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Choosing The Best Bulletproof Backpacks - Atomic Defense

Choosing The Best Bulletproof Backpacks

Best Bulletproof Backpacks

Body armor is not just about vests, insert plates and helmets. Bulletproof backpacks are becoming a very popular product among the American population.

Deciding what kind of bulletproof backpack to buy depends on what applications you will use the body armor for. Bulletproof bags are made of various materials that protect the wearer from gunfire and other potential projectiles. Learn more about how to buy a bulletproof backpack and what bulletproof backpack styles are available.

Who Needs a Bulletproof Backpack?

bulletproof backpack can be a sound investment to protect against potential gunfire and other projectiles. Bulletproof backpack inserts are made of strong, durable materials to absorb gunfire shock and prevent the round from perforating the armor.

You may want to invest in a bulletproof backpack for yourself or a loved one if you spend most of your day at a university campus or school or live or work in a high-crime area. Bulletproof backpacks are also regularly used by armed forces and law enforcement members.

There are numerous factors to consider when choosing a bulletproof backpack. One important factor is comfort, as a backpack needs to be wearable and comfortable, which weight affects. In most cases, the heavier the bulletproof backpack, the higher its protection level.

While a bulletproof backpack is a purchase you hope you won't need to use, it can be a life-saving piece of equipment. Bulletproof backpacks can protect the back of the wearer when equipped, providing inconspicuous protection, or be used as a make-shift shield.

Levels of Bulletproof Backpack Protection

Most bulletproof backpacks are equipped with bulletproof insert plates, which provide the bag with bulletproof properties. There are multiple levels of protection when it comes to bulletproof backpacks, and it is important to select the right level to protect from certain ammo rounds.

For example, an AR-15 bulletproof backpack can withstand an AR-15 rifle. Bulletproof backpacks are given levels by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which provides the level of ballistic resistance a piece of body armor offers. All NIJ-rated pieces of body armor are tested to determine if the armor can protect against blunt trauma and that a round does not perforate the vest.

In general, a higher NIJ level means the armor is strong and provides more protection. It is important to note that higher NIJ ratings often come with additional weight, making the backpack heavier or more difficult to wear. The weight of a bulletproof backpack is an essential aspect to consider, especially if you are investing in a bag for a child.

The NIJ puts armor into two categories — soft and hard. Both of these ratings provide a different level of protection, making it important to understand the difference.

Levels of Bulletproof Backpack Protection

Soft Armor Levels

Generally, soft body armor types offer reliable protection but may not withstand higher caliber rounds like hard armor. Soft armor levels include:

  • Level I: Level I armor can stop .22 long rifles (LR) and .380 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP). Typically, this level of protection is the lowest armor level for on-duty police officers, but strong armor is often favored for high-crime areas or applications where gunfire is likely.
  • Level IIA: Level IIA armor can stop threats up to 9 millimeters (mm). This level of armor is suitable for full-time use and is a lightweight and reliable option.
  • Level II: Level II can protect against level IIA threats as well as a .357 magnum round. Level II armor is often bulkier and heavier than level IIA because it offers a higher level of protection.
  • Level IIIA: Finally, level IIIA is the highest level of soft body armor designed to protect against level I to II threats, high-velocity 9mm, most handguns and even a .44 magnum. This armor level is often soft but may feature hard armor plates and is generally ideal for routine wear.

Hard Armor Levels

Hard armor can protect against the same threats as soft armor while providing additional coverage for higher caliber rounds. The two levels of hard armor include:

  • Level III: Hard armor with a level III rating can protect against the same threats that levels I through IIIA offer, as well as 7.62mm full metal jacket (FMJ) rifles. In most cases, level III hard armor is only used for tactical situations that require a high level of protection.
  • Level IV: Finally, level IV provides the same level of protection as armor levels I to III while also protecting against .30 caliber armor-piercing rifles. Level IV is the highest level of armor protection and often uses ceramic to provide reliable protection. In general, this level of armor is only required in tactical situations where danger is highly likely. 

Bulletproof Backpack Protection Level

Many companies suggest lightweight backpacks can stop rifle rounds, including the AK-47 and AR-15, but, in these tests, lower caliber ammo rounds are often used, including 9mm. In real-world settings, these rifles actually use higher caliber rounds, including 5.56 NATO, .308, 30-30 and 7.62.

It is important to note what level of protection you need from a backpack. For example, a lighter or soft bulletproof bag may not withstand rounds from common rifles. If rifle protection is a concern when selecting a bulletproof backpack, it may be helpful to choose a backpack with an NIJ rating of III or even IV.

Here is a helpful chart detailing our bulletproof plate's ballistic resistance vs various calibers and weapon types:

Ballistic Resistance of Bulletproof Plates by Caliber and Weapon Type

Bulletproof Backpack Materials

While there are many armor materials, some of the most popular bulletproof backpack materials include:


Ceramic armor plates are strong and durable, providing a high level of protection with high hardness and low weight. Ceramic armor plates offer dependable reliability for unexpected threats and neutralize high-velocity rounds and projectiles.

Ceramic armor features controlled microstructures that ensure its reliability and performance. Ceramic armor can stop the same threats Kevlar can but also offers additional protection for high-caliber rounds.


Polyethylene (PE) is another effective body armor material that can neutralize numerous threats and projectiles. When compared to steel armor, PE has a strength-to-weight ratio significantly higher, making it highly resistant to cracking and abrasion.

Additionally, polyethylene armor is incredibly resistant to chemical damage. PE armor plates are made of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), a ballistically resistant plastic. PE weighs less than steel and can withstand certain non-armor-piercing rounds, known as green tip ammo.

Which Are the Best Bulletproof Backpacks?

The answer to this question is relative to what circumstances the backpack is in. The best bulletproof backpack for a school-going kid is quite different from that for military personnel. Size, weight and design are the main distinguishing factors, but you always have to ensure you do not compromise on the protectiveness of the backpack.

If you're choosing a bulletproof backpack for a school-going child, it should be small and lightweight. Small so that it can perfectly hug their backs, and lightweight so they don't struggle to carry it around. This is why we advocate for PE backpacks or ballistic panels if you are looking for a bulletproof backpack for your kid. 

For adults in different situations, bulletproof backpacks come in different designs, sizes and weights. It's upon you to determine what works best for you.

Shop Bulletproof Backpacks with Atomic Defense

Ceramic and Polyethylene Bulletproof Backpacks From Atomic Defense

At Atomic Defense, we carry a variety of premium bulletproof backpacks. We understand that bulletproof backpacks are an item you are investing in to keep you or a loved one safe. We ensure our products are rigorously tested for reliability.

In addition to high-quality backpacks, we also offer bulletproof helmetsbulletproof masks and plate carriers. Our active threat equipment can ensure you are protected in potential emergencies.

Contact us online today to learn more about our bulletproof backpacks and body armor.

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