Childrens Bulletproof backpacks- The reality of 2014?

There are many people who wish a product like this did not need to exist, but then there are those who want options. It’s a little strange to me that this company is only trying to raise $1,500 since many companies need much more startup capital. But if that’s what he needs to make it work, then good for him.

I’m interested to hear what TFB readers think about this product, and if they would want their children to own one.

BulletSafe, a popular bulletproof vest company, is testing the waters for a children’s bulletproof backpack panel using Indiegogo. Indiegogo is a crowdsourcing website where new product ideas are presented and potential customers can encourage their introduction.  BulletSafe is using this platform to see if people want to protect their children from handguns.

The project is called the BulletSafe Bulletproof Backpack Panel.  The panel, which is designed to go in a kid’s backpack, can stop bullets up to a .44 Magnum.  Eventually the BulletSafe Bulletproof Backpack Panel will retail for $99 plus shipping, but IndieGoGo campaign backers can order one now by pledging $89.  Retailers can also preorder 6 panels on Indiegogo for $420.

Originally, Tom Nardone, BulletSafe president, created just three of these bulletproof backpack inserts to protect the most precious people in his life: his kids. “After I made them, I wondered if other people would want to buy one. I asked friends and some said yes, others said no.  In order to settle the issue I created this Indiegogo campaign.” Says Nardone.

The panel is made from the same materials as Bulletsafe’s NIJ level IIIA Bulletproof Vest.  The insert is 12 by 10 inches in size and weighs one and a quarter pounds.  This panel is different from other ballistic panels on the market in that it includes a tough, washable exterior carrier.  “Other ballistic panels are not ready to be used in a kid’s backpack. They can’t handle the spills and abrasion.  Our panel has a tough, washable exterior required by that type of use.” Says Nardone.  Even though it has these added features, the BulletSafe Bulletproof Backpack Panel still has an industry leading $99 MSRP putting it within financial reach of many families.

BulletSafe’s IndieGoGo campaign:

Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.


  • Michael Pham

    I agree of course that I’d rather live in a world where this wouldn’t even conceivably need to exist, but I can see why and how a bullet resistant backpack might save a fleeing child, and that alone is all the reason for a concerned parent to invest in one of these.

    That said, there is no product that can perfectly guarantee the safety of your child; the best thing you can do is prepare them for how the world really is; and that comes with both the training so that they will not easily become victims, as well as to not see the world around them as solely one filled with dangers to fear and hide from.

  • flyingburgers

    I would like to see them ban backpacks in high schools and colleges. Not only to prevent people from concealing items (not only weapons but other non-school appropriate contraband), but because kids lug around too many heavy books on their backs. Or sometimes they leave their books at school or at home and don’t study. Then they put the backpacks all over classroom aisles and the school bus, making it an evacuation and trip hazard. People leave valuable items in them and they get stolen.

    When I was in grad school, everything would be at my office desk and I’d just carry to class a single notebook and a pen. Much easier.

    You would need colleges to provide lockers and high schools provide an extra copy of textbooks, but I think everybody would be happier.

    • RocketScientist

      Are you serious? Are you the everything police? Bet you were a hall monitor in grade school. Yeah, lets ban convenient backpacks so that no-one can hide anything from anyone on campus!! I heard there were some kids at my college who were SMOKING REEFERS!! I bet they were hiding them in their backpacks. We should ban pockets and purses and wallets too.

      Also, even though I too had an office in grad school, the huge overwhelming vast majority of students do NOT have an office on campus, and limiting them to only carry around what they could hold in their hands would be insanely limiting. Even running across campus to grab a set of books from your locker in between classes could be impossible for many people/places.

      Your proposal reeks of the same idiot attitude that leads to the nanny state we live in now: “I know better than you do how you should be conducting your life, so we need to ban things I don’t like and force you to do things my way, regardless of what your desire is”. Thanks, but no thanks.

      • flyingburgers

        Yes, I can see this happening:
        Teacher: This year the school put an extra copy of the textbook at every desk so you can leave your heavy books at home.
        Kids: We demand the right to carry 500-page full-color glossy books back and forth every day. This is a nanny state! Where’s our freedoms?

        • RocketScientist

          I’d have had nothing to comment on if your post had said “I think the school system should provide double copies of books so kids don’t have to use backpacks if they don’t want to” (except maybe something about the unlikelihood of finding the money in a public school budget for such an endeavor, the fairness of making society cover that unnecessary cost, or the advisability of having a gov’t run education system in general). Instead your opening line was: “I would like to see them ban backpacks in high schools and colleges.” That is what I am taking issue with. The idea that there should be laws passed banning a hugely convenient and widely-used product, merely because you personally don’t like them, and are afraid people might be carrying things in them that you don’t like. THATS what I objected to. The hypothetical you propose above is not what you initially described. I am pretty sure a lot of children and adults would be very bothered, and feel their freedoms were being infringed if they were told they were not allowed to use bags to carry their books at their high school or college campuses.

          • flyingburgers

            My understanding is parents already buy 2 copies in private schools for this reason, and some textbook companies print softcover and e-book home editions at a reduced price. Also, a book that’s carried back and forth wears out more. If a school district can get an extra year out of a book, then there’s likely to be a net savings.

            My examples clearly show how you can have a de-facto ban in large bags by creating a better alternative. Stop carrying around bulky bags by making it so you won’t have to carry anything. This is how you improve safety (being security, fire, health, property safety) correctly.

            I don’t know why you’re complaining if you’re a “rocket scientist” since you should know they photograph all bags and cases and even ban pants with pockets as part of FOD control programs.

          • Beaumont

            “FOD”? “Foreign Object Damage”? I haven’t heard that acronym since my Air Force days. Since I have never seen a school located on an aircraft runway — or on an apron, either — I don’t believe that particular term applies. FYI, on every airbase I have visited, people were wearing pants around the aircraft. With pockets. With items in those pockets.

