Bulletproof Wall Goes Balls Deep

SAAB, yes the Swedish Auto Manufacturer, has a defense division called SAAB Barracuda that develops things like this bullet proof wall. Here is their website.

The “Soft Armour” uses Lemonhead candy sized ceramic balls as the bullet proof medium. It sort of works like sandbags on steroids By up scaling sand medium to ceramic balls, the medium does not spill out like sand can out of punctured sand bags.

According to their website:

With a weight of 180 kg/m² and a thickness of 120 mm, the system protects against bursts of 7.62*51 AP ammunition (equivalent to STANAG level III).

Ball armor


Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • Sverige

    This is not the Saab of the cars, this is a completely different entity, split up from the car unit a long time ago… they do jets, not cars in this case

    • Nicholas Chen

      Yes. Which is why I said they have a separate division. But it is still under the SAAB umbrella.

      • Some dude

        No, it is a completely different company. Saab Automobile was spun off from Saab Group (aka Saab AB), which is the airplane manufacturer and defence contractor. Not only that, but Saab Automobile is also bankrupt and recently lost to Saab brand rights as Saab Group rescinded them.

        • defenceguru

          Yes indeed. Saab was originally a defence/aerospace company that decided to make cars after WW2. The car business was later divested into a completely distinct firm (Saab Automobile) in 1995. This went bankrupt in 2011 and hasn’t built a car since.

          • defenceguru

            It’s probably also worth mentioning that Saab are often regarded as one of the world’s largest man portable anti-tank guided weapons producers (if not the biggest) – most notably they’re the builder of the Carl Gustaf 84 mm recoiless rifle (M3 MAAWS), the AT4 and the NLAW

          • Carl G! Who’d have thunk it?

  • M.M.D.C.

    Saab claims “no penetration,” risque title above notwithstanding.

    • Giolli Joker

      Thank you for assuring me that I’m not the one dirty minded.

      • M.M.D.C.

        I blame Nicholas.

    • Ripley

      No glory holes.

  • KestrelBike

    I’d give my man-boobs for an imported AK-5.

    • Dracon1201

      I’d give more than that.

    • Don Ward

      I’d give some of KestrelBike’s body parts too!
      *Sharpens knife*

    • Tassiebush

      I find I can just flash mine for cash! i.e they pay me to put em away. Then you can have your AK-5 and manboobs too… sorry meant cake and eat it too 😉

  • echelon

    Maybe I’m missing the pun here…how is this related to “balls deep”? Either that title is purely for click bait or…

    • Dracon1201

      The armor is ceramic balls. It’s a play on words.

      • echelon

        Yeah I got that part but saying “balls deep” just doesn’t even really apply to this product. It’s just a bad play on words I guess.

        I give it a C- for effort. Try harder next time! 🙂

    • Phillip Cooper

      Click bait… right in one!

  • Giolli Joker

    An interesting feature of a similar system is that probably even repeated hits on roughly the same spot aren’t going to drastically reduce its ability to stop bullets, as ceramic balls realign an fill the voids.

    Saab Barracuda Soft Armor System
    Posted December 8, 2014 in Companies by Tom R with 30 Comments

  • Slim934

    This is just fascinating!

    Is there more technical detail on this system? Like ceramic cost, maintenance check, stuff like that?

    Seems like the sort of thing that’d be fabulous for indoor ranges.

    • Dracon1201

      It’s a nice thought, but the Ceramic balls get destroyed in short order. Even if the balls were cheap, I feel as though the amount of times you would have to refill it would be ridiculous.

    • noguncontrol

      for indoor ranges, sand would still be more cost effective.

  • Aaron E

    It took a lot of balls to put this idea out on the market …

  • gunslinger

    looks like if you want to get through, shoot the bottom of the wall a bit, and the medium will fall, then you have an unobstructed shot through the top

    or am i missing something?

    • lucusloc

      The top part of the wall typically will extend a decent way above what you are trying to protect, and similar systems in the past have also used a hopper system to refill the void from the top.

    • Tassiebush

      As long as you’ve got more rounds than they have balls

      • Ripley

        and no grenades

        • Tassiebush


          • Ripley

            though the attackers would be trippin’ balls then

          • Tassiebush

            haha awesome pun!

          • Tassiebush

            It’d make sense of to coat the balls in paint to enable quick easy identifation of which ones were broken and which are unused. It is most logical that the paint be blue so you’d have blue balls if they didn’t ever get used…

  • Anonymous

    So basically, they just scaled up the whole Youtube “fill a box full of marbles and shoot it” concept of ballistic protection.

    • dan citizen

      They should get credit for using top quality marbles…

  • Joel

    “SAAB, yes the Swedish Auto Manufacturer, has a defense division called SAAB Barracuda” To me, as a swede. This is pretty hilarious.

  • Wetcoaster

    As several others have mentioned, it was already mentioned at the beginning of December.

    I’ll re-iterate my question from that post though: What the hell is soft about ceramic balls??

    • Giolli Joker

      Soft is probably intended as a reference to the flexibility of the media as a whole, in opposition to a hard ballistic protection made by plates.

  • Scott Wagner

    I just want to know what 5.56 they’re using in the demo first is…

    • Ripley

      The swedish armed forces uses standard NATO SS109 62gr steel/lead core FMJ. Even though there is a shift now to a lead free version with all steel core.

  • Jeremy David Thomson

    What is a Lemonhead and how big is it? 1cm, thanks wikipedia.