WENY News - Is a Bulletproof Backpack Worth the Expense?

Is a Bulletproof Backpack Worth the Expense?

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PINE CITY, NY (WENY) -- At first glance, this backpack looks pretty standard. It has plenty of room for books, binders, even a laptop. But, this bag costs nearly $200. The reason; the Guard Dog Security Proshield II backpack is bulletproof.

"Right now the models that we have are rated level 3A. So, they're protected against 9mm, 44 magnums... shotguns and what not. So, they all carry the same protection." The company's president, Yasir Sheika says with the increase of school shootings the need for the bags was there. Year-over-year. now it's month-over-month and sometimes week-over-week, we're finding that people are a lot more acceptant of the fact that they would like a bulletproof backpack as something that they would like to carry or wear or give to someone that they love."

We wanted to see how the bag held up. So, we loaded it with books and paper and took it to the gun range. We tested it against a 9mm, a .45 caliber, a .357 magnum, an AR-15, an AK-47 and a 12 gauge shotgun. The bag performed as promised.

"I've seen what bullets can do to level 3A body armor. It's what I wear when I go to work as a police officer. I'm familiar with what it can and can't stop. So, I was kind of expecting the results for the most part." Zachary Pugh of Pugh Self-Protection says while the bag is effective, it offers more peace-of-mind than protection.

"When we fired a handgun regular everyday school day items would stop the round. So, unless somebody's carrying an empty backpack around - like you said most people don't - it's kind of a waste of money. Because those rounds didn't even make it to the part you paid for to protect yourself. They stopped inside the paper and the booklets." And they did. Time after time.

The manufacturer's website displays a graphic showing how the bag is intended to be used. In the 'standing position,' the 'fleeing position' or the 'crouching position.' But, Pugh says you're either exposing a very vulnerable part of your body to the gunman or sitting idle. "Let's say every student had a backpack at the school. If the guy comes in and starts shooting and their only defense is having that backpack, does it stop the guy from shooting? No."

Pugh says schools need to teach their students what to do in the event of an active shooter emergency. "An actual training. I mean hands-on training with real role players. Not just a hey here's a PowerPoint presentation on what you should do and good luck."

Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February with an AR-15 and the gunman at Santa Fe High School killed ten people in May with a 12 gauge shotgun. Is the bag worth it? You decide.

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