Bulletsafe: Armor for Students


With the ongoing threat of active-shooter incidents in schools, the debate of how to stop them also remains. Separate from the issue’s causes and solutions, however, as parents we want to protect our children however we can. In this article Doug shares one piece of gear that can do exactly that while remaining concealable, legal and safe for all ages.

There have been several school shootings since the 2012 tragedy in Newtown. Some call for more laws (which I don’t believe will help) and others call for more armed staff to mitigate the casualties when they occur. Still others believe we have a cultural problem rooted in the way media reports on these events and that this reporting is a direct reflection of what sells advertising aimed at those who consume said media.

As parents, regardless of causes or theoretical fixes, we have to prepare our children at whatever level is appropriate and now we can equip them with ballistic shielding at a very affordable price.

I met Tom Nardone at SHOT 2014 where his company, Bulletsafe, debuted their affordable ballistic vests. Bulletsafe makes level IIIA ballistic armor that is a third the cost of other common vests and which will stop handgun rounds from .22LR up to .44 magnum. They also make a ballistic plate insert which increases the protection to a level IV which will stop rifle rounds too. I currently have one of their vests and look forward to posting video of the Guns & Tactics team testing it on the range soon.

Armor, Adolescents and Academics

Currently there are a handful of backpacks that offer ballistic protection at an affordable price like the LifeShield Backpack we’ve reviewed before. The challenge is that kids are very particular about their backpacks and only want to use ones with their favorite character on them or what is currently “in-style” at their school. Kids are also very hard on their backpacks and often need a new backpack at least once each school year. For these reasons, the approach Bulletsafe has taken with its backpack panel really shines.

First, the backpack panel costs just $99 which puts it in reach for just about any parent. Its 12” x 10” size is perfect for fitting into backpacks without curling and it only weighs 1.25 lbs. This fit keeps it flat and doesn’t add any substantial weight to the bag. Being removable, the panel can be used year after year, for up to 5 years, in whatever backpack they’ve got and it has a removable and washable outer lining for when it gets dirty.

It’s not every day that I get really excited about a product, but this is one of those times. It’s also important, at the same time, to recognize how unfortunate it is that we have the need for such a product at all. We can’t stick our head in the sand, though, pretending the threat doesn’t exist, so we need to stack the deck in our favor however we can. Adding a ballistic panel to a backpack that protects against handgun rounds is a great way to add another layer to a personal protection system that is concealable, legal, and safe for all ages.


  1. I don’t have any children, but I can see this functioning well for all-purpose use when added to a rucksack, briefcase, or any other general use bag. Have you tried stuffing it into the hydration system pouch of a day pack yet?

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