Bulletproof backpacks: Do they make the grade? We put them to the test

Bulletproof backpacks: Put to the test

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Safety in schools continues to be a topic of concern. A new poll shows that one in three parents fears for their child while at school.

Bulletproof backpacks are one thing parents are leaning toward to give them a peace of mind.

We wanted to help parents find out if the backpack works, without them having to shell out the money first.

WTOL teamed up with the Great Lakes Gunworx and the Rossford Police Department to check it out.

Jim Henry with Great Lakes Gunworx said, "We used a standard, over the counter AR 15, (and) a standard over-the-counter 9 mm pistol. We used, again, standard over-the-counter 115 grain 9 mm bullets, and for the 223 we used a standard 55 grain retail bullet. Nothing fancy, nothing tactical. The weight of the bullets and the power out of the 9 mm is much less than the AR 15 It's more substantial."

We tested the backpack placing a towel and four books inside, then shot two round from the 9 mm pistol, and both bullets were stopped.

Then, we did three rounds from the AR-15. Two bullets went through the backpack, while one of those bullets was stopped by the Kevlar material at the back of the bookbag.

"I'm very surprised. It should have penetrated, knowing the power of the AR, it should have penetrated but it did not," Henry said.

We reached out to Guard Dog - the maker of the backpacks - to tell them one bullet was stopped, although their bags are not certified for AR-caliber bullets.

They responded, "Our backpacks are tested and rated against Level IIIA standards, which excludes AR-caliber bullets. The lightweight, soft, ballistic material used in our backpacks is not only durable, it is also significantly less bulky than Level 4 ceramic plates, allowing the consumer to wear it at all times. This is often the same material and protection level found in law enforcement vests. It has also been found, through general testing, that this protection can lessen the impact of bullets from higher caliber weapons, such as an AR-15 when filled with normally carried objects such as books, binders, etc."

We know parents are concerned with the cost. The backpack we used was $175, so we added a poll on our WTOL Facebook page. So far we have had nearly 1,000 people vote. Of those polled, 56 percent said no, and 44 percent said yes to buying one of these bags for their children.

One woman who is opposed to the bags said, "Most schools do not allow them to carry backpacks around during the day, so d rop off and dismissal times would be the only times they would even have them as protection."

A different woman said, "Yes! And I hate that these are subjects that need to be discussed nowadays."

We still have that poll up on our WTOL Facebook if you want to join in the conversion.

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