Debunking – or Proving – Urban Home-Defense Legends With Hickok45

Home defenseย is one of the leading reasons for many gun purchases, partly because many people who either do not bother or are not comfortable carrying concealed still want to have a firearm in their home. That’s a discussion for another day, though. Today we’re taking a look at the ins and outs of a household appliance for providing cover. Remember, there’s a difference between cover and concealment, and there are also a number of stories and hypotheses going around regarding the ability of various appliances or pieces of furniture in those areas. Understanding the difference is important as is taking it into consideration in a home defense situation.

In this video YouTuber Hickok45 uses a dryer as a target, taking aim with everything from shotguns to rifles to pistols, and in varying calibers and loads. It’s an interesting experiment and one that goes beyond being for pure entertainment – this information could quite literally save your life one day. Take a look.

What appliances or pieces of furniture do you think provide cover – or concealment – and why?

TFB Staffer

TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.


  • JamesRPatrick

    I bet a dishwasher would work pretty well if it was full of dishes.

    • Cymond

      Yeah, but most dishwashers nowadays are inline with the counter top, so I don’t know how you’d get behind it.

      • Sianmink

        Mine’s in the island, so it’s plausible.

        • Fred Johnson

          Makes me think of all those movie gunfights in kitchens. They all happen in kitchens with islands.

          I’d be dead in my home. No kitchen island.

    • Scott Tuttle

      going to be tough getting under the counter to get behind it though ๐Ÿ˜›

      • JamesRPatrick

        In most new single-family homes I’ve been in, it’s under an island or bar. Island is concealment, dishwasher is cover.

    • M.M.D.C.

      Only if you load it properly.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      I bet a refrigerator like mine with empty shelves and a door full of condiments would work.

      • Devil_Doc

        My beer is ballistic…

  • Dracon1201

    Oven windows are pretty tough. Perhaps refrigerators. The trouble is not finding a large appliance, but how to get behind one.

  • Ambassador Vader

    What if the dryer was full of clothes? I would wager a guess rifle cartridges would still pretty much tear through it, but who knows.

  • John

    How am I going to get behind a dryer to begin with, and why would I want to be near a dryer which is being fed by a gas line?

    • Sianmink

      Lotta dryers are electric. But yeah, I’d put the opportunities to shelter behind a dryer, vs behind a couch, easy chair, or stereo to be pretty slim.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Looks like most of the bullet placement is in the corners instead of through the middle of the tumbler. Why didn’t he open it up and inspect the inside for damage?

      • DIR911911 .

        there’s a business idea that hasn’t been done , bullet proof couches !! I’m going to make millions!!

        • Sianmink

          I expect a royalty check.

        • MichaelZWilliamson

          I believe those have been done, actually. During the yuppie “Safe room” craze of the 90s.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Hide in plain sight.

    • M.M.D.C.

      Nobody here but us appliances…

      • Zachary marrs


      • PK

        You two were so well prepared with those photos. Is this your job?!

      • Simcha M.

        Reminds me of at least two episodes of The Three Stooges where Curley guts a radio and then squeezes himself into the cabinet to do a fake broadcast!!

  • Paladin

    I wonder how bullet-proof a tempurpedic mattress is? I imagine it would at least decrease the velocity of most handgun rounds substantially. Especially if you crouch behind it while it is still on the bed, so the shots would come through at an angle

    Anybody got an old mattress I can borrow? Not sure that the wife would approve of my experiment….

    • Devil_Doc

      Interesting question. I know a cop that got into a shootout with a guy that was laying under a bed. Distance was maybe 4 feet, bad guy was shooting a .40 up through the mattress, and the cop was shooting a .357 Sig down into the mattress. He said the .40s were coming straight through and punching holes in the wall around him, while he shot multiple times but had the mattress deflect almost all of his .357 bullets. He said the steel coils of the mattress were shredding his bullets, and while he hit the guy multiple times, none were lethal. The cop said that was when he stopped carrying the .357 Sig and went to a .45.

      • Makes sense to me—

      • Paladin

        Depending on the spring mattress there’s still a lot of air that a bullet could pass straight through.

        Part of me truly thinks that dense memory foam could significantly slow a projectile down.

  • Hensley Beuron Garlington

    Unless the walls are lined with steel, I don’t think there are many types of furniture that will do much to stop bullets. I’ve shot .22 LR through the entire width of a trailer with very little deviation from one side to the other (shooting width, not length) and the little bullets kept going. I can only imagine what normal FMJ pistol and rifle calibers would do. I think concealment is more the goal and protection is all but a pipe dream with standard furniture from Ikea. The idea of cover is completely misrepresented in most movies and videogames.

    However, there is no reason other than willingness that one couldn’t glue or cement and bolt some AR500 steel to the underside of tables or into the inside back of a couch and so forth to create your own bullet resistant barriers to be used impromptu (probably falls apart after a few rounds). Some imagination and the right materials, one can reasonably prepare for the worst. However, none of that helps you if you’re away from home in a public setting. I’d seek out concrete for barriers then, but beware of spalling.

    That’s like, the difference between using your car doors or the width of the car to protect yourself from incoming bullets rather than hiding behind the wheels and axles or engine block.

    • Don

      What about sofa beds, there’s a good amount of steel in those. Or if you get a loaded Lazy-Boy recliner with all the massage features, there’s a lot of things in there that could stop or deflect rounds.

    • Dan

      Having my couches reupholstered with kevlar and some AR500 cushions

    • At the junkyard, I bought a spare door exactly like my volvo 945’s. Shot it with various rounds. 3/10 9mm rounds did not penetrate. 8/10 .22LRs did not go through second side of door. 20ga… I’d be deds.

      • Hensley Beuron Garlington

        Reminds me of Dredd! The bad guy failing to shoot Dredd through that metal door with a sawed off shotgun and just getting turned into Swiss cheese. LMBO.

        Glad you didn’t try that!

  • Fred Johnson

    Never mind washing machines. In The Walking Dead, file cabinets stop rifle bullets.

    Seen it with my own eyes.

    • But can they stop my broken heart from missing Glenn?

    • Bill

      Actually, depending on their security level and how much crap was shoved in them, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility, from front to rear or vice versa.

  • Don Ward

    Don’s Pro Tips for Using Your House/Trailer as a Fortress

    1) Are you a cop with nothing to lose who plays by his own rules? Y/N

    2) Did you offend the local mafia, a crooked police chief, a drug king pin? Y/N

    3) Have you had intimate relations yet with the hot South African girl, Amish girl or hooker you were assigned to protect? Y/N

    4) Have the hitmen, crooked cops, helicopter equipped drug dealers shown up outside of your abode? Y/N

    If you answered Yes to all four questions, proceed to the second part of the quiz.

    A) Is there an old-fashioned cast iron stove, bathtub or large hottub full of water you can hide in? Y/N

    B) Is there a large Liberty safe you can hide in/behind? Y/N

    C) Is there a water heater tank nearby? Y/N

    D) Is there a well tank or water reservoir you can hide behind? Y/N

    E) Is there time to fill the washing machine full of water for you to hide behind? Y/N

    F) Is there time to cut an access hole through the floor boards into the crawlspace below? Y/N

    G) Is the home propane heated and can you hide behind the large propane cylinders that are somewhat resistant to most pistol rounds? Y/N

    Congratulations on completing the quiz. The results will be mailed to you in 30 business days. Stay tuned next week for Don’s Pro Tips on Ducking Behind Your Car’s Dashboard

    • ClintTorres

      You got me, Don! You got me good.

    • Hensley Beuron Garlington

      This is so excellent! LOL.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      Hot Asian girls are safe, though?

      • Don Ward

        Per the stereotype, don’t they all somehow know martial arts and can improvise ninja throwing stars out of drink coasters?

  • Taofledermaus

    Nothing like taking a broken appliance and utilizing it at a prop. I like his frugality.

  • Dan

    I knew i should have went with the Kenmore with AR500 inserts

  • DIR911911 .

    demonstrates the importance of keeping the laundry in the dryer to slow the round , never fold till the last minute ๐Ÿ™‚

  • DIR911911 .

    have you not learned from the corner campers in call of duty? you don’t hide behind appliances , you lay on the ground and shoot him when he thinks you’re a dead body. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hilltop

    A few years ago, I got the opportunity to use a broken (full size) fridge for target practice. We stood about 100 yards out and shot it with a Hi-Point 9mm carbine. FMJs. Shooting it from the side the rounds sailed right on through.

    At 100 to 300 yards I’ve decimated some concrete culverts. We situated them standing up and shot them with 7.62 x 39 out of a Mini 30. So much fun! You get a little whiteish puff of smoke with every hit. We started that the top knocking chunks out of it until we got to the bottom.

  • Zebra Dun

    There is not much material or appliances and furniture that will stop a bullet. Most dwellings are little more than siding and insulation.
    Even a brick home is little more than standing bricks unsupported by gravity and cement.
    Sand bags will even melt under multiple bullet impact.
    Hitting a 2 x 4 will slow them down, maybe after that a dryer will stop them.
    What was amazing was the handgun bullets penetrated better than the rifle bullets did.
    Having shot a great many items in my life for fun I can say even a big city phone book is not bullet proof.
    Hot water heaters aside a bath tub can turn a bullet in some places.
    Nice article.

    • > What was amazing was the handgun bullets penetrated better than the rifle bullets did.

      Blocks Of Truth did a couple of articles on that and why the rifle rounds tore apart in the sand bags.

      • For many rifle rounds, the maximum penetration distance is further back from the target. Too close they are going fast enough that they tear themselves apart. Give a little distance for them to slow down and they may actually do better. I see the same effect if I stick a 45 ACP round on a sabot (muzzle loader) vs in a hand gun. Until you back up far enough for the velocity to come back down the 45 will also break up in some materials.

  • survivor50

    Well there goes my dryer vest !!!
    I guess I’ll have to fall back on my blender barrier…

  • BigFED

    The ONLY way I could use my washer or dryer as cover is if I was a piece of paper or dryer lint!!! The back of these appliances usually go against a wall and both units are usually located in an appliance alcove or laundry room where only socks and line can get between them. So using these appliances as cover is a non-starter. That pretty much goes for the refrigerator also! These items are not usually located in an area where they CAN be used as cover. And a simple study of the way they are built will show that the upper โ…” of an appliance is pretty much simple sheet metal and or insulation. They “heavy” parts are in the lower โ…“ and I can’t get my fat ass that low!

  • CZFan

    The only thing in my house that I would even think of trying to use as actual “cover” is a bookcase full of big thick hard backed books. everything else will get shredded by any bullets.

  • Roadrunner0

    Fire and maneuver seems better and the wood frame and 2×4’s in a wall at a doorway are better cover.. Catching the bad guy in a fatal funnel like a hallway or coming thru a doorway is the best plan.. Now you liberals go right ahead and beg for mercy or jump out of a window..

  • adverse

    About the only thing in my house that will stop a bullet is my 12 gauge pump loaded with 00 buck. I have to shoot first of course.