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FOX43 Finds Out: Bulletproof or bust?

GETTYSBURG, Pa -- It's a scary thought,  a bullet hitting your child's backpack.

It's a reality some parents deal with after recent school shootings across the country and it's one reason why so-called bulletproof backpacks are now popular.

Several companies sell the products ranging from an insert to a ballistics shield that is built into the backpack.

FOX43 Finds Out bought two of the products to test each claiming to be National Institute of Justice rated Level IIIA.

That means the Kevlar, the material the shields are made of, can stop certain types of rounds like a .357 magnum or 45 caliber.

We bought a Proshield Smart Backpack from Guard Dog safety, which has the Kevlar shield built inside.

We also purchased a Blue Stone Safety backpack armor panel that we put inside a backpack ourselves.

We also had a plain old book bag with various sized textbooks inside, including a dictionary.

Then the team at Tripwire Operations Group in Gettysburg fired away.

First, we test the backpack with textbooks, a dictionary and binder inside.

Starting with a 9mm handgun.

The Webster's dictionary did end up stopping quite a few bullets, until the 45 caliber.

This obviously doesn't mean every average backpack with books could stop bullets or could not.

However, the team here at tripwire thought it was interesting how well the old Webster's held up.

We then started shooting at the products that actually claim to be able to stop certain bullets.

First, we test the insert panel and while the 9mm bullet didn't go through the panel, it certainly left a mark.

We tested out a few more bullets the panel should be able to stop.

The panel stood up to the test at least stopping the bullets it claimed it would.

Then we tested out the Proshield smart backpack that has the Kevlar already built inside and again, no bullet it claims to stop made it through.

For the final test - we shot at both the panel and the backpack with the built in ballistics - with several rounds from an ar-15.

While neither of the makers claim that Kevlar can stop an AR-15 bullet, we tested it because this type of weapon is believed to have been used during the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Both failed that test with .223 and 5.56 rounds.

Just remember though, neither of these products claim that it would be able to stop an AR-15 bullet.

Also, bullet resistant material tends to not be as strong after it has been shot at already.

Even so, Ryan Morris - who owns tripwire and has been a police officer for 22 years - says he was surprised by the results.

"I was pretty impressed. I actually thought they would fail."

Morris has three children in school and would consider buying these backpacks for his kids.

He says these backpacks are not meant to protect your kid from everything.

"If this were something for your child to make yourself feel better, that`s one thing. But it`s not an end all. It`s not going to fix the problem. Can it potentially save a life? Yes. But again understand there`s a lot of variables associated with an active shooter type situation."

As for the price of these backpacks, they're cheaper then the type of bulletproof vest you would see a police officer wear

It's still more expensive than your average book bag.

The insert we purchased sells for about $88.

The backpack with the built it costs almost $190.

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