          • Random Person

            Your stupidity and obstinance would be impressive if you were a donkey.

            In a burger-flipper it will merely get you fired.

    • Cymond

      I think RocketScientist addressed the concealment issue perfectly, but I’d like to add this: my junior high school banned backpacks. Instead of carrying heavy books in a convenient bag, we had to lug all of those books in our arms. With only 5 minutes between classes, we didn’t have time to visit our lockers except during lunch. (We weren’t allowed to roam free during lunch, either, but we had a few minutes between class and the lunch room.

      It was a real blessing when we moved up to high school and could carry our backpacks or shoulder bags. I would far rather carry a heavy load so the weight is distributed symmetrically across the shoulders & back than asymmetrically under one arm.

    • Random Person

      I’d rather see them ban busybodies.

      Such as yourself.

  • Anonymoose

    …Level IIIA can’t stop .223.

    If you’re trying to appease the paranoid soccermoms, you need to go all the way.

  • Adam

    Considering violent crime is at its lowest point since the 1960’s, and despite what’s indicated in the media, mass shootings are not on the rise, I’d have to say this is unnecessary at best. At worst, it’ll instill unfounded paranoia in kids by teaching them that they need this because they might be randomly shot dead at any moment.

    • wojtekimbier

      You are right. “The reality of 2014?” No. Just paranoia.

      • Sulaco

        I don’t know, might be a good add on in Chicago or Detroit.

  • Eric S

    Well a sucker is born every minute. I think the last number I read was that there were around 15 annual deaths in schools, so as far as I’m concerned there is negligible threat of death for my kid. Course, I did like the suggestion of buying expired kevlar plates and just stuffing them in the kid’s pack. I’d consider that a low cost solution to eliminate a minor threat.

  • bbmg

    According to the CDC ( ):

    – During the 2009-2010 school year, 17 homicides
    of school-age youth ages 5 to 18 years occurred at

    – Approximately 1% of all youth homicides in 2008-2009
    occurred at school, and the percentage of all youth
    homicides occurring at school has been less than 2%
    since the 1992-1993 school year.

    There you have it, 17 kids killed at school in a school year. An average of two children die from drowning in the US *every day*:

    Don’t wrap your kids in kevlar, teach them how to swim!

    • gunslinger

      isn’t it statistically more likely that something will happen to your kid while driving to school than actually in school?

      and this won’t really help in schools as most backpacks are kept in either lockers or cupboards while classes are in session.

      also, for the record, my wife works as an elementary school teacher. at the beginning of the 13-14 school year, there was an incident where a gunman took over a house, 1 block from my wife’s school. the kids were outside on the playground (no bookbags) thankfully, the school got some info, and got the kids inside, then they had to scramble to get the kids accounted for and into the correct rooms.

      they were stuck for about an extra half hour as they tried to figure out how to get the kids out (the school was on a dead end road, and the police activity essentially blocked the school. luckily there was another road behind the school that wsa usable and the kids had to run across the playground through people’s yards to catch their buss on that other road.

      in the end, the kids and teachers were safe and the situation resolved.

      • bbmg

        The sad thing is that people don’t usually live their lives based on an understanding of statistics. If they did, nobody would buy lottery tickets 🙂

        • gunslinger

          from a pure statistics standpoint, lottos are bad. but throw in the entertainment value. whole new ball game.

          $1 for a day of suspense? being able to fantasize and “think” i could win 3-400 million? meh. why not? better than the $100 i’d spend to go to an amusement part (adminssion, food, parking, travel..etc)

  • Richard Flood

    Pretty sure some one is already making these

  • Madcap_Magician

    Very interesting that it’s only $99, that’s quite a change from its competitors. I am not sure how helpful this will be, given you would have to use it to manually cover your vitals and that the trend in school shooters has been to be armed with rifles anyway.

  • BOB

    What child is going to put on their backpack prior to fleeing the classroom? Many students leave pack s in their cubbies and lockers. This is simply fear profiteering.

  • Cymond

    I’ll be brief. School shootings are rare, and it would be extremely difficult to protect yourself with a backpack. It’s even more absurd because when these attacks happen, the shooter has all the time he wants. A shield is worthless if the shooter can walk up and take it from the kid without any armed opposition. The simple fact is that if the killer decides to kill a specific kid, passive defenses cannot stop him (unless we’re discussing a fortified room or some such).

  • Timothy

    Kids are far more likely to die from trauma related accident than school shooting. Send your kid to age appropriated first aid training and assemble a proper med kit are probably better investment.

  • Jerry Van Ness

    Wow, talk about paranoia. While I’m sure there are plenty of kooky parents that will waste their money on these things, I think I’ll save up my money for something practical like tires that are puncture proof when running over land mines. LOL
    My only objection is that the same people who will buy this nonsense are the same ones that think the government should ban all guns.

    • Random Person

      Worse, they’ll use the existence of products like this to “prove” that we need to ban guns. For the children.

  • gggplaya

    Would be better if it were already a part of the backpack. If they offered an entire backpack like for say $150. Parents will buy them. I probably would.

    • Tom Nardone

      Hey gggplaya, It’s Tom from BulletSafe. The reason we don’t make a whole backpack is that my kids ruin backpacks each year. By making just a panel you won’t have to buy a new one every year. Also, I think most kids want to pick out their backpack themselves and they like choice. Mario might be cool one year and completely lame the next. The panel seemed like the more versatile choice. Thanks.

  • Mr. Scratch

    Wew are going overboard with this paranoia. We do not live in Afghanistan. We need to get mentally ill people treatment. That is the only way to solve this problem.

  • Ripley