HOWELL, Mich. (CBSLA) – In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, sales of bulletproof backpacks have surged as parents look for new ways to protect their children.
One such item is a bulletproof panel made by the company BulletSafe. It is a bulletproof insert which slides into any backpack and protects against handgun and shotgun rounds.
The panel weighs about 1 ½ pounds and is made from the same material as a bullet proof vest. It retails for about $99.
Mother Maya Rockafellow in Howell, Mich., sent her son to first grade with a BulletSafe panel in his backpack.
“I just wanted something that he could have on him,” Rockafellow told KCAL9 reporter Kenneth Craig. “When I describe it to him, what it was, I said, ‘this will actually help you if you hold onto it.'”
BulletSafe said sales of the bulletproof backpack panel jumped a whopping 600 percent in 2018 over last year.
Craig took the BulletSafe panel to Rockland Indoor Shooting and Education Range to test it. Indeed, it was able to stop a .45 caliber handgun round and a shotgun round. However, it was unable to stop an AR-15 round, which it is not designed to do.
Craig also tested a $300 backpack panel made by the company Veterans MFG. The 3 ½ pound panel is built to block rifle rounds. In Craig’s test, it was able to protect against rounds from both an AR-15 and an AK-47.
“The actual pain that’s equal to what you just got hit with a bullet, would be approximately equal to hitting you in the chest with a five-pound sledgehammer,” Rockland instructor Scott Vignola said. “But you’re going to be going home alive.”
Although the bulletproof panel Rockafellow purchased is not rated to stop a high-powered rifle, she says it gives her comfort knowing that her son has some form of protection.
According to CBS News, some gun shops stock bulletproof backpacks, but major retailers do not.