pack. In that event, how likely is she to keep holding the bag over her vitals?

    Probably best to wear it and have it protect your vitals whilst you exercise the best part of valor.