Police Interceptor Bullet Proof Doors

The Ford Police Interceptor SUV has a larger ballistic panel inside the doors to stop common rounds that police would come in contact with. The panel provides NIJ level III ballistic protection.

Randy Freiburger, a Police Special Vehicle Engineer for Ford Motor Company, talks about the Interceptor’s bullet proof doors.

The doors were tested against an array of calibers.


.45 acp

5.56 M855 and M193

7.62×39 and .308


I am curious how much weight those ballistic panels add to the vehicle?

Update Note: I got a new email today about this and Ford says these doors will stop armour piercing rounds.

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


  • Roy G Bunting

    When I read the article it was about $1000 and 80 lbs added to the car. But the article wasn’t the most reliable source.

    Also note the protection is significantly less then what we commonly think of as “armored cars”. No runflats, no armor over the engine compartment, firewall or windows.

    It’s probably good enough, but it isn’t full coverage.

    • Mazryonh

      No wonder some police departments are foregoing upgrades like the article mentions and going straight to things like military APCs.

      • M

        Well, I’m sure that the 1033 program has much to do with that

        • albaby2

          What is the 1033 program?

          • Free military equipment. MRAPS, Up-Armored HMMWVs (Humvee), various other armored car style equipment. I also believe firearms like hte Mk. 19 40mm and such are available through it as well, but I may be wrong.

          • CommonSense23

            I highly doubt the MK19 is available.

          • iksnilol

            Uh, riot control? Firing tear gas?

          • CommonSense23

            The MK19 fires a 40×53 high velocity cartridge. Not the 40×46 low velocity cartridge, which is what is used in the M203, M79, ect,. Its got some energy in, even if that thing bounces and was a non lethal round of some sort(which they don’t make for the MK19), its still easily going to kill someone a 200 hundred yards away.

          • iksnilol

            So…. high velocity tear gas is obviously needed then?


          • Mazryonh

            What if they make airburst versions of less-lethal grenades so they don’t have to be direct-fired at people who need to be dispersed or apprehended?

          • CommonSense23

            Why? This gun wasn’t designed for riot control. It’s not good at it, and there are far better options.

          • Mazryonh

            I thought that 40x53mm grenade launchers could also have less-lethal rounds. Is there something about that caliber that prevents this?

          • CommonSense23

            First why would you do it. The weapon is not designed for non lethal, and the round has to much energy to begin with. Could someone design a round to be non lethal sure? Sure it wouldn’t be practical. And no one would adopt. But you could do it. Why are you so bent on making a weapon that is designed for one thing do something else.

          • albaby2


        • Mazryonh

          I meant in the sense that they’re purpose-built to resist small-arms fire, and they can usually handle cluttered areas better than armoured patrol cars can. They also have weapon mounts.

    • Bill

      A thousand bucks gets high-end soft body armor. These have to be priced way beyond that.

      Not many agencies are going to buy into this, maybe the huge ones, just like the the Crown Vic fire suppression kits.

      • Roy G Bunting

        My understanding was that it was steel plates, like that ar500 armor. Cheap rifle level lII protection. At ~100$ and ~6 lbs per square foot the cost and weight are in the ballpark.

        But the article was random Facebook fodder,so it could be way off. YMMV.

        • Bill

          I sort of hope not. Cops are killed in car crashes more frequently than by assaults (except so far this year: source ODMP) and never have enough training, nor usually have to “qualify” with their cars. AS SUVs, with their higher center of gravity, become more popular/common, we in the training community aren’t keeping up with teaching the skills needed to handle them in the LE environment. If they are adding steel, that means weight, which is never good, but at least it seems that the “normal” center of gravity is around the front doors on most vehicles, so it’s probably the least bad place to add it.

    • Joshua

      it doesn’t really seem to be intended to be, it seems to be an attempt to let cops pull the Hollywood move of sheltering behind their car doors during a gunfight.

  • iksnilol

    Stupid question: What about the roof?

    • They are unarmored. Thugs seldom do spectacular dive rolls out of buildings while reigning bullets down on vehicles, Matrix-style.

      • iksnilol

        I was thinking if somebody shot from above, such as a building or something.

        • The police would likely be either out of their vehicles using the doors as cover in this kind of standoff, far enough away to provide optimal cover.
          Phil, are you there with your $0.02?

          • BattleshipGrey

            Up-armoring squad cars, IMO is probably more motivated by ambushes, thus the roof shouldn’t be ignored. Roof and door armor could protect you in those vital seconds of realizing what’s taking place and to drive out of the danger zone.

            When I got into LE, I was surprised to learn there wasn’t any armor on the doors. Because of the lack of door armor, we were trained to shoot from inside the main body of the car and have as little of us as possible behind the door, IF your car is the best cover you have.

            I would hope that units that have door armor are labeled on each door, ESPECIALLY if they have cars without, but are trained to use the door for cover.

          • MrEllis

            Ambushers usually wait for an officer to egress from a vehicle. With the exception of people who walk right up and shoot through windows, in which case these would do little good. Armored doors are more of a proactive tool than a reactive form of protection.

            Maybe they should have soft drop down panels for legs? But as it stands this is more something you stand behind when it’s open, than rely on to protect you unaware. It could be used to recover a wounded officer in the open or some such, but without effective tactics developed to exploit the strengths of the tool it’s not huge on utility.

          • Gecko9mm

            They typically are I believe. Not all jurisdictions pay for the upgrade though.

          • MrEllis

            Instinctively people mostly shoot at windows because you can see what’s sticking up. These doors could be used as concealment/partial cover and training and tactics would have to be developed for them to be anything more than a novelty. They’re more situational than not, as most OIS are outside of a vehicle.

            Conversely, I can think of two situations where folks I know and work with could have made good use of them. Luck and training carried the day though and they’re with us still with all the holes they came with.

        • Gecko9mm

          iksnilol is right. It does happen. A lot. In fact, this officer was shot at from a high-rise with sustained fire from a belt-fed M60 machine gun in Los Angeles in 1988. His LAPD Chevy Caprice sustained heavy damage and only by backing up at high speed was he able to escape injury when his patrol car backed up over an embankment allowing him to defilade. His Caprice had no ballistic panels of any sort and armor on the roof probably would have been welcome. Here’s an image of LAPD Sgt. Al Powell shortly after his car was fired upon at the Nakatoma Plaza building. So yes, it does happen folks.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, I remember that. Something about there having been two incidents of somebody using NFA registered MGs in crime, this being one of those incidents.

            Also, thank you for your service and sorry you had to live through that.

          • Gecko9mm

            Your dead pan response is perfect to my Die Hard reference.

      • Mazryonh

        There was the Charles Whitman shooting, where the shooter was in a water tower and had a view of a “target-rich environment.” It wouldn’t be impossible for someone with a vendetta against cops to fire through the unarmoured roof even if it were just from the balcony or window of a high-rise building.

        • Nothing is impossible, but this stuff is built and purchased based on likeliness.

          • Sam P

            And cost

          • Tassiebush

            Yeah in a lot of areas single story buildings and flat landscapes are the norm which’d make an elevated position less likely. I could definitely see a rural police department liking this for checking out weed crops and responding to some situations. It’s a bit like the way police wear a best but not a helme in some situations.

          • Bill

            My rule of thumb is that if I can’t drive out of the problem, ditch the rolling coffin and find better cover and a position of advantage. That’s assuming I can’t drive out of an ambush or sudden attack, forwards, backwards or turning out.

          • Tassiebush

            Anything short of a bearcat wouldn’t be a great spot to stay put in.

          • Mazryonh

            Notice how most ATGMs target the top armour of tanks now? It wouldn’t be surprising if the more determined criminals followed suit and shot through patrol car roofs to bypass the ballistic panels.

          • I would.

          • Mazryonh

            When war elephants were used against Roman legions, the Romans sent flaming pigs against the elephants. Effective tactics tend to spread quickly.

        • TC

          Clock Tower, University of Texas. 16 killed.

          • Jwedel1231

            None through the roof of a car

          • Mazryonh

            “Get the high ground” is still valid as a shooting tactic even in these circumstances, sadly.

    • Giolli Joker

      Windows aren’t bulletproof… they get more shots that the top, I suppose.

    • Bill

      Roof armor would have to be fiber or composite, which would be incredibly expensive. I doubt that the newer cars have to structure to support much more weight in the roof, and it would seriously mess with the cars center of gravity and handling.

      I hate to say “expensive” in terms of cop’s lives, but I have been on a flat career path for 30+ years and know that the accountants rule, and that we are easy to replace if lost or damaged.

    • Gecko9mm

      I think the answer is these ballistic panels are mostly for use in felony car stops. The vast majority of car stops the cops pull someone over and then order them from the car using public address system under the overwhelming force of light from the car. These panels are meant to give them protection should the person decide to shoot at them. They are not meant to be armor for rolling along for IEDs.

  • bdig33@hotmail.com

    Waste of money.But the city would pay for it so it’s free right. Lives matter but not this.

    • john huscio

      If I’m patrolling the South side of chicago or Memphis, I’d definitely want to roll in one of these.

    • Gecko9mm

      Not sure why you think it’s a waste of a money. The price of a patrol car is not cheap and this is a small amount of money for a car that is used 24/7 and up to and beyond 100,000 miles. Think about what most cops do: pull over person, hit them with a massive amount of light and then order them out and onto the ground at gunpoint. What is a good cover point to do this from? From behind the door which has some resistance up to rifle caliber.

  • Well I guess Ford is stuck using a butt hole stocked MAK 90 like so many others behind enemy lines.

  • Tassiebush

    But I thought Max had the last of the interceptors?

    • Gizmo

      600HP to the wheels…with the blower.

      • iksnilol

        she’s meanness set to music and the b**** is born to run!

  • Sianmink

    Other sources were claiming it resisted armor piercing ammo. Shoulda figured they never actually shot AP at it, because I’m pretty sure black-tip M2 .308 would auger right through. NIJ III isn’t rated for actual armor piercing threat.

  • It’s my understanding that Ford offers both Level III (effective at stopping many non-AP rifle rounds) and Level IV (AP rifle rounds) upgrades on these vehicles.

    There are many police officers (and some agencies) that use old soft body armor to “up armor” their vehicles already. While there is a cost associated with factory armor, it is likely to be much more reliable at stopping rounds that the cobbled together efforts that individual officers have to make now.

    • Mazryonh

      Is what you describe a form of “hillbilly armour”?

      • RICH

        If you’re getting shot at ‘anything’ is better than nothing….. ! ! Just sayin’.

  • HKmaster

    First time I see a KAC SR16 in action!

  • Mack

    Are the windows bullet proof also?

    • Ed Forney

      Probably not

    • MrEllis

      No. Bullet resistant glass is extremely heavy and thick. Well and expensive. Also police tend to do risky things in cars now and again and it would make it real hard for rescue workers or fellow officers to get you ou of a car quick if they had to.

  • Wonder if he’s related to this freiburger :

    ( +1 if you get the reference )

    • Jiale Fu (Future)


  • Tom Currie

    Interesting IF Ford has upgraded to NIJ Level III on the new “Interceptor” models. In the last few years of the CVPI, Ford offered an option of ballistic panels on the front doors, but the panels they offered were described as NIJ Level IIIA. The CVPI ballistic panels that I saw in one demonstration (sales pitch) included a panel on the lower inside of the door that had a cloth hinge at the bottom and Velcro holding it up at the top, so that it could be dropped down to provide coverage almost to the ground level.
    As Joshua suggested, the idea is simply to let cops use the doors for cover (which many mistakenly do even without any ballistic panels)

    • TJbrena

      My Crown Vic’s front doors say “ballistic insert” (or panel, I forget which). I’m doubtful I bought one with panels in, though.

      • Tom Currie

        Easy enough to check — just shoot a few rounds at the door and see if they come through.
        Please post photos of the results

        • I actually bought a junkyard door from the same model car as mine (volvo 940) just to see how rounds did on it, due to volvo’s insane weight of body panels.

          80% 22lr went through both sides.
          48% of 9mm went through both sides.
          .223 lololololol
          00 shot – *nearly* 75% went through both. This one was tough to measure.

      • Rooftop Voter

        Remove inner door panel and take a peek inside.

  • It reminds me of that opening scene in Predator II where the guy takes and hangs body armor over the police car’s door and drove it into a firefight to rescue some downed officers (and blasting the thugs when he gets there). I think it’s good to have this. LEO’s for years have been trained to use their vehicles for cover (engine block and body, not so much doors since even a 9mm will penetrate through doors pretty easily). Now LEO’s who get these Ford Explorers with the armored doors can rest easy knowing they have cover that will stop most all threats they will face in the event of a shootout. Now what they need is bullet resistant windows!!!

    • I’ve done actual testing of car doors. Ball ammunition 9mm is a 50/50 crapshoot for penetration on the 20 rounds I fired into a volvo door.

  • Suppressed

    Should provide excellent cover while dealing out headshots to Fido.

  • TSA_TheSexualAssault

    If you are being shot at in a car, get out and move to cover unless you can drive away! That car’s not cover.

  • valorius

    The militarization of US police forces marches on.

  • RSG

    Any Joe blow can do this with their own car. Buy some soft level 3 “plates” and insert them behind their car door panels. Many cars will have enough clearance. Won’t make the car an armored vehicle, but in a self defense situation, there’d be more protection behind an opened door that can now be used as cover, not just concealment. Can be done very I expensively, too.

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    Why do they need this, shooting at the police is against the law . . . .

  • Israel asskissing conservative

    Does Ford offer this for regular civilians? Or only the overlords?