DEBUNKED: “Bulletproof” Carhartt Jackets

In May of this year, it was reported that that New York Police Department’s Speed Gold Dot 124-grain +P loads were insufficient to penetrate a Carhartt jacket that a suspect was wearing:

Four of the shots that cops fired at a madman waving a knife in Midtown failed to penetrate his jacket — which was not bulletproof — and the NYPD will now check the weapons for malfunction, law enforcement sources told The Post.

“The bullets we have may be defective and that’s very disturbing,” one source said. “When we fire our weapons, we want to make damn sure that our bullets hit our target — neutralizing our target.”

A sergeant and an officer fired a total of nine rounds at 46-year-old Garry Conrad on Wednesday, with one of the shots killing the depressed Broadway stagehand who refused to drop the blade at West 49th Street and Eighth Avenue.

Four of the bullets got lodged in Conrad’s Carhartt jacket, sources said, adding that he was not wearing a bulletproof vest.

Given the significant documented history of the Speer Gold Dot, especially from a Glock-19 handgun AND at +P loadings, many called “bullshido”, including myself. Unfortunately, I am unable to back my call up due to a lack of ballistics gel for testing. In steps ShootingTheBull410, a favorite channel of mine and fellow caller of the bullshido to test if the Carhartt does indeed provide a level of ballistics protection.

Suffice to say, the bullshido is strong with those police officers. The Speed Gold Dot easily penetrates the jacket and in the spirit of testing, does not stop a .308 either.



Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Zachary marrs

    Did this actually need to be proven? NYPD isn’t exactly known for its marksmanship prowess

    • Kivaari

      They shoot lots of innocent bystanders.

  • Matt

    “2008 RAND Corporation study evaluating the New York Police Department’s firearm training, between 1998 and 2006, the average hit rate during gunfights was just 18 percent. When suspects did not return fire, police officers hit their targets 30 percent of the time.”

    Food for thought

    • Harry’s Holsters

      I can’t say I can blame the officers when they have to deal with a ten pound trigger.

      • Richard Allen

        The real problem is that NYC has destroyed the civilian gun culture so that officers have no experience with firearms before they join the force and little opportunity, other than formal training to improve their skills. 10 lb triggers are completely unnecessary but can be mastered with training. Revolvers have the same accuracy potential as semi-autos even if they leave something to be desired in terms of reloading and capacity.

        • Bill

          The hardest cops to train are those with prior experience with firearms. It’s far easier to build good habits in a complete virgin than break the bad habits that someone who knows it all has self-reinforced over time.

          • Kivaari

            Except it is nice to see someone that already knows the safety rules.

        • Harry’s Holsters

          Even departments with a a good firearms culture would have problems with a 10 pound trigger. Even if you have a high level of training it takes you much longer to get off an accurate shot. When dealing with a stressful situation most people aren’t going to take the time to line up the shot. The same problem applies to revolvers. Doing slow target practice I shoot a revolver better but when time matters that all falls apart. I would love to see a better firearms culture in NYC.

          • Kivaari

            We were issued 3.5 # connectors in our Glocks. WE never had issues.

          • Harry’s Holsters

            i’m guessing your departments training was above par of it was fortunate enough not to be involved in shootings. Hopefully both.

          • Kivaari

            We fired ~350 rounds per month, rain, shine or snow. Additional round from the MP5 and M4. Shotguns were reserved for rubber baton.

          • Harry’s Holsters

            That’s well above my local departments. Most only have a 50 or 100 round qual once a year with little or no practice.

          • Kivaari

            We did a bit of shooting. Some council members were concerned about the expense. We took the entire administration out to demonstrate the MP5s. I had my kid’s 10-11 or 11-12 at the time demonstrating them. The council saw how easily they were controlled and what our routine was. They stopped complaining. All but, on. He still thought so much pistol ammo was excessive. He bought a pot-metal .380 and found out it was very hard to shoot well. Compared to a Glock 17 with a 3.5# connector, his striker fired pistol was really hard to shoot. He backed off when he found out how much training it takes to become good.

    • Bill

      Except in this case at least 5 of 9 rounds hit the guy. You can do the math.

      • Richard Allen

        So they say. I would be interested to know more about the circumstances. For example, I would not expect a hollowpoint to penetrate the backside of a heavy jacket after passing through the front side and the perps body. Or perhaps hitting an intermediate barrier or the ground first. I don’t know whether this happened as you can’t tell from the article.

        • Kivaari

          It’s BS that these rounds did not penetrate the first layer. Correct about the bullets not clearing clothing after hitting tissue. The Cd’A pastor recently shot 8 times with a .45 (two head shots) and lived, had belts falling out of his clothing and just resting on the pavement beneath him. He’s recovering, but will have permanent nerve damage.

      • Zachary marrs

        Do the math all you want, where the suspect was hit matters

        • Bill

          Apparently he was hit in a place that stopped and killed him. That’s what matters, sorry it doesn’t coincide with your “NYPD is sh*t” meme.

  • Bill

    So apparently the only thing Carhartt coats and body armor have in common is that they’re both stiff, hot and heavy.

    • Kivaari

      Not a bad thing when it 15 degrees outside.

  • Jason

    Yeah, .308 would probably go through no problem…

  • Swarf

    Now Blaklader, on the other hand…

    • Chris Dooley

      Burberry, being a fine old British company, can of course stop anything up to and including .600 Nitro Express. A tiny little pellet designed on the Continent would be no matter at all.

      • Bill

        No, that would be Barbour.

        • Chris Dooley


  • m-cameron

    Is this really something that needed “debunking”……I mean, did anyone out there actually believe a car hart would stop a 9mm +p ?

    • Kivaari


  • Well it is the NYPD which is known for putting more rounds into innocent bystanders than perps so obviously the test was invalid since the bullets should have passed through at least one bystander before hitting the jacket.

  • Vitor Roma

    .380, not .308.

  • gunsandrockets

    I’m shocked, shocked! That the NYPD was making stuff up.

  • Bill

    “NYPD isn’t exactly known for its marksmanship prowess.”

    News flash – the firearms community isn’t full of scout-snipers either.

    • Zachary marrs


  • smartacus

    “One cannot in actuality place undue trust in everything read on the internet”
    -Abraham Lincoln

  • JLR84

    Eh, bullets sometimes do strange things. There are plenty of documented instances of bullets being stopped by improbable things. Just because something is a one in a million event, doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

    The only thing that really sets off my BS detector is that it would happen four times in a single incident.

    • Swarf

      The thing that sets of my BS detector is that it comes from the NYPD.

      They seem incapable of not lying.

      They give the Chinese a run when it comes to a culture based on graft, cover-ups and lying through their teeth.

      • Kivaari

        Arab traders?

  • Broz

    The NYPD is not a reliable source for either marksmanship or TRUTH…as least since the queers and steers took over Gracie Mansion a few generations ago…

  • Jim_Macklin

    I have several Carhartt vests and jackets. They look like a carpenters clothing, not a “tactical” shoot me first vest. But every Carhartt I’ve seen has interior pockets that could hold several newspapers or magazines. Even a steel or ceramic plate. Even bathroom tiles do a fair job stopping 9mm JSP.
    AS for NYPD gun skills, each officer who cares can get training if their survival skills haven’t been destroyed by PC crap.

    • Kivaari

      That is a problem with many large departments.

  • john4637

    8 misses, 1 hit, 2 officersm equals quite a bit of mandatory range time before either should be permitted back on the street.

  • Kivaari

    Can you trust anything about firearms coming out of NYPD? The public is at greater risk of being hit by a stray bullet than the intentionally fired rounds at bad guys.

  • Kivaari

    Out of 35,000 NYPD cops probably 2 read TFB. Probably more NYPD retirees living in Florida read it, and get pizzzed off that people are bad mouthing NY area cops. NY region cops shoot too many innocent people, often while drunk, and they shoot each other as well. We used to hear of foot chases involving 150 rounds being fired at unarmed suspects. With NO hits, on intended targets.

  • MadMonkey

    Stranger things have happened when it comes to ballistics.


    follow the rules is most important…..ballistic protection is must required. There are advantages and disadvantages to each material.

  • Warren Ellis

    Isn’t another problem with the NYPD is it’s size? I’ve heard that even when officers want to practice shooting, either everything is already booked